Thursday, December 31, 2009

Joe Sheehan

I just read that Joe is leaving Baseball Prospectus. Unless he pops up somewhere else, this blog will read 50% dumber in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Barry Larkin: HOFer?

As you know, the Hall of Fame will announce next year's hall of fame inductees in about a week. Here's a good link about Larkin, first timer on the ballot, that was shared with me by a loyal reader.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dave diagnosis: mostly nice

I can't give my self a naughty rating. I didn't get the T.V. but that was in the "Yeah Right" category to begin with. And I even got one of the items off of the "Things That Don't Exist List": the king size bed skirt with a 12" drop (thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law who made it herself from a queen skirt). So no complaints. Under the no-control category, we'll see this Sunday on the two football games (UK and Bengals). Of course, I got the "Thing That Was Already Purchased" and a couple things from the "More Likely" category, including 2 Bengals jackets (we'll have a fashion show later to pick the one I keep -- maybe I should post photos of me on facebook in each jacket and let the America vote). Rachel and I had a great meal at the Waterfront before we left for Christmas, and I got a couple of great books I wanted. Overall, I'd have to say I was nice this year.

Blue Sox diagnosis: naughty

It's been a rough off-season for the Blue Sox, what with Melky going to the N.L. and now Rodney signing on to close for the Angels. I lose Melky altogether and no way I keep Fuentes at $4.50 if he's not closing. And my best deal, Branyan at ten cents, is still without a job. He finally got a full season of at-bats and then his back gave out making him a health risk. Let's hope twenty ten (that's how I'm saying it) treats the Blue Sox a little better.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More on Crisp

I had a chance to talk to former Reds' GM Jim Bowden this morning about my Crisp idea. He didn't like it. He questioned Crisp's health and his defense, and said he'd give the job to Stubbs because of age and upside. He also said the Reds need another bat but will have to wait for a free agent bargain later in the off- season.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jockety ignores Blue Sox Baseball

In an unexpected move, Reds' GM Walt Jockety ignored my advice to not take on any new contracts past this year or next. Here's a review of my advice: Keep everyone they have, but don't sign on anyone past 2011. The only commitment the team has past 2012 is Yonder Alonso on his major league deal at $1.4 mil. Cordero and Phillips both have big contracts for 2012, but that's it. That would let the Reds make a run at a week division (my post on the N.L. Central activity (or lack there of) so far this off-season will be up soon) with a pretty solid staff and a decent line-up. And if they aren't in it at the trade deadline, they can trade guys then.

So Jockety signs Ramon Hernandez for two years and re-ups Rolen for three years. But it may not be as bad as it sounds. Rolen just re-upped for $23.625 mil. But he restructured his deal. He's going to make only $6 mil. in 2010, rather than the $11 mil. he was scheduled to make. This frees up $5 mil. for this year's payroll. In exchange, Rolen gets $6.5 mil. in 2011 and 2012, with a $5 mil. signing bonus deferred without interest for three years. (Sounds like a buy-out with out an option to me.)

So what do we make of this decision? One of two things, Rolen has compromising pictures of Walt Jockety, or the Reds do plan to win this year and next. Surely, they would not re-up with Rolen for three years and then do something stupid like trade Harang or Arroyo! If you are going to trade Harang, Arroyo, or Phillips, you don't re-up Rolen for three years. This is exactly the type of inconsistent move that never gets you anywhere. Play to win, by keeping your guys and re-upping Rolen, or play for later by trading the big contracts. But don't trade big contracts and then resign new ones.

If we find out the Reds are in fact in trade talks with L.A. for Harang and the Mets for Arroyo (and maybe Phillips) as has been rumored then the re-up of Rolen makes absolutely no sense and just shows that Jockety either has no idea what he's doing or knows exactly what he's doing, which is not trying to field a winner.

My Christmas wish: don't trade anyone, and use the $5 mil. saved this year on Rolen and sign Coco Crisp to lead-off and play center field.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reds chatter is citing's Mark Sheldon for the fact that the Reds are interested in Jamey Carroll, formerly of the Indians. But if you actually read the post is says the opposite. Carroll apparently was interested in playing for the Reds, but the Reds don't think he's good enough at short.

Mark Sheldon does say the Reds want a left handed hitter that can play short and second, and indicated the Reds have discussed Craig Counsell. (Don't worry, he abandonded that hideous stance.) Presumably, that would create a platoon for Janish and provide a back-up for BP, but might it also allow the Reds to trade BP mid-season if they follow the Blue Sox Baseball plan and fall out of the race?

Big trade

I'm going to make a run at analyzing the recent trade (although not official) between the D'backs, Tigers, and Yankees. I'm going to argue it's a good trade for all three teams.

D'backs: this is the closest call in terms of whether or not the team won, and it all revolves around Max Scherzer. Arguably, Scherzer was as good or better than Edwin Jackson last season. Jackson had the better traditional stats (wins, era, etc.) but Scherzer had the better peripherals (k/9, k/bb, etc.) last year and probably has a higher upside. But the D'backs have a real opportunity to win in 2010, with the McCourt divorce, the Giants complete lack of offense, and the Padres stinking up the joint and talking about trading their only decent players (Kouz, Bell, and A.Gon). Of course, the Rockies will be good again. The D'backs picked up the option on Brandon Webb, so they'll have Webb, Haren, and Jackson. As indicated, Scherzer is probably just as good as Jackson, but there are folks who think Scherzer can't last as a starter without a third pitch. Jackson has shown that he can win 13-14 games and go 200+ innings by doing just that the last two years in the tougher league. (Don't believe me, see Brad Penny's 2009 season.) Plus they've added Ian Kennedy to act as a fifth starter. He's odd in that he's a little older, but still "young" in terms of major league experience (read: how much they have to pay him). I think he's a good fit to round out there rotation. They also gave up Schlereth, a hard-throwing lefty who was a first round pick, and that may come back to haunt them. But teams like the D'backs have to go for it when they have a chance and this may be their year.

Tigers: they had to cut payroll and no one was going to trade for the D-Train. So they rolled over two guys that aren't overpaid, but are certainly paid well. Granderson is a bit overrated because he's such a great guy and has great stats. But look at his platoon stats; he can't hit lefties. Arguably, he peeked in 2007. So the Tigers, who have to cut payroll, traded a high-paid player who was a bit overvalued in the market. Some think Austin Jackson is overrated as a prospect because he may not be good enough to stay in center and may not have enough power to hit in left or right. But I think he has a legitimate shot to someday (probably 2011) replace Granderson. (Full disclosure: the Blue Sox drafted Jackson in the 2007 minor league draft, so I'm not 100% unbiased.) Coke and Schlereth should help the bullpen in 2010, but aren't the keys to the trade. Getting Scherzer, with his great arm, huge upside, and years of team control was the key. (That and trimming payroll.)

Yankees: the Yankees are probably the big winner here. It's very likely that Jackson, Coke, and Kennedy were not in their long-term plans so they give up basically nothing. Both Hughes and Joba are more valuable to the Yanks than Kennedy, so he's a good trade chip. Coke can be replaced (and likely would have been after his late season struggles) and the Yanks don't have a good history of allowing prospects to play everyday (at least not since Jeter, et al.) Now, they don't have to sign Godzilla and Damon (although they may still sign Damon), moving Melky to left, playing Swisher in right, and using Gardner as a fourth outfielder. Further, as Joe Sheehan pointed out, Granderson is more valuable as a Yankee. As a bit part (and at an affordable salary) he's great for the Yankees. And the Yanks can bench him against tough lefties. In Detroit, he had to carry the team. He's just not equipped for that. So the Yanks fill a big hole and add flexibility to their roster without giving up anything but a good prospect and a couple of organizational guys that probably wouldn't contribute to their big league club.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reds prospects

At Redsfest this weekend we saw these top five prospects for the Reds (according to Baseball America).

Winter meetings

The winter meetings start today in Indianapolis. I don't look for the Reds to be very active but could be wrong. Here is what two experts at Baseball Prospectus have said about the Reds in their team-by-team notes in front of the meetings:

Joe Sheehan:

It’s not clear whether they’re looking to trade a starter because they want to rebuild or they just don’t want to pay for both Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang. The Reds are another team that has put resources into strange places, such as offense-killing leadoff hitters, closers, and aging, injury-prone third basemen. It should be easier to get excited about a team that starts with a league-average rotation, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips. The ideal Reds week would include trades of Francisco Cordero and Arroyo, not for financial reasons but to add a major-league shortstop and center fielder. With that unlikely, not enough money for an all-in play and no plan for a rebuild, Walt Jocketty will at least lose some weight working the treadmill.

John Perrotto:

More than anything, they wish to drop a large salary and are making right-hander Aaron Harang and closer Francisco Cordero available. The Reds have no glaring needs, but would be interested in dealing for a shortstop or left fielder if the price is right.

So don't be surprised to see the Reds move Cordero, Harang, or Arroyo.

I'm on record saying I think the Reds should stand pat (although I did tout Coco Crisp as a free agent signee) and see where they are on July 1st with what they've got. Then, if they're not in the hunt, trade some vets. The Reds have such a small amount of money committed after this year, that rebuilding starting in 2011 would be relatively easy, especially with some trade-deadline trades of vets for prospects in 2010.

But if the Reds traded Cordero I would not be disappointed, especially if they used that money on a bat, like Crisp, or a young, left handed starter like Jonathon Sanchez of the Giants (who is reported to be on the block). They could certainly use the payroll flexibility, and although Cordero had a great year, so did Massett, who would take over closer duties. I think it would be a lot easier to replace Massett in the set up role than to find a center fielder that can bat lead-off.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Big Mac

Here is a very interesting take on a topic discussed at length in this space last year at this time. I particularly like the quote from Ken Davidoff of Newsday.

Counterpoint to The Ellen Parsons Project

Today at lunch I was discussing my post on The Ellen Parsons Project. After lunch I saw this on the internet. Keep in mind while reading that we watched seasons 1-7 of the Gilmore Girls this summer in about 2 months. That's over 150 episodes.

Christmas wish list

On a recent Facebook status update I said all I wanted for Christmas was season 8 of The Gilmore Girls. Although more than what I asked for last year (thanks Amy) it's still not my complete list. So without further ado, here's this year's list, by category:

Things that don't exist

* Season 8 of The Gilmore Girls;

* Nice sunglasses that fit my head;

* East Dillon Lions t-shirt; and

* King size bed skirt with only a 12" drop.

Things (both) people shopping for me have no control over

* Music City Bowl win for the Cats;

* Emmy nomination for Zach Gilford;

* A satisfying ending to "Lost";

* Break-out years from Bruce and Stubbs; and

* A Bengals home playoff game.

Things I know have already been purchased

* Ford County by John Grisham.

Yeah right

* 32" HD t.v. for the bedroom; and

* Bronson to stay a Red.

Things that are more likely

* Books from the Best American writing series, best short stories, best mystery stories, or best non-required reading;

* New Robert B. Parker books, The Professional (Spenser) or Night and Day (Jesse Stone);

* The four missing songs from Elton John's 1976 double album Blue Moves which were left off the cd but are now available on i-tunes, Cage the Songbird, Shoulder Holster, The Wide-Eyed and Laughing, and Where's the Shoorah?;

* King size bed skirt with a 12" drop (my Mother-in-law is working on making this one);

* Some sort of Bengals jacket that's good for layering, is very simple, and is XL;

* A good trail guide, map, or book about hiking the Appalachian Trail (I do mean hiking the actual trail -- this is not a euphemism);

* Dinner at the Waterfront; and

* Anything about baseball, real or fantasy.

If law doesn't work out . . . is hiring a stats stringer in Cincinnati. Stats stringers are responsible for digitally scoring MLB games. The stats are used in a variety of ways by and other entities.

Responsibilities include:

* Arrive at the ballpark one hour prior to the scheduled start time;
* Double-check and verify all pre-game information: rosters, umpires, weather conditions, etc.;
* During the game, enter the results of every pitch and game event (plays, substitutions, etc.) using proprietary software and coding language;
* Work closely with game-night support staff (via AOL Instant Messenger) to ensure proper scoring of all game events and accuracy of data;
* After the game, enter all post-game information: winning and losing pitcher, saves, holds, time, and attendance; and
* Validate all stats in software box score against the official box score provided by the Official Scorer and print out a final box score and game text for the club PR staff.

Qualifications include:

* Previous experience (including pressbox exposure) with a professional or college sports team, preferably baseball;
* Exceptional (and demonstrable) knowledge of baseball and how to score a baseball game;
* Strong computer proficiency (Windows OS and Windows-based software) and the ability to quickly learn and operate new software;
* Regular availability to attend games in-person as required by the schedule: weekdays, nights, and weekends;
* A “team player” with a great attitude, including but not limited to a willingness to make and learn from mistakes and the ability to work closely and cooperatively (and take direction from) game-night staff;
* Professionalism: it’s a fun job and pays to watch baseball, but it’s also an important job and people must take the responsibility seriously.

New stringers undergo an 8-10 week correspondence training program, and co-score several practice games in the ballpark with a returning stringer, before scoring any games solo in the ballpark.

If interested, e-mail a cover letter with your resume and qualifications to

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reds make big splash right before Reds Fest

As you know Reds Fest is this weekend, and to ensure the place would be buzzing (in addition to inviting newly balloted hall of fame candidate Barry Larkin) the Reds signed Jon Adkins to a minor league deal. Adkins pitched 2009 in Korea.