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savafan
12-01-2006, 02:46 PM
http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061201/SPT05/612010336/1035

By Marc Lancaster
Post staff reporter

Bronson Arroyo understands the Reds' place in baseball's economic food chain, and with that knowledge comes a certain level of expectation about winter wheeling and dealing.

"You know we're not in a big enough market here where they're going to go out and sign a Barry Zito or a Miguel Tejada, someone like that," Arroyo said Thursday at a news conference to promote this weekend's Redsfest. "They're going to sign guys that are like myself when they traded for me: a little bit unknown about what you're going to get out of them."

Three such pieces already are in hand in the form of shortstop Alex Gonzalez, left-hander Mike Stanton and catcher Chad Moeller, but more action figures to be on the horizon at the winter meetings next week.

Compared with previous offseasons, the Reds have been more active early in the market, signing the above free agents and dealing Jason LaRue to Kansas City. That doesn't necessarily mean their work is done, even though it remains to be seen how much payroll flexibility they'll have moving forward.

Asked on the eve of Redsfest what his primary concerns are, manager Jerry Narron cited the fifth spot in the starting rotation and clarifying the closer situation.

It looks as if the Reds will once again enter spring training without a defined closer, even though Narron clearly would prefer a go-to guy at the end of games.

"I know the difference it was when Eddie Guardado came (in a July trade)," said Narron. "I know what a difference it made to me and what a difference it made to our players, too. I thought David Weathers did a great job for us early. He had that one stretch where he blew I think three saves in a row, and they were all tough spots - a one-run lead in all of them. A lot of guys would have done that. The difference when Eddie came in was it was a guy that had done it, wanted to be in that spot and had been successful in that spot."

For the time being, Narron said the Reds would go with the same setup they used after Guardado's season-ending elbow injury - a matchup-based pair of a left-hander and right-hander. Last season, those jobs fell to Scott Schoeneweis and Weathers, and there is still a possibility Weathers might return. Stanton would step in for Schoeneweis, but everything really is undetermined at this point.

"I'm sure Bill Bray would like to be a closer, Todd Coffey would like to be a closer - we've got some guys that would really like the opportunity to do it," said Narron. "As for right now, who's going to do it? We'll see when we get to Sarasota."

That's where the final rotation spot will be sorted out, too, barring the acquisition of another established starter to join Arroyo, Aaron Harang, Eric Milton and Kyle Lohse. Narron said Matt Belisle, a reliever the past two seasons, would be in the mix. Other in-house possibilities include Brandon Claussen, Elizardo Ramirez, Phil Dumatrait and the ultimate x-factor, Homer Bailey.

Most in the organization would prefer to start the 20-year-old Bailey in Louisville next April, but the top-rated prospect might force the Reds' hand.

"With Homer, he's going to come to spring training, he's going to get a chance to pitch some, and we'll see what happens," said Narron. "I know the smart thing to do would be probably to get him some time at Triple-A and go from there, but I think all of us will be open-minded about it. But definitely, no question, we want to do what's best for the long-term."

More generally, Narron said he hopes to continue refining the team's overall approach at the plate, moving toward more situational hitting and fundamentals.

"I think we've got to be more consistent offensively," he said. "We just can't have so many strikeouts; we've got to put the ball in play. We've got to do some things to score some runs besides hitting the ball out of the ballpark."

Even if the Reds manage to improve in that department and on defense - the primary goal of the Gonzalez signing - they figure to face a much more difficult challenge to make the playoffs next season. The Cardinals, Cubs and Astros already have splurged on talent upgrades, and it's left to the Reds to find a way to keep up.

"The money that's being thrown around is just ridiculous," said Arroyo. "I'm just hoping that our front office is making some good moves and they can put a team together that'll get us over the hump, because I do not expect the Cardinals to play as bad as they did last year. I think it's going to be a tougher division and we're going to need things to click for us, obviously, because we're not going to go out and sign guys for 15 million bucks a year. ...

"We've still got some time left, so hopefully we'll pick up a couple guys and the guys we have picked up already will hopefully come through for us."

Kc61
12-01-2006, 03:02 PM
Narron seems to want to give the closer spot to somebody who "would like to be a closer." He also seems to think that four rotation spots are set.

I hope he is kidding.

flyer85
12-01-2006, 03:14 PM
from Sheehan at BP


They may have the best player on the trade market in Adam Dunn, and I don’t know a single person who thinks, after last summer’s shenanigans, that they’ll get value for him. The Reds may be getting off track, focusing on batters’ strikeouts rather than overall offensive performance. If doing so causes them to deal Dunn on the cheap, they’ll be even worse next year. A true center fielder/leadoff man who would push Ken Griffey Jr. to center field would be the best fit, although I’m not volunteering to have the conversation with Junior about it.

cincy09
12-01-2006, 03:29 PM
Asked on the eve of Redsfest what his primary concerns are, manager Jerry Narron cited the fifth spot in the starting rotation and clarifying the closer situation.

The fifth spot in the rotation? Hey Jerry, how about the three and four spots!

flyer85
12-01-2006, 03:37 PM
The fifth spot in the rotation? Hey Jerry, how about the three and four spots!can you say Milton and Lohse ... love those Twins!!

NJReds
12-01-2006, 03:40 PM
can you say Milton and Lohse ... love those Twins!!

Short of cutting Milton, what do you propose we do with him? Buy out the last year of his contract?

As for Lohse, we're in agreement. I don't see the point of paying him what he's likely to haul in at an arbitration hearing. I wonder if he'd be a good closer? He's got decent stuff.

savafan
12-01-2006, 03:43 PM
He's got decent stuff.

Decent? I'd say he has great stuff, but can he harness it?

flyer85
12-01-2006, 03:48 PM
Short of cutting Milton, what do you propose we do with him? Buy out the last year of his contract?does it matter?

We all know what the Reds are going to do with him.

NJReds
12-01-2006, 04:02 PM
does it matter?

We all know what the Reds are going to do with him.

They don't have much of a choice. That's my point. You can say the same about Griffey.

flyer85
12-01-2006, 04:09 PM
They don't have much of a choice. they do have a choice but they are like most organizations, nobody wants to stand up and be responsible for the tough decisions.

NJReds
12-01-2006, 04:11 PM
they do have a choice but they are like most organizations, nobody wants to stand up and be responsible for the tough decisions.

So you'd cut him if you were the one making tough decisions?

flyer85
12-01-2006, 04:16 PM
So you'd cut him if you were the one making tough decisions?just like the Dbacks did Ortiz. The knee problems finished him, now with a damaged elbow it's time to go in another direction.

NJReds
12-01-2006, 04:25 PM
just like the Dbacks did Ortiz. The knee problems finished him, now with a damaged elbow it's time to go in another direction.

Gotcha, okay. You're right. They won't do that. Is he even going to be ready for spring training?

flyer85
12-01-2006, 04:26 PM
Gotcha, okay. You're right. They won't do that. Is he even going to be ready for spring training?I have heard nothing official. Best thing for the Reds may be if he isn't able to pitch in 2007.

Falls City Beer
12-01-2006, 04:47 PM
The FO wasted no time in enlisting Arroyo to the "go-the-cheap-route" cause. Cross your fingers, Bronson--you have no idea who's going to be called on to close your games.

Red Leader
12-01-2006, 04:51 PM
I still think that FA Miguel Batista makes a lot of sense for the Reds. I wouldn't mind giving him a 2 yr /$11M contract.

$5M first year with $6M team option for 2007 or $500K buyout.

Not in this market I wouldn't mind that.

Falls City Beer
12-01-2006, 04:55 PM
I still think that FA Miguel Batista makes a lot of sense for the Reds. I wouldn't mind giving him a 2 yr /$11M contract.

$5M first year with $6M team option for 2007 or $500K buyout.

Not in this market I wouldn't mind that.

He'd be alright, I guess. But he, like Padilla, could really suck it. However, I don't mind the idea of a 2 year deal--cuz Padilla's going to get 4 years at a minimum of 10 mill a year on average (escalating).

Red Leader
12-01-2006, 04:58 PM
He'd be alright, I guess. But he, like Padilla, could really suck it. However, I don't mind the idea of a 2 year deal--cuz Padilla's going to get 4 years at a minimum of 10 mill a year on average (escalating).

You are correct. All of the pitchers in the tier slightly above Batista (and I would argue they are all pretty much on the same tier) will get 4+ year contacts: Meche, Padilla, Lillly, etc., etc.

Batista I think you could get on a 1year with player option for 2nd year or 2 year with team option of 3rd year.

If he does suck it, he's got bullpen experience and would make a decent long or short man out of the pen. Overpriced, of course, but useful. No other FA pitchers would likely give you that flexibility.

Falls City Beer
12-01-2006, 05:02 PM
You are correct. All of the pitchers in the tier slightly above Batista (and I would argue they are all pretty much on the same tier) will get 4+ year contacts: Meche, Padilla, Lillly, etc., etc.

Batista I think you could get on a 1year with player option for 2nd year or 2 year with team option of 3rd year.

If he does suck it, he's got bullpen experience and would make a decent long or short man out of the pen. Overpriced, of course, but useful. No other FA pitchers would likely give you that flexibility.

I guess I just worry because his last year's numbers resemble Lohse's, with more BBs for Batista and more relative HRs for Lohse. Though I'd prefer a pitcher to have Batista's problem rather than Lohse's.

This team needs Transformers, not Go-Bots.

Doc. Scott
12-01-2006, 05:50 PM
The FO wasted no time in enlisting Arroyo to the "go-the-cheap-route" cause. Cross your fingers, Bronson--you have no idea who's going to be called on to close your games.

I'm surprised Bronson was willing to publicly ride that train, actually.

Falls City Beer
12-01-2006, 05:59 PM
I'm surprised Bronson was willing to publicly ride that train, actually.

Just to stoke Bronson's ego, I'd tell him that, frankly, there AREN'T other Bronsons out there to get this offseason (nor do we have the trading chips to get him if he were--unless we want to lose Bailey and/or Bruce).