Saturday, February 28, 2009

More top-ten all-time moments

Continuing our series in top ten moments in baseball for yours truly. Again, these are in no particular order.

7. 2008 was the last year for Yankee Sadium. I had driven by it one year, but never been to a game there. At a minimum, Yankee Sadium is in the top three all-time for famous baseball stadiums. Arguably, it is number one but both Wrigley Field and Fenway Park (I've been to both) are in the conversation. I'm talking about how famous the parks are, not how good the seats are, how close you can park, or how much your hot dog costs. The Reds of course had not played at Yankee Stadium since the 1976 series, so when the schedule came out and the Reds were set to play a weekend series in NYC Rachel and I made plans to go.

We got seats for the Friday night game from one of you (thanks, Mike) who knew someone who had seats. We were down the left field line, behind the left field foul pole in the lower section. Pretty good seats, and we got them for face value (thanks again, Mike). Interestingly, the face value for those seats was the same as our Reds tickets, which are right behind the dugout. (Everything is more in NYC.) We tried to get there in time to tour Monument Park, but the line was already closed when we arrived. We could see part of it from our seats, though. The Reds won behind Volquez.

For Saturday, we met up with friends (and blog readers) Mary and Sean, who had four seats together and again we got in for face value (thanks guys!). The seats were great; lower part of upper deck, right up from third base. It was pretty hot, but it was super cool to be in Yankee Stadium with a packed house on a Saturday afternoon game in June. Again, the Reds won in Daryl Thomson's big league debut.

The best part of the trip might have been the number of Reds fans that we saw everywhere in New York, at the Airport, in Midtown, in Times Square, on the Subway, everywhere. A guy on the Subway told us that the Reds had more opposing fans than any other team other than the Mets and the Red Sox.

As a side note, we stayed at the Hudson Hotel near Columbus Circle, which was really cool, but the smallest hotel room I've ever been in. We did see the hotel on Gossip Girl and Sex and the City (so you know it was cool).

8. A couple of years ago the Reds played the Cubs on opening day. Afterwards, we went to the Albie and sat at the bar with Ron Santo, who of course had just done the game for the Cubs radio broadcast. He was very friendly and talked at length with us about the game and about the Reds. He was as fun as he is on the radio.

9. When I was in high school my girlfriend's dad owned a company that had season tickets to the Cardinals. The seats were not too far behind the Cardinals dugout. The very first game I went to in those seats I got a foul ball in the first inning. I didn't catch it, which was disappointing, but I did retrieve it off the ground when the guy across the aisle dropped it (and his beer) trying to catch it. It was a very thrilling moment for me in that it was the first time I ever had a decent ticket to a baseball game and I got a ball. Joquin Andujar was the pitcher and guess who hit the ball? Dusty Baker when he was with the Dodgers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

25-man roster - hitters

We've done the pitchers; now let's take a look at the hitters.

The obvious guys are:

C - Hernandez
1B - Votto
2B - BP
3B - Edwina
SS - A-Gon (if healthy)
CF - Taveras
RF - Bruce

The only real competition for a starting job in spring training is in left field. A-Gon, probably because of his contract, has the job at SS if he's healthy. If not, Keppy and Haiston will be fighting for it.

I think it's a mistake to just hand the centerfield/lead-off job to Tavares, but that is apparently what Dusty has done. In fact, there's talk in the paper today of having another "speed" guy like Haiston in the second spot, 1. in case Tavares isn't getting on base and 2. for a double steal. First, if Taveras isn't getting on base, another "speed" guy should replace him in the lead-off spot, not bat second and go three places in the order before reaching a decent hitter. Second, how many times a season are we going to double steal? It makes no sense. I'm not saying they shouldn't have signed Tavares (which they shouldn't have) (there, I said it). What I'm saying is don't just hand him the job. Make him earn it and then be flexible if he doesn't deserve to keep it. Or at least consider him for the 8th spot, not lead-off. Anyway, there's no question he's on the 25-man roster.

That leaves left field. Assuming A-Gon is healthy, Dickerson (Dusty's camp favorite at this point), Hairston, Hopper, and Gomes, with a possiblity of Jaque Jones. The Reds also have Nix in camp, but I see him as AAA bound. Dickerson certainly had a nice debut last year and it's very tempting to see if he can handle the position on a full-time basis. Plus he seemed like a decent defender. But probably anybody, with exception of maybe Gomes, will be better than Dunn defensively. What I like is a platoon with Dickerson and Gomes. Dickerson gets the bulk of the at bats, facing righties, and Gomes, a veteran who's used to riding pine, can add some pop against lefties where we're vulnerable because of the left-leaning Votto and Bruce.

The tough part, and it seems like this has been true for several years with the Reds, is picking a line-up. If it were me this would be my regular line-up against righties:

1B Votto
RF Bruce
3B Easy Eddy
C Hernandez
LF Dickerson
SS Gonzalez
CF Tavares

Against lefties:

1B Votto
LF Gomes
C Hernandez
RF Bruce
SS Gonzalez
CF Tavares

Salaries: Hernandez - $6 mil. ($8 mil. with $2 mil. pd. by Baltimore); Gonzalez - $5.375 mil.; BP - $4.75 mil.; Eddy $3.1 mil.; Tavares - $2.25 mil.; Dickerson, Votto, and Bruce - $.5 mil. each. Gomes is on a minor league deal, so I'm not sure what he gets if he makes the team. Let's call it $1 mil. That's a total of just shy of $24 mil.

Bench: Hairston - $2 mil.; Keppinger - $.5 mil.; and Ward (minor league deal). Gomes has one of the other spots (or Dickerson against lefty starters.) That's a pretty versatile bench with Keppy capable of playing all four infield spots, Hairston playing anywhere but 1B and catcher and Ward playing 1B or the outfield and providing good pop off the bench.

That leaves the back-up catcher spot. Hanigan played well last year, but I could see the Reds sending him to AAA so he can play everyday. Rumor has it Hernandez may play some first base against tough left-handers so that Votto can sit and Hanigan can catch. I think this is a terrible idea, but it shouldn't be for too many games. If Hanigan starts in AAA, Humberto Cota will probably be the back up cathcher and not play very often.

So that's only about $28 mil. for the hitters. That's less than the Reds are paying Harang, Arroyo, and Cordero. With the pitchers, that's a total of about $71 mil.

Up next, predictions for in-season moves.

The Oscars

Unfortunately, I didn't get my Oscar predictions up before the telecast so I can't really report on how I did, but regular readers know that I thought Slumdog was the best of the movies I saw. I still haven't seen Frost/Nixon although I loved the Huge Assman and Anne Hathaway version.

Regarding the telecast, I thought it was one of the best in years. I really liked the new format and thought the show sped by, even though it ran until almost midnight. One of my main complaints is how they meander through crap until the end, when they're running short on time, and then force the people you actually want to hear from (think Kate Winslet and Sean Penn v. the guy that won for documentary animated short sound editing) to speed through their speeches. There was none of that last night, and as a result, some great speeches. Especially from Sean Penn.

I'll review Frost/Nixon if I see it, otherwise that's probably it for the movies now that the Oscars are over and pitchers and catchers have reported.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More top-ten all-time moments to follow

I have been running a series on my all-time top-ten moments on this blog and so far have written about 6 of them. In the spirit of facebook, this post, and this post I'm going to continue, but provide the links to tide you over.

Reds predicted 25-man roster - Pitchers

This week I'll be taking a stab at predicting the Reds 25-man roster heading north from Sarasota. Today, I'll start with the pitchers, but before we get to them, I'm also going to include payroll numbers, because when I'm done I'm going to make some predictions on some potential mid-season moves for the Reds. The Reds have several guys that will make the roster and are still under team control for '09. These guys made under $500 k last year, and are not eligible for arbitration. For my purposes (I don't have any idea how much they'll make for '09) I put all of those players at half a million, figuring that should cover it. The obvious pitchers:

Harang ($11 mil.); Arroyo (9.5); Volquez (.5); Cueto (.5); ($21.5 mil.)

Cordero ($12 mil.); Weathers (3.9); Rhodes (2); Lincoln (1.5); Bray (.5); Burton (.5); ($20.4 mil.)

That leaves only the fifth starter open and one bullpen spot if the Reds take 7 relievers north (total of 12 pitchers) which I think they will do.

All-in-all, this is not a bad staff of pitchers. Here are the top four starters for the other teams in the division:

Cubs: Zambrano, Harden, Dumpster, Lilly (Very good, if Harden is healthy, which is a big if.)

Brewers: Gallardo, Bush, Suppan, Looper (Solid, but not as good as the Reds.)

Cards: Wainwright, Carpenter, Lohse, Wellemeyer (Full of question marks, especially Carpenter.)

'Stros: Oswalt, Rodriquez Hampton, Backe (Good top two, very questionable from there.)

The Reds have enough 5th starter candidates to make it a race in Sarasota, but I think it's between Micha Owings from the Dunn trade and Homer. The more interesting question might be what happens to the guy that doesn't get the job. Will Owings make the team as a right-handed power bat off the bench/long reliever? That would solve the "how many pitchers do we take north" dilema. Does Homer stick in long relief (Dusty has been hinting at this in the paper -- maybe he wants to see how Hal McCoy will react before he decides) or does he head down to L'ville to start every fifth day? I say Owings wins the fifth starter spot and Homer ends up starting for the Bats, at least to start the season. I have Owings as a $.5 mil. player.

That leaves one bullpen spot for either Josh Roenicke or Aaron Fultz, the veteran lefty. I say they end up with Fultz to start the season to give Dusty as much bullpen flexibility as he can get. That puts Roenicke in AAA. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bailey win a bullpen spot, but for now I'm going with Fultz, also a $.5 mil. player. (If he's not $.5 mil. (I couldn't find his contract stats other than that he signed a minor league deal) then give the spot to Roenicke.)

One final wild card for the bullpen is Carlos Fisher. He's not that young, he turns 26 next week, but he had some success closing games in the Arizona Fall Leauge. He's not on anybody's top prospects list, but he's a hard thrower and has had some bullpen success.

That leaves Daryl Thomson, Matt Maloney, Ramon Ramirez, and Homer as your AAA starters. Nothing to set the world on fire, but some decent depth for when the Reds need help in the rotation. Fisher, Roenicke, and Danny Herrera would be in the AAA pen.

So we have five starters at $22 mil. and 7 relievers at $20.9 mil. for a total pitching staff of $42.9 mil.

The Reds say they're emphasizing pithching, and the payroll stats seem to indicate that, but $32.5 of that $42.9 is allocated to just three guys, Cordero, Harang, and Arroyo.

The Reds have a very solid starting staff, with a deep, if not specatular, bullpen. If we get the '07 Harang, and the second-half Arroyo, and if Cueto and Volquez just do what they did last year (no guarantee) there are enough other guys floating around that the Reds will not be able to blame another losing season on lack of pitching. Around here, that is big news and should have everyone excited for '09.

Next up: the hitters. After that, some predictions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Easy Eddy

The Reds signed Edwin Encarnacion to a two-year deal, avoiding arbitration with the third sacker. You will recall that he had the highest projected VORP by PECOTA on the Reds for 2009. Although not announced yet, I'm guessing the the deal is around $8 mil for the two years, with about $3.2 mil this year and about $5 mil for '10.

I'm working on my updated, projected 25-man roster, with payroll figures (just under $68 mil for '09?), which should be up by tomorrow at the latest.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Benjamin Button

I was surprised how much I enjoyed Benjamin Button. I had heard that it was like Forrest Gump, which I thought was just okay (not Oscar-worthy). Although the two films share some similar features, I thought Button was more serious and more interesting. But I would still rank it behind Slumdog and Milk for the Oscar. I would put it ahead of The Reader, which I did not like as much as the other Kate Winslett movie, Revolutionary Road. I still haven't seen Frost/Nixon. I'm sure it's good, but I have had trouble getting excited about it.

On a side note, whoever made Brad Pitt look as young as he did in Button should get the Oscar, but more importantly should open a shop in L.A. and cater to older actors. Wow.

A-Rod story winners and losers

The obvious big winner in the A-Rod story is Michael Phelps, whose story got swept right off the front pages. But longer term, I think Jr. may end up being the big winner.

There has never been a unanimous hall of fame vote. 20 some lame brain writers failed to include Ricky Henderson on their ballot this year. Whatever you think of Ricky, he's the all-time leader in runs scored. Isn't that how you win? By scoring runs? Anyway, some years back there was some speculation that Nolan Ryan might be unanimous, but 5 (I think) voters left the Express off their ballots, including, famously, Bill Conlan of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Just as steroid backlash has already colored the voting (see previous posts on Mark McGwire) it certainly will continue to do so into the future. But if tainted guys lose votes, wouldn't it be logical to assume that clean guys will garner more votes? Jr. made the all-century team and is fifth all-time in home runs. I guess there is no way to know for sure, but the CW on Jr. is that he's always been clean. Plus there is just as much anecdotal evidence of his cleanness (injuries, steep drop in production in his thirty's, etc.) as there is anecdotal evidence of other players being dirty (cartoonish physiques, large heads). Without researching it, most of the guys that would come up for election before Jr. either have no shot at being unanimous (guys like Piazza) or are steroid tainted like Bonds and Clemens.

So what writer wouldn't think of Jr. as a hall of famer based solely on his stats? If you throw in that he did it cleanly in the heart of the steroid era, he might be the first unanimous hall of famer.

I'm not too tied-in to the New York sports scene, but it seems like Jeter is also a "winner" to the extent that A-Rod has been trying to compete with the captain since coming to NYC. But it may have been such a no-contest anyway, that this won't change things much.

As far as the losers (besides the obvious), you have to put the union right at the top. This story has emphasized that the union was more interested in winning against the owners than protecting its membership. Ownership in baseball was so bad for so long (see the reserve clause) that when the players finally did unionize and get some legal rights the pendulum swung so far to their side that the owners were powerless against it. The union went too far in trying to maintain that power and now is looking at a serious mutiny with guys like Roy Oswalt and Kevin Youkilis calling for the public release of the other 103 positive testers. Couple this story with the beating the players are taking this off-season in free-agency, and the landscape has change dramatically. Let's hope the owners use their new power wisely rather than using it to try and crush the union. As Mr. Miyagi would say, we need balance.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dunn deal

It looks like Dunn got 2 years and $20 mil. from Leather Pants.

"It's not over unitl I say it's over. It's over. There, now it's over"

This was a classic line from a Cheers episode where Sam and Diane were trying to break-up. I think it describes how I feel about the news that Abreu signed a one-year deal for a little more than $5 mil. with the Angels. To paraphrase, "I'm not pissed until I say I'm pissed. I'm pissed. There, now I'm pissed."

Some of you were angry that the Rays were able to sign Burrell for two years at around $16 mil. when the Reds desparately needed right handed power and a left fielder. I wasn't so angry arguing that Burrell can't play the field and that we should try cheaper options. Well, Abreu at $5 mil. on a one-year deal could have been the piece the Reds needed to compete for the division this year. (And might actually generate some interest in the Reds and some ticket sales for yours truly who is about to take a serious bath on Reds season tickets this year.) The rotation is good, and the Reds have some good young talent in the line-up. Why not add a cheap (now) OBP guy like Abreu who can hit in the middle of the line-up? Uggh!

Is it time to seriously consider re-signing Adam Dunn?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PECOTA projections of the 2009 Reds

The PECOTA projections for the 2009 Reds are out. Baseball Prospectus uses these projections to predict the division standings, based on the compilation of the PECOTA projections and playing time metrix for each player on the team. The system predicts the Reds will finish fourth with a 79-83 record. Below are the projected VORP statistics for the Reds in double figures in VORP. VORP is essentially a statistic that represents a players value over a replacement player, ie. a player that could be picked up off waivers for little to no cost above the league minimum.

Easy Eddy 34.0 VORP
Joey Votto 33.9 VORP
B.P. 30.3 VORP
Jay Bruce 29.8 VORP
Harang 27.5 VORP
Volquez 25.4 VORP
Cueto 17.4 VORP
Hairston 14.7 VORP
Keppy 12.2 VORP
Cordero 10.7 VORP


A lot of you have asked me for my take on the A-Rod situation, so I'm going to delay my post on Benjamin Button and get right to this week's big story. As I mentioned to one reader, who pointed out that baseball is the only sport where statistics matter so much in comparing eras, nobody cares about steroids in baseball, unless it’s a player that may break a statistical record, or one that is being considered for the Hall of Fame.

J.C. Romero, one of the best relievers on the Phillies last year had a great World Series (at least from a middle relief standpoint). He tested positive for steroids last year some time (before the series) but was not suspended until the first 50 games to start this season because the appeals process was still working (slowly). So we had a guy who tested positive for steroids still effecting the outcome of the 2008 World Series and I’ll wager (I could be wrong) that most of you didn’t even know about this.

So why such an uproar over A-Rod from 6 years ago? Is it that we love to tear down our superstars? I'm not sure, but this doesn't seem right as everyone is now praising A-Rod for coming clean. Those two seem inconsistent. (I'll also wager, pun intended, that if Pete Rose had come clean 15 years ago he'd be in the hall of fame today.)

To me, the more interesting aspect of this case is realizing that in our society it is expected that people will lie. My hero Bob Costas, when discussing the fact that A-Rod lied on 60 Minutes, said something like you can't expect him to come clean in that situation. True, but you can ask that he decline to be interviewed. (In my opinion the worst part of the Monica Lewinsky scandal was Clinton's lie to the nation on national t.v. He should have just said his lawyers told him not to talk about it and kept his mouth shut.)

Was what A-Rod and countless others did wrong? Sure. It was against the rules. But others created a culture (A-Rod's word and Selena Roberts' word) that allowed for, and arguably encouraged, rampant steroid use. The stakes are high enough that given the chance athletes will do whatever they can to obtain an edge. The Olympics still find drug cheats at every games in spite of very stiff penatlies. The blame here is squarely on baseball's ownership and the union. The players, as a group, would have benefited had there been no steroid use in baseball. If you don't agree, ask Ken Caminiti, oh wait, you can't, he's dead. Yet the union was so intent on "winning" every argument with the owners that it turned a blind eye to testing. In fact, rumor is that the reason the '03 samples weren't destroyed as agreed upon by baseball and the union was because Gene Orza (who tipped off players about drug tests) was intent on proving that some of the samples were false-positives and, therefore, there were not enough postive tests to permit testing and penalties in '04 per the agreement. This is ridiculous. How many legitimate players has the union done a disservice to by refusing to submit to testing?

And the owners? Don't even get me started. Can you believe this Tom Hicks? His team, the Rangers, were among the worst offenders and yet he says now that he's hurt. Who cares about this guy? (Or his predecessor, W, who says he believes Palmero because he's a good guy. Why not just call him Brownie?) The GM's were the only guys interested in exposing steroid use (see Kevin Towers, who was lambasted by baseball for telling the truth) because they were on the hook for signing big contracts with guys with artificially inflated numbers.

But I'll save my harshest comments for my favorite steroid target, the media. (Congress is a close second.) I spend all of my time in the car (when I'm by myself, my wife likes NPR) listening to the MLB network on XM. The off-season in particular is great because the guys they have on are regular beat writers who are too busy to be on during the season. (Guys like Joel Sherman of the New York Post.) The regular year guys, like Buck Martinez and Kevin Kennedy, "baseball guys," suck, because they're too tied in to the system to tell the truth. Kennedy was on the other day complaining about A-Rod. Here's a guy who managed the Rangers at one time and has been in the media (with Fox Sports, etc.) for years. Yet he's never given any kind of information about steroids. He either knew about this stuff and, as a member of the media failed to report on it, or is the dumbest guy ever. Actually, I'm not sure it's not the latter with Kennedy.

When I'm at home I watch a lot of the MLB Network. Sean Casey made his debut last night. It was painful watching him squirm when asked questions about steroids. You could just see on his face that he was torn about selling out his buddies (the players) and fitting in with his employers (the media). All of these media outlets rush to sign up former players as analysts, yet none of them tells the truth. They all just collect their checks and give their opinions about stuff that no one cares about. Then, to make it worse, they all bring in current players, managers, etc. to interview. What's the point of this? None of these guys tells the truth, either. At least with the ex-players you get the occassional guy (Jim Kaat, Joe Magrane, Al Leiter) who tells the truth.

I guess what I'm saying is the constant coverage of baseball is great, but throw in the fact that it's mostly ex-players and interviews with current players and you get 80% crap and 20% good stuff. Guys like Joel Sherman give you their opinions, which are great, but guys like Kennedy and the ex-players never say anything useful.

That doesn't mean that guys like Joel Sherman are off the hook, either. The beat writers traded access to the players for their integrity in failing to report on the steroids issue. Which leaves guys like Hal McCoy (quoted in USA Today today that he would never vote for a player who took steroids for the hall of fame) look like delusional old farts who can't face the fact that their beloved game has been tarnished and that they share the blame.

The bottom line is that during the era after the 1994 strike the owners needed the fans back so badly that they didn't care what the players did. They needed the home runs. The union was so intent on winning everything with the owners that they refused to consider drug testing even though it would have benefited the vast majority of its membership. The media were so insecure in their positions that they could not rock the boat without risking expulsion from the locker room which would mean no access to the players. Can you also blame the players? Sure. Not all of the players cheated. But in this case, I think the owners and the union, with abetting by the media shoulder most of the blame.

Finally, can you blame the fans? After all we showed up in droves for the home runs. But I don't blame the fans. We're the consumers. Without us, sure there would be no steroids, but there would be no baseball contracts either. Are some of the fans naive and/or hypocritical? Sure. But don't blame us. We're paying for all of this.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


As you may have read in the paper, Hammerin' Hank Aaron's birthday is today, February 5. The original #44 will certainly go down as one of the best baseball players of all time. Just as an anecdote, not only was he baseball's home run king for a long stretch, he has a higher lifetime batting average than Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hit king.

This is probably more appropriate for my "25 Random Things" on my facebook page (which I haven't done yet) but Hank has always been one of my favorite players as he and I share the same birthday. That's right, your favorite blogger turns 44 today.

Spring training invites - cheap left-handed power?

The Reds have just signed two veterans to minor league deals, Jacque Jones and Daryle Ward. Curiously, both bat left-handed. Ward is a first baseman with good power and Jones is a left-handed outfielder. I see Ward making the team as a back-up firstbaseman (we don't really have one right now) and a pinch hitter/bench bat. Right now, I don't see Jones making the team, but if he's willing to play in Louisville, he could be a decent call-up in case of injury (or crash and burn by one of the new guys, Dickerson or Bruce).


I was already hopping mad before I even started watching Lost figuring I would have to put up with the constant school closings crawl at the bottom of the screen. I even had my blog post formulating with something along the lines of: if you're too stupid to look up your school closing on-line then you can't possibly follow the plot of Lost; therefore, the crawl serves no purpose other than to annoy me. But much to my surprise, Lost was shown crawl-free. I must give credit where credit is due. Thanks, WCPO.

Spoiler alert! If you haven't watched last night's Lost yet, stop reading here.

After tonight's episode, I had the distinct feeling (one that I've had before watching this show - especially early on -- but that I've lost track off) that Aaron is the key component to this whole mystery. Aaron is connected to Jack through Jack's father. Plus there are all of the issues of pregnancy on the island, etc., that lean toward Aaron being important. Here's my theory: Aaron is some sort of messiah figure for the Others. We didn't see this the first time Aaron was born, but last night we learned that the birth of Aaron coincided with the beam of light from the hatch that Locke experienced the night Boone died. The beam of light from the Hatch represents the Star that the wisemen (magi? kings? - depends on the version you read) followed to Jesus's birth. Ben knows that Aaron must be brought back to the island (the second coming?) to save the Others and the Island.

(Or the beam of light could have been from the Luxor. Favorite line of the night, Sawyer in response to Juliet's explanation that, "it's an Indian airline, but they fly all over": "Maybe they have a flight to Vegas tonight.")

I guess that makes Walt John the Baptist. (My wife's theory (and it's a good one) is that Walt had a more prominent role until he outgrew his part.)

Regular readers of this blog know that I opined that Claire's mom must be the one seeking the maternity test for Kate, as she would be the only one with standing to get a court order for such a test. I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back on this one as Kate and Jack followed the My So Called Life guy to Claire's mom's hotel, but it turns out that it was Ben. (What a great line from Ben, "He's my lawyer.") How in the world did Ben get a court order for the maternity test? Of course we haven't seen the order, so maybe it was a bluff.

Now that I've thought about it, I think John Locke is John the Baptist. He is the one who has to get Aaron back to the island even if he has to die. That's what happened to John the Baptist, who was beheaded. And as we know, names mean things on Lost, an they're both named John. Not a perfect analogy, but we'll see where it goes.

What do you guys think is happening?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This is part of an article from Baseball Prospectus:

"And yet, as the clock ticks down to pitchers and catchers, we should see some of that pressure begin to shift to the buyers. As the economy slows and the players remain on the market, the question is: Do their salary demands fall faster than the teams' ability to afford them? In theory, the benefit should be on the teams' side at this stage; while attendance remains the principal driver of revenue for many teams and will likely decline this season, there are other revenue streams, such as media contracts, that are locked in, and thus not subject to the loop-de-loop of our declining fortunes. As such, even teams that normally do not bid on free agents will be forced to answer a difficult question from their fans: "How did you allow a historic, hopefully not-to-be-repeated opportunity to add a top-quality hitter to your roster at a bargain price slip by?"

Ironically, teams that plead poverty and fail to take advantage of this opportunity are more likely to suffer by reinforcing in the public the very reasons for their declining attendance in the first place. In an era in which a family of four is gouged for hundreds of dollars when it attends a ballgame, why should it stretch its declining discretionary dollars to take in a team which promises not to be entertaining?"

The Reds need to make a move on one of the remaining free agent hitters. It's getting ridiculous what's out there for next to nothing and the Reds aren't buying.

Super Bowl

Like most of baseball, Blue Sox Baseball took off Super Bowl weekend. I enjoyed the game, but think that instant replay has taken a lot of the momentum out of the game. Whenever there's a big play, you have to say, "hold on, you know that one will be reviewed." I hope they don't bring replay to baseball beyond the home run calls that they instituted at the end of last season. On the plus side, it's nice to know that the call was right in a big game. Man, how many penalties were called? That had to be some kind of record.

On the baseball front, the Reds signed catcher Humberto Cota to a minor league deal. Cota has already served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. (And yet no one will take a chance on Bonds?) He'll be 30 in a few days, and hit .319/.342/.493 in AAA last year. Not a bad line, but it was only 37 games. Minor league catcher Ryan Jorgensen retired, so the Reds must have decided they needed some organizational depth. Hey, somebody has to warm-up all those pitchers in spring training. Speaking of which, bullpen catcher is probably the worst job in baseball for a player. But I would sacrifice body parts to have it. Cota may make the team ahead of Hanigan so that Hanigan can start every day in AAA. For the big club, I don't think it matters that much if Cota or Hanigan backs-up Hernandez.