Surprising words from Brandon Phillips: he doesnt like the Indians. We all know the story; he was a top prospect with the Indians until he flamed out at the Major League level. After a few years of treading water, the Reds picked him up for a Jr Bacon Cheeseburger without the bun. He comes to Cincy and immediately becomes one of the best 2nd basemen in the NL. But I always wondered what it was that held him back with the Indians. To hear BP tell it, it's because they didnt like him smiling all the time.
But really? I mean, I find it difficult to believe that 1) the Indians are such a sack of wet blankets as to discourage fun and smiling, and 2) this mandate would affect a player as much as it did Brandon. Grady Sizemore looks like he's having fun, right?
I know our friends up I-71 have speculated a million reasons as to why this all went down the way it did, and I dont really feel like going into any of them. But I find it kinda strange (and hilarious) that Phillips puts the onus for his troubles in Cleveland on a rule against smiling.
- More from BP: Brandon Phillips Field will be officially dedicated on Saturday. No matter how bizarre his time in Cleveland was, I sure am glad to have him here. Dude is a helluva ballplayer and a pillar of the community.
- Baker had this to say about Homer coming up for Saturday: "Hopefully Homer can up here and do the same thing he has been doing at Louisville — good except for a couple of outings. We need him and he needs it and wants it." Emphasis is mine on that last sentence. I dont think this is a last-chance-to-make-the-dance kinda thing for Homer, but he's getting close. He's gotta show he can handle the Majors this year or next year could be in serious doubt.
- Joey Votto is relieved to hear (heh) that his troubles are due to an inner ear infection and not something more serious, like a tumor or a bug laying eggs in his brain. "With all the tests I went through, it was a pretty scary few days," he said. "A lot of the tests were pretty imposing, tests I'd never experienced before. But to get them all back negative is a big relief. None of the tests were fun and I feel like a pin cushion." I think someone else brought it up, but I'm a little worried it took them so long to diagnose an ear infection. I'm not a doctor and an ear infection would have been one of the first things I would be looking for considering his symptoms. Dr. Poke Stick at his best.
- MLBTradeRumors takes a look at the contract options for the Reds for next season, and concludes that none of them are likely to be picked up. Ramon Hernandez has an option worth 8.5 mil, and though he has played well, he is not worth near that amount. Alex Gonzalez has a mutual option worth 6 mil that the Reds would be crazy to even think about. David Weathers has an option worth 3.7 mil, which could make for a much more difficult decision than the others. Stormy has been solid this year, just as he has been for the past 4 years or so. You have to think his age will catch up to him sooner or later, and I have predicted just that for about the past 3 years. So who knows, maybe we'll have a bit of drama come December.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark (no relation to Laynce Nix) talks to some of the players about interleague play. RR favorite Adam Dunn had this to say about it: "I say just stick to the rivalry games and eliminate all the useless interleague games. People don't care about Washington against Toronto. They do care about Washington against Baltimore. So keep them and dump the rest."
- I told you yesterday about FanGraphs including pitch-type linear weights to their player pages, and today they explain it.
- Sticking with FanGraphs, they look at the UZR leaders by position and are impresssed with the way many of them are hitting. Our own Jay Bruce has been very impressive, posting a UZR of 8.0 and a wOBA of .358, even though his batting average has dropped to .247. All those homers and his increased walk rate have been a real blessing.
One more from FanGraphs (they do real good work over there): Eric Seidman explains when sample sizes stop being small and start becoming relavent.
- SI's Ted Keith has his weekly power rankings, and the Reds remain at 12.
- Just another reason to dislike the Yankees: the richie riches in the rich seats on Wednesday started throwing ice cream sandwiches to the unwashed rabble beneath them, drawing the ire of stadium security. Did we learn nothing from the French Revolution?