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TeamBoone
03-08-2006, 12:38 PM
NOTE: This article is long. Here, I'm presenting only the portion that deals mainly with the Reds. For the complete article, I've provided the link.


Two on Two: 2006 NL Central Preview
By Rich Lederer & Bryan Smith

Today we return to our 2006 previews, staying in the midwest. In our first installment of this feature, Aaron Gleeman and Cheat helped us preview the AL Central. Here to duke it out with Rich and Bryan are two very talented writers, Larry Borowsky from Viva El Birdos (a Cardinals blog) and John Hill via the Cub Reporter. Enjoy the latest segment...

Bryan: It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Graffanino would simply be piling on top of Todd Walker and Jerry Hairston. It would really be odd if the Reds and Cubs entered the year with six combined capable (though that's a strong word for Tony Womack) second basemen.

John: Not at all, because the majority of Cub fans as I can see are at the very least satisfied with Todd Walker, who, while not great defensively and prone to saying a few stupid things, has a very solid bat for a second baseman.

Larry: But Dusty doesn't like him. Or doesn't seem to.

Bryan: I mentioned the Reds 2B problem, guys, and it's really just a bit in a damning resume that led to Dan O'Brien's firing. Before he left, he finally fixed the OF/1B logjam by acquiring mediocre pitcher Dave Williams, adding to the mediocrity and filth that makes up the pitching staff.

Rich: I'm not so sure O'Brien fixed that logjam. Cincy still has four outfielders plus it looks as if Scott Hatteberg might start at first base.

Bryan: Any reason for optimism in Cincy?

Larry: Not for a while. They do have some of the most interesting young players in the division. Felipe Lopez looks good, ditto Edwin Encarnacion. Looks like Wily Mo Pena will be a good roto player if not necessarily a good real-life hitter.

Rich: I'm not high on Pena at all. He struck out 224 times while accumulating 42 walks in approximately 700 plate appearances the past two years. PECOTA can fawn all over him as it wants, but I think he is overrated and unlikely to become a star player.

John: I'm not entirely sure Felipe Lopez' bat is for real, given his historical propensity to strike out and he's also a butcher of a shortstop.

Bryan: If ever there was a team that should be willing to sacrifice some defense for some above-average offense, it's the Reds. As a hitter, it seems Lopez, Jorge Cantu and Jhonny Peralta all broke through last year and enter the year with a lot of doubts, despite solid (if stagnated) minor league records. He's a good offensive player that probably won't get better than he was last year.

Larry: Their players draw a lot of interest. Austin Kearns, Pena, Lopez, and Adam Dunn are all pretty coveted. And Dunn's contract is considered to be highly moveable. So perhaps there's an opportunity to restructure the talent on that team.

John: The changes for the Reds have to come first via the farm system, and the outlook on that front isn't particularly bright at all. Trading away Adam Dunn isn't likely to be a profitable move for them.

Larry: Anybody think they can move Ken Griffey Jr.?

John: If there's even a chance of it, the Reds ought to be all over it. He's expensive, awful defensively, and it's only a matter of time, surely, before he gets injured again.

Bryan: Yes, but I'm not sure the return will be worth it. Kearns needs to come out of the gate hot, and then Krivsky can trade him and insert Chris Denorfia into the outfield.

Larry: Bryan, what do you think of Homer Bailey?

Bryan: For the Reds to be successful, the changes need to come from the farm system, like Bailey. This team needs to find a way to keep young pitchers healthy, and maximize their potential. It has been awhile since they've done that. Bailey's arm is fantastic, but this organization needs to change its methodology before I'm a full-fledged believer.

Larry: They do have a new owner who has ties to the Cardinal organization. If nothing else, I think a change in philosophy is in the offing in Cincinnati. Whether or not they will execute remains to be seen, but I would expect a new process of decision-making at the very least.

Bryan: The Reds are, like a lot of teams in baseball, simply a few years away. That's really the easy way to conclude, right?

John: Do you think enough of the Reds' system to say that they're only a few years away, Bryan? Or, do you have faith in their new GM to maintain a strong lineup while simultaneously finding all the pitching, and that's essentially about nine or ten members of that staff, that they need?

Bryan: Well, I'm stretching the word "few," John. It's a weak system, and a creative GM will need to work a lot of magic to fix this team.

Larry: With the wild card, one only needs to cobble together 88 wins to make the playoffs. And that can be done with a couple of decent trades, one free-agent pickup, and an unexpected year from one prospect. I could easily see them being competitive again by 2009 -- why not?

Bryan: After seeing what Doug Melvin has done in Milwaukee, I'll believe anything.

Rich: Oh, the Reds can be turned around. But it won't happen overnight, and it won't be easy. It's gonna take time and patience. Unfortunately, most of the talent at the big-league level is at the wrong end of the defensive spectrum, the pitching staff could be the worst in baseball, and the minor-league system is bereft of talent.

Bryan: The Pirates are another team a few years away, but seem to be the opposite of the Reds. There is a lot of hope in a young pitching staff that showed promise in 2005, but the offensive foundation isn't there. Your takes on the Bucs?

John: Put it this way, I'd rather be the Pirates than the Reds right now.

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2006/03/two_on_two_2006_1.php

TeamBoone
03-08-2006, 12:40 PM
The bolded statment makes my stomach churn because AK and WMP need to play every day.

I certainly hope this is not the ultimate reason that the Reds signed Hatteberg and that they'll surprise everyone by starting him. It doesn't help; it hinders. I think the Reds should rely on a phrase from the Hippocratic Oath... first, do no harm.

Caseyfan21
03-08-2006, 12:42 PM
John: Put it this way, I'd rather be the Pirates than the Reds right now.


Ouch...But definately true.

Doc. Scott
03-08-2006, 12:58 PM
Someone's just not paying attention. I have no idea where any "analyst" would look at what's happened and conclude that Scott Hatteberg will be the Reds' starting first baseman. Ridiculous.

pedro
03-08-2006, 01:04 PM
Ouch...But definately true.

I don't see it.

Their pitching may be better than the reds but their lineup sucks and they just restocked with a bunch of old players over the offseason.

IMO Jason Bay and Casey are the only guys that they have that would be likely to start for the Reds.

KronoRed
03-08-2006, 01:42 PM
Someone's just not paying attention. I have no idea where any "analyst" would look at what's happened and conclude that Scott Hatteberg will be the Reds' starting first baseman. Ridiculous.
Some of Narron's comments make me think he will be, why does he need so much work to stay "fresh"?

I'm a little concerned.

M2
03-08-2006, 02:05 PM
I don't see it.

Their pitching may be better than the reds but their lineup sucks and they just restocked with a bunch of old players over the offseason.

IMO Jason Bay and Casey are the only guys that they have that would be likely to start for the Reds.

I think the point they were driving at is it's easier to builld an offense where none exists than to build a pitching staff where none exists.

pedro
03-08-2006, 02:16 PM
I think the point they were driving at is it's easier to builld an offense where none exists than to build a pitching staff where none exists.

while that may be true (I believe it) I still think the Pirates are inept and going nowhere.

M2
03-08-2006, 02:31 PM
while that may be true (I believe it) I still think the Pirates are inept and going nowhere.

I agree in terms of this year, but there's probably a regime change coming in Pittsburgh and if the new regime understands how to build an offense to go with the pitching Littlefield will hand over, then the Pirates could be in the respectable ranks by 2008 or so.

pedro
03-08-2006, 02:37 PM
I agree in terms of this year, but there's probably a regime change coming in Pittsburgh and if the new regime understands how to build an offense to go with the pitching Littlefield will hand over, then the Pirates could be in the respectable ranks by 2008 or so.

yeah, Littlefield has been somewhat of an enigma. He seems to have done pretty well with pitching but his grasp of what constitutes offense is, well, offensive.

KoryMac5
03-08-2006, 02:54 PM
There is absolutely no way that Hatteberg starts at first base. Wayne K brought him in for one thing and one thing only to spell a player every now and than. As far as this review goes more of the same. It's getting to be a broken record with these guys. No pitching, good offense, trade Kearns, Griffey, and Dunn and than wait until 2009 to be competitive. When 2009 rolls around they will probably rip us for trading Kearns, Griffey, and Dunn.

TeamBoone
03-08-2006, 03:35 PM
Now I'm even more worried as Adam seems to be playing less and less at first base.

BRM
03-08-2006, 03:37 PM
Is an opening day infield of Hatteberg, Womack, Lopez, and Aurilia really out of the realm of possibility?

KronoRed
03-08-2006, 03:39 PM
Is an opening day infield of Hatteberg, Womack, Lopez, and Aurilia really out of the realm of possibility?
Nope.

It'd would be solidly scrappy.

BRM
03-08-2006, 03:41 PM
Nope.

It'd would be solidly scrappy.

I can only imagine the outrage on this board if that's the infield Narron puts out there.

TeamBoone
03-08-2006, 03:51 PM
In most if not all the articles I've read, Sean was dealt to free up the logjam in the OF, affording both AK/WMP the opportunity to play every day. Of course, ridding the club of his salary was also a reason... we all know that, but that has not really been said out and out.

In addition, all the reports I've read, it's said that acquiring Hatteberg allows for back-up first and as insurance against injury or an outfielder being traded.

So, if Hatteberg ends up being the starting first baseman and AK/WMP again end up platooning in the outfield, I will absolutely never believe anything I read again.

IMHO, it's more important to allow AK and WMP the opportunity to play everyday than it is to have Hatteberg at first every day.

Nugget
03-08-2006, 07:03 PM
Its ST, you have Junior and WMP out and plenty of SS games. Of course your going to give more time to the guys who are going to be on the regular 25 than guys who are there to fill in for the guys at the WBC. The analysts are just sprouting what's their opinion - informed or not. Hatterberg wasn't even the regular 1B at the A's last year and in all the interviews his had he has indicated that unlike RA he knows he's here to ride the bench. Looking at it from a point of view that the REDS are gonig to try and win their games from the front Hatterberg is more than likely going to come in as a defensive replacement in the latter innings moving Dunn to LF and WMP out.

Highlifeman21
03-11-2006, 12:30 PM
Now I'm even more worried as Adam seems to be playing less and less at first base.


Unfortunately with WMP playing in the WBC, you're seeing #44 in LF and Hatteberg at 1B. Once WMP returns from the WBC, you'll see him back in LF and Dunn at 1B and then Hatteberg as our best LH pinch hitter. Although with WMP batting IIRC a stellar .091 in the WBC, maybe look for Hatteberg to start at 1B and Dunn back to LF...