Will the Reds find a leadoff hitter? Or will the .300 OBP carousel at the top of the lineup keep going? Sheldon looks at some potential candidates including Michael Bourn (no, thanks), Angel Pagan (likely will stay by the Bay), Shane Victorino (. . . paging KMiB . . .), Juan Pierre (ack), Grady Sizemore (+120 to make it out of spring training without a collapsed lung), Denard Span (meh), and Coco Crisp (see here). What does everyone think?
John Rentz summarizes the happenings in Reds country since the end of the season. He takes a positive view of the extension for Dusty Baker, but sees flaws in the offense that need fixing. What can be done to upgrade the offense? Rentz is not sure, but he says: "Thankfully, this team doesn’t require a major overhaul, but the fact remains the team couldn’t score runs effectively for big stretches of time. Even when they achieved long winning streaks, runs were often at a scarcity."
Andromache reminds us that Mike Leake, despite his faults, is a very good fifth starter. Many teams cycle through fifth starters throughout the year due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Leake, on the other hand, is healthy and pitches much better than the major league median fifth starter (93 and 77 ERA+ respectively in 2012).
The Reds beat writer reports that former catcher Mike Redmond remains the frontrunner for the Miami Marlins' manager job. However, the Reds pitching coach Bryan Price is still on Miami's radar.
Walt Jocketty would not say if the Marlins had asked for permission to talk to Price. Jocketty did say that Price had agreed to a new contract with the Reds.
One other thing to consider: Baker will be 65 at the end of his current deal. The Reds could tell Price: Stay on as pitching coach. If Dusty doesn’t return for 2015, the job is yours.
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Price, 50, interviewed for Marlins job in 2006 when Joe Girardi got. Price has ties to Marlin president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest.
Hal McCoy takes a trip down memory lane to revisit his days as a sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press. After a depressing start to the piece that details the riots of 1967 and 1984, McCoy does reveal some fondness for the Motor City. He recalls a time when the Lions were good, Gordie Howe was the toughest player in the NHL, and Mr. Tiger still patrolled right field at Tiger Stadium. The "Detroit is dying" storyline has been played out for years now, but McCoy squeezes in enough positives to make up for the cliches.
Hamilton and Ryan Braun in the same outfield would give opposing NL pitchers fits. Unfortunately, Hamilton is on the wrong side of 30 and carries some significant baggage. That could prove problematic in the later years of a multi-year deal. The Brewers need to be certain that Hamilton can provide surplus value in the first couple of years to compensate for any overpay in later years.
The Brewers believe Milwaukee is a viable market for Hamilton, and it doesn't hurt that their hitting coach is Johnny Narron, who is very close to Hamilton from their days together in Cincinnati and Texas. Narron was Hamilton's original "life coach'' with the Reds and Rangers. In Texas he generally thrived and is credited for having only two relapses.