Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I've been in trial. But that's over. I promise some good Reds stuff and a Fantasy update soon. Right now I'm watching the Bats and the Columbus Clippers in the 'Ville.
Thank goodness for federal employee night at the ballpark. Rachel and I are going to the Reds game tonight mostly to see our friend, Acacia Flamm, sing the National Anthem. We're also going Sunday afternoon, so it's very unlikely that we would have gone to last night's game (especially since we're only on season 4 of The Gilmore Girls) had it not been for federal employee night. We got 7th row upper deck seats right up from third base for only $11. Boy, am I glad we went.
Arroyo threw a two-hit shutout, walking one and hitting a batter. No Pink got past second base. He did all of that in about 2 hours 8 minutes. Brilliant. Plus, my boy Gomesy hit three home runs, all three no-doubters (although the second one had the fair/foul drama).
Added bonus: we got to see the return to Cincy of Adam Dunn, one of my all-time favorite Reds (and current favorite Pink).
It looks like Alex Gonzalez has been claimed by Boston on waivers and the Reds have worked out a trade for him. This is proof positive that the Reds got Rolen for next year and not to push for the division this year.
Here is the link to the USA Today article with Arroyo speaking out on the steroids issue.
I drove to Louisville yesterday so spent some time listening to MLB on XM. Arroyo was mentioned, but not really discussed at length. That supports the broader point I made this off-season (on this blog) discussing McGwire. Nobody cares about steroid use unless it taints a long-held record or an important record, or if it's a chance to see a superstar go down. As mentioned, J.C. Romero was suspended for 50 games because of a positive drug test from last season. The Phillies won the World Series last year with this "tainted" player and nobody cared (except Phillies fans who were worried about their bullpen this year). Yet now everyone wants to say the Red Sox' series victory in '04 is "tainted" because Big Papi and Manny were on the list of 103. By the way, when Arroyo came out earlier this month and said he wouldn't be surprised if he were on the list of 103, nobody cared.
I applaud Arroyo for his candor. Again, while discussing McGwire, I defended his performance in front of Congress. At least he didn't lie. But now, I wish he told the truth, like Arroyo did. His "truth" might have been a lot worse than Arroyo's; I don't know. But couldn't he have gotten an immunity deal to tell the truth. I can't imagine that Congress is interested in prosecuting a steroid user. They like dealers and justice obstructers.
I also think Arroyo's approach with the unapproved supplements is reckless. The team should step in and put an end to it, if he's truly risking a positive test.
Overall, Arroyo gives such much needed perspective on the issue. (More on his great game last night later.)
Matthew Pouliot, at Circling the Bases has started an interesting project. He's reviewing what all 30 teams would look like if their rosters included only players originally signed by the club. The Reds kicked off the fun because they ranked last.
After going 0-4 as a Reds pinch-hitter, Wlad is now 6-13 as a starter, with a home run, four rbi's, and 4 walks with only one strike out. I know that's a small sample size but, as John Fay recently wrote in the Enquirer, the Reds should be focusing on 2010. I hope they let Wlad play the rest of the year and get comfortable as a big leauger. He could definitely be that right-handed power bat in left field that the Reds desperately need in 2010.
I don't know how this is possbile, but the Reds got a complete game shutout last night from a guy I had never heard of. Come to find out this was Justin Lehr's second start for the Reds. He started last Friday, going 5.0 innings, giving up 10 hits and walks, and giving up 3 earned runs. Not a great outing, but apparently not bad enough to get on my radar.
Not only does he throw the shutout, he breaks the Reds' losing streak; or as Dusty put it, started their winning streak. If the Reds get another shutout this season from a guy I've never heard of, I'll probably give up the blog. (Or at least stop until my readers demand my return.)
I put out feelers for an outfielder today and ended up trading Joe Blanton and Nick Johnson for Andre Ethier (and a throw-in, pitcher Mark DeFelice-Schmergel -- that doesn't look so bad hyphenated). Ethier now leads my guys in runs scored, and is second in games, home runs, and rbi's to Dunn and in AB's to Felipe Lopez. Blanton's been great of late, and Johnson hits for average, but little else. I'll replace Blanton with Jason Hammel from the Rockies. A pretty good deal for my needs. I'd like to hear what you think.
I've kind of neglected The Legends this season, but I'm actually in third and doing better in the Colonial League than my other two leagues. Maybe that's the idea. Spend less time obsessing.
Last fall I saw Brian Matusz pitch live in the Arizona Fall League. Mostly for that reason (and because he was a top prospect) I made him my first round pick in the bgal minor league draft this year. Right now, he's gone six against the Tigers in his major league debut, leaving with a 7-1 lead. Hopefully, the O's bullpen can hold the lead (and hopefully I didn't just jinx them).
Everyone has been asking me what I thought of the Reds' trades, but frankly I hadn't made up my mind until today. First let's recap: the Reds got Wladimir Balentien for Robert Manual, a minor league catcher for Hairston, Jr., and, in the big one, Scott Rolen for EE, Josh Roenicke, and Zack Stewart. In order of importance (least important first):
I don't know anything about this Weems (including how to spell his name, so this is a guess, but the trade is just that unimportant) kid that we got from the Yanks, but losing Hairston, Jr., is not a big loss especially for a team unloading guys at the trade deadline that might help contenders. So that's okay with me. A minor deal. But wait you say. Are the Reds in fact unloading at the deadline? It would seem so, but see below.
Balentien is a real find for the Reds. I don't know why he fell out of favor with the M's, but they never really gave him a chance after handing him the starting job and then taking it right back before demoting him and then trading him. (See also, Jeff Clement.) I would love to see the Reds hand him the right field job right now and see what they've got. Regular readers of this blog know that I've been touting Gomesy all year, but Balentien is the kind of guy that you have to put in the line-up and see what happens. Let Nix and Gomesy platoon in left. (Unless Alonzo is going to play first next year in which case they need to get busy moving Votto to left. Hey, maybe Gomesy could play first until the end of the year.) And of course the Reds have plenty of relievers, right? But wait, do they? (See below.)
Now, the biggy. Everyone is talking about the Rolen deal, and almost no one likes it. Paul Daugherty sure didn't like it in this morning's Enquirer. The folks at Baseball Prospectus liked the EE for Rolen part, but criticized the deal because of the inclusion of two top pitching prospects. Wind bags like Scott Graham and Buck Martinez have criticized the deal with no real analysis (what a shock). MLBTradeRumors.com cited Buster Olney who called it, "without question the most widely panned pre-deadline trade within the industry." Finally, most of the guys at my Colonial League August Supplemental Draft yesterday didn't like it, although the general consensus there was that no one cared about losing EE.
Let's talk about Rolen first. No question the Reds are a better team today with Rolen for Eddy. Rolen's a way better defender, and is having a career-reviving year at the plate. Sure, he's injury prone, but so is Eddy. And if Rolen's healthy (his numbers would support that) maybe he's put the injuries behind him. Rumor has it the Jays are paying Rolen's salary for this year and maybe even some of the $11 mil. he's owed next year. So taking out Eddy's salary for this year and next they really don't add that much payroll. So why does everyone hate this deal? I think the conventional wisdom is that the Reds are too far out (and sinking fast) so the Reds shouldn't be adding, they should be selling off. But I like the Rolen for EE trade.
But like BP, I question the inclusion of the two pitching prospects. Roenicke has great stuff and should be a big league closer by 2011 if not sooner. And Zach Stewart has been described by one expert as the Reds' best pitching prospect. I think Jockety put those two guys in there because of the money. He wanted Rolen, but the Jays wouldn't pay money toward Rolen for just Eddy. The Reds had to put in some younger talent.
On July 14, before the Reds went in the tank, I said the following:
Predictions: Castellini will allow Jockety to make a move; Jockety will get some overrated veteran; it will be just enough for the Reds to finish 82-80, recording their first winning season since I've been a real fan. And that's really the first step.