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TeamBoone
01-16-2006, 04:46 PM
01/16/2006 12:00 PM ET
Mailbag: Where does Aurilia fit in best?
Veteran might start season at third, but move around infield
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

With the re-signing of Rich Aurilia, where do you foresee the Reds using him most, second or third base? It seems like with the need to get speed in the lineup (i.e. Tony Womack and Ryan Freel), it seems to me that third baseman Edwin Encarnacion is the odd man out. What do you think?
-- Russ F., Greenup, Ky.

Encarnacion has no guarantees and will have to earn a starting job by consistently outplaying Aurilia at third base. The organization believes Encarnacion must improve his throwing accuracy and get more hitting experience. If he can't show he's ready, expect Aurilia to open 2006 at third base, but also move around. It sounds like second base will have a revolving set of guys -- namely Aurilia, Freel and Womack -- without one guy owning the job outright.

What is the story on Ryan Wagner? He had a solid rookie campaign, but he struggled last season. What is his current status in the Reds organization, and what do they see in his future? I think he has a world of talent, seeing that he broke the NCAA record for strikeouts per nine innings.
-- Max K., Westport, Conn.

Wagner, the Reds' first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, missed the entire second half of last season with right shoulder inflammation. I've heard he is expected to be ready for Spring Training next month. He remains very much in future plans. In the short term, the 23-year-old will be in the mix for a middle or situational relief spot in the bullpen. Down the road, his stuff could make him a suitable closer.

Has the new ownership for the Reds been finalized? When will we start to see the effects of Robert Castellini's new regime?
-- John K., Boston, Mass.

It appears that formal approval of Castellini's ownership group from Major League Baseball could happen as early as this Friday during the owners meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. As for how long it takes for the new owner to leave his imprint on his new team, we won't really know until we hear from him. Castellini is not permitted to discuss his plans for the team until his ownership is approved. On the field, I'm not sure how much tweaking can be done immediately. Most teams have made their significant offseason moves already and the free agent crop is pretty well picked over by now. However, I rule nothing out -- anything can happen.

Why aren't the Reds looking at Jeff Weaver? The guy has been decently successful in the past, with most of his work in the AL. Am I overlooking something that doesn't make this a good fit?
-- Billy B., Middletown, Ohio

Personally, I just don't believe Weaver would improve the Reds' rotation much for what it would cost. Although he's got a reputation for staying healthy and working a lot of innings each year, his overall stats just aren't that impressive. Last season, he posted his career-best walks/hits per innings pitched at 1.17, but was tied for second in the Majors with 35 home runs allowed (Eric Milton led with 40 homers allowed). He has a lifetime 4.44 ERA and just one season (2005) with a winning record in seven years. His ERA had dipped below 4.00 only once as well (2002).

Some very gaudy contracts were handed out to other starters this winter like A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood and Jarrod Washburn. Weaver earned $9.3 million in 2005 and is represented by Scott Boras, so I imagine he would be a budget bloating addition that wouldn't give close to enough bang for the buck.

Hey Mark, nice to have you aboard. Who will fill the invaluable shoes that Sean Casey wore in the clubhouse? When it came to leadership, Sean just seemed to be in his own world. I'd like to see Jason LaRue step forward, but to the general fan, Jason seems a little subdued for that type of role. What's your take on leadership in the Reds' clubhouse this season? Thanks, and go Red Legs!
-- C Jay, Sarasota, Fla.

I'll be really honest -- I haven't stepped inside the Reds' clubhouse yet so I couldn't say for sure. But after speaking to LaRue on the day he re-signed last month, he seemed ready and willing to embrace the leadership role. I've heard a lot about David Weathers' and Kent Mercker's veteran leadership and I have a feeling Chris Hammond will provide more of the same. Generally, as younger players develop, gain more experience and become more comfortable in the clubhouse, leaders have a way of emerging.

What do you think the starting pitching rotation will look like come Opening Day?
-- Otto, Cincinnati

It should be Aaron Harang, Eric Milton, Paul Wilson, Dave Williams and Brandon Claussen. Because he's coming off June shoulder surgery, Wilson is considered an X-factor for now. He's scheduled to begin throwing soon down in Sarasota.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060113&content_id=1295470&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

westofyou
01-16-2006, 04:55 PM
Where does Aurilia fit in best?Bench Ballast 200 ab's tops.

Heath
01-16-2006, 05:20 PM
Encarnacion has no guarantees and will have to earn a starting job by consistently outplaying Aurilia at third base. The organization believes Encarnacion must improve his throwing accuracy and get more hitting experience. If he can't show he's ready, expect Aurilia to open 2006 at third base, but also move around. It sounds like second base will have a revolving set of guys -- namely Aurilia, Freel and Womack -- without one guy owning the job outright.

So let's get this straight.

The organization belives EdE needs more experience at the big league level.

EdE has no guarantees of a starting spot.

:confused: :bang: :dunno:

For EdE's sake - I hope this guy hits and fields from Day One. However, In Jerry Narron's rainbow-hazed world, RA still probably would start.

pedro
01-16-2006, 05:57 PM
01/16/2006 12:00 PM ET


What do you think the starting pitching rotation will look like come Opening Day?
-- Otto, Cincinnati





http://www.248am.com/images/Sammagnetweb.jpg

Strikes Out Looking
01-16-2006, 06:06 PM
Dear Russ:

Rich Aurilia fits in best in Tampa Bay or Louisville.

Sincerely,

CentralChamps05' (and they would've been if I was in charge)

Heath
01-16-2006, 06:09 PM
http://www.248am.com/images/Sammagnetweb.jpg

I was waiting for this picture....

http://www.anni80.info/movies/images/wild.jpg

Nugget
01-16-2006, 07:04 PM
I don't think the organisation should be hounded for not handing EE the starting job. Lopez was challenged last yaer and he came out with flying colours. If EE does the same it will be an awsome side of the infield for years to come. And look what happened last time the REDS guaranteed the starting spot to an up and coming third baseman. Paging Brandon Larson.

Heath
01-16-2006, 07:38 PM
I don't think the organisation should be hounded for not handing EE the starting job. Lopez was challenged last yaer and he came out with flying colours. If EE does the same it will be an awsome side of the infield for years to come. And look what happened last time the REDS guaranteed the starting spot to an up and coming third baseman. Paging Brandon Larson.

Nugget - that's the problem. Felipe had a wonderful spring. But since he isn't one to complain and whine - RA was the opening day SS. This after RA was CLEARLY the RUNNER-UP in the 2005 Race for SS.

So - here we go again. EdE goes nuts, but since he's not a veteran, he'll be shipped to Louisville and RA gets the nod, when clearly he's not the answer. He just has a really cool goatee and some pictures of DanO with a pony.

I also wouldn't compare BL to EdE. Two different work ethics and skills.

KronoRed
01-16-2006, 10:07 PM
Lopez only got in the lineup after Rich got hurt..what if Rich doesn't get hurt?

Heath
01-16-2006, 10:43 PM
Lopez only got in the lineup after Rich got hurt..what if Rich doesn't get hurt?

Why don't you make a RA voodoo doll :evil:

westofyou
01-16-2006, 11:08 PM
And look what happened last time the REDS guaranteed the starting spot to an up and coming third baseman. Paging Brandon Larson.Brandon Larson by age of 28 couldn't field 3rd base and had 19 EBH in 298 MLB ab's

22 year old Edwin Encarnacion had 25 EBH in 219 ab's.

When Larson was 22 he stil was playing with a metal bat, there is no comparison.

pedro
01-16-2006, 11:27 PM
EE OPS'd .744 last year. He's 22. (His Career is in front of him)

RA OPS'd .782 last year. He's 34 (His career OPS is .766)

I think the Reds FO even suggesting that EE has to win the job in spring training is bad management. If he really tanked in ST, then I wouldn't be oppossed sending him to AAA for a few months but I just don't like the way they're dealing with EE at this point.

KronoRed
01-16-2006, 11:53 PM
Why don't you make a RA voodoo doll :evil:
Doubt it would work....Narron would start him anyway ;)

Ron Madden
01-17-2006, 05:23 AM
O'Brien and Narron would decide to start the Voodoo Doll because Marty and Hal seem to think EE isn't ready yet and is sure to struggle. ;)

I know it sounds silly but sometimes I wonder just who O'Brien listens to... his scouts and advisers or (what he thinks is the popular opinion of Reds Fans) Marty and Hal.

deltachi8
01-17-2006, 10:02 AM
If Narron and O'Brien are still at the helm come April, I will be completely shocked if EE is not the starting third baseman...in Louisville.

Heath
01-17-2006, 10:03 AM
I know it sounds silly but sometimes I wonder just who O'Brien listens to... his scouts and advisers or (what he thinks is the popular opinion of Reds Fans) Marty and Hal.

I think he listens to the voices inside his brain.

Or his imaginary friend Rube.

flyer85
01-17-2006, 04:39 PM
Even if EE wins the job in ST he will never be allowed to relax and just develop(mistakes and all) because he will be constantly looking over his shoulder knowing that the next throwing error or batting slump could be his ticket back to AAA.

Terrible way to treat a young player and destroy his confidence. This team sucks and is not going to win in 2006 no matter how many more crappy utility IF types they can conjure up. That said there is no purpose for Aurilia or Womack. This year should be about developing young talent and not worrying as much about wins and losses. The management of the Reds might as well be turned over to Alicia Silverstone because the current bunch is every bit as clueless.

Nugget
01-17-2006, 08:12 PM
I don't think the REDS can have the luxury of letting someone develop in MLB. If EE earns the job out of ST then good on him but Narron has basically said that there are a number of positions where the starters will have to earn their position out of ST. 2B and 3B as well as a few others I would think. I'm not so sure that the REDS ST squad is settled. The point about Brandon Larson is that he was basically guaranteed the 3B spot for two years and stunk. Yes EE has talent and he has performed well recently but Narron is correct in that he has got to earn the starting job out of ST. Lopez lost the ST job out of ST because of his fielding not his batting. Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on the REDS batting and not enough on their fielding.

westofyou
01-17-2006, 08:18 PM
I don't think the REDS can have the luxury of letting someone develop in MLB.Why?

Are they going somewhere this year?

In 2006 Rich Aurilia is to Edwin what Chris Sabo and Terry Pendelton were to Willie Greene in 1996 and 1997, just an older guy in the way of a younger guy who is more than ready to take the job if everybody just let him do it.

westofyou
01-17-2006, 08:19 PM
Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on the REDS batting and not enough on their fielding.
EE can field circles around beer league Aurilia.

KronoRed
01-17-2006, 10:08 PM
I don't think the REDS can have the luxury of letting someone develop in MLB.
Yes they do.

This team is going to be really bad no matter what, play the freaking kids and see what they have.

Nugget
01-17-2006, 11:05 PM
I don't think the REDS or any MLB team should say to an unproven player that they have the starting job out of ST. If EE performs well this year then next year the job is his out of ST. Just like Lopez this year. The difference between the minors and the majors is more than just the statistics. Some guys make it and some guys don't. Its irresponsible for any ballclub to give someone in EE's position a guaranteed starting position.

flyer85
01-17-2006, 11:13 PM
The Reds have loaded themselves up with guys who have proven they can't play. Turn the jobs over to them I say, at least they are experienced.

Jpup
01-18-2006, 08:16 AM
I don't think the REDS or any MLB team should say to an unproven player that they have the starting job out of ST. If EE performs well this year then next year the job is his out of ST. Just like Lopez this year. The difference between the minors and the majors is more than just the statistics. Some guys make it and some guys don't. Its irresponsible for any ballclub to give someone in EE's position a guaranteed starting position.

:dunno: What does Encarnacion have to do to prove he is better than Rich Aurilia? It's very obvious to me that he is better in every facet of the game.

Heath
01-18-2006, 09:58 AM
I don't think the REDS or any MLB team should say to an unproven player that they have the starting job out of ST.

Every winner of the NL or AL rookie of the year says ... :wave: