Red Reposter - Speculating on the futures of Billy Hamilton, Ryan Ludwick, Todd Frazier, and Nick Masset

Where's ken? Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Bronson Arroyo was magnificent last night
He threw eight innings and gave up only two runs on three hits. The Phillies have historically been very tough on him, as his career ERA against them was north of 7.00 going into the evening. "It’s really hard to take that in there," he said. "Every year’s different. Every guy’s different. Year to year, you’re a different pitcher. It’s hard to think about what you did in the past. That’s what so great about this game. On any given day, you can thrown up a gem regardless of history. "I was going to trying to give us an opportunity to win. Getting off to good start helped me stay fresh. Once we got the lead, I felt like I could bury these guys if i needed to."

A minor note from last night's game
Aroldis Chapman closed it out in the 9th, but he took a broken bat off his left leg. It was extra-pointy, and could have been dangerous, but he seems to be okay.

andromache compares this year's defense to last year's
to try and understand why this year's rates so much worse. Last year's defense was one of the best in baseball, while this year it looks merely average according to the numbers. It's a good read, but very difficult to draw any firm conclusions. This pretty much sums it up: "defensive numbers are complicated."

Dusty Baker commented on the idea of bringing up Billy Hamilton in September
"It's been discussed. It's not my decision," Baker said. "You've got a lot of factors here. Once you put him on the roster, you have to keep him on the roster or somebody can claim him. We've asked about him, big time. There is more factors here than just me wanting him here."

I think it's obvious that Dusty would love to have him, and he'd have to be an idiot not to. That kind of weapon will always be enticing to a manager. But as he said, there are a number of factors involved. If the Reds bring him up, he'll have to be added to the 40-man roster. This means that they will have to use one of his options to send him down to the minor leagues to begin next year. And he will most certainly begin next season in the minors, as he hasn't even played in AAA yet.

It all comes down to how close to big-league ready the Reds think he is. If they are confident that he could be ready to stay in the big leagues next season, then it shouldn't be an issue. But if they think he may need more time to polish his game, it might be wise to save that option just in case. I would be wary of it myself. He is the kind of player who gets by on the strength of his tools rather than his polish, and can end up taking longer to fine-tune those tools and develop into a good major leaguer. Think Homer Bailey or Juan Francisco. Of course, he could be more of a Jay Bruce type, too, and never be sent back down to the minors. But that's really the crux of the decision. I don't know if they can really make a wrong move here, because it's nearly impossible to predict the future, especially with a singular talent like Hamilton. But yeah, it would be fun to see him.

Joey Votto will be coming off the DL soon (hopefully)
and that means Dusty Baker has a difficult decision to make regarding Todd Frazier. Frazier has been one of the team's best hitters this season while filling in for both Scott Rolen and Votto. But when both are healthy, Frazier is the odd man out.

"Joey is going to play. Nobody is better at third than Scott, and he's coming on quickly,"
Baker said on Wednesday. "Sometimes when you're on a real good team, you've got to wait your turn to play every day. It's fortunate that he's had this opportunity. He wouldn't have been playing every day had Joey and Rolen [not been hurt]. It's fortunate for us that we have him and fortunate for him that he could show what he can do. At some point in time, the world is going to be his. Now it's partially his, which isn't a bad spot to be in."

One of Frazier's best assets has always been his versatility, but once Votto comes back the Reds will have a legit starter at every one of the four positions that Frazier can handle. I'm sure he will be spelling Rolen at 3B fairly regularly, but he will certainly be spending much more time on the bench. As Dusty said, it's fantastic that he has been able to fill in so capably, but if he spends the last month of the season as the best 6th man in the league, then so be it.

The Reds and Ryan Ludwick have a mutual option for $5 mil for next season
At this point, it seems nearly certain that the Reds will turn their key. But Ludwick hasn't thought much about what he will do. "That’s so far down the road I haven’t even thought about it to be honest with you," he said. "My main goal right now is to finish the year healthy, finish the year strong, finish the season the way I’ve been playing, try to get to the postseason and win a ring."

He's 34 now, and this off-season will likely be his last chance at a decent long-term contract. He says he loves it here in Cincinnati and the team chemistry is terrific, but something about the chill of late autumn usually numbs those feelings quite a bit. I figure he will do his best to get a long-term deal this winter, whether it's from the Reds or elsewhere. And I can't blame him for that at all.

Nick Masset experienced a small set back in his rehab
It was just a bit of stiffness after pitching this past weekend, but doesn't seem like anything to worry about. "He had a little bit of stiffness after he threw," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said. "And because of where we are, we're treating this as his own personal Spring Training. He could have pitched yesterday, and we decided to push him back. It's nothing significant. If this was Spring Training, we would have done the same thing. We're trying to get his arm ready and healthy." It still amazes me that this bullpen has been as incredible as it has been without the originally scheduled closer (Ryan Madson) and set up guy (Masset). Masset will likely be ready to go within a few weeks and could be a big addition to the staff for the stretch run and playoffs. That's pretty cool.

Red Reposter NEWS FROM HELL
Melky Cabrera was suspended last week, and Bartolo Colon was caught this week. This has the baseball internet up in arms again about the PEDs issue. Skip Bayless, the most ESPN of ESPN's kennel of ESPNers, even had the nerve to point the finger at Derek Jeter. Captain Yankee is having something of a renaissance year at the ripe old age of 38, and Bayless wondered aloud if there were an extra-organic explanation for it. Here's Jeter's response: "This is a first for me, man," Jeter said. "I don't know what to tell you ... What do you want me to say? I ain't getting involved with this, man. You can say whatever you want to say now, huh? There's no repercussions."

Bayless is being roundly criticized for his comments. I really have no idea where to start with all of this. This story is really the perfect storm of ESPN internet baseball bullshit. It has everything. Saint Jeter hero worship. PED witch hunts. Skip Bayless being a pulsating hemorrhoid. It's almost too much. But let's be honest with ourselves for a minute. If anyone else were having a renaissance season like this as a 38-year-old shortstop, no one would bat an eyelash in his defense. Jeff Bagwell isn't in the Hall of Fame right now for this very reason. These same people who are denouncing Bayless furrow their brows when contemplating Bagwell's HOF candidacy in much the same way Bayless did regarding Jeter, but nobody publicly undresses them. I'm not sure what it is about PEDs that makes everyone's brains go kaka-coocoo, but it has to stop.

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