Joey Votto's trophy case is beginning to moan under the increasing weight of all these awards
Before Game 4 last night he was presented with the Hank Aaron Award, which recognizes the best hitter in each league. Jose Bautista won in the AL. Votto said "You know, I was voted into the All-Star Game by the fans, and this is another fan award, so that means a tremendous amount to me." Somewhere in Philadelphia Charlie Manuel swears he hears a telephone ringing.
Reading Mark Sheldon's "Inbox" feature
one gets the distinct impression the Reds are planning to spend the majority of the off-season re-reading all the Harry Potter's in anticipation of DH1 instead of searching for improvements to the roster. There just ain't no money for it. I'm not so sure though. I don't necessarily think there is some super secret stash of cash hidden behind the fridge or something, but I do think Walt has something planned. The old guy knows what's up, so I think he knows we are going to need some upgrades. I don't know how, but I think the team is going to look different - and better - come April.
Q Who would you name as the three best all-around outfielders who ever played for the Reds? — Bob, Toronto, Ont., Canada
A I never saw Frank Robinson play for the Reds because Bill DeWitt traded him before I was on the beat. DeWitt said Robby was an "old 31." I did see him play for Baltimore and Los Angeles and he looked like a "young 38" when I saw him. Over 38 years of covering the Reds, that’s a tough one. Eric Davis is on my list, for sure. And, as an all-around player, I’d include Paul O’Neill, even though manager Lou Piniella got him traded to the Yankees because Sweet Lou was sour on the few number of home runs O’Neil hit. I’m only leaving out about two dozen good outfielders I saw wearing the wishbone ‘C.’
I think this a good question to ask of the RR rabble. If you were to put together your dream Reds outfield, who would it be? To make it interesting, Let's keep it to only those you have seen.
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In the latest issue, the Reds catchers discussed catching Aroldis Chapman. Check it:
HANIGAN: I caught his debut. As has become typical, there were oohs and aahs from hitters and umps.
MILLER: Catching him is pretty easy; it’s hitting him that’s hard. Hitters are more on edge and quicker to jump out of the box. Lefties complain of the unfairness of his velocity.
HANIGAN: Still, with the high speed and fast delivery, there’s less time for me to react. To make up for it, I set up differently. I move to the left of the plate, so I’m clear in case he throws an errant ball. HERNANDEZ: I sit farther back to get an extra second to see the ball. When a fastball moves at 100-plus mph, a wayward pitch gets away in a hurry.
MILLER: If a pitcher is in control, life is simple. That’s true at 86 or 103 mph. It’s hard only when he’s wild.
HANIGAN: Anyway, when it comes down to it, we’re expected to catch the ball. Yes, it’s thrown harder. But I’m a pro.
I love how seemingly unimpressed the Corkster is. I get the sense that he doesn't mind catching Chapman at all, as long as he doesn't knock over his spit cup.
FanGraphs discusses the value of Red Sox SS Jed Lowrie
The piece is all about fantasy value, but it can reasonably serve as a discussion of trade value. Maybe we can toss another log on the SS hot stove? Whuddaya say? Supposing this guy is even available, and he likely isn't, would you be interested in calling up the Sawx to see what it would take to get him?
DRaysBay is looking for a new 1B for the Rays
and Steve Slowinski thinks Yonder Alonso would be an interesting target. He proposes a swap for Matt Garza. I think the argument is based on some flawed premises though. Garza is the kind of pitcher the Reds have in spades. He's a nice average/above average guy, with his best asset being his ability to eat innings (200+ the past two seasons). I would not be surprised if Cueto, Homer, Wood, Leake, and Volquez pitch as good or better than him next season. He has a better track record than all those guys (save Cueto), but he's going to be more expensive next season too, his 2nd year of arbitration. Alonso is one of our best trade chips, and while you could do a lot worse than Matt Garza, I'm not sure he would be a prudent return. Maybe we can convince them to throw in Hellickson and Longoria...
Carson Cistulli at FanGraphs continues his MLE checks by examining some AA hitters
He's impressed by our boy Dave Sappelt, saying "It's very possible...that he's an average major leaguer right now." I agree and disagree. His '10 season was very impressive, especially at AA (a Vottoesque .421 wOBA), but it's difficult for me to accept just yet that that is his true talent level. I like him, but it's gonna take a little more for me to believe in him.
3B Eric Campbell, 2nd round pick of the Braves in '04
signed a minor league deal with the Reds last week. He's 25 and he played last season in the indy leagues, but he should make for some good depth in the high minors. The signing isn't all that big of news, but the article is from a local paper and you can tell just how hard they are pulling for their boy. I like that.