Dusty Baker had plenty to say about yesterday's moves
Edinson Volquez's stint in AAA will hopefully be a short one. Matt Maloney was brought up to add some length to the 'pen, as Sam LeCure was spent on Sunday when Volquez fell apart. Which looks like a wise move, since Maloney pitched like a mensch last night when Arroyo fell apart. Todd Frazier is probably just an extra bat for the bench rather than a long-term solution in LF, much to the chagrin of 'creds. "You can’t play everybody," Baker said. "To me, Heisey and Freddie deserve a shot first."
This is definitely a defensible stance, if not a sensible one. It's easy to get caught up in the fervor of a top prospect getting the big promotion, and it's also easy to forget that Chris Heisey was in the same exact situation as Frazier this time last year. I'd like to see him get the bulk of the PT out there in LF, but I can't complain too much about Fred Lewis out there either. It's good to know we have a number of options at the position should any of them fail, and that the offense is still very good despite those failures. Also, I won't reprint them here for the sake of brevity, but be sure to check out what Baker had to say regarding Gomes' and Volquez's demotions. The dude is the Platonic form of "player's manager".
Chris Cwik at FanGraphs says, "Nothing is humped here, dude"
Many of us are on the brink of full-on panic, but in the long view this Reds team is still a very good team with a very good shot at the division crown. Six game losing streaks, especially losing streaks as embarrassing as this one has been, have a way of completely demoralizing a fanbase, but let us not forget that the Reds had two separate five game losing streaks last season. It looks really bad when the "ace" is demoted to AAA, but remember that this team was just fine last year without him. At the end of the year, this will just be a bad week that happened months ago. We still have one of the best offenses and one of the best defenses in the league, and the pitching is not as bad as it has looked. We will be fine.
I'm not sure which angle I should take on this one
David Schoenfield at ESPN has a few trade ideas he thinks should go down. One of his ideas is for the Reds to trade Ryan Hanigan to the Rays for catcher Kelly Shoppach and pitcher Alex Cobb. This is clearly not a good trade for the Reds, and I think a minimum amount of analysis would make that clear to any casual fan (of course, this guy is a professional). Here's what he says to explain himself:
"The Rays are getting no production from their John Jaso/Shoppach platoon. The Reds' 4.71 ERA from their rotation ranks 14th in the NL. Thus, a perfect trade matchup. Hanigan is probably the best backup catcher in the majors. He doesn't have much power, but takes a walk and rarely strikes out (he has more walks than strikeouts in his career). More importantly for the Rays, he's signed to a cost-friendly contract of $4 million total through 2013. Cobb is an underrated pitching prospect who doesn't wow scouts with his stuff, but he gets great results. He throws strikes and led the Southern League with 9.6 Ks per nine innings last season. He had a 1.31 ERA in seven Triple-A starts with a 45/10 SO/BB ratio and made his major league debut on May 1. The Reds can afford to trade Hanigan with two excellent catching prospects in the minors (Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal) and Ramon Hernandez still on the big league roster. Who gets bumped from the rotation? Take your pick. Bronson Arroyo and Edinson Volquez have both been terrible."
So it seems his rationale is that the Reds need rotation help and the Rays need catching help, so it's a perfect fit. But like I said, all it takes is a little research and understanding to prove this is a terrible idea. #1, Shoppach makes more money and is a worse player than Hanigan. So that's obviously a non-starter. So Schoenfield thinks Alex Cobb has value enough to make up the difference between Hanigan and Shoppach. The problem is that Cobb is precisely the kind of pitcher the Reds have in spades. He is (seriously) a Mike Leake-type, with middling stuff but good location and results. I would say he's a bit better than LeCure, Maloney, and perhaps Leake. And to top it off, Schoenfield thinks this Cobb kid should replace Arroyo or Volquez. Replace Arroyo? FTH? HT to supergrover for the FanShot.
The Fay wonders if the mono is bothering Bronson Arroyo more than he's letting on
Honestly, I'm not sure where all the hand-wringing regarding Arroyo is coming from. He's pitched about as well as one could expect him to pitch. Last night was only the 2nd time this season he didn't pitch at least six innings, and was only the first really "Badroyo" night he's had. The nine earned runs in 2.2 innings was enough to balloon his ERA to 5.28, but it was 4.11 going into the game. We all know this isn't the first game he's pitched like this and it certainly won't be his last. He's fine.
We've waited a long time
but Joey Votto's "This is Sportscenter" ad has finally hit the airwaves. If you haven't seen it on ESPN yet, Fay's blog links to the YouTube video. I think it works better if the dialogue ends after Votto says "good luck", but whatevs. I still like it.
Johnny Bench was released from the hospital yesterday after suffering from acute pancreatitis
He seems to be just fine now, but was in a bad way for a few days. Here is a quote from JB's twitter: "Been in Hospital since Wed. the folks have been great, but this stupid disease isn't any fun." Glad you're feeling better, Johnny.
It's not much comfort
but it does help a bit to know that Edinson Volquez isn't the only pitcher out there mouthing off. A's reliever Brian Fuentes is unhappy with the way manager Bob Geren is using him and not communicating with him. "There's just no communication. Two games, on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven't stretched, I haven't prepared myself. If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game - which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don't think anybody really knows which direction he's headed."
It's also important to note that Fuentes is stinking it up pretty funky, with an ERA over 5.00 and almost as many losses (7) as saves (9). Maybe he should spend some time in AAA, huh?