Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blue Sox in trouble

The Blue Sox are in serious trouble after dropping again in batting average. Right now I have a total of 39.5 points. Third place has 59, so I would have to gain 20 points (in only 8 categories) to finish in the money. What's so surprising is that I only have 18 hitting points, which is 7th. (I'm 6th overall.) I'm 8th in batting average, 7th in rbi and stolen bases, and 4th in home runs (thanks to Branyan). But I'm only 7 stolen bases out of 4th (13 out of 2nd) which would add 3 points, and could very easily move to 6th in average (2 points). I've been trying hard to make some trades for some steals guys, but haven't had any luck.

In pitching, I'm a little better off, having recently added CC Sabathia. I should slowly improve in era (I'm 9th with a team era of 4.69, but only .30 out of 5th) and strikouts. I now have CC, Beckett, Lackey, and Slowey, each his team's ace. I could easily move up a couple in wins, as well. With Fuentes doing well with saves, I may hold my tied for 2nd spot.

What's frustrating, though, is that I'm supposed to have a great offense. With Longoria, Kinsler, and Morneau, I have three top producers. And with Grady back and Branyan still on a tear, I've got a real chance for a big second half. My problem is is that I have too much dead weight, with guys like Navarro and Valbuena not producing and guys like Santiago, Raburn, Davis, and Redmond not playing regularly. Now, Lowell is on the D/L. That may put the nail in the coffin for worst trade ever: Lowell for Bailey. And to make it even worse, Frasor was a roster-balance throw-in in that deal and I cut him to activate Lackey. What I wouldn't give to have Bailey back.

So here's my plan: try to add one more big bat (or steals guy) via a trade, and maybe add a strong middle reliever to help with my era and maybe pick up a stray save or two and a couple of wins. Sonnanstine went on the D/L, so the new guy would take his spot. I may also look to add a bat for Lowell, but I do have Gordon coming back so I may just wait and see what happens there. Or I may keep Sonnanstine and Lowell on the active roster in case I can add a guy traded to the AL before the deadline.

I've got three guys going strong in the minors that could realistically give me a 12-15 homer boost if they're September call-ups, Lars Anderson, Justin Smoak, and Jeff Clement. But I really can't afford to have any of them called up before September. (Our rosters expand in September to include September call-ups without dropping another player.)

I'm open to suggestions.

Reds prospect news

Here's a blurb from Baseball Prospectus on Reds' prospect, Travis Wood:

Travis Wood, LHP, Reds (Double-A Carolina)
A second-round pick in 2005, Wood is a short lefty with a good changeup, but after putting up an ERA north of seven last year, few saw him as any kind of prospect. That's all changed this year, and by allowing just two runs over seven innings on Sunday, Wood's ERA ballooned to 1.36 in 99 innings. Wood's velocity is average only on his best days, but his changeup is now among the best in the minor leagues, with improved command and a new cut fastball adding to the effectiveness. He's officially back on everyone's radar.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reds seek right-handed bat

Here is an interesting article from John Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com following the Mark DeRosa trade.

I've been advocating for the Holiday trade for some time. I also like the Lugo idea. I mentioned Gary Matthews, Jr., previously, but I can't see the Reds taking on that contract (nor should they) or the Angels eating most of it. As far as I know, Wilson Betemit is still available. I think he would be a cheap option and well worth the risk. He can play anywhere (although I'm not sure he's a good outfielder) and is a switch hitter.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Ramon Hernandez just missed hitting for the cycle when his 9th inning bid for a home run came up just short of the track in right (or as George Grande would say, "up against the wall.")

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Reds/Indians live

I'm posting live from the Reds/Indians game, section 448. Homer's through 4 1/3 giving up three and walking 7. Reds are up 6-3.

App idea

I need an App that beeps when I'm about to miss something in the real world because I'm looking at my I-Phone.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I just got the new I-Phone. Any suggestions on apps to download, etc. Any pitfalls. I'll be fooling around with it for awhile.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nationals Park

Try googling Nationals Park. You get only stuff about National Parks. Anyway, we were out East to hike the AT and see my grandmother for her birthday. She lives in Southeastern PA, about 2 hours from D.C. So we were able to catch the Thursday afternoon Reds game against the Nationals. We (my brother and I) drove to the park and ride and took the Metro to the park, which dumps you out right outside the stadium. The park is built by the old Navy yards in the south east part of D.C., but I never got a feel for where we were. My brother knew, because he used to work one Metro stop away. It never occurred to me to go up in the upper deck and see what kind of view we could see.

The Reds put out the same triple A line-up they've been putting out there of late and lost 3-2 when two runs scored in the 8th on a botched double play ball. (The first run also scored on a botched infield grounder.) There was a small crowd, but we enjoyed the game and the park. There is a good virtual tour of the park at my friends blog. Although the Reds lost, they took 2 of 3 from the Pinks. Of course, they went on to get swept by the Royals. Now that Votto is back, maybe the offense will improve. Let's hope the pitching holds.

AT hike trip recap

It's taken me awhile to get to my recap post of the AT backpacking trip. I guess that's because I was actually in Argentina...

But seriously, thanks for your patience. My Dad and brother showed up on Saturday afternoon. After a quick look at the gear, we, with Rachel, hit the Reds/Cubs game at GABP. I had sold our good seats on StubHub (at a nice profit) thinking we would be hiking, so we had to settle for upper deck seats because the game was nearly sold out. The Reds won in extras. Despite our early departure time the next morning, we stuck it out.

We headed down the double-A toward WVa and Va the next morning, mostly listening to the Reds/Cubs game on XM. We finished up the game, another extra innings affair, at the hotel. We had the "hiker" rate at the TraveLodge in Daleville, Va. for Sunday night. When I walked in to check in the manager said to me with skepticism, "You're some kind of hiker?" I responded, "Starting tomorrow." The room was fine and we did some last minute grub shopping (mostly for dinner that night and for gorp) at the Kroger next to the outfitter.

On Monday morning we headed to the outfitters. We had to wait around for our ride, and didn't get it until about 11:00 a.m. But we only had 2.5 miles planned for day one. At the trailhead (for us) we set out. We put in at Rte. 311, about 20 miles (by trail) from Daleville. We blew by the shelter at the 2.5 mile mark (it was full anyway) and headed up to the top of Mcafee Knob, one of the best views on the whole trail. We climbed about 1000 ft. in elevation over a 4 mile stretch. At the top, you could see the whole valley and from one angle the entire city of Roanoke, Va. After .5 miles of down hill, we settled at the shelter 4.5 miles in. It was about 3:00 or 4:00 in the p.m. We filtered our water and cooked dinner, hashbrowns with beef jerky. There was room in the shelter, so we set-up in there.

I had this great idea that I would take an air mattress and two sheets rather than a sleeping bag. In case I got cold, at the last minute I threw in our Reds fleece blanket which is very light (and about 2 ft. square). My idea was better than my execution, as I actually brought a sheet and a pillow case. That didn't matter because I didn't sleep much anyway. We hung our food in the shelter on these special hooks that kept mice off. But I was awakened by a loud squirrel or even a raccoon right in the shelter. Of course, I freaked out. When I did get a chance to put the light on it (from a safe distance) it was a mouse, about two inches long. But it sure made a lot of racket. There were three or four other through hikers (hikers doing the whole trail) at camp, but they all slept in tents.

The next day we hiked 6 miles, including Springer Cliffs. The whole trip we hiked along a high ridge and the trail was almost entirely up and down. The second day we saw a retired man and his dog (Oliver Twist, "T" for short) hiking the other way. He had only a small book pack. He said he walks the entire 20 mile stretch (our three-day trip) three times a week. We saw him again the third day, also. In fact, we saw numerous other hikers, doing the whole trail or some part. One guy was just going from Ga. to W.Va., another guy was out for a month. One guy, a legendary (on the trail) New Zealander (by way of New Jersey) was hiking the whole trail, something he does every five years. On the other years he does at least 100 miles. He was writing a book on the trail, mostly dealing with the mental aspect of hiking the trail. One young guy was doing 25 miles a day. Another doing the whole trail on $900.00, including bus fair from Texas and back.

At our second night shelter, we were basically there by ourselves when we arrived. There were a couple of wasp nests in the shelter, so we put our tent up in the shelter. It really only took up about the same amount of room as if we just laid out our stuff. But by the time we went to bed the entire shelter was full. It was too late, however, to try and rethink our tent. One thing about the trail, and the main thing I took away from the trip, is a sort of laid back attitude. Everyone just seemed very relaxed. I guess months of walking in the woods will do that for you. I'm going to do my best to take these two things away from the trip. Walk all the time, and try not to let things aggravate me.

Day three was tough. We knew it would be our longest day, but we thought it would be less hilly. We planned to do about 9.6 miles and go all the way to Daleville. We would have been fine, but we were low on water (there was no source on this stretch and we left the shelter with full bottles). Plus, my Dad tripped and fell. He was fine, but bumped his head so we were super cautious, with my brother and me taking a lot of his weight. Plus, my bother was suffering from a foot injury that was very painful. Plus, I just ran out of gas near the end and really struggled to finish. All in all, we made it back to Daleville and the car about 3:00 in the afternoon, and even saw some of our buddies from the night before in town.

On the trail, everyone had a trail name. I think some folks picked their names while others were assigned. One guy for example was pigpen. Another was Quaid. I said, (it was dark at the time) "is that because you look like Dennis Quaid" and he said, "yeah." I said, "well that's better than Randy Quaid." Of course, the next morning, when it was light, the guy was the spitting image of Randy Quaid. We were Old Zahnie, Big Z and the Kid. But I was a little disappointed that we weren't assigned names, although maybe we were and we just didn't know it (greenhorn, tenderfoot, etc.) But I think we held our own on the part that we did. And our gear was top notch. That was thanks to my Dad who did a ton of preparation for the trip. Without his efforts and planning we never would have been able to do the trip. He spent weeks preparing, including loading his pack with the gear we needed and trekking around Greenville with it. Great preparation, but not enough hills.

We had no exit plan other than to see my Grandmother in Southeastern, PA the next day, so we added a night at the Super 8, drove the couple of hours up and had a big meal at the Italian Garden (with ice cream after).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speed never slumps?

I saw this today on Baseball Prospectus:

Small sample, but Willy Taveras has put up some unbelievable numbers over the past calendar month or so. In 97 plate appearances from May 15 to June 18, he’s hitting .085/.113/.096, with three walks and 20 strikeouts. Taveras also has been thrown out in two of five stolen base attempts during that span.

Here’s my question: If speed never slumps, then what is the word for this?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm back ... with trade news

I was on vacation last week and didn't get to post, but I did make a trade. The Blue Sox acquired CC Sabathia in exchange for Brad Penny, Clay Buchholz, and Greg Halman. Both Buchholz and Halman are minor leaguers and Penny was .30 in the bgal (A.L. only). I hated to give up on Buchholz, but it's not clear that he was ever going to get a chance this year with Penny throwing better and Smoltz rehabbing. Throwing in Penny gets me out of the Boston rotation completely. (Now if I could only settle the Wang/Huges problem.) Through some trades, I now have CC, Beckett, Lackey, and Slowey, all their respective team's ace. Hopefully, I can have a decent second half, as I'm next to last in team era, coming in just under 5.00.

I also picked-up recently droppend Andy Sonnenstine for Brandon McCarthy, who went on the D/L. Sonny got me a win right away. I'm expecting him to improve in the second half, unless he loses his roster spot to Kazmir who is rehabbing.

Let me know what you think of the trade. (I should add that CC is $10.10, so I probably won't keep him next year.)

I promise that I will get a recap of the AT backpacking trip up soon, and some Reds stuff.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Interesting . . .

. . . tidbit

Proposed Reds moves

I'm going to propose two moves for the Reds, one I love and one I'm not sure about. I have been grousing all year about the Reds lack of a left-handed starter. In the last two seasons, they've had one left handed start, and that was by a minor leaguer on the last day of the season last year. We've recommended all kinds of moves, but the Braves just cut Glavine and I wonder if the Reds could use him. According to USA Today, the Braves offered Glavine retirement and he turned them down. So he must still want to pitch. He went 6 scoreless in his last rehab start (at single A), but the Braves didn't think he could get big leaguers out. I'm not sure this is an opportunity for the Reds, but why not take a flyer on him? He could start this Saturday.

But here's a move the Reds have to make. I was reading Jon Williams' blog, Advanced Fantasy Baseball, and saw that the White Sox (no relation) just cut Wilson Betimit to call-up phenom Gordan Beckham. Betimit can play all four infield spots and is a switch hitter. The Reds need this guy. He was a pretty good utility guy for the Yanks last year and has decent pop. But, again, he's a switch hitter that can play anywhere on the infield. Just what Doc Kremchek ordered. I doubt it would take much from the Reds to get him from the Sox. Come on, Walt, make this deal happen.

Blue Sox make two trades

The Blue Sox have made two recent trades; one good, one bad. I had some pitchers on the D/L coming back (Wang and Romero)and Willis was recently called up. I was able to back-date Willis's activation to erase a terrible outing by Chris Ray, who I gave up on and dropped. I hated to do that with him at .10, but he wasn't going to pan out this year and I'm playing to win now (although you wouldn't know that glancing at the standings where I'm ensconced in fourth, well out of third and way out of the lead). Ray has since been sent to the minors. I also had Brandon McCarthy, whom I picked up as a place filler only. Of course, he threw a shut-out and went 8 innings in his next start for another win. So I have to consider keeping him, right?

So I had to make some move on somebody and I got a trade offer of Mike Lowell and Jason Frasor for Andrew Bailey and Travis Buck. I won't bore you with my long-suffering with Buck; suffice it to say, I was eager to dump him. (He hit a home run or two right after the trade but then, surprise, ended up on the D/L.) Buck and Frasor were in this deal only as roster balance, however, as this was really Lowell for Bailey. (I dropped Frasor as part of the deal, and activated Lackey.) I knew Bailey was the future closer, but I somehow missed the announcement that he was the closer. Since the trade, he's got 2 saves (and a win from a blown save). Lowell has done okay, batting .308, with a home run and 6 rbi's, and I do have more pitching points than hitting points right now, but this is a trade I will regret for a long time.

My second trade in ten days I like a little better. When Iwamura went on the D/L I saw an opportunity to trade with his owner. The other owner (full disclosure, he reads this blog regularly) has a lot of good, young outfielders (including Nelson Cruz, who I traded him last season for draft picks -- another trade I will be regretting for years) but now needed a middle infielder. I had just traded two rookie-of-the-year candidates (Snider and Bailey) so I figured I might as well trade a third, and offered Elvis Andrus and Ricky Romero (coming off of the D/L and no roster spot available) for Shin-Soo Choo. I threw in Dewayne Wise (also coming off of the D/L with no roster spot available) to balance the deal, and asked for Ramon Santiago to take Andrus's spot. He agreed, and we made the deal. I like this deal for me. I think Andrus is the real deal, and will keep his average up, but he won't hit for any power. He might steal 20 bags, which has real value, especially at shortstop, but I think Choo will hit for a better average and steal bags as well. And, he'll hit for power. That's easier to find in an outfielder than a shortstop, but Choo is a four category guy (reminder: we only have four categories) and is currently batting clean-up. Finally, I have Sizemore on the D/L and need some offense. I didn't have a spot for Romero, and don't expect him to be that great anyway. I could be wrong, and he could be the star that was once promised when he was a first round pick, but I doubt it. Or at least I think it was worth the risk.

So, to recap, in the last couple of weeks, I've traded away Travis Snider, Andrew Bailey, Elvis Andrus, and Ricky Romero, getting back John Lackey, Mike Lowell, Shin-Soo Choo, and Ramon Santiago. Let me know what you think? Am I helping my chances this year, or selling too much of my future?

Big Mo

This blog, like the Reds, has lost some momentum of late. We went to Vegas and I've had a tough time getting back into the swing of things. Unlike the Reds, however, who may have turned it around again with two of three from the Cards (we're probably looking at a roller coaster ride this year with such a young team) momentum is only going to get worse for the blog. I'm leaving on Sunday to hike part of the AT with my Dad (and maybe my brother), and won't have computer access for the better part of a week. I hope you will stick with me, but all I can offer is the promise that I'll be back with a vengeance after the trip.