I am really, really fond of Bryan Price
He seems to be pushing really hard to get Aroldis Chapman a shot at the starting rotation next year. "With all the question marks on who's going to be with us going into next season, it's hard to say for sure," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "I would be very confident in saying that he will absolutely get a chance to start, maybe as early as next season."
To me, this is probably the most interesting decision the Reds will make this winter. And most interesting to me is that I don't think they can make a necessarily wrong decision regarding El Cubandolero. The back end of the bullpen is looking to be full of question marks for next season, with Nick Masset looking very hittable, Logan Ondrusek issuing too many walks and not enough strike outs, Jose Arredondo walking too many, and Francisco Cordero perhaps leaving via free agency (if they don't pick up his option and don't re-sign him). The Reds may see Chapman is the best possible option for the closer spot.
I've argued all along that Chapman should get a shot at the rotation. Starting pitchers are much more valuable than relief pitchers. I'm okay with him ending up in the 'pen long-term, but I feel like it would be a mistake if he didn't get a chance to succeed or fail as a starter first. So when do you begin that experiment? It looks like the Reds will have a need at both positions next season, with a shaky rotation stocked with back-end starters and a shaky bullpen stocked with non-closers. So what to do? Honestly, I have no idea. I suppose this decision, more than any other, depends on other decisions. Can they get Coco back at a reasonable rate? Can they trade for a top-end starter? Hopefully both, but even then the Chapman decision is a tough one.
Dusty and the pitching staff are taking quite a shine to their new catcher
Top prospect Devin Mesoraco (which is the Latinate pronunciation of his given name, Devyn Menschenrochim, which literally translates as Devil Man of Rock) is doing and saying all the right things so far. "He pays attention. He's conscientious. He's getting better throwing. When I first saw him, he had a sore arm. He's throwing the ball well, receiving well," Baker said. "Each pitch can mean something. I'd probably give him a 95, 96 on a scale of 100."
Also of note, Mike Leake is going to make one more start before calling it a season. He's thrown 167 innings so far after throwing 138 1/3 last year. He should be fine. Edinson Volquez will seamlessly take his place, as this next go-around for the rotation will feature six pitchers.
Unfortunately, the slider didn't slide
That's the word from Dusty after last night's loss to the Cubs. Billy Bray was brought on to face Carlos Pena with two on in the 8th. Aramis Ramirez was intentionally walked to set up the match up. Bray kills lefties and Pena can't hit lefties, so the entire universe expected Bray to get Pena to pop out or strike out or something like that. But his slider (which is a pretty good one most of the time) didn't slide and Pena hammered it. Phooey.
BlogRedMachine speculates on the future of Dontrelle Willis in Red
This could also have an effect on the Aroldis Chapman sitch, as Dontrelle could grab a slot in the rotation with a strong rest of the season/spring training, or perhaps even take Chapman's place as the shut-down lefty in the 'pen. It's tough to speculate right now on what kind of contract Dontrelle could command this off-season, but I all on board for giving it a go. If you were the Reds, what kind of offer would you make, and if you were Dontrelle, what kind of offer would you accept?
Speaking of looking for front-line starters
the Braves are showing off an embarrassment of riches on that front. For next season, they have Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, Kris Medlan, Derek Lowe, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino, and Julio Teheran. That is 10 pitchers who all have a good argument for being in the starting rotation next year. Now, Medlan hasn't pitched this season due to Tommy John and Teheran, Vizcaino, and Delgado all spent much of this season in the minors and could probably use some more seasoning, but still, that's ridiculous.
Of course, the Braves could very reasonably keep every one of these guys, as the Reds showed this year that depth doesn't always mean quality. It seems they have been shopping Derek Lowe for years, but he's a Bronson Arroyo clone. Pass. I've always liked Tim Hudson, and he's only due $18 mil over the next two years (if his '13 club option is picked up), which is precisely why the Braves will want to keep him. He's reasonably priced and awesome, and that rarely gets traded. The Braves have need at SS and LF, which are certainly no areas of strength for the Reds. Plus, every other team in the universe is going to be calling them looking to score some of their surplus pitching. I doubt any kind of deal gets done, but it never hurts to ask.
September 17th, next Saturday, is Johnny Bench Night
The Hall of Fame and Museum will be unveiling a statue of Bench, which was sculpted by the same fella who done did all the other statues on Crosley Terrace. The Bench statue will stand outside the entrance to the Museum, most likely raising his sword to the heavens and mounted on a handsome steed rearing back to signify his triumphs in battle. Or probably in shin guards with a bat slung over his shoulder. I guess you'll have to check out the unveiling to figure out which.
I really, really hate being that guy
but we really, really should have traded Ramon Hernandez when we had the chance. Since July 15th, Monie is slashing around the Janish line at .216/.269/.278. The trade deadline was obviously the height of his value. And with such a rough second half, the Reds may now be too averse to offering him arbitration at the end of the season which means they would get nothing. I don't know what kind of deals were out there for Monie on July 31st, but it's looking more and more like they will be the best-ever deals the Reds could have gotten for him. This is like David Weathers all over again.
The fine folks at Stadium Journey have been rating ballparks all across the country this year
and the last Reds-related park they visited was Sam Lynn Ballpark out in Bakersfield, California, the home of the Blaze. As you may have heard, it's a real piece of shit. I've never been that far west myself, but before I see a minor league game in that place I'd much rather check out the Kern County Museum. I hear they let you cuss if there ain't womenfolk around, and you're still allowed to smoke inside because Merle Haggard don't give a shit.