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OnBaseMachine
06-02-2006, 07:01 AM
Hal McCoy: Switching infielders might cut Reds' errors
By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

HOUSTON | The errors come from the left side of the infield, mostly errant throws, like misdirected hand grenades lobbed blindly from foxholes.

The Cincinnati Reds own a ghastly 49 errors this season, most in the majors. They've given up 33 unearned runs, most in the majors.

Of the 49 errors, nearly half (24) have come from third baseman Edwin Encarnacion (13) and shortstop Felipe Lopez (11), so the left side of the infield isn't a leaky faucet, it's an open tap.

What's a manager to do? How about this? They can move second baseman Brandon Phillips (three errors) to shortstop and switch Lopez to second base.

Lopez has played third base and second base. And Phillips signed with Montreal as a shortstop. Before the Cleveland Indians traded for Phillips, five scouts watched him play in the minors, and their consensus report said: "Could become an All-Star shortstop in the majors. A terrific athlete with above average arm and hands. Excellent range."

So what's holding it up?

"At this level, you don't want to be in the position of developing players, but that's what we're doing," said Reds manager Jerry Narron. "Think about it. All of our infielders are young and inexperienced. This is a very difficult game, and yes, they have to get better."

As for making the switch?

"We're very, very pleased with the way Brandon Phillips is playing second base," said Narron. "Of all of them, he is the one guy who has a chance to win a Gold Glove."

So why not shortstop?

"That's not to say he couldn't do it and be a Gold Glover," Narron added. "Michael Young (Texas) was one of the best defensive second basemen in the game and he moved to shortstop and has done a good job.

"For something like that to happen, you probably have to do it before spring training, not in the middle of the season," he said. "That's not to say we won't do it, but it would be a spring training thing."

Thinking about it, Narron said, "Two years ago (when Barry Larkin still roamed shortstop), Felipe played third base and did real well and played good at second, convincing me he could play anywhere on the infield."

There are days when the left side plays flawlessly and spectacularly, then there are days when they kick the baseball as if it is a soccer ball and throw it as if it is a beanbag. But that's youth. That's inexperience.

"I know how hard (infield instructor) Bucky Dent works with Edwin and Felipe," Narron said. "I'd say with Edwin (23), Felipe (25) and Brandon (24), we average the youngest in baseball at those three positions."

Referring to the errors and the unearned runs, Narron said emphatically, "If we were better defensively, we might be ahead of or at least tied with St. Louis because we lead the world in unearned runs and errors. And what those errors do is make our pitchers throw more pitches, face more hitters."

St. Louis has made only 30 errors and given up 16 unearned runs, and of course, the Cardinals lead the National League in pitching (3.80 ERA), aided greatly by sharp defense.

A Phillips-Lopez switch isn't likely this year, unless the Reds fall way behind in the standings. Remember, Narron had Phillips at shortstop for the Hall of Fame exhibition game that lasted only two innings.

Contact this reporter by e-mail at

hmccoy@DaytonDailyNews.com

http://www.daytondailynews.com/sports/content/sports/reds/daily/0602mccoy.html

flyer85
06-02-2006, 01:11 PM
then again it might not.

dougdirt
06-02-2006, 01:50 PM
then again it might not.
but then again it might.:)

CTA513
06-02-2006, 01:51 PM
but then again it might.:)

or it could just move bad defense to the right side of the field.

KronoRed
06-02-2006, 03:21 PM
I was afraid this was going to be a "Move EE" article.

Switching Phillips and Lopez certainly wouldn't hurt.

Mario-Rijo
06-02-2006, 07:40 PM
I'm glad that at least it hasn't fallen on deaf ears. They did not emphatically object, so I think it may end up getting done at some point. If Felipe can deal with the switch we will flourish. Of course like what was said, unless we fall way down in the standings it's not likely until next year.

Guess that might make that Felipe Bobblehead that they are giving away this year a little more valuable........or not!

Ravenlord
06-02-2006, 07:49 PM
i'd love to flip the two middle infielders around. FeLo doesn't have the range to due shortstop all the time, but would be a serious GG candidate at second. Phillips looks like he'd probably be good at short. not earth shattering, but definetly better than Lopez.

i'm not really worried about Encarnacion and Lopez's throwing errors, they'll fade with age and when the Reds actually put a real 1B at the corner.

Highlifeman21
06-02-2006, 08:48 PM
I'm glad that at least it hasn't fallen on deaf ears. They did not emphatically object, so I think it may end up getting done at some point. If Felipe can deal with the switch we will flourish. Of course like what was said, unless we fall way down in the standings it's not likely until next year.

Guess that might make that Felipe Bobblehead that they are giving away this year a little more valuable........or not!


Do you think Scott Boras may be in Felipe's ear to advise him to stay at SS? I can't imagine that Lopez's value as a 2B would skyrocket, although I would venture a guess that his offensive production wouldn't suffer and he would probably put up much better defensive metrics as a 2B.

Phillips, on the other hand, would probably see an increase in value if he were a SS, due to defensive range alone.

max venable
06-02-2006, 09:44 PM
Referring to the errors and the unearned runs, Narron said emphatically, "If we were better defensively, we might be ahead of or at least tied with St. Louis because we lead the world in unearned runs and errors. And what those errors do is make our pitchers throw more pitches, face more hitters."
Oh, and Jerry, it allows the other team to score more runs too.

Anyway, I think he's right.

KronoRed
06-02-2006, 10:58 PM
Do you think Scott Boras may be in Felipe's ear to advise him to stay at SS?
I don't doubt it, an allstar SS = big $$$$ and he'll get it on the FA market.

StillFunkyB
06-04-2006, 09:54 AM
I don't doubt it, an allstar SS = big $$$$ and he'll get it on the FA market.

Which is why I think Dubya-K should be on the lookout for what he can get for a Felipe Lopez.

Redmachine2003
06-04-2006, 11:05 AM
How about Lopez at 3rd, Phillips at SS and EE at second just another thought.

baseballPAP
06-04-2006, 11:42 AM
The old first baseman in me cringes watching Hatteberg and Aurilia over there. There are a legitimate 4 or 5 errors each that a slick 1Bman would have turned to outs. Just sayin' :)

pedro
06-04-2006, 11:44 AM
How about Lopez at 3rd, Phillips at SS and EE at second just another thought.

If EE is struggling make the throw from 3B I have a hard time believing that he'd have an easier time throwing from second where so many of the throws are back across your body (going behind 2B) or turning the double play. I just don't see that as a good solution. I think it'll be easier for him to work out his throwing problems where he's at.

penantboundreds
06-04-2006, 01:38 PM
I can't believe I just read a post saying to trade Felipe Lopez....or at least look to trade him. Are you kidding? What goes through your mind before you type this bull. Pay the man and keep him around long-term. Intangibles. Glove. Arm. (Maybe not so much range) But he can hit and is consistent something the Reds need to be successful is people on, and Felipe does that, he gets on. Stop the lunacy and wake up. Sign the man long-term not trade him.

penantboundreds
06-04-2006, 01:40 PM
Redmachine, EE has a strong enough arm to play third, of course his errors would drop from second but everyone's would because it is a simple position. I made a lot more errors at SS than I did 2B but I was more valuable to the team at SS because of range etc. I think EE is playing where he should be to use the potential of that arm....at least for the time being, I'm not saying if after next year he still cant figure it out then it wouldnt be time to look at a change, but i dont think it would be wise until hes has two years (at least) of big league experience.

KronoRed
06-04-2006, 03:40 PM
I can't believe I just read a post saying to trade Felipe Lopez....or at least look to trade him. Are you kidding? What goes through your mind before you type this bull. Pay the man and keep him around long-term. Intangibles. Glove. Arm. (Maybe not so much range) But he can hit and is consistent something the Reds need to be successful is people on, and Felipe does that, he gets on. Stop the lunacy and wake up. Sign the man long-term not trade him.
He's got Boras as an agent = he's looking for huge money

Want to pay him 15 mill a season and not be able to afford pitching?

We aren't in new york here.

penantboundreds
06-05-2006, 12:54 AM
Krono lopez is more valuable than dunn in my opinion...ss's (good ones) are hard to come by....i will pay him 10 mil a yr yes

pedro
06-05-2006, 01:06 AM
Krono lopez is more valuable than dunn in my opinion...ss's (good ones) are hard to come by....i will pay him 10 mil a yr yes


Too bad Lopez really isn't a good (defensive) SS and his bat, while pretty good, just isn't good enough to justify that large contract without being a plus defender. Right now his OPS is only 749 mostly because of an anemic .363 SLG %. I expect that will get better, but even if he duplicates last years OPS of .838 his defense is going to keep him from getting that type of money IMO.

penantboundreds
06-05-2006, 10:50 AM
jack wilson.....hes a 5 million dollar player...decent to good fielder (8 errors this season)

lopez brings speed, power, hes three years younger....so ill say this i sign lopez long-term @ 8 million a year or less, anything higher than that and we really have to incentive base the contract i think (if thats allowed in baseball)

EDIT* Wilson's contract calls for 3 years at 20 million, just less than 7.

I sign Lopez for 9.5 or less and call it a steal, how about this, 7 years 50 mil

pedro
06-05-2006, 11:15 AM
jack wilson.....hes a 5 million dollar player...decent to good fielder (8 errors this season)

lopez brings speed, power, hes three years younger....so ill say this i sign lopez long-term @ 8 million a year or less, anything higher than that and we really have to incentive base the contract i think (if thats allowed in baseball)

EDIT* Wilson's contract calls for 3 years at 20 million, just less than 7.

I sign Lopez for 9.5 or less and call it a steal, how about this, 7 years 50 mil


Lopez isn't bringing any power so far this year. I hope that doesn't last, but I'd certainly wait for him to do it two years in a row before showering him with $$.

Never give anyone a 7 year contract. Way too risky.

Jack Wilson is horribly overpayed.

westofyou
06-05-2006, 11:31 AM
Never give anyone a 7 year contract. Way too risky.Especially a middle infielder who has fielding issues.

KronoRed
06-05-2006, 02:17 PM
I doubt very much Lopez will sign for anything before he hits the FA market, no matter what we offer.

That's why players sign on with the Boras gang.

Spitball
06-05-2006, 03:46 PM
Personally, I'd like to see the Reds address this defense issue very soon. The Reds haven't contended since 1999, and there is no telling when they will contend again. I'd hate to see them sit there like the Dan O'Brien days and wait for a positive outcome to miraculously develop from a glaring negative.

Sorry, Krono, but I'd start by getting Encarnacion off of third base. I watched Dan Driessen cost the Reds the NLCS in 1973 and butcher the position in 1974. He turned into a gold glove first baseman but he wasn't mentally equipped to handle third. Was he nervous or what? I don't know, but the Reds were much better when they moved him.

I'd move Encarnacion to first today, or I'd package him with Claussen and/or Bailey for a package that would bring a top end starter and a middle reliever.

I'd move Lopez to third and Phillips to shortstop. I'd use Freel and Aurilia at second while Hatteberg would pinch hit and back-up Encarnacion.

I know these ideas have been bantered about all year, but the Reds are contending. If the shortstop-thirdbase duo continue to drive up pitch counts and allow unearned runs, they won't be able to hang with the Cards.

CTA513
06-05-2006, 03:58 PM
Personally, I'd like to see the Reds address this defense issue very soon. The Reds haven't contended since 1999, and there is no telling when they will contend again. I'd hate to see them sit there like the Dan O'Brien days and wait for a positive outcome to miraculously develop from a glaring negative.

Sorry, Krono, but I'd start by getting Encarnacion off of third base. I watched Dan Driessen cost the Reds the NLCS in 1973 and butcher the position in 1974. He turned into a gold glove first baseman but he wasn't mentally equipped to handle third. Was he nervous or what? I don't know, but the Reds were much better when they moved him.

I'd move Encarnacion to first today, or I'd package him with Claussen and/or Bailey for a package that would bring a top end starter and a middle reliever.

I'd move Lopez to third and Phillips to shortstop. I'd use Freel and Aurilia at second while Hatteberg would pinch hit and back-up Encarnacion.

I know these ideas have been bantered about all year, but the Reds are contending. If the shortstop-thirdbase duo continue to drive up pitch counts and allow unearned runs, they won't be able to hang with the Cards.

Has Encarnacion played much firstbase? Ive only seen him play 1 inning at first.

I dont see how moving Lopez to third would cut down the errors. If hes going to be moved it would probably be to second and someone like Freel or Aurilia would play third.

Either way I dont see them making position changes during the season.

Spitball
06-05-2006, 05:57 PM
Has Encarnacion played much firstbase? Ive only seen him play 1 inning at first.

I'm betting Encarnacion,a lifelong corner infielder, can cross the diamond and play first base at least as well, and probably better, than Hatteberg (former catcher) and Aurilia (former middle infielder).


I dont see how moving Lopez to third would cut down the errors. If hes going to be moved it would probably be to second and someone like Freel or Aurilia would play third.

Lopez has played 82 games at third and has made 13 errors. Encarnacion has made that many in a little over fifty games. Also, third base is the only position Lopez has shown any propensity for a range above league average. Of the two, Lopez is a better fielder than Encarnacion.


Either way I dont see them making position changes during the season.

Maybe not, but this front office, unlike the last, seems to address problems and isn't afraid to make moves. Switching players' positions is radical, but excessive errors and unearned runs should not be tolerated.

If memory serves me correctly, Pete Rose moved from the outfield to third base in May after the 1975 season was in progress. That move helped launch an incredible two season run as World Champions.

KronoRed
06-05-2006, 06:12 PM
Move EE already? WAY to early IMO, the kid hasn't even had a full season, what did Larkin do his first full year at SS? errors out the ying yang.

Spitball
06-05-2006, 06:43 PM
Move EE already? WAY to early IMO, the kid hasn't even had a full season, what did Larkin do his first full year at SS? errors out the ying yang.

Well, Larkin made, I believe, about 29 errors at shortstop that first season as a starter. That is alot, but Encarnacion is on track to totally eclipse that total and as a third baseman. I believe he could eventually be a Gold Glove candidate at first just like Dan Driessen. At third at this time, he is not helping the team defensively. Would I sacrifice EE's career as a third baseman for the chance to compete this year? You bet, especially since I've been forced to wait a long time for a contending team and he'd make a dandy first baseman.

KronoRed
06-05-2006, 06:46 PM
Would I sacrifice EE's career as a third baseman for the chance to compete this year? You bet, especially since I've been forced to wait a long time for a contending team and he'd make a dandy first baseman.
How do we know he'd be a good 1st baseman?

Also I wouldn't move him in the idea that it helps the team contend, I don't think we have a better option over there that makes us that much better? Freel? Aurilia? no and no.

And this team hasn't has had a lot of trouble over at 3rd, be nice if a good young kid could have the job for a long time.

pedro
06-05-2006, 06:52 PM
EE's range goes a long way towards making up for the throwing errors that the Reds might cut by putting RA at third.

Even thinking about moving EE at this point is terribly short sighted IMO.

edit: I see you're not suggesting putting RA at 3B spitball.

pedro
06-05-2006, 06:56 PM
IMO, the Reds in no way have the pitching to justify moving EE from 3B in the name of contending this year.

Spitball
06-05-2006, 08:30 PM
How do we know he'd be a good 1st baseman?

Off the top of my head, George Scott, Dan Driessen, Steve Garvey,and Albert Pujols all made the move and proved to be Gold Glove caliber fielders. It isn't an uncommon move for young third basemen.


IMO, the Reds in no way have the pitching to justify moving EE from 3B in the name of contending this year.

This front office and ownership has shown they want to contend. I believe Encarnacion would get more at bats and feel less pressure if he were to move to first. Why isn't he not starting tonight versus the Cards? I bet it has more to do with those errors a than his bat.

KronoRed
06-05-2006, 08:46 PM
It's because we have a manager/GM? who love old guys, same reason Q is still on the roster.

EE will be a fine 3rd baseman, trashing the future on a win now plan will lead to big time failure

IMO :D

pedro
06-05-2006, 08:48 PM
Why isn't he not starting tonight versus the Cards? I bet it has more to do with those errors a than his bat.

That's working out well isn't it?

Spitball
06-05-2006, 09:55 PM
Well, hopefully the infield defense improves. Surely, it can't get get any worse. ;)

pedro
06-05-2006, 11:46 PM
Well, hopefully the infield defense improves. Surely, it can't get get any worse. ;)


that we can all agree on. :)

Ron Madden
06-06-2006, 01:47 AM
It's because we have a manager/GM? who love old guys, same reason Q is still on the roster.

EE will be a fine 3rd baseman, trashing the future on a win now plan will lead to big time failure

IMO :D

Aint that the truth.

If Edwin had made the throwing error RA did in the first inning Marty would still be harping on it.

KronoRed
06-06-2006, 01:52 AM
If Edwin had made the throwing error RA did in the first inning Marty would still be harping on it.
As would half of RZ ;)