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Billy Hamilton switches positions, Erardi profiles Ryan Hanigan, and Pete Rose reminds us that he exists.
After much speculation on this site and elsewhere, Bill Bavasi confirmed yesterday that the Reds are moving Billy Hamilton from shortstop to center field next season. Bavasi mentioned the presence of Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius at shortstop as factors in the switch. Hamilton will play both positions as well as left field in the Arizona Fall League. The Reds have not decided if Hamilton will start the 2013 season at AA or AAA.
Sheldon also reports that the Reds will hand the ball to Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, and Mat Latos in the first three games of the NLDS. Homer Bailey will be the Reds' fourth starter in the postseason, but Dusty Baker is not sure that the right-hander will start a game in the NLDS. Baker implied that the Reds might use Bailey as a long reliever in the event that one of the starters makes an early exit.
Zeldink connects the dots between Hamilton's position switch and Drew Stubbs' future in Cincinnati. Bavasi made no mention of Stubbs in his statement about Hamilton, but did say that the Reds are not yet concerned about clearing space for the heralded prospect. Does this mean that Stubbs will get one last shot next season? Stubbs had a promising season in 2010, a mediocre one in 2011, and a horrendous one in 2012. At what point does the cost of playing a subpar player exceed the possible benefits of a rebound/breakout season from said player?
Greg Dafler looks at the records of NL playoff teams against >=.500 teams. The playoff teams have all feasted on poor teams (<.500 record) as good teams tend to do. The Reds actually have the second best record against >=.500 teams, but have played the fewest such games. The spreads in winning percentage and games played against >=.500 teams are small, so one probably should take any differences between the teams with a grain of salt.
Andromache looks at past World Series matchups between the current playoff teams. She wants revenge against one of the AL teams in particular.
There is a reason that we all root for Ryan Hanigan, and John Erardi gives us a glimpse of the quick-thinking catcher that has captured Red Reporter's heart. This is simply an outstanding article.
"I was pretty honest about my talent level," [Hanigan] remembers. "I was always comparing myself to other guys. I came up (in minor leagues) with Russ Martin (Los Angeles Dodgers/New York Yankees catcher) and Brian McCann (Atlanta Braves catcher) and I felt like I could compete with them. I wasn't happy just getting up here. I never felt like, ‘OK, maybe I can be a backup.' I always wanted to keep working and establish myself … Eventually, some Reds (brass) began taking notice, but I had to earn that. I wasn't given anything, that's for sure."
. . .
[Hanigan:] "I had to be exceptional defensively, and be smart out there and get my hits and have a good on-base percentage. I wanted to be really good at something offensively. Being a tough out is a valuable thing."
McCoy compares the current club to the Reds of the late 1960s. According to McCoy, Dave Bristol's teams of the late 1960s had trouble scoring runs in the same way that the 2012 club sometimes struggles at the plate. However, McCoy's observation is slightly misleading. Bristol took over midway through the 1966 season. In 1966 and 1967, the Reds did have difficulty scoring (87 and 82 team OPS+ respectively), but had decent or even good pitching and defense (97 and 125 team ERA+ respectively). However, in Bristol's last two seasons at the helm (1968 and 1969), the Reds had good offenses (107 team OPS+ both years), but bad pitching staffs and defenses (89 and 91 team ERA+ respectively). Thus, I think it is only really accurate to compare the 1967 Reds to the 2012 vintage.
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The 2012 Reds have played better defense and have Joey Votto. That is the bulk of the difference.
McCoy has some other miscellaneous thoughts and reminisces about San Francisco: "What I miss most about past visits to the city by the bay: A trip across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito for dinner at Scoma’s, home of the best sea scallops I ever tasted and outlandishly decadent clam chowder. Order two bowls."
"I’m going to tell you something right now, whether you believe it or not," Rose told WFAN’s Steve Somers on Wednesday. "Baseball is a better game if I’m in it. OK? Because I care about the game and I’m a teacher of the game. And I care about young players."
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"Obviously I wish this would have never happened," [Rose] said. "It’s my fault I’m not in the Hall of Fame. I’ve come to grips with what I did and what I didn’t do, and I’m just trying to live my life and be a good citizen. If I ever make the Hall of Fame, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world. But if I don’t, I’m the reason I didn’t."
Pete Rose's retirement/banishment is defined by the tension between fans feeling sorry for him and fans wishing he would handle his fate with a little quiet dignity.
Speaking of Pete Rose . . .
The Reds have parlayed recent success on the field into success on the airwaves. Hopefully, the latter will lead to a lucrative television contract in the future.