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Off day notes and stuff

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The Reds are off today and there's not a lot happening that hasn't been reported on this site already, but in case you haven't heard: Ryan Freel is being shopped around, possibly for a catcher, and former Red Bob Purkey passed away.

In other news from the baseball world:

Longoria, Bruce, and Starting the Clock

AP Photo by Al Behrman
AP Photo by Al Behrman

The St. Petersburg Times has an article up arguing that the smart move might be to keep Evan Longoria in the minors for a couple of months.

There are lots of rules, procedures and technicalities involved, but reducing it to the most basic of truths:

If Longoria is on the roster on March 31, he will probably be eligible for free agency after 2013. If he is in the minors until late April, he won't be a free agent until after 2014.

That means the Rays could either keep Longoria for a month in 2008 when he is just beginning his career and the team is not a contender, or they could hold on to him for an entire season in 2014 when he will be in his prime and the team might just be in better shape to contend.

This is a similar case as to what the Reds are facing with Jay Bruce, though Longoria might be a tad more prepared for the Majors, offensively at least.  And while I think a winning season would benefit the Rays more than the Reds, though the Reds have a better shot at the playoffs, I'm pretty much split 50-50 on this subject.  

To me, it's all about timing and maximizing the value of your young players.  Ideally you want to give yourself the biggest window for success without having to break the bank, if possible.  But then again, does it make sense to start the clocks on Votto and Cueto but not Bruce?  Or maybe, it makes more financial sense to taper their introductions so your team isn't gutted by free agency all at once.  Either way, decisions like this are why Wayne Krivsky gets paid the big bucks, and it's definitely not as cut-and-dry as any of us would like it to be.

Some Stuff About Pitching

  • David Pinto evaluates the Reds starting rotation with Harang, Arroyo, Belisle, Fogg, and Cueto.  Using the Marcel projection system, he puts the 5 pitchers at a combined 4.45 ERA, which would be a drop of 0.41 from last year.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective), there is still about 145 innings to be accounted for.  So, I guess it depends on how well those replacements pitch if there is really going to be an improvement.
  • Baseball Analysts did some work categorizing pitchers by ground ball and strikeout rates, first with starters and then with relievers.  It's an interesting, though somewhat basic way to look at pitchers and you kind of get a good idea of how important these two things are based on where certain names fall on the graphs.  I'm sure if Lederer could do a third dimension he would add in walk-rate, but until we're all using hologram computers, a graph like that might be hard to decipher.
  • I stumbled upon this yesterday.  I'm not sure there's any real science behind it (Greg Maddux threw over 3500 pitches in 1991-1993), but it might be something to keep an eye on with both Harang and Arroyo in the upcoming season.
  • I saw this via Harball Times.  Chris O'leary, a guy who likes to talk pitching mechanics, breaks down as best he can in short blurbs things he sees for 20 of the best young pitchers.  Here's what he says about Homer:
He does seem to stride quite closed, which makes me nervous. I sure hope he gets his glove up and protects himself in the case of a come-backer. Something about this photo makes me wonder if he tips his pitches.

        Anyone want to venture a guess as to why he thinks Homer is tipping pitches?

Finally, some quick hits:

  • A new Reds blog, Seeing Red combines a little mix of both scouting and statheading.  Here's a breakdown of Johnny Cueto's last start.
  • Justin posted links to articles at Friar Forecast with the Padres Stathead in charge of Statiness.  I don't want to steal his traffic so go there first.  And wish him a happy 2nd blogday.  Pretty soon he'll be potty trained.
  • For you tree hugging hippies, both the Nats and the Pirates are trying to go greener at their home parks this year.  But then again, President Bush will be throwing  out the first pitch at Nationals Park, so you know they must be clubbing baby seals in the back rooms or something.