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View Full Version : Hamilton might be out for the season (Trent)



CaiGuy
09-13-2007, 12:48 PM
Josh Hamilton has a mild strain of the left hamstring and will not take the Reds' roadtrip. It looks like he may be done for the season.
Looks like a lot of Hopper and Ellison from here on out.

BRM
09-13-2007, 12:49 PM
Looks like a lot of Hopper and Ellison from here on out.

You can get flogged for saying such things around here.

Falls City Beer
09-13-2007, 12:51 PM
Not liking Mr. Hamilton's frailty.

RedsManRick
09-13-2007, 12:53 PM
With most guys I would chalk this stuff up to bad luck, but you certainly have to wonder the toll his past lifestyle took on his body.

guttle11
09-13-2007, 12:55 PM
Not liking Mr. Hamilton's frailty.

Me either.

But he sat out 4 years. He had never went through the grind of advanced professional baseball. Let's see how he does after taking some time off and then preparing for a second season.

I'd be shocked if he is this injury prone next year.

Falls City Beer
09-13-2007, 12:57 PM
It's kind of hard to tell in the games I've watched him in, but doesn't Hamilton have a ripped, Reggie Sanders-esque body? That could be why he's prone to injury.

M2
09-13-2007, 12:58 PM
Not liking Mr. Hamilton's frailty.

IMO, it makes it impossible to pencil him for a starting position next season. Also, for the record, he was frail before his four year hiatus too. This isn't new with him.

Dependent on what deals get made, he might get first crack at a starting position by default, but the team needs to come up with a quality backup plan in that case. Then again, Hamilton could be one of those deals that get made.

toledodan
09-13-2007, 12:58 PM
With most guys I would chalk this stuff up to bad luck, but you certainly have to wonder the toll his past lifestyle took on his body.



while alot of that may be true in fairness to josh he hasn't played a full season in many years. i would compare it to a high school basketball player playing his first year of college hitting that freshman wall. in josh's case his body just isn't holding up and he needs to prepare himself for a full season next year. if josh can't keep himself healthy next season than there may be a problem.

Cyclone792
09-13-2007, 01:00 PM
With most guys I would chalk this stuff up to bad luck, but you certainly have to wonder the toll his past lifestyle took on his body.

I think this offseason is going to be a vital one for Hamilton. I'm also concerned about what kind of damage his past actions did to his body, but at the same time I'm actually kind of impressed that Hamilton still managed to tally 340 plate appearances. Relative to other professional ballplayers, Hamilton entered spring training not really in baseball shape since he didn't have the entire offseason to prepare like a regular player would.

If Hamilton can get himself on a great training regime this offseason while also getting healthy, it would be phenomenal. I'll be curious to hear if Dunn and Bruce get together again this offseason like they did last winter, and if that happens, perhaps they could have Hamilton join them. Whatever Dunn and Bruce did together last winter, something clicked and worked considering the types of seasons each of them produced.

Falls City Beer
09-13-2007, 01:00 PM
IMO, it makes it impossible to pencil him for a starting position next season. Also, for the record, he was frail before his four year hiatus too. This isn't new with him.

Dependent on what deals get made, he might get first crack at a starting position by default, but the team needs to come up with a quality backup plan in that case. Then again, Hamilton could be one of those deals that get made.

And it puts such a fine point on how important a guy like Dunn is to this franchise--pencil Adam in--every single day.

fearofpopvol1
09-13-2007, 01:00 PM
Having Hopper in the lineup as a replacement isn't the worst alternative...but please no Jason Ellison.

M2
09-13-2007, 01:05 PM
Play Chris Dickerson.

BRM
09-13-2007, 01:06 PM
From Fay:



Josh Hamilton has a mild right hamstring strain. At this point, that probably ends his season. He's not going on the 11-day road trip. Asked if Hamilton would play again this season, Pete Mackanin said: "It's hard to guess. I wouldn't think so."

Alex Gonzalez has a bone bruise of the left knee. It's unrelated to ball he took off the shin Sunday. He is going on the trip. He's listed as day-to-day.

Norris Hopper will get the bulk of the time in center. Mackanin said he may take a look at Buck Coats.

BRM
09-13-2007, 01:06 PM
Play Chris Dickerson.

You would think this would be an opportune time to give him a look.

CaiGuy
09-13-2007, 01:10 PM
You would think this would be an opportune time to give him a look.

...as well as seeing what Mr. Buck Coats is all about. Anybody but Ellison. See what anybody with some upside might do.

RedsManRick
09-13-2007, 01:12 PM
It might really make some sense to simply plan on a Hamilton/Hopper(or Freel) platoon. Both have shown big time splits and it would do good to keep Hamilton fresh.

I know it's a small sample size, but Hamilton is 1.028 OPS vR (36 K, 25 BB) and .588 OPS vL (29 K, 8 BB).

Hopper has similar splits. I will say though, Hopper has an insane .411 BABIP vL this year. Something very interesting in his splits.

vR: .126 K/PA, .071 BB/PA
vL: .046 K/PA, .054 BB/PA

It's not just the BABIP vL, it's that he puts the ball in play a lot against lefties. I'm guess that's because that's when he's drag bunting. The lefty's momentum carries him away from the 1st base line, so Hopper is using the drag bunt against them quite often. When he's forced to swing away, his K rate sky rockets. Again, tiny samples, but interesting.

oneupper
09-13-2007, 01:21 PM
Freel, please no.

Freel was awful against the lefties this year.

I mean .422 OPS AWFUL. Career splits aren't as bad, but nothing seems to indicate he'd be good in a platoon vs. lefties.

M2
09-13-2007, 01:43 PM
Freel, please no.

Freel was awful against the lefties this year.

I mean .422 OPS AWFUL. Career splits aren't as bad, but nothing seems to indicate he'd be good in a platoon vs. lefties.

Freel's three-year splits vs. southpaws from 2004-2006 were .278/.401/.384. I'd say platoon vs. LHPs and bench player vs. RHPs might be his optimal use moving forward.

oneupper
09-13-2007, 01:49 PM
Freel's three-year splits vs. southpaws from 2004-2006 were .278/.401/.384. I'd say platoon vs. LHPs and bench player vs. RHPs might be his optimal use moving forward.

They tried that this year (2007). Didn't work.

Same size was small, granted.. 112 AB...but by no means insignificant.
(its practically the most he's had in a year vs. LH).

I wouldn't disregard those ABs so quickly.

There could be something fundamentally wrong in Freels approach vs LH or the league's LH found a hole in his swing.
(I noticed they would pound him inside... who knows?)

M2
09-13-2007, 02:02 PM
They tried that this year (2007). Didn't work.

Actually, they started him as the everyday CF. Then he got some regular work at 3B when Encarnacion got demoted. He's got more PAs vs. RHPs than LHPs. Granted, he had a dog of a season vs. LHPs, but any hole in his swing would be there vs. RHPs too. The larger question is whether Freel's on a steep downward decline. He's never had power and he's become a downright liability on the bases (rarely will you ever see a player go from great baserunner to calamity so quickly). Even if he can reclaim his OB skills a bit, can he combine that with anything else?

If he can reclaim his wheels a bit though, it's vs. LHPs where he's likely to make most of his hay.

HumnHilghtFreel
09-13-2007, 02:07 PM
All replacement player talk aside, it's too bad that it's over early, but congrats to Josh Hamilton for a stupendous debut season, even without his story included. I hope to see him come back stronger than ever next year.

KronoRed
09-13-2007, 02:23 PM
Looks like a lot of Hopper and Ellison from here on out.

For every start Ellison gets Mack should be fired :D

dfs
09-13-2007, 03:28 PM
IMO, it makes it impossible to pencil him for a starting position next season. Also, for the record, he was frail before his four year hiatus too. This isn't new with him.

Dependent on what deals get made, he might get first crack at a starting position by default, but the team needs to come up with a quality backup plan in that case. Then again, Hamilton could be one of those deals that get made.

Dunn, Junior, Bruce, Hamilton, Freel, Hopper and potentially by midseason next year Dorn. ....Lots of outfielder. Lots of left handed outfielders. The only one of those that I'm willing to pencil in as a full time starter next year would be Dunn because they can't deal him during the offseason.

The reds have reached a point where they have enough depth that they don't have to look on the scrap heap to fill needs (although they should continue to do that as well.) They can actually trade surplus to fill areas where they are weak. That hasn't been the case since they had the four headed outfield problem with Kearns/WMP/Dunn and Junior.

Wayne made the right call there. I'm hoping that this offseason he can work similar magic. There's a hole 2-3 guys deep in the starting rotation. He's got to come up with something to fill it.

It was fun to have a storybook season from Hamilton. You gotta root for the guy.

flyer85
09-13-2007, 06:44 PM
Not liking Mr. Hamilton's frailty.I took quite a bit of abuse earlier this year for pointing out the fact that his minor league career was injury riddled.

Heath
09-13-2007, 11:10 PM
I took quite a bit of abuse earlier this year for pointing out the fact that his minor league career was injury riddled.

What minor league career? Small sample size. Car wreck didn't help either.

I doubt they send him to winter ball or Arizona. He had one heck of a year. You can never discount that.

Come back healthy, Mr. Hamilton.

Blitz Dorsey
09-14-2007, 01:14 AM
Not liking Mr. Hamilton's frailty.

The irony of someone with Eric Davis' pic in their avitar making that comment...

The_jbh
09-14-2007, 01:29 AM
you have to remember that the reds are in the position where they can be as conservative as possible with Hamilton. He told us a week ago he could play... the reds are likely saying... you havent played in 3+ years... you had an excelent season for a guy in those circumstances... and we want to rely on you next year. Lets sit you, let you condition this offseason, and be prepared for next year

if the reds were in a pennant race I guarentee hamilton would have started the last week

bucksfan2
09-14-2007, 09:20 AM
I want Hamiton in the lineup every day. I dont see the value in platooning him. I see value in giving him a day off. Next year I would bet that he will be more healthy and I think he will get into a better baseball grove. IMO the righty lefty matchup is used way too much in today's game and regardless of who you are facing you need to be in the lineup. I like Hopper and think he is a good 4th outfielder. I dislike Freel and don't think he has much value on the reds anymore. What I dont want to see is Freel or Hopper taking away at bats from Hamilton on a regular basis.

mbgrayson
09-14-2007, 10:37 AM
From the Friday 9/14/07 Post:



Hamilton may be done for season

By C. Trent Rosecrans
Post staff reporter

The remarkable rookie season of Reds center fielder Josh Hamilton may be over. Hamilton was diagnosed with a mild strain of his right hamstring on Thursday and will not make the Reds' final road trip of the season, beginning today in Milwaukee.

When asked if Hamilton would play again this season, interim manager Pete Mackanin said, "I don't know. It would be hard for me to guess. I wouldn't think so. We'll just wait and see. I'm just happy it's not a more serious injury."

Hamilton sat out the last two games of this past weekend's series with the Brewers to rest his hamstring. Hamilton played on Tuesday and then left the game in the fifth inning on Wednesday while running out a grounder.

Hamilton underwent an MRI on Thursday morning and arrived at Great American Ball Park before Thursday's game on crutches.

Norris Hopper will likely start the rest of the season in center field. The Reds' Opening Day center fielder, Ryan Freel, has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7 and underwent season-ending knee surgery last month.

Hamilton played in 90 games this season, hitting .292 with 18 home runs and 47 RBIs.

The 90 games represent the second-highest total in Hamilton's professional career. He played in 96 games for Class A Charleston, S.C., in his second professional season after being selected with the first overall pick in the 1999 draft.

The next six seasons were limited by a combination of injuries and suspensions for drug abuse. Since the 2000 season, Hamilton had played in 98 games over three seasons and sat out three seasons on the restricted list.

The Reds acquired Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft last December. Despite battling shin splints for the entire spring training, Hamilton established himself as more than a roster filler and eventually took over the starting role in center field.

With the Reds, Hamilton has had two trips to the disabled list, the first in May with gastroenteritis and the second in July with a right wrist injury.

Earlier this week Hamilton said his hamstring had been hurting him for about a month. Hamilton didn't speak to the media before or after Thursday's game.

Hamilton's absence will mean more playing time for Hopper, who has struggled to find time in the regular rotation alongside Hamilton, Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., despite hitting .425 last month and .333 on the season.

Hopper went 4-for-5 on Thursday.

"Coming out of spring training I knew my job as a fourth, fifth outfielder, there's nothing I can do about that," Hopper said. "Josh got hurt and it's unfortunate, but now I've got an opportunity to play. I want to put it in the back of their head that I'm still around and I can get the job done."



I would just add that Hamilton also played in 11 games at AAA this year, so actually this is the most baseball he has ever played in at the professional level; 101 games.

flyer85
09-14-2007, 10:48 AM
this is the most baseball he has ever played in at the professional level; 101 games.
don't worry though, he doesn't have a track record for being injured. BTW, Josh had injury problems as a 19, 20 and 21 year old in the minors before the drug issues took hold.

lollipopcurve
09-14-2007, 11:03 AM
At this point in his career, Hamilton's health history should have nothing to do with whether he's a platoon or full-time player. You have to try to give him a chance to work his way into regular duty. He's that talented, and he gives you good defense, especially if they have him in a corner spot.

He's going to need rest, sure, and it makes sense to do that when facing a lefty from time to time, but to consign him to a strict platoon in 08 is short-sighted.

flyer85
09-14-2007, 11:10 AM
At this point in his career, Hamilton's health history should have nothing to do with whether he's a platoon or full-time player.that is true. However, the Reds need to make sure they have a Plan B due to his injury history and other issues.

BRM
09-14-2007, 11:12 AM
that is true. However, the Reds need to make sure they have a Plan B due to his injury history and other issues.

Plan B is Norris Hopper and Ryan Freel.

flyer85
09-14-2007, 11:13 AM
Plan B is Norris Hopper and Ryan Freel.that is more like plan Z. for 2008, I would hope Jay Bruce is plan B.

lollipopcurve
09-14-2007, 11:13 AM
that is true. However, the Reds need to make sure they have a Plan B due to his injury history and other issues.

absolutely -- he seems a very high injury risk

BRM
09-14-2007, 11:15 AM
that is more like plan Z.

Well, it's the likely plan nonetheless. I doubt Wayne is going to look for another outfielder this winter unless he trades Dunn or Junior.

Falls City Beer
09-14-2007, 11:19 AM
The irony of someone with Eric Davis' pic in their avitar making that comment...

True. But Davis' injuries didn't start to have a deep effect on his game until late in his Cincy career and after he left Cincinnati. And many of them were the result of on-the-field dings and knocks. Josh's just sort of "happen" without precipitating events.

puca
09-14-2007, 11:56 AM
True. But Davis' injuries didn't start to have a deep effect on his game until late in his Cincy career and after he left Cincinnati. And many of them were the result of on-the-field dings and knocks. Josh's just sort of "happen" without precipitating events.

I'm not sure I understand. Other than the illness Hamilton went through early this season, what injuries did Josh sustain that weren't the result of on-the-field dings and knocks? Maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but I thought his other injuries occured during the course of playing the game.

I agree that the injuries didn't deeply effect ED's game while he was with the Reds. However I don't have any complaint about Josh's game when he is able to play.

Should we count on Josh to play 140 games next year? Probably not. But I'm sure glad to have him on this team. Especially at the salary he will be paid.

lollipopcurve
09-14-2007, 12:10 PM
But I'm sure glad to have him on this team. Especially at the salary he will be paid.

I'm happy to have real talented players, period. I don't care how much they're paid.

Falls City Beer
09-14-2007, 12:32 PM
I'm not sure I understand. Other than the illness Hamilton went through early this season, what injuries did Josh sustain that weren't the result of on-the-field dings and knocks? Maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but I thought his other injuries occured during the course of playing the game.

I agree that the injuries didn't deeply effect ED's game while he was with the Reds. However I don't have any complaint about Josh's game when he is able to play.

Should we count on Josh to play 140 games next year? Probably not. But I'm sure glad to have him on this team. Especially at the salary he will be paid.

Who said I'm not happy to have Hamilton? Just concerned about his frailty, that's all. A legitimate concern, especially if the belief is that he's going to be an everyday player.

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 12:50 PM
Puca, isn't it possible that years of drug abuse have done some damage to Hamilton's body such that he's more likely to get injured during the course of normal baseball activity. I'm no doctor, so I really don't know if it's a reasonable hypothesis or not, but it's seems logical to me.

westofyou
09-14-2007, 01:05 PM
True. But Davis' injuries didn't start to have a deep effect on his game until late in his Cincy career and after he left Cincinnati. And many of them were the result of on-the-field dings and knocks. Josh's just sort of "happen" without precipitating events.

Really?

Not exactly how I remember it

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Eric_Davis_1962


The following year his numbers would drop to .273 with 26 home runs and 86 RBIs in virtually the same number of at-bats. Nagging injury problems cost him a step on the bases, but he still had 35 steals, in the process swiping 33 straight without being thrown out.

Roy Tucker
09-14-2007, 01:14 PM
Really?

Not exactly how I remember it

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Eric_Davis_1962

Yeah, I was going to make this comment too. Davis' career with the Reds (v1) was one with constant nagging injuries which limited his playing time. I think 135 games and ~450AB was his max.

And he was a player that just couldn't play well with injuries which he took a hammering from both Cincy press and fans. It wasn't because of lack of courage or will, it was just the type of talent his body gave him was an all or nothing thing.

It was the v2 of ED was when Cincinnati took him to heart. His first round was a Dunn-ish hate war from press and fans because of his fragility.

RFS62
09-14-2007, 01:14 PM
If anyone had asked me the day we picked him up if I'd be happy with the season Josh just put up, I'd say "absolutely, are you kidding?"

It's been an unqualified success. Take a look at the big picture here, folks.

I too am worried about his long term health prospects. But I'm overjoyed at the way it's worked out so far, both for the Reds and personally for Josh.

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 01:20 PM
I don't think anybody is complaining about his production RFS. Nobody wants to run him out of town or make him a bench player. The question is, what are reasonable expectations for his health moving forward? Would it be prudent to count on him as a full-time starter, given his injury history and severe platoon splits, albeit in limited playing time?

There was a comment on BP yesterday regarding this very question, specifically mentioning Milton Bradley. The thought was that you absolutely should be interested in the services of a player like this, but you should plan for the eventuality that they will miss a fair number of games and have a solid replacement available.

Given Freel's 3 year split vL (.278/.401/.384) and his need to stay healthy as well, I don't see a problem with giving Hamilton a regular blow against lefties.

M2
09-14-2007, 01:23 PM
The irony of someone with Eric Davis' pic in their avitar making that comment...

From 1986-1990 Davis was a good bit sturdier than Hamilton was this season.

Count me among those thrilled with Hamilton's performance, but also count me among those who aren't going to get carried away by it. Right now Josh Hamilton is a very good 4th OF. Perhaps he'll get the chance to be more next season. Perhaps he won't. Perhaps that chance will come in another city.

RFS62
09-14-2007, 01:24 PM
I don't think anybody is complaining RFS. The question is, what are reasonable expectations for his health moving forward? Would it be prudent to count on him as a full-time starter, given his injury history and severe platoon splits, albeit in limited playing time?




Yeah, I know. I share those concerns.

I'm just looking back on everything that's happened with this kid and thinking that even if it ended today, it's been a tremendous success for him.

His personal life is infinitely more important than anything baseball related. I guess that's what I was focusing on.

Chip R
09-14-2007, 01:25 PM
Yeah, I was going to make this comment too. Davis' career with the Reds (v1) was one with constant nagging injuries which limited his playing time. I think 135 games and ~450AB was his max.

And he was a player that just couldn't play well with injuries which he took a hammering from both Cincy press and fans. It wasn't because of lack of courage or will, it was just the type of talent his body gave him was an all or nothing thing.

It was the v2 of ED was when Cincinnati took him to heart. His first round was a Dunn-ish hate war from press and fans because of his fragility.


Does anyone else get the perception that fans in general are more accepting of players who don't play all the time than, say, 20 years ago? That's not to say they don't appreciate the ones who play every day but they are less critical of players who don't. Freel is a good example. People say he's not an every day player and there's no malice behind the statement. It's "We love him but he can't play every day." Even as scrappy as Freel is, I tend to think fans wouldn't have been as accepting of his "frailty".

TOBTTReds
09-14-2007, 01:31 PM
Does anyone else get the perception that fans in general are more accepting of players who don't play all the time than, say, 20 years ago? That's not to say they don't appreciate the ones who play every day but they are less critical of players who don't. Freel is a good example. People say he's not an every day player and there's no malice behind the statement. It's "We love him but he can't play every day." Even as scrappy as Freel is, I tend to think fans wouldn't have been as accepting of his "frailty".

I think it is more accepted now because it happens to so many more players. Back in the day, every starter expected to start 29 out 30 games or more. Now though, there is such an emphasis on rest and being healthy, that almost everyone gets frequent days off, for injury or not.

Also bodies are just very different now and a bit more fragile. Players are much less flexible than in the past, just due to muscle gains. I bet there are 10 times more hamstring, quad, and biceps injuries this year than there were in any 5 year span prior to 1990.

Also, the personalities have changed. These guys are lavish stars. I don't think a lot of gritty players would sit out for the minor injuries that guys sit out for now. Not that Freel is in that group, becuase he would try to play with one leg. There aren't too many "Nails" type of players anymore.

puca
09-14-2007, 01:52 PM
Who said I'm not happy to have Hamilton? Just concerned about his frailty, that's all. A legitimate concern, especially if the belief is that he's going to be an everyday player.

I agree his health is a legitimate concern, I just didn't get the implication that somehow Hamilton's injuries were not occuring on the baseball field. Maybe they are a result of past abuse, but maybe he just has they type of body that breaks down more often. In that sense I think ED is a fair comparison.

It's fine to pencil Hamilton in as a starter, but, until he can prove otherwise, I think you must assume he will miss a significant amount of time with injuries. That means you have to carry a pretty good 4th outfielder that can step in and play everyday for 2 weeks at a time or have a wonderkind available at AAA. Lukily the Reds certainly appear to have the latter and maybe even the former. It would be less of a deal if you didn't have another health question mark in RF.

flyer85
09-14-2007, 01:55 PM
I agree his health is a legitimate concern, I just didn't get the implication that somehow Hamilton's injuries were not occuring on the baseball field. Maybe they are a result of past abuse, but maybe he just has they type of body that breaks down more often.We don't really know why. It is what it is. We just know that he has never had anything close to a complete season and the older he gets the less likely it is to occur.

puca
09-14-2007, 01:59 PM
From 1986-1990 Davis was a good bit sturdier than Hamilton was this season.

Count me among those thrilled with Hamilton's performance, but also count me among those who aren't going to get carried away by it. Right now Josh Hamilton is a very good 4th OF. Perhaps he'll get the chance to be more next season. Perhaps he won't. Perhaps that chance will come in another city.

I don't really agree with that. Sure Davis had more ABs those seasons that Hamilton had this year, but remember that Josh was often a healthy scratch. Josh also spent the maximum time in the minors on rehab.

I think Josh has shown he is much more than a 4th outfielder. On this team he should play when he is healthy - which is why I don't consider him a 4th outfielder. I agree though that you have to assume he will miss a significant amount of time due to injuries.

indy_dave00
09-14-2007, 02:04 PM
Considering 4 years of not playing and the abuse Josh Hamilton subjected his body to 90 games his first year back is not bad. Josh is a starting quality outfielder , please don't give me Norris Hopper should start. There is a reason the soon to be 29 year old Hopper has never been a reg in the majors , he has too many short comings but he's a perfect 4th or 5th outfielder.

The future is Josh Hamilton and Jay Bruce their skill levels overall are superior to Freel and Hopper.

puca
09-14-2007, 02:05 PM
Puca, isn't it possible that years of drug abuse have done some damage to Hamilton's body such that he's more likely to get injured during the course of normal baseball activity. I'm no doctor, so I really don't know if it's a reasonable hypothesis or not, but it's seems logical to me.

It's certainly possible. Drug use plus poor eating habits during that time could cause all kinds of long term damage. Although I think it is just as likely that Josh has the type of body that is too tightly strung. By reports he is fairly 'ripped'. Maybe it's genetic, maybe it is a result of his conditioning. It would be a fascinating study.

puca
09-14-2007, 02:16 PM
We don't really know why. It is what it is. We just know that he has never had anything close to a complete season and the older he gets the less likely it is to occur.

Yep.

Yet I'll gladly take 120 games of Josh Hamilton and 40 games of Norris Hopper/Ryan Freel than 160 games of most other OFs (espcially CFs). I especially don't worry if I have Jay Bruce sitting at AAA.

CaiGuy
09-14-2007, 02:38 PM
The Reds should be very leery of dealing away their outfield "surplus" because, when you have an outfield featuring Griffey and Hamilton as starters, you are going to need some good depth there.

Additionally, Hamilton's health isn't his only danger. You always have that risk of relapse that could land him back where he started.

flyer85
09-14-2007, 02:42 PM
Additionally, Hamilton's health isn't his only danger. You always have that risk of relapse that could land him back where he started.not even really a relapse, just one small mistake and he'll be gone for at least a year. Hamilton is very high risk as far as PT is concerned. With Bruce in the pipeline and proven hitter in Dunn, a smart GM would attempt to sign Dunn to a 3 year extension and see what Hamilton would bring in a trade.

M2
09-14-2007, 02:55 PM
I don't really agree with that. Sure Davis had more ABs those seasons that Hamilton had this year, but remember that Josh was often a healthy scratch. Josh also spent the maximum time in the minors on rehab.

I think Josh has shown he is much more than a 4th outfielder. On this team he should play when he is healthy - which is why I don't consider him a 4th outfielder. I agree though that you have to assume he will miss a significant amount of time due to injuries.

Three times Hamilton's broken down after roughly a month of regular work (4/10-5/18, 6/5-7/7, 8/12-9/12). He only played 11 games in AAA, so it doesn't really affect the timelines. That's some fairly notable fragility. It may not continue, but it may. Seeing that the season lasts six months, his inability to make it much past one month ought to be of concern.

As for 4th OF, if you're a platoon bat who breaks down three times a year, then you're a de facto 4th OF. I've got nothing bad to say about a good 300-350 plate appearances, but that's not what a starting OF does. Beyond that, if the Reds make no moves this offseason then the starting OF in 2008 will be Dunn/Bruce/Jr. with Hamilton as the 4th guy. As I said above, Hamilton may get the opportunity to do more next season. I'd just recommend the club have a strong backup option (something I'd pretty much recommend anyway) if that's the case. Right now, Hamilton is the strong backup option.

lollipopcurve
09-14-2007, 03:14 PM
Beyond that, if the Reds make no moves this offseason then the starting OF in 2008 will be Dunn/Bruce/Jr. with Hamilton as the 4th guy.

No chance, in my opinion. Bruce will not start over Hamilton, if Hamilton is healthy, to start next year. Bruce's in is a trade of Griffey, or Dunn hitting free agency.

Chip R
09-14-2007, 03:18 PM
not even really a relapse, just one small mistake and he'll be gone for at least a year.


I think he's pretty much gone for good if he fouls up.

flyer85
09-14-2007, 03:36 PM
I think he's pretty much gone for good if he fouls up.Using the Steve Howe precedent I don't think anyone is gone for good.

M2
09-14-2007, 03:41 PM
No chance, in my opinion. Bruce will not start over Hamilton, if Hamilton is healthy, to start next year. Bruce's in is a trade of Griffey, or Dunn hitting free agency.

So you'd keep the minor league player of the year, and likely your best defensive CF, bottled up in AAA? You'd leave the potential Rookie of the Year to tear apart a level he's already torn apart so that you could start Josh Hamilton? Not me. Jay Bruce would play where Jay Bruce should play and all others would have to settle in around him.

I could see the Reds doing it, mind you. Just wouldn't have many good things to say about it.

Now I fully realize that the Reds probably aren't coming back with Jr., Dunn, Hamilton and Bruce in tow, but I'd also add Hamilton to the list of OFs who might not be back.

BRM
09-14-2007, 03:43 PM
Now I fully realize that the Reds probably aren't coming back with Jr., Dunn, Hamilton and Bruce in tow, but I'd also add Hamilton to the list of OFs who might not be back.

I know what you are saying but honestly, I'd be shocked if Wayne traded Josh Hamilton this winter.

Chip R
09-14-2007, 03:44 PM
Using the Steve Howe precedent I don't think anyone is gone for good.

There are new rules in place now and a different regime in charge.

lollipopcurve
09-14-2007, 03:47 PM
So you'd keep the minor league player of the year, and likely your best defensive CF, bottled up in AAA? You'd leave the potential Rookie of the Year to tear apart a level he's already torn apart so that you could start Josh Hamilton? Not me. Jay Bruce would play where Jay Bruce should play and all others would have to settle in around him.

I could see the Reds doing it, mind you. Just wouldn't have many good things to say about it.

Now I fully realize that the Reds probably aren't coming back with Jr., Dunn, Hamilton and Bruce in tow, but I'd also add Hamilton to the list of OFs who might not be back.

Your claim was that the Griffey/Bruce/Dunn OF would happen if the Reds made no changes. I said it was not what would happen if the Reds made no changes. Now you're saying this is what I'd advocate? Come on, man.

M2
09-14-2007, 04:38 PM
Your claim was that the Griffey/Bruce/Dunn OF would happen if the Reds made no changes. I said it was not what would happen if the Reds made no changes. Now you're saying this is what I'd advocate? Come on, man.

Actually, per the question mark, I was asking if that's what you advocate (I sort of doubt you do). Come on indeed.

I'll admit I can envision the Reds looking to bury Bruce in the minors for the first half of 2008, but I figure a solid Spring Training from him on the heels of a winter of "Jay Bruce is coming" proclamations will make that difficult to impossible to do it, especially if the team isn't playing that well. If the Reds come back next season with their biggest bat (Dunn), a Hall of Famer (Jr.), the hottest prospect in the minors (Bruce) and the Hobbsian Josh Hamilton, I figure Hobbs sits on the bench. At some point even the Reds have to bend to reason, don't they?

CaiGuy
09-14-2007, 04:42 PM
I don't think it matters, for it is highly unlikely that all of them are heathy for all of 2008.

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 05:00 PM
Actually, per the question mark, I was asking if that's what you advocate (I sort of doubt you do). Come on indeed.

I'll admit I can envision the Reds looking to bury Bruce in the minors for the first half of 2008, but I figure a solid Spring Training from him on the heels of a winter of "Jay Bruce is coming" proclamations will make that difficult to impossible to do it, especially if the team isn't playing that well. If the Reds come back next season with their biggest bat (Dunn), a Hall of Famer (Jr.), the hottest prospect in the minors (Bruce) and the Hobbsian Josh Hamilton, I figure Hobbs sits on the bench. At some point even the Reds have to bend to reason, don't they?

I think it's a lot easier, PR wise, to explain why Bruce needs another few months at AAA than it is to describe why a healthy Josh Hamilton, on the heels of 350 PA of a .922 OPS, is getting pinch hitting duty.

Assuming on major trades in the offseason, Bruce starts in AAA and comes up when/if Junior or Dunn is dealt. If neither are dealt and everybody stays healthy, he doesn't come up until September. Call it the Joey Votto plan.

At least that's what I'd do. I definitely want both Hammy and Bruce getting regular at bats.

Chip R
09-14-2007, 05:31 PM
I think I stated this earlier but the Reds can option Hamilton next year. If you think Bruce is the man and you can't move Jr. or Dunn, why not just let Josh go to AAA? He can work on hitting lefties there and when Dunn and/or Jr are moved or depart, you bring him back up.

redsmetz
09-14-2007, 05:32 PM
I think it's a lot easier, PR wise, to explain why Bruce needs another few months at AAA than it is to describe why a healthy Josh Hamilton, on the heels of 350 PA of a .922 OPS, is getting pinch hitting duty.

Assuming on major trades in the offseason, Bruce starts in AAA and comes up when/if Junior or Dunn is dealt. If neither are dealt and everybody stays healthy, he doesn't come up until September. Call it the Joey Votto plan.

At least that's what I'd do. I definitely want both Hammy and Bruce getting regular at bats.

I think you're hitting the nail right on the head. I'm inclined to think Griffey will be moved, assuming he approves, either over the winter or some time up to the deadline. I think they'll be in no rush to bring Bruce up until the logjam is eased. And I certainly agree that they will not be touting Bruce all winter. Krivsky seems to keep a lowkey on advancing minor leaguers thus far.

lollipopcurve
09-14-2007, 05:49 PM
Actually, per the question mark, I was asking if that's what you advocate. Come on indeed.

I'll admit I can envision the Reds looking to bury Bruce in the minors for the first half of 2008, but I figure a solid Spring Training from him on the heels of a winter of "Jay Bruce is coming" proclamations will make that difficult to impossible to do it, especially if the team isn't playing that well. If the Reds come back next season with their biggest bat (Dunn), a Hall of Famer (Jr.), the hottest prospect in the minors (Bruce) and the Hobbsian Josh Hamilton, I figure Hobbs sits on the bench. At some point even the Reds have to bend to reason, don't they?

OK, I gotcha.

First of all, if the Reds come back with all 4 of these guys, it's a mistake, in my view. I'd be looking to deal Griffey and his 590+ HRs to the Mariners or Lou Piniella. Then the Reds can open with Bruce in CF and Hamilton in RF.

If they've got all 4 and all are healthy, I'd keep Bruce in AAA playing every day until
a) Griffey is traded or hurt
b) Hamilton is hurt
c) Dunn, if not signed to a LTC, is traded (store opens 6/15)

Worst case scenario for Bruce: everybody stays healthy and no one is tradeable. Would I keep Bruce playing every day in AAA till September? Yeah, I would, I guess, assuming Dunn, Hamilton and Griffey are all performing at the plate. But I think it's really unlikely to play out that way, and, as I said, I'd be working hard this offseason to deal Griffey.

Bottom line: regular ABs for both Hamilton and Bruce.

As an aside, I'm real curious about the timing of the big decisions the Reds have to make. When must they decide on Dunn's option? If it's soon, I hope they quickly put themselves in a position to answer a couple of questions -- a) does Dunn have any interest in being in Cincy beyond 08? and b) what's the market for Griffey?

A. Very encouraging that Castellini met with Dunn. I'm optimistic they're going to have a clear understanding of what they can and can't hope for beyond 2008 with him.

B. I'm hoping they see Griffey getting to 600 as a selling point, not as a 2008 promotion. Coming off a healthy 07 and closing in on 600 puts Junior at peak tradeability.

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 06:17 PM
Interesting thought regarding Griffey and the Cubs - or Dunn and the Cubs after June 15th. Cubs do need some LH power and a RF, and there's the Pinella connection. Plus they have the money. Meanwhile, they have a spare bullpen arm and an unappreciated RH corner OF.

Griffey/Dunn for Wuertz, Murton, and Prospect X? Cubs will be in compete now mode and don't see either Wuertz or Murton as critical pieces. Reds get some talent certainty in a solid middle reliever and great 4th OF and RH platoon bat. Plus, hopefully, a prospect with some upside.

I really like the idea of having Murton around as a platoon partner for Hamilton/Bruce as necessary. I can picture it -- Junior gets #600 as a Red in late April. By mid-May, Jay Bruce is destroying AAA and the Reds are already 6 games out. Griffey approves a trade to Chicago (he already has agreed to it in principal over the winter -- he just didn't want to go to ST in Arizona) and helps lead them to the WS he couldn't get with Pinella in Seatlte. Meanwhile, while the Reds get as much value as they can possibly hope for and Junior gets to leave on good terms.

Wait, it would require the dreaded "trade within the division" and Krivsky would get killed by casual fans and the sports radio crowd... nevermind.

M2
09-14-2007, 06:25 PM
I think it's a lot easier, PR wise, to explain why Bruce needs another few months at AAA than it is to describe why a healthy Josh Hamilton, on the heels of 350 PA of a .922 OPS, is getting pinch hitting duty.

Nah, that one's easy. Resident masher in left. Best young player in baseball in center. Hall of famer in right. Josh Hamilton sits. Michael Tucker had an .892 OPS in 2000. Alex Ochoa was .964 that season. Jeff Hammonds had an .870 OPS in 1999. Jon Nunnally had a 1.002 OPS in 1997. Jacob Brumfield had a .906 OPS in 1994. None of them would have started over a Dunn, Bruce or Jr. either.

M2
09-14-2007, 06:31 PM
OK, I gotcha.

First of all, if the Reds come back with all 4 of these guys, it's a mistake, in my view. I'd be looking to deal Griffey and his 590+ HRs to the Mariners or Lou Piniella. Then the Reds can open with Bruce in CF and Hamilton in RF.

If they've got all 4 and all are healthy, I'd keep Bruce in AAA playing every day until
a) Griffey is traded or hurt
b) Hamilton is hurt
c) Dunn, if not signed to a LTC, is traded (store opens 6/15)

Worst case scenario for Bruce: everybody stays healthy and no one is tradeable. Would I keep Bruce playing every day in AAA till September? Yeah, I would, I guess, assuming Dunn, Hamilton and Griffey are all performing at the plate. But I think it's really unlikely to play out that way, and, as I said, I'd be working hard this offseason to deal Griffey.

Bottom line: regular ABs for both Hamilton and Bruce.

As an aside, I'm real curious about the timing of the big decisions the Reds have to make. When must they decide on Dunn's option? If it's soon, I hope they quickly put themselves in a position to answer a couple of questions -- a) does Dunn have any interest in being in Cincy beyond 08? and b) what's the market for Griffey?

A. Very encouraging that Castellini met with Dunn. I'm optimistic they're going to have a clear understanding of what they can and can't hope for beyond 2008 with him.

B. I'm hoping they see Griffey getting to 600 as a selling point, not as a 2008 promotion. Coming off a healthy 07 and closing in on 600 puts Junior at peak tradeability.

I'm with you on Jr. Common sense dictates that the oldest guy should be the one to go on a team that's still rebuilding.

I don't delay Bruce for anything. If he's ready he plays and I'm totally fine with having talent on the bench, got zero problem with that.

If the Reds take the self-mutilating step of not picking up Dunn's option then I'm done with the Reds. I can only brook so much stupidity and that would not only cross the line for me, it would obliterate it.

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 06:36 PM
I'm with you on Jr. Common sense dictates that the oldest guy should be the one to go on a team that's still rebuilding.

I don't delay Bruce for anything. If he's ready he plays and I'm totally fine with having talent on the bench, got zero problem with that.

If the Reds take the self-mutilating step of not picking up Dunn's option then I'm done with the Reds. I can only brook so much stupidity and that would not only cross the line for me, it would obliterate it.

To what end M2? Why essentially burn a year of service and development (Hamilton's) for equivilent production from Bruce to what you would likely get from Hamilton already?

I don't see what we gain in your scenario.

Falls City Beer
09-14-2007, 07:11 PM
To what end M2? Why essentially burn a year of service and development (Hamilton's) for equivilent production from Bruce to what you would likely get from Hamilton already?

I don't see what we gain in your scenario.

Because if Bruce really is ready, then Hamilton becomes the supersub, which shrinks the likelihood of having guys like Castro and Hopper taking up meaningful ABs.

Having as many of your 25 players be good players is not a bad aim.

PuffyPig
09-14-2007, 07:30 PM
Nah, that one's easy. Resident masher in left. Best young player in baseball in center. Hall of famer in right. Josh Hamilton sits. Michael Tucker had an .892 OPS in 2000. Alex Ochoa was .964 that season. Jeff Hammonds had an .870 OPS in 1999. Jon Nunnally had a 1.002 OPS in 1997. Jacob Brumfield had a .906 OPS in 1994. None of them would have started over a Dunn, Bruce or Jr. either.


One big difference is that none of the ones listed above ever had Hamilton's vast potential. Hamilton hadn't played above A ball, and hadn't played baseball in 4 years. And is posting a .922 OPS.

The chances of it continuing is a lot better for that reason alone.

M2
09-14-2007, 07:43 PM
To what end M2? Why essentially burn a year of service and development (Hamilton's) for equivilent production from Bruce to what you would likely get from Hamilton already?

I don't see what we gain in your scenario.

A deeper team for one. How many times this season have we seen the Reds bench literally run out at the end of a game? Suddenly, if Alex Gonzalez and Dave Ross are due up against a RH closer, you've got Scott Hatteberg and Josh Hamilton on your bench.

Plus, I think there tends to be a misunderstanding of what a 4th OF does. If Hamilton were to play a full, healthy season as a 4th OF he'd probably play as much as he did in 2007. You'd be able to double switch early with him (e.g. 6th or 7th inning when you figure the pitcher's slot will be getting one more AB than Jr. or Dunn from there on out). He's there to pinch hit, to be a defensive replacement who you don't mind picking up an AB, to be a spot starter to give someone a breather, to fill in when someone's injured (and we've witnessed something that can only be called a miracle in terms of Jr.'s health this season). 4th OFs play a lot of baseball. It's essentially your 6th man, to put it in basketball terms.

So what you'd gain is Jay Bruce's production in addition to what you're already getting from Dunn, Jr. and Hamilton. He'd be cutting into the 570 PAs that went to Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper more than anything else.

And I don't consider it to be burning service and development time if the kid is ready to thrive in the majors. If he's not, then feel free to keep him in AAA for more seasoning, but if he is then I wouldn't delay his arrival so much as one day. If Jay Bruce is ready, Jay Bruce plays. He's talent that demands to be used and the organization would be wise not to plant the seeds of "they're playing service time games with me" to start his career. Ideally the Reds are going to want him in town for a decade or so.

REDREAD
09-14-2007, 08:25 PM
Using the Steve Howe precedent I don't think anyone is gone for good.


I agree. The year Josh had this season pretty much guarantees him another 5-7 years of "chances" to play baseball if he needs it. It might not be for big money, but he'll be in someone's organization. There's a shortage of talent. Clubs will overlook a lot of things.

Heck Lugo got released for beating his wife, signed on with Tampa and then was one of the premium FAs this past offseason.

bucksfan2
09-15-2007, 09:51 AM
It is amazing how fast some people fall of the bandwagon. Do you guys really think that the reds are better off with Hamilton as a 4th outfielder? Really? Look at what he did this past season. Outside of Bruce there is no one i would advocate getting regular starts over Hamilton. To that extent if Bruce put up the numbers Hamilton did this season I think it would be a very good rookie campaign for Bruce.

Why not enjoy the season that Hamilton had? Why not look for him to improve on his numbers? I have a feeling that there will be some skepticism, similar to Phillips prior to this year, over Hamilton and whether he can produce next season.

mbgrayson
09-15-2007, 09:53 AM
It is amazing how fast some people fall of the bandwagon. Do you guys really think that the reds are better off with Hamilton as a 4th outfielder? Really? Look at what he did this past season. Outside of Bruce there is no one i would advocate getting regular starts over Hamilton. To that extent if Bruce put up the numbers Hamilton did this season I think it would be a very good rookie campaign for Bruce.

Why not enjoy the season that Hamilton had? Why not look for him to improve on his numbers? I have a feeling that there will be some skepticism, similar to Phillips prior to this year, over Hamilton and whether he can produce next season.

Here here! Right on! :beerme:

SteelSD
09-15-2007, 01:18 PM
It is amazing how fast some people fall of the bandwagon. Do you guys really think that the reds are better off with Hamilton as a 4th outfielder? Really? Look at what he did this past season. Outside of Bruce there is no one i would advocate getting regular starts over Hamilton. To that extent if Bruce put up the numbers Hamilton did this season I think it would be a very good rookie campaign for Bruce.

Why not enjoy the season that Hamilton had? Why not look for him to improve on his numbers? I have a feeling that there will be some skepticism, similar to Phillips prior to this year, over Hamilton and whether he can produce next season.

I think you're misinterpreting what's being positioned here. I've yet to see anyone "fall off" the Josh Hamilton bandwagon. What he's been able to achieve in limited time this season is nothing short of fantastic. I don't know anyone who hasn't enjoyed it. But let's be pragmatic...

The optimal move is to deal Griffey in the offseason and have an OF of Dunn/Bruce/Hamilton. But if Griffey isn't traded, he's not sitting, excepting to allow for normal rest or injury at some point. And the Reds should be protecting themselves against that very likely occurrance every single season. Dunn's not sitting either, nor should he. The Reds have apparently determined that Hamilton can't hit lefties. Regardless of whether or not I agree with that, the Reds are already marginalizing Hamilton's ability to post a full season of PA. Hamilton hasn't helped his own cause due to multiple DL stints this season. When the 2007 season wraps, Josh Hamilton will most likely have acquired only 337 Plate Appearances, despite being on the roster all season.

If Jay Bruce is ready, then he needs to be in the lineup in Cincinnati every day to learn his craft in order to help maximize a potential window of opportunity available over the next three seasons. If Bruce falls flat on his face, there's Josh Hamilton waiting to pick up the pieces. Griffey goes down? There's Josh Hamilton. Someone blows away the Reds with an offer for Dunn? Josh Hamilton once again. There's nothing at all wrong with having a 4th OF with a good bat hanging around for the situations M2 described and knowing that Griffey's option can be bought out after 2008 even if he isn't dealt, I'd suggest that Josh Hamilton would still get his day in the sun soon enough.

JaxRed
09-15-2007, 01:30 PM
If Dunn, Griffey and Hamilton are all here to start the season, Bruce will be the one in the minor leagues. No-doubt, no brainer. You don't want to waste any of either Bruce's or Hamilton's precious service time by letting them sit on bench.

Doesn't hurt Bruce one bit to be in minors a little longer. If he spends one day in the minors next year you push back his Free Agency by a year.

CaiGuy
09-15-2007, 03:34 PM
Bruce will come up for whoever gets injured first. And between Hamilton and Griffey, someone will go to the DL.

mth123
09-15-2007, 04:29 PM
I like Hamilton too, and my first choice would be to trade Griffey, get out from under the $4 Million buy out in 2009, improve the OF defense exponentially and give Bruce and Hamilton every day status in CF and RF respectively.

However, it is highly likely that trading Griffey will not lead to any kind of pitcher who is an upgrade from the cast of suspects already here and an upgrade is absolutely necessary. Trading Adam Dunn likely won't either because he is either a short term rental or a long term building block that a team could simply wait and sign in Free Agency. His no trade clause means he would only go to a team where he wants to play so any team that trades for him is just as likely to be capable of signing him. Why should they give up much talent?

So with Griffey and Dunn probably not fetching back the necessary pitching, that leaves one (or more) of the young studs (Bruce, Votto, EdE, Hamilton or Phillips) the most likely source of trade bait to actually improve the staff. Of that group, Hamilton appears the most expendable for a number of reasons. First the OF is full if we assume that Bruce is ready and has to play. Secondly, its easier to fill a hole (maybe not excel, but get by) in a corner OF spot then just about anywhere, and guys like Hopper, Keppinger, Freel (shudder), and maybe eventually Rosales, Griffin, Valaika etc could spend time there. When Griffey leaves, the optimal arrangement probably involves either Bruce or Hamilton in RF and a true CF being installed rather than one of young studs playing out of position. So, there may not be room for both unless Dunn leaves too (very possible but I hope not).

Finally, we can not forget about Hamilton's past. Many people who have been through what Hamilton has been through relapse multiple times throughout their lives. The Reds won the lottery by acquiring Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft, but a relapse would leave the Reds with nothing for their winning ticket. If said winning ticket was for a young starter that would reliably fit in the middle of the rotation for multiple years would we be any less fortunate? If Hamilton could be dealt for real pitching help while simultaneously removing the added risk associated with him, I think the Reds should do it. Heck, given the needs on the mound and the excess in the OF, I'd do that even if no extra risk existed with Hamilton.

dfs
09-15-2007, 08:53 PM
How many lefties can you have in the lineup?

Odd to think that Norris Hopper may be the guy most securely on the roster next year simply because he's right handed.

bucksfan2
09-17-2007, 10:05 AM
I think you're misinterpreting what's being positioned here. I've yet to see anyone "fall off" the Josh Hamilton bandwagon. What he's been able to achieve in limited time this season is nothing short of fantastic. I don't know anyone who hasn't enjoyed it. But let's be pragmatic...

The optimal move is to deal Griffey in the offseason and have an OF of Dunn/Bruce/Hamilton. But if Griffey isn't traded, he's not sitting, excepting to allow for normal rest or injury at some point. And the Reds should be protecting themselves against that very likely occurrance every single season. Dunn's not sitting either, nor should he. The Reds have apparently determined that Hamilton can't hit lefties. Regardless of whether or not I agree with that, the Reds are already marginalizing Hamilton's ability to post a full season of PA. Hamilton hasn't helped his own cause due to multiple DL stints this season. When the 2007 season wraps, Josh Hamilton will most likely have acquired only 337 Plate Appearances, despite being on the roster all season.

If Jay Bruce is ready, then he needs to be in the lineup in Cincinnati every day to learn his craft in order to help maximize a potential window of opportunity available over the next three seasons. If Bruce falls flat on his face, there's Josh Hamilton waiting to pick up the pieces. Griffey goes down? There's Josh Hamilton. Someone blows away the Reds with an offer for Dunn? Josh Hamilton once again. There's nothing at all wrong with having a 4th OF with a good bat hanging around for the situations M2 described and knowing that Griffey's option can be bought out after 2008 even if he isn't dealt, I'd suggest that Josh Hamilton would still get his day in the sun soon enough.

I see what you are saying. But I hold Hamilton in the same light as Bruce. The only advantage Bruce has is that he is younger and healthy. Hamilton on the other hand has had some injuries but possesses more talent that Bruce does. Unfortunatly I think there needs to be a new manager who doesn't care too much about righty lefty match ups. I think this is one of the most overanalyzed aspects of the game today. Sure you are going to struggle but the only way you get better is to play.

I think this is going to be a very important offseason for the reds. I think they need to show that they are committed to building a good baseball club. The time to build around Jr. has long since passed and I think he needs to be traded to a team where he has a chance of winning. I think a few moves need to be made this offseason to make a better ball club. The decision on Dunn needs to be made before spring training next season. You either try to move him or sign him long term. Finally there is an exciting core of young players who need to be capitalized upon. You can love or criticize Krivsky all you want but in the next full year he will either earn his stripes or will be fired.

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 11:59 AM
Those of you who advocate Bruce starting and Hamilton off the bench, do you have no concerns about Hamilton regressing given only sporadic playing time?

Bruce has 200 PA at AAA. Can he not continue to develop in AAA? Does it not behoove the Reds to ensure that both he and Hamilton continue to develop? Sure, in a box I can see the logic of Hamilton as the best 4th OF in baseball. But in terms of maximizing the amount of productivity both now and in the future, I'm not sure I understand the case.

We know that a spot will open up in 2009, if not during the course of 2008. This isn't the Wily Mo situation where he was blocked ad infinitum.

I simply don't see the advantage of starting Bruce's clock when he can continue to develop in AAA and bringing him up provides us only a marginal upgrade, if that, while also creating a log jam that could hinder the development of Hamilton and burn arbitration time during which we would be getting sub optimal production.

The cost of inefficient arb time usage and potential developmental slowdown doesn't seem to be offset by a minimal performance gain. Bruce will turn 21 at the beginning of next season, it's not like he's been toiling away in AAA, desperately waiting to get his shot.

registerthis
09-17-2007, 12:09 PM
Nah, that one's easy. Resident masher in left. Best young player in baseball in center. Hall of famer in right.

Methinks you overestimate the Cincinnati fanbase. Remember, these are the same people ready to dole out a lifetime contract to one Mr. Ryan Freel. I think the Reds would have some significant explaining to do if a healthy Josh Hamilton is sitting on the bench come April. "Bruce needs more seasoning" would be an easy solution, PR-wise, to the crowded outfield problem next year. I'm not saying it would be the *ideal* solution, but this franchise doesn't always fixate on the ideal solution, as this board is loathe to pick up on.

redsmetz
09-17-2007, 12:10 PM
Those of you who advocate Bruce starting and Hamilton off the bench, do you have no concerns about Hamilton regressing given only sporadic playing time?

Bruce has 200 PA at AAA. Can he not continue to develop in AAA? Does it not behoove the Reds to ensure that both he and Hamilton continue to develop? Sure, in a box I can see the logic of Hamilton as the best 4th OF in baseball. But in terms of maximizing the amount of productivity both now and in the future, I'm not sure I understand the case.

We know that a spot will open up in 2009, if not during the course of 2008. This isn't the Wily Mo situation where he was blocked ad infinitum.

I simply don't see the advantage of starting Bruce's clock when he can continue to develop in AAA and bringing him up provides us only a marginal upgrade, if that, while also creating a log jam that could hinder the development of Hamilton and burn arbitration time during which we would be getting sub optimal production.

The cost of inefficient arb time usage and potential developmental slowdown doesn't seem to be offset by a minimal performance gain. Bruce will turn 21 at the beginning of next season, it's not like he's been toiling away in AAA, desperately waiting to get his shot.

That's why I think if Junior isn't moved during the off-season, Bruce will start in AAA. I don't think it hurts him whatsoever.

Here's a question. Once Hamilton completes this season, as long as he stays on the 40 man roster, doesn't he still have options? If so, he can be sent to AAA if necessary. Now, don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating that, but once a player completes the Rule V year and stays on the 40 man roster, we can send that player down for additional work.

Kc61
09-17-2007, 12:11 PM
There is no way Hamilton is becoming a bench player. Not happening.

I think the whole outfield traffic jam is becoming clear. Dunn option picked up, possibly signed up longer term, in left. Hamilton in center with Hopper for support.

Jay Bruce is Griffey's replacement. Reds will, I expect, try to trade Griff in off-season, but if not sometime next season. Bruce comes up to play right field whenever Griff goes. Even if that means Bruce plays some AAA early next year.

The only way I see this equation changing is if Dunn is let loose. Right now, considering his no-trade status, I can't see that happening.

As for trading Griff, with Bruce in the wings, I'd take a good set-up reliever and a solid prospect. I wouldn't hold out for a good starting pitcher or prospect, which would be hard to get.

M2
09-17-2007, 01:17 PM
I like Hamilton too, and my first choice would be to trade Griffey, get out from under the $4 Million buy out in 2009, improve the OF defense exponentially and give Bruce and Hamilton every day status in CF and RF respectively.

However, it is highly likely that trading Griffey will not lead to any kind of pitcher who is an upgrade from the cast of suspects already here and an upgrade is absolutely necessary. Trading Adam Dunn likely won't either because he is either a short term rental or a long term building block that a team could simply wait and sign in Free Agency. His no trade clause means he would only go to a team where he wants to play so any team that trades for him is just as likely to be capable of signing him. Why should they give up much talent?

So with Griffey and Dunn probably not fetching back the necessary pitching, that leaves one (or more) of the young studs (Bruce, Votto, EdE, Hamilton or Phillips) the most likely source of trade bait to actually improve the staff. Of that group, Hamilton appears the most expendable for a number of reasons. First the OF is full if we assume that Bruce is ready and has to play. Secondly, its easier to fill a hole (maybe not excel, but get by) in a corner OF spot then just about anywhere, and guys like Hopper, Keppinger, Freel (shudder), and maybe eventually Rosales, Griffin, Valaika etc could spend time there. When Griffey leaves, the optimal arrangement probably involves either Bruce or Hamilton in RF and a true CF being installed rather than one of young studs playing out of position. So, there may not be room for both unless Dunn leaves too (very possible but I hope not).

Finally, we can not forget about Hamilton's past. Many people who have been through what Hamilton has been through relapse multiple times throughout their lives. The Reds won the lottery by acquiring Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft, but a relapse would leave the Reds with nothing for their winning ticket. If said winning ticket was for a young starter that would reliably fit in the middle of the rotation for multiple years would we be any less fortunate? If Hamilton could be dealt for real pitching help while simultaneously removing the added risk associated with him, I think the Reds should do it. Heck, given the needs on the mound and the excess in the OF, I'd do that even if no extra risk existed with Hamilton.

Great post.

KronoRed
09-17-2007, 01:18 PM
Methinks you overestimate the Cincinnati fanbase. Remember, these are the same people ready to dole out a lifetime contract to one Mr. Ryan Freel. I think the Reds would have some significant explaining to do if a healthy Josh Hamilton is sitting on the bench come April. "Bruce needs more seasoning" would be an easy solution, PR-wise, to the crowded outfield problem next year. I'm not saying it would be the *ideal* solution, but this franchise doesn't always fixate on the ideal solution, as this board is loathe to pick up on.

Just tell the fanbase that Bruce strikes out too much and they will be on board for keeping him down:cool:

M2
09-17-2007, 01:23 PM
Methinks you overestimate the Cincinnati fanbase. Remember, these are the same people ready to dole out a lifetime contract to one Mr. Ryan Freel. I think the Reds would have some significant explaining to do if a healthy Josh Hamilton is sitting on the bench come April. "Bruce needs more seasoning" would be an easy solution, PR-wise, to the crowded outfield problem next year. I'm not saying it would be the *ideal* solution, but this franchise doesn't always fixate on the ideal solution, as this board is loathe to pick up on.

"Bruce needs more seasoning" isn't an easy solution if you and he know he doesn't. If the Reds play that game with Bruce at the start of his major league career then don't expect any loyalty later on. I still don't think it requires any explanation to put Hamilton on the bench behind the team's biggest bat, a Hall of Famer and the hottest prospect in baseball. Josh Hamilton's a good player on a deep team. Hooray for us.

Stormy
09-17-2007, 02:06 PM
There is no way Hamilton is becoming a bench player. Not happening.

I think the whole outfield traffic jam is becoming clear. Dunn option picked up, possibly signed up longer term, in left. Hamilton in center with Hopper for support.

Jay Bruce is Griffey's replacement. Reds will, I expect, try to trade Griff in off-season, but if not sometime next season. Bruce comes up to play right field whenever Griff goes. Even if that means Bruce plays some AAA early next year.

The only way I see this equation changing is if Dunn is let loose. Right now, considering his no-trade status, I can't see that happening.

As for trading Griff, with Bruce in the wings, I'd take a good set-up reliever and a solid prospect. I wouldn't hold out for a good starting pitcher or prospect, which would be hard to get.

That's exactly the way things should transpire, in my opinion, as well.

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 02:09 PM
"Bruce needs more seasoning" isn't an easy solution if you and he know he doesn't. If the Reds play that game with Bruce at the start of his major league career then don't expect any loyalty later on. I still don't think it requires any explanation to put Hamilton on the bench behind the team's biggest bat, a Hall of Famer and the hottest prospect in baseball. Josh Hamilton's a good player on a deep team. Hooray for us.

The idea that Bruce has to be in the majors or his ego will be bruised and he will leave the team early is just laughable. He's 20. He has less than a half season at AAA. Every word from his mouth suggests he's humble and driven.

If not starting over a Hall of Famer, All Star, and former #1 overall pick who OPS'd over .900 in his rookie year is going to bruise his ego to the point that it will affect his willingness to stay in the organization come 2015, we already have a problem on our hands.

I'd rather not default to his ego for a very minimal performance upgrade, particularly given that it may delay his arb until after 2015.

You still haven't addressed that Hamilton is simply too good to waste as a 4th OF. I have every concern about his past and injuries. However, making him a 4th OF concedes the value loss. Either we need to take full advantage of our great young OF by only using their arb years when they can be fully utilized (ie. waiting until RF or LF opens up no later than the end of 2008) or by creating that opening by trading Hamilton, the most valuable non-Bruce commodity, for pitching.

But the idea that we're doing some kind of harm by delaying Bruce's arrival is simply wrong by my estimation. Trade Griffey if you can. Trade Dunn if he won't sign long term. Turn Hamilton in to a pitching version of his value if you must. But don't waste the most precious commodity we have, dirt cheap production.

M2
09-17-2007, 02:19 PM
The idea that Bruce has to be in the majors or his ego will be bruised and he will leave the team early is just laughable. He's 20. He has less than a half season at AAA. Every word from his mouth suggests he's humble and driven.

I don't think it will bruise his ego in the least. I wouldn't expect Bruce to sulk or loose focus if he were sent back to AAA. Quite the opposite, I'd expect him to terrorize that level. The problem I forsee isn't in 2008, it's six years later when Bruce is moving into his prime. If the Reds send the message now that baseball is a business, then don't expect him to treat it as anything but a business later on. That's got nothing to do with being humble or driven. Bruce may be the most important position player this franchise develops into the next decade. He looks like the guy you want to build around. So are you going to be able build around him in his prime when you and he are both vividly aware you played some games to delay the start of his arbitration clock?

I don't even think that's a case of hard feelings. It's just a kid who's been sent notice that he needs to be the one looking out for his own best interests.


You still haven't addressed that Hamilton is simply too good to waste as a 4th OF.

Sure I have, he's not too good to use a 4th OF and a 4th OF is hardly a waste. A 4th OF is an integral part of your team, good enough to get you 300+ PAs (which just so happens to have been Hamilton's level of use this season).

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 02:43 PM
Sure I have, he's not too good to use a 4th OF and a 4th OF is hardly a waste. A 4th OF is an integral part of your team, good enough to get you 300+ PAs (which just so happens to have been Hamilton's level of use this season).

Griffey has played 141 games and made 609 PA this year. Dunn has played 146 games and made 609 PA this year. Josh Hamilton has not gotten 300+ PA subbing in as a 4th OF. He's gotten those PA as the part time starting OF. He's gotten them at the expense of Ryan Freel, or some other non Dunn/Griffey OF.

If you want to make the argument that Dunn/Griffey will likely get traded or injured, opening up a spot as a starter, even if temporarily so (in the case of an injury) then I counter that that is the perfect reason to keep Bruce in AAA. He'll have the opportunity to come up sooner rather than later without the need to relegate a deserving starter to the bench artificially. If you don't think that Dunn/Griffey will get traded or injured, then there won't be enough ABs for Hamilton to justify his spot on the bench. He simply won't get 300 PA if the 3 starting OF each accrue 600+. This also ignores that Freel will be back healthy and under contract in 2008. And what do you think the odds are of Norris Hopper going back to AAA? This team doesn't need another OF on the bench.

How good do you have to be to not be too good as a 4th OF? Josh Hamilton is a better defensive OF and has a higher OPS than Griffey. Why not make Griffey the 4th OF? Clearly level of production is not the consideration at hand. Josh Hamilton is at worst the 2nd most productive OF we have. You are basing the decision off of other criteria which, as far as I can tell, consist mainly of stroking Bruce's ego with some notion that failure to do so will result in him not signing a long term contract 6 years from now.

Assuming Dunn and Griffey are Reds on opening day, Hamilton either starts in CF, or starts for somebody else. Worse case scenario, Dunn, Hamilton, and Griffey are all healthy and productive and the 21 year old phenom can and can benefit from a few hundred more PA in AAA. Everybody wins -- except for the (imagined) part of Bruce's ego that thinks he should be the Reds starting CF and the ego of the organization that wants to show off it's talent and waste valuable pre-arb production from Josh Hamilton.

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely think that Bruce is ready to go and we should make room for him. However, I don't think that room should come at the expense of PA for Josh Hamilton and I don't think any harm is done if Bruce has to wait until Sept 2008 to make his debut -- in fact, I think an argument can be made that the organization would benefit from having control of Bruce until 2014 as opposed to 2013. If a spot is created earlier than September, be it because of trade or injury, then by all means let's get him up here. But let's not create a roster inefficiency.

registerthis
09-17-2007, 03:01 PM
"Bruce needs more seasoning" isn't an easy solution if you and he know he doesn't.

Josh Hamilton's a more popular player in Cincinnati than Jay Bruce. I don't see any conceivable way that the Reds sit a healthy Hamilton to start the season--I really think that's a pipe dream. Regardless of what Bruce may--or may not--need, assuming Hamilton's healthy and not dealt, he'll be the lineup come opening day. You can bank on that.

registerthis
09-17-2007, 03:02 PM
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely think that Bruce is ready to go and we should make room for him. However, I don't think that room should come at the expense of PA for Josh Hamilton and I don't think any harm is done if Bruce has to wait until Sept 2008 to make his debut -- in fact, I think an argument can be made that the organization would benefit from having control of Bruce until 2014 as opposed to 2013. If a spot is created earlier than September, be it because of trade or injury, then by all means let's get him up here. But let's not create a roster inefficiency.

Well said--couldn't agree more.

lollipopcurve
09-17-2007, 03:06 PM
Shopping Hamilton at this point would raise eyebrows -- teams would wonder, what do the Reds know that we don't? Is he in danger of relapsing? Is his entourage a problem? Are his injuries worse than reported?

If the goal is to get as good a pitcher as you can, the best chip is Bruce. by far. There are no questions about him (except, of course, that he has yet to play at the major league level).

To move either Bruce or Hamilton without knowing you can hold onto Dunn would be short-sighted. If Dunn doesn't want to be here in 09 (when there is a possibility that there will be excellent arms on the FA market), then the only strategy that makes sense for managing the traffic jam in the OF -- even with moving/buying out Griffey -- is to hold onto the young guys and use the savings on Dunn's salary to help buy pitching, now and/or in 09.

Falls City Beer
09-17-2007, 03:12 PM
If I had to guess, I'd say that a long DL stint for Hamilton next season will get him Pipped by Mr. Bruce.

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 03:16 PM
If I had to guess, I'd say that a long DL stint for Hamilton next season will get him Pipped by Mr. Bruce.

That's a very real possibility. Of course, with at least one of Dunn and Griffey very likely moving on in 2009, it would be only temporary. Might as well let the Pipping play itself out than force it.

Roy Tucker
09-17-2007, 03:21 PM
Having difficulty find playing time for stellar young talents like Hamilton and Bruce is a nice problem to have.

It was really by circumstance and not by plan that Bruce ended up in AAA this year. It is an arguable point that Bruce hasn't completely proven himself at AAA. I think he has, but I think its conceivable (and probably likely) for him to start at Louisville again next year.

If he again rips it up AAA early on, that's going to force the Reds' hand on what to do with Junior and Dunn.

Chip R
09-17-2007, 03:33 PM
Josh Hamilton's a more popular player in Cincinnati than Jay Bruce.


Right now he is because no one has seen Jay Bruce and what he can do yet. If Jay has a Hamiltonesque ST and Josh is injured or has a pedestrian ST, people are going to say, "I really like Josh, but oh, that kid!" Freel was popular too till he slumped and got hurt. Now people are wanting to trade him. Fans are fickle. If Bruce comes up and blows people away, they are going to forget about Josh.

If Dunn and Jr. are on the roster come Opening Day, you can't have both Bruce and Josh on the 25 man roster. One or the other needs to be in AAA getting regular ABs.

M2
09-17-2007, 03:43 PM
Griffey has played 141 games and made 609 PA this year. Dunn has played 146 games and made 609 PA this year. Josh Hamilton has not gotten 300+ PA subbing in as a 4th OF. He's gotten those PA as the part time starting OF. He's gotten them at the expense of Ryan Freel, or some other non Dunn/Griffey OF.

And Freel and Hopper have combined for 580 PAs. See? Plenty of PAs to go around, especially given the improbability of a second healthy season miracle for Jr.


This team doesn't need another OF on the bench.

You and I are apparently watching a different team. I think it needs all hands on deck.


How good do you have to be to not be too good as a 4th OF?

Better than the other three. You'd get no argument from me in making Jr. the 4th OF, but it won't happen.


You are basing the decision off of other criteria which, as far as I can tell, consist mainly of stroking Bruce's ego with some notion that failure to do so will result in him not signing a long term contract 6 years from now.

I'm basing it on the notion of I know who I'd be building this team around and I see no reason to delay it if he shows up next spring ready to take on the majors.


Assuming Dunn and Griffey are Reds on opening day, Hamilton either starts in CF, or starts for somebody else.

I make no assumptions. You've got an entire offseason and spring training for things to unfold. To build on what FCB said, Hamilton could get Pipped in March even if the team nominally wanted him to start in CF.


Don't get me wrong. I absolutely think that Bruce is ready to go and we should make room for him. However, I don't think that room should come at the expense of PA for Josh Hamilton and I don't think any harm is done if Bruce has to wait until Sept 2008 to make his debut -- in fact, I think an argument can be made that the organization would benefit from having control of Bruce until 2014 as opposed to 2013. If a spot is created earlier than September, be it because of trade or injury, then by all means let's get him up here. But let's not create a roster inefficiency.

Roster inefficiency, to me, is when you give roster spots to guys who can't play. Having talent on your bench is the opposite of roster inefficiency. It's roster maximization. My priority here is real simple - Jay Bruce is more important than Josh Hamilton. Always was. Always will be. If I have to play one and figure out what to do with the other that's an easy choice. The job Hamilton would have would essentialy be the one he's had this year (300+ PAs). If the door opens for him to do more, then have at it big fella.

And playing games for 2014 is pretty much guaranteed to backfire. If Jay Bruce is the player we all hope he can be, then the Reds ought to be thinking about keeping him around through at least 2017. To do that, it's going to require a heartstrings pitch. The Reds aren't going to be able to pay Bruce top dollar. The team's only hope will be to convince him there's more to being in a Reds jersey than just dollars and cents. You can't expect that pitch to work when you cut a year off the start of the kid's career.

Heck if Bruce treats his contract as a pure business transaction then the Reds might very well have to trade him during his arb years. You get the kids you raise.

registerthis
09-17-2007, 03:59 PM
Right now he is because no one has seen Jay Bruce and what he can do yet. If Jay has a Hamiltonesque ST and Josh is injured or has a pedestrian ST, people are going to say, "I really like Josh, but oh, that kid!" Freel was popular too till he slumped and got hurt. Now people are wanting to trade him. Fans are fickle. If Bruce comes up and blows people away, they are going to forget about Josh.

Perhaps, but, again, I simply can't see the Reds brass sitting down and drawing up a plan that includes Hamilton sitting on the bench. If circumstances force their hand in that regard, so be it--it likely means the Reds will be a better team. But as it stands now, the case being made for Hamilton sitting to start the season is tenuous, at best. I can't see it happening.

lollipopcurve
09-17-2007, 04:04 PM
My priority here is real simple - Jay Bruce is more important than Josh Hamilton. Always was. Always will be. If I have to play one and figure out what to do with the other that's an easy choice. The job Hamilton would have would essentialy be the one he's had this year (300+ PAs). If the door opens for him to do more, then have at it big fella.

Seems to me the idea of building your team around *potentially* your best player at the expense of *potentially* your next-best player is ludicrous. Hamilton -- if healthy -- must play, just as Bruce must play. If we're all worried about how these guys are going to feel about their assignments, then put them all in a 4-headed rotation and wait for injuries or a trade to sort it out.

M2
09-17-2007, 04:11 PM
Seems to me the idea of building your team around *potentially* your best player at the expense of *potentially* your next-best player is ludicrous. Hamilton -- if healthy -- must play, just as Bruce must play. If we're all worried about how these guys are going to feel about their assignments, then put them all in a 4-headed rotation and wait for injuries or a trade to sort it out.

Seems to me that it's ludicrous for a rebuilding team not to build around it's long-term star.

As for Hamilton, the chance to cement himself as a regular would have been this month. Didn't happen because for the third time this season he's come up gimpy. What he's done is establish himself as a useful fellow when he's healthy, which is, unfortunately, not often enough. He'll get his chances to do more next season. Hopefully he'll be sturdier when they come. What he hasn't done is establish himself as a major league regular and, that being the case, I don't keep the TOP PROSPECT IN BASEBALL behind him on the depth chart.

lollipopcurve
09-17-2007, 04:15 PM
What he hasn't done is establish himself as a major league regular and, that being the case, I don't keep the TOP PROSPECT IN BASEBALL behind him on the depth chart.

What you really don't do is put them at the same position.

Hamilton has done just about everything possible to earn himself a shot at regular duty -- including perform at a very high level when playing regularly. Telling a guy he isn't playing because he'll probably get injured makes no sense.

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 04:17 PM
And Freel and Hopper have combined for 580 PAs. See? Plenty of PAs to go around, especially given the improbability of a second healthy season miracle for Jr..... Roster inefficiency, to me, is when you give roster spots to guys who can't play. Having talent on your bench is the opposite of roster inefficiency. It's roster maximization. My priority here is real simple - Jay Bruce is more important than Josh Hamilton. Always was. Always will be. If I have to play one and figure out what to do with the other that's an easy choice. The job Hamilton would have would essentialy be the one he's had this year (300+ PAs). If the door opens for him to do more, then have at it big fella.

No, I don't see. You just gave 650 PA to Jay Bruce. There go Freel's ABs, Hopper's ABs, and some of Hamilton's. Of course, Freel is still going to get ABs somewhere and probably not just at 2B/3B. You are introducing another player in to the mix without removing anybody -- unless you eliminate Freel AND Hopper, you can't just redistribute ABs.

Why exactly is Bruce more important than Hamilton? Hamilton is already producing at a wonderful level at the major league level. He's already producing at the level we're hoping to see from Bruce. We only have control of both of them for 6 years once they hit the majors. Why waste one of those years by using one of them on the bench?

If the starters stay healthy and play 145 games each, that leaves about 300 PA for ALL of our OF reserves. Hamilton would not get them all. You do not rack up 300 PA as a backup -- you get them as a part time starter. If Dunn/Junior do not stay healthy, or get traded, then we can bring up Bruce to take those significant newly available plate appearances and the problem is solved thusly. That's really the crux of the matter. If Dunn/Junior are here and healthy, you gain very little by replacing Hamilton with Bruce. If they aren't here and healthy, there is no problem as Bruce comes up and plays.



You and I are apparently watching a different team. I think it needs all hands on deck.

I don't think gains of 300 PA of Hamilton as guy #1 off the bench and Freel/Hopper as guy #1 off the bench makes much difference in this team competing next year. Maybe a win. After next year, the conversation is moot.




I'm basing it on the notion of I know who I'd be building this team around and I see no reason to delay it if he shows up next spring ready to take on the majors.

Yes, ignoring my points in this regard, regarding Hamilton's development, service time, and the crunch of roster spots, which you are imagining away unless you honestly believe Hopper is sent to AAA after hitting .325. This might sound stupid, but I don't think Bruce needs to be in the majors in order for us to "build" around him. Those decisions, such as trading Griffey to create a spot, can happen while he's in Louisville. You are creating a false dichotomy.



I make no assumptions. You've got an entire offseason and spring training for things to unfold. To build on what FCB said, Hamilton could get Pipped in March even if the team nominally wanted him to start in CF.

Ok, let's let him earn that spot then. Let Hamilton NOT OPS over .900. Let him get injured. The logic of "you might get injured or outplayed, so I'm going to go ahead and take away your job" doesn't make much sense to me. Forcing the issue is locking yourself in to a sub-optimal outcome unnecessarily. Notice how Pipp was actually playing in the first place, such that he could be injured. That said, I don't think Joltin' Joe would have been any worse for the wear if his career started a few months later. Let's remember, one of my key points is that you aren't suggesting replacing Norris Hopper with Bruce. You are using Bruce to replace what you hope he becomes. If Hamilton is playing full-time and Bruce looks like he'd be an improvement, then by all means. But given that Bruce will be up come September 1st at the latest anyways, you are making too much of what's lost, assuming he'll be better than Hamilton and assuming he'd gain absolutely nothing from being in AAA.



And playing games for 2014 is pretty much guaranteed to backfire. If Jay Bruce is the player we all hope he can be, then the Reds ought to be thinking about keeping him around through at least 2017. To do that, it's going to require a heartstrings pitch. The Reds aren't going to be able to pay Bruce top dollar. The team's only hope will be to convince him there's more to being in a Reds jersey than just dollars and cents. You can't expect that pitch to work when you cut a year off the start of the kid's career.

I can see it now. Well guys, I'd love to sign that 4 year deal you're offering me, but remember in 2008 when I thought I was ready and you held me back for that other really player you had on the roster. SCREW YOU! I'm out of here. Yup. That'll happen.

The Reds are not likely to be a playoff contender next year and having Bruce as our CF instead of Hamilton will certainly not be the difference if we're close. If Bruce is the player we think he'll be, I'd rather save the franchise somewhere on the order of 15-18M through 2013 by not using one of his pre-arb years on a team where his value was largely offset by devaluing another pre-arb player.


Heck if Bruce treats his contract as a pure business transaction then the Reds might very well have to trade him during his arb years. You get the kids you raise.

The heartstrings approach will have a lot more do with what happens during his years on the major league roster than how quickly he was promoted to the majors in the first place. I'd rather take the smarter business approach and do my best to build the best team during his peak with the team than appease him now for some imagined emotional benefit 6 years from now.

Frankly, I don't care about taking a season on the front of his career given that starting now takes away from the start of an equally talented player's and that he's only 21 years old. Roster inefficiency, to me, is both wasting roster spots on poor players and failing to give sufficient playing time to your best ones. I will gladly trade Bruce's age 21 season for half of Hamilton's age 27 season (the 300+PA he doesn't get while sitting on the bench) and Bruce's age 28 season (his first post-arb season which we cannot count on having).

M2
09-17-2007, 04:43 PM
Hamilton has done just about everything possible to earn himself a shot at regular duty -- including perform at a very high level when playing regularly. Telling a guy he isn't playing because he'll probably get injured makes no sense.

I wouldn't be telling him he's the 4th OF because he may not stay healthy. I'd be telling him he's the 4th OF because Dunn, Jr. and Bruce are starting. There is one thing he hasn't done to earn himself regular duty, take the job and make it his own.

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 04:51 PM
I wouldn't be telling him he's the 4th OF because he may not stay healthy. I'd be telling him he's the 4th OF because Dunn, Jr. and Bruce are starting. There is one thing he hasn't done to earn himself regular duty, take the job and make it his own.

Take the job and make his own? What the heck does that even mean? If putting up a .900+ OPS as a rookie isn't doing that, then what is?

lollipopcurve
09-17-2007, 04:55 PM
I wouldn't be telling him he's the 4th OF because he may not stay healthy. I'd be telling him he's the 4th OF because Dunn, Jr. and Bruce are starting. There is one thing he hasn't done to earn himself regular duty, take the job and make it his own.

What does "making the job your own" mean? Sounds like drivel the manager of a fast-food joint would drop on his line staff to me.

The guy was hugely productive, number one. Two, it's likely he hasn't reached his ceiling. He's got to play. Like I said, if for some odd reason all 4 are healthy and in the majors on the same team, put them in a rotation so bench time is shared -- until an injury or trade solves the problem.

M2
09-17-2007, 06:28 PM
No, I don't see. You just gave 650 PA to Jay Bruce. There go Freel's ABs, Hopper's ABs, and some of Hamilton's. Of course, Freel is still going to get ABs somewhere and probably not just at 2B/3B. You are introducing another player in to the mix without removing anybody -- unless you eliminate Freel AND Hopper, you can't just redistribute ABs.

I've got no problem using Freel and Hopper sparingly. Mind you, Freel wouldn't be coming back if it were my call. The bench would be Hamilton, Hopper, Hatteberg, Keppinger, Cantu and a catcher (assuming no new faces enter the picture).


Why exactly is Bruce more important than Hamilton?

Because he's 20 and dominant.


He's already producing at the level we're hoping to see from Bruce.

No, he's spot producing at a level we hope to see from Bruce on an everyday basis.


If the starters stay healthy and play 145 games each, that leaves about 300 PA for ALL of our OF reserves.

And in what universe is every starter going to stay healthy for a full season? You'd have to go back to 2000 to find a year in which the Reds got anything close to a full season from three OFs (1,738 PAs for Jr., Young and Bichette). That still left 598 PAs for Michael Tucker and Alex Ochoa. You're vastly underestimating how much use a good bench player can get.


I don't think gains of 300 PA of Hamilton as guy #1 off the bench and Freel/Hopper as guy #1 off the bench makes much difference in this team competing next year. Maybe a win. After next year, the conversation is moot.

None of that is my concern.


This might sound stupid, but I don't think Bruce needs to be in the majors in order for us to "build" around him. Those decisions, such as trading Griffey to create a spot, can happen while he's in Louisville. You are creating a false dichotomy.

There is no dichotomy. I'm for taking the organization's talismanic young player and installing him in the majors.


Ok, let's let him earn that spot then. Let Hamilton NOT OPS over .900. Let him get injured.

Far as I'm concerned, Bruce earned first shot when he blistered the minors this year and became the top prospect in baseball while Josh Hamilton got injured three times preventing him from claiming the job for his own. What you're suggesting the Reds wait for what has already happened.


Forcing the issue is locking yourself in to a sub-optimal outcome unnecessarily.

My optimal outcome is if Bruce is ready, Bruce plays.


I can see it now. Well guys, I'd love to sign that 4 year deal you're offering me, but remember in 2008 when I thought I was ready and you held me back for that other really player you had on the roster. SCREW YOU! I'm out of here. Yup. That'll happen.

Does Jay Bruce have an agent? Rhetorical question. Of course he has an agent. If Bruce gets sent back to AAA to start next season even though he's now terrorized the Grapefruit League on top of his meteoric rise this season, that agent is going to explain to Bruce that the move is more about money than baseball. And the agent will be correct. Of course the Reds playing games at the start of Bruce's career will have a spillover effect when he gets to make the call about where he continues his career. It won't be any "SCREW YOU!" It will just be that he's not giving a hometown discount and if he's not then the Reds probably can't keep him. There won't be any hard feelings. It's just business ... with the Reds playing the role of Sal Tessio.

Aside from that, let's look at where this situation is today. The Reds didn't call Bruce up this September. The kid might have been able to make this a moot point one way or the other. I'm guessing his agent is putting the screws to the team to make sure that Bruce gets a legitimate shot at breaking camp with the big league club. I'm not talking about threats here, more like trying to coordinate how to handle media appearances and requests this winter, and pointing out that Cameron Maybin and Justin Upton are getting to play right now for playoff contenders.


If Bruce is the player we think he'll be, I'd rather save the franchise somewhere on the order of 15-18M through 2013 by not using one of his pre-arb years on a team where his value was largely offset by devaluing another pre-arb player.

I'd rather have him around for a decade. Beyond that, I'd rather have the kid who's dominated the minors given the chance to shake the stench of decay from this franchise.


The heartstrings approach will have a lot more do with what happens during his years on the major league roster than how quickly he was promoted to the majors in the first place. I'd rather take the smarter business approach and do my best to build the best team during his peak with the team than appease him now for some imagined emotional benefit 6 years from now.

Once you make it a business, it doesn't go back. If the Reds set the terms of the relationship as this is just a business decision, then they'd best be prepared to have the relationship progress along those lines.


Frankly, I don't care about taking a season on the front of his career given that starting now takes away from the start of an equally talented player's and that he's only 21 years old. Roster inefficiency, to me, is both wasting roster spots on poor players and failing to give sufficient playing time to your best ones. I will gladly trade Bruce's age 21 season for half of Hamilton's age 27 season (the 300+PA he doesn't get while sitting on the bench) and Bruce's age 28 season (his first post-arb season which we cannot count on having).

You've already said you don't think the Reds will have a playoff contender next year, so you're going to poke a stick into the kid who you want to lead your franchise into the future to hand a job to a 27-year-old who, for a few different reasons, hasn't yet established himself as a major league regular? Not me. IMO, you're prioritizing all the wrong things and failing to see the value of a good bench to boot.

M2
09-17-2007, 06:49 PM
What does "making the job your own" mean?

Establishing yourself as the guy who can take the field every day and play well. Hamilton hasn't been healthy enough to do that. A high OPS in essentiallly half a season is nice, but hitting lefties, staying healthy, playing the kind of CF the team should be seeking? Hamilton's done none of those.

Stormy
09-17-2007, 07:01 PM
That's a very real possibility. Of course, with at least one of Dunn and Griffey very likely moving on in 2009, it would be only temporary. Might as well let the Pipping play itself out than force it.

Exactly. Why would you coerce a situation that is very likely to resolve itself post haste? Have a surplus of quality, LHH OFers on hand at the moment? Well, let the dust settle, because Griffey is on his way out via age, trade, injury or FA within a year, if not sooner, most likely. Likewise, Dunn's short and long-term status with the team are completely in limbo at the moment, and Bruce is an entirely unknown and unproven commodity despite his rave reviews in the minors.

If Hamilton is a sure-thing injury waiting to happen, which I'm not ready to concede, then Bruce can have his job when that inevitably happens. I like M2's idea of making room for Bruce ASAP, but I don't think it should be at the hands of Hamilton's playing time. Hamilton and Bruce should be our low price, huge bang for the buck OF tandem of the future, not mutual exclusives.

I don't see Hamilton as a 4th OFer for 1 primary reason: If he's healthy, and if his progression continues, he has a great chance of being both the best all-around outfielder, and everyday positional player on the team. The health, and his background history are two potential red flags, but otherwise he's the first 'rookie' any of us have seen make their advent on this team to the tune of this type of production right out of the starting gate, since Dunn and Kearns showed flashes of brilliance at age 22.

Hamilton offers so many positive commodities: He's inexpensive, eminently affordable and under the Reds' control, is a plus corner OFer with the versatility to play CF (which is a huge plus for any team, particularly the CFer-less Reds), he's already demonstrated exceptional production, which has a high probability of actually improving with increased exposure to LHP, and he's a high contact and OBP guy with enough flexibility to hit anywhere between #1-5 in the order, which no other Reds player can claim.

Hamilton is not a Mike Tucker or Alex Ochoa or Jose Guillen type of situational hitter who should get 4th OFer type ABs, in my opinion, as a good GM can always find those types. Instead, Hamilton should actually be the guy who co-anchors the offense in the coming years, hopefully playing second fiddle to only an extended Adam Dunn. Move Griffey, and hand Bruce Griffey's job the moment he's traded or goes down.

This might be the first time I've ever seen things in a different light than M2, but I think Hamilton (assuming he passes the durability test) is one of the 2-3 guys this team should be designed around from an offensive perspective.

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 07:05 PM
You've already said you don't think the Reds will have a playoff contender next year, so you're going to poke a stick into the kid who you want to lead your franchise into the future to hand a job to a 27-year-old who, for a few different reasons, hasn't yet established himself as a major league regular? Not me. IMO, you're prioritizing all the wrong things and failing to see the value of a good bench to boot.

Poke a stick in to the kid? Not at all. I'm going to allow a 21 year old kid more than 200 PA in AAA before anointing him my opening day CF at the expense of another guy, who has OPS'd over .900 in the opportunity he's been given. (and just so happened to be the #1 overall pick when he was drafted and considered one of the best prospects of all-time)

It's not like Hamilton toiled in AA for 5 years and suddenly turned it on. If he gives me any baseball-related reason to suspect he won't produce, by all means I'll act on it. But I'm not going to pretend like his production this year has been a fluke though simply because he wasted prime development years doing crack. If he falters, be it on the field or off, then I would act accordingly. I'd like to give the guy who OPS'd .900+ after 4 years out of baseball a chance to produce during his prime years rather than relegate him to the 4th OF spot because of his non-baseball past.

As you point out, it's not likely that the starting day OF will remain healthy. There will be opportunity. When that opportunity arises, Bruce will be ready and waiting to take advantage of it. I don't think we need Freel and Hopper either, but I'm trying to deal with reality as it is likely to be, given that I'm not in charge of that decision.

The hurt-his-feelings-so-much-that-he-(or his agent)-won't-consider-a-long-term-deal-6-years-from-now argument is so weak I don't really feel the need to deconstruct it further than I already have.

Bruce is an amazing prospect who won't help the Reds sufficiently in 2007 or be harmed sufficiently by being a Louisville bat such that it justifies denying Josh Hamilton the opportunity to be a full time starter. As you say, it's quite likely that a significant playing time opportunity will arise during the course of 2007, and I'm quite confident Bruce will be there to step in.

What I've gained from this back and forth is that you clearly are discounting what Hamilton has accomplished this year. We have a guy who has hit .292/.368/.554 in his rookie year and rather than give him more playing time, you'd like for another rookie to jump over him on the depth chart, costing the Reds money (by not getting only 300 PA from Hamilton during a pre-arb year in which he could have done more - you leave production on the table) while not significantly improving the team. The bulk of your logic is that waiting to bring Bruce up now somehow hurts our ability to build around him in the future -- I just don't buy it.

If Hamilton doesn't perform, gets injured, or otherwise fails to "make the job his own", then by all means bring up Bruce. But Hamilton gets first shot and I don't buy for a second that he's somehow failed in the opportunity he's had to do so this year. Quite the contrary in fact. When he's played, he's produced. When he's been injured, well, then you have a spot for Bruce.

You talk as if we have to build around one guy and that that guy is Bruce. I argue that we have to build around a number of guys, and that Hamilton is one of them. You would deny him the opportunity to take hold of that chance. Why not give Hamilton that full shot and see if Bruce is able to take the step that Hamilton has already taken. I can't wait to have them both in our OF, and don't think that Bruce needs or deserves to jump over Hamilton in the pecking order for that to happen.

Ltlabner
09-17-2007, 07:13 PM
Well this sure as hell is better than arguing over whether Rich Aurlia or EE should be at 3B.

I mean, it's a nice "problem" to have.

Aronchis
09-17-2007, 07:41 PM
I guess if you believe Bruce is going to be like Pujols in 2001, you better make room for him. If you think he isn't, let him get some more time in the minors which the Reds can afford.

Griff is the obvious candidate for removal. Nice, but painfull problem to have and resolve properly.

Falls City Beer
09-17-2007, 07:46 PM
One inarguable premise:

Griffey will be untradeable in the offseason (maybe you can trade him at the deadline, but I'm not even sure about that). Therefore, he will be in right to start next season.

So--that means that unless Hamilton gets injured, you're not going to see Bruce until the deadline next year at the earliest (unless a trade of Dunn or Hamilton occurs, which is unlikely).

M2
09-17-2007, 07:49 PM
Poke a stick in to the kid? Not at all.

Completely. You think Bruce, his agent and his family are stupid? That perhaps they'll suffer from collective amnesia? If you make the decision not to play him in the majors when he's ready to debut then expect that decision to have repercussions. The short-sighted are always bumping into the stuff they didn't to when it was off in the distance.

Maybin and Upton are already in the majors. McCutchen and Rasmus could conceivably break camp with their clubs next year. You think Bruce is some hayseed that's not going to notice his main peers are getting shots and he's not even though he's supposedly the hottest thing going?

Guaranteed that hijinks like that will register and be recalled when Bruce starts to talking to his agent and family about whether to sign on with the Reds for anything past his obligated time.

And I value what Hamilton did this season just fine. Unfortunately the three times he was given a shot to play CF on a regular basis, he got injured. Other chances will come, but if the Reds don't open up a slot for him then he's been Bruced.

There's a bigger star on the rise, find an orbit.

Aronchis
09-17-2007, 07:49 PM
One inarguable premise:

Griffey will be untradeable in the offseason (maybe you can trade him at the deadline, but I'm not even sure about that). Therefore, he will be in right to start next season.

So--that means that unless Hamilton gets injured, you're not going to see Bruce until the deadline next year at the earliest (unless a trade of Dunn or Hamilton occurs, which is unlikely).

Then Griffey sits. Ken will be asking around about a trade then.

M2
09-17-2007, 07:54 PM
Well this sure as hell is better than arguing over whether Rich Aurlia or EE should be at 3B.

I mean, it's a nice "problem" to have.

Agreed.


One inarguable premise:

Griffey will be untradeable in the offseason (maybe you can trade him at the deadline, but I'm not even sure about that). Therefore, he will be in right to start next season.

I'm not so sure about that. He might not be because teams seemingly can't be bothered to help themselves anymore, but there should be a host of teams chomping at the bit to get a bat like his.

As far as convincing him to leave, Aronchis hit upon the solution. "You can stay, but we're giving your job to the kid." Don't just say it, mean it.

Patrick Bateman
09-17-2007, 07:56 PM
One inarguable premise:

Griffey will be untradeable in the offseason (maybe you can trade him at the deadline, but I'm not even sure about that). Therefore, he will be in right to start next season.

So--that means that unless Hamilton gets injured, you're not going to see Bruce until the deadline next year at the earliest (unless a trade of Dunn or Hamilton occurs, which is unlikely).

I bet you could trade him for good value. He finally had a healthy season and his 12M price tag isn't a bad buy for his bat. There is probably an AL team with money to spend that would be more than willing to play Griffey as a DH. His contract may actually be a decent gamble for a team considering the market and lack of alternatives via free agency.

He only has 1 year left, so if he gets injured again you can cut ties.

In regards to the deadline, if he has another healthy season than he'd be tradeable in a second. At that point only 6M is on the line, and Griffey could be a valuable player for a contender.

If Bruce is ready I'd jump to move Griffey and I think you could. I'm not sold on Bruce right this second. I still think his plate approach leaves something to be desired and could hold him back from instant success in the majors. I'd prefer to see him start the year in AAA unless he has a crazy spring. Still, if you can indeed move Griffey for something great, then you do it.

Falls City Beer
09-17-2007, 07:58 PM
I bet you could trade him for good value. He finally had a healthy season and his 12M price tag isn't a bad buy for his bat. There is probably an AL team with money to spend that would be more than willing to play Griffey as a DH. His contract may actually be a decent gamble for a team considering the market and lack of alternatives via free agency.

He only has 1 year left, so if he gets injured again you can cut ties.

In regards to the deadline, if he has another healthy season than he'd be tradeable in a second. At that point only 6M is on the line, and Griffey could be a valuable player for a contender.

If Bruce is ready I'd jump to move Griffey and I think you could. I'm not sold on Bruce right this second. I still think his plate approach leaves something to be desired and could hold him back from instant success in the majors. I'd prefer to see him start the year in AAA unless he has a crazy spring. Still, if you can indeed move Griffey for something great, then you do it.

Doesn't Griffey have to be bought out of the final year of his contract? At something like 4 million dollars? $16 millions a lot of change for a 38-39 year old guy with a laundry list of injuries--and even in a sunny year will likely only start 130-135 games.

Falls City Beer
09-17-2007, 08:00 PM
Agreed.



I'm not so sure about that. He might not be because teams seemingly can't be bothered to help themselves anymore, but there should be a host of teams chomping at the bit to get a bat like his.

As far as convincing him to leave, Aronchis hit upon the solution. "You can stay, but we're giving your job to the kid." Don't just say it, mean it.

You'll get no argument from me vis. Aronchis's solution. But I'd almost rather keep Griffey than get back the garbage that he'd likely garner in trade.

Patrick Bateman
09-17-2007, 08:06 PM
Doesn't Griffey have to be bought out of the final year of his contract? At something like 4 million dollars? $16 millions a lot of change for a 38-39 year old guy with a laundry list of injuries--and even in a sunny year will likely only start 130-135 games.

Ya I think you're right. Still look at the alternatives available. It's such a weak market, Griffey could look like a decent gamble on a one year gamble.

RFS62
09-17-2007, 08:31 PM
I think it's more important to Jay's development to be getting non-stop starts and all the plate appearances he can right now. I agree that he's an electric talent, but I have to go along with Rick on his take.

I can easily see him up for good around mid season or sooner if an injury occurs. In a perfect world, we can deal Junior and Hamilton stays healthy.

We've got a lot of options, and having Bruce split playing time right now isn't a good one, IMO.

RedsManRick
09-17-2007, 08:39 PM
Completely. You think Bruce, his agent and his family are stupid? That perhaps they'll suffer from collective amnesia? If you make the decision not to play him in the majors when he's ready to debut then expect that decision to have repercussions. The short-sighted are always bumping into the stuff they didn't bother recognize when it was off in the distance.

Maybin and Upton are already in the majors. McCutchen and Rasmus could conceivably break camp with their clubs next year. You think Bruce is some hayseed that's not going to notice his main peers are getting shots and he's not even though he's supposedly the hottest thing going?

Guaranteed that hijinks like that will register and be recalled when Bruce starts to talking to his agent and family about whether to sign on with the Reds for anything past his obligated time.

And I value what Hamilton did this season just fine. Unfortunately the three times he was given a shot to play CF on a regular basis, he got injured. Other chances will come, but if the Reds don't open up a slot for him then he's been Bruced.

There's a bigger star on the rise, find an orbit.

I believe it's quite likely that Jay Bruce will be frustrated that he's not our opening day CF. I think he will use it as motivation to get even better in AAA. I also think that 6-7 years from now, when his arb years are over, it will have somewhere between zero and .0001% effect on the likelihood that he signs a long term deal to stay in Cincinnati.

M2
09-17-2007, 09:37 PM
I believe it's quite likely that Jay Bruce will be frustrated that he's not our opening day CF. I think he will use it as motivation to get even better in AAA. I also think that 6-7 years from now, when his arb years are over, it will have somewhere between zero and .0001% effect on the likelihood that he signs a long term deal to stay in Cincinnati.

Once again, I'm fascinated by the apparent hole in Jay Bruce's brain.

registerthis
09-18-2007, 12:32 PM
Really, if the argument about starting Bruce over Hamilton rests upon something Bruce's apparently fragile ego might--or might not--coax him to do six years from now...well, to say that is a tenuous argument lends it a depth of credibility it likely doesn't deserve.

RedsManRick
09-18-2007, 12:43 PM
Once again, I'm fascinated by the apparent hole in Jay Bruce's brain.

Simply remembering that something happened and still being so offended by that thing 6 years later such that it plays a significant role in the decision making process are 2 very different things.

Let me show you a timeline. Perhaps that will help.

April 1st, 2008: Bruce doesn't make the Reds opening day roster
April 2nd, 2008: Bruce is disappointed


September 1st, 2008: Bruce gets called up, is elated
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Oct 15, 2014: Bruce becomes eligible for free agency, considers contract offer from Reds.

I'm saying that all the stuff that happens between those events will play a much much greater role in his decision making process than will the Reds opening day roster choice in 2008. He won't sign with us because we named him our opening day CF in 2008 and won't not sign with us because we didn't. It will be a function of money offered by the Reds, the strength of the franchise, his attitude towards his teammates and the city, his preference of a spring training location, the way he's treated by the franchise during the entire 6 years in which he is under Reds control after being called up, etc.

Will he remember that he was or wasn't our opening day CF in 2008? Of course he will. Will that have any real impact on his decision to sign a post-arbitration contract with the Reds organization. No.

IslandRed
09-18-2007, 12:47 PM
M2, I see where you're coming from. But I don't think it's a given that not being one of our starting opening-day outfielders is going to set off the "hijinks" alarms with Bruce. There's a difference between working him into an outfield already full of .900 OPS rakers, and keeping him down just to jack with his service time. The key, as always, is forthright communication coming from the front office.

I still have a hunch the situation will resolve itself by opening day. Just not sure in what manner.

M2
09-18-2007, 01:20 PM
Simply remembering that something happened and still being so offended by that thing 6 years later such that it plays a significant role in the decision making process are 2 very different things.

You're the one acting like he'd have to be offended and that it would be festering for six years. All I'm saying is that if the Reds let Bruce know that "no offense, it's purely business" then he'll probably take the same approach down the road. It's as simple as message sent, lesson learned. There'd be no payback involved, just a recognition of the terms of the relationship. I submit those are terms that will not benefit the Reds in the long run.

Once you set the terms, everything else goes through that filter. If the terms are there's baseball and then there's business, then a decade can pass and it'll still be there's baseball and then there's business. It might go that way regardless, but when the Reds try to sign Bruce for some of what could be his free agent years, they're going to need to argue that their relationship is about more than just business and playing games with his arbitration clock is going to make it impossible to make that pitch.

Mind you, that's all secondary for me. My primary reason to have Bruce start and for Hamilton to be on the bench is because I consider Bruce to be the better full-time player and that the Reds would be a better team with Bruce starting and Hamilton off the bench than Hamilton starting and Bruce in the minors.

registerthis
09-18-2007, 01:26 PM
All I'm saying is that if the Reds let Bruce know that "no offense, it's purely business" then he'll probably take the same approach down the road.

Versus the hometown discount he'd give them if they approached things differently? Of COURSE it's business--and the players and management understand that. This is a real mountain out of a molehill thing to me.

M2
09-18-2007, 01:39 PM
I still have a hunch the situation will resolve itself by opening day. Just not sure in what manner.

That's my guess too. In fact, if the Reds get aggressive they could deal away two OFs this offseason.

RedsManRick
09-18-2007, 01:46 PM
You're the one acting like he'd have to be offended and that it would be festering for six years. All I'm saying is that if the Reds let Bruce know that "no offense, it's purely business" then he'll probably take the same approach down the road. It's as simple as message sent, lesson learned. There'd be no payback involved, just a recognition of the terms of the relationship. I submit those are terms that will not benefit the Reds in the long run.

Once you set the terms, everything else goes through that filter. If the terms are there's baseball and then there's business, then a decade can pass and it'll still be there's baseball and then there's business. It might go that way regardless, but when the Reds try to sign Bruce for some of what could be his free agent years, they're going to need to argue that their relationship is about more than just business and playing games with his arbitration clock is going to make it impossible to make that pitch.

Mind you, that's all secondary for me. My primary reason to have Bruce start and for Hamilton to be on the bench is because I consider Bruce to be the better full-time player and that the Reds would be a better team with Bruce starting and Hamilton off the bench than Hamilton starting and Bruce in the minors.

I guess that I don't think that the "it's business" part of it will ever go away and the call up issue is a small drop in the affinity to the organization bucket. It's never not business as well. I certainly wouldn't make a decision to call him up or not based on how it might affect contract negotiations 6 months from now. I mean, can you see this conversation taking place?

Bruce's Agent: I think you can get 5/90 from somebody in free agency. The Reds are offering 5/80.
Bruce: Go ahead and accept the Reds deal -- they called up me to start 2008 rather than making me wait for an opening. This clearly shows that they care about me as a person and have my best interests at heart...

It's so laughable I can't believe I'm still posting about it.

Worst case scenario (for Bruce), assuming he is ready, he makes his debut in September after getting some additional seasoning destroying AAA. For that to happen, Dunn, Griffey, and Hammy would all have to be healthy, producing, and still Reds. Frankly, that's a pretty good overall picture in my mind. If one of those things doesn't happen, then Bruce comes up before then -- be it April 1, June 15th, or Aug 1st.

M2
09-18-2007, 01:52 PM
Versus the hometown discount he'd give them if they approached things differently? Of COURSE it's business--and the players and management understand that. This is a real mountain out of a molehill thing to me.

That's a bit too much of a truism for my tastes. The team manages the player relationship as well as the budget and roster particulars. There's nothing wrong with everyone looking out for their own interests, but that's not the relationship you want with every player. Some players do give hometown discounts. Are we having a discussion you and I or are we having a discussion about us? It's a subtle but important difference. My take is the franchise would be wise to be thinking about where it wants Jay Bruce to fit into the "us" equation over the long haul as it determines how to deploy him next season.

M2
09-18-2007, 01:57 PM
I mean, can you see this conversation taking place?

Bruce's Agent: I think you can get 5/90 from somebody in free agency. The Reds are offering 5/80.
Bruce: Go ahead and accept the Reds deal -- they called up me to start 2008 rather than making me wait for an opening. This clearly shows that they care about me as a person and have my best interests at heart...

It's so laughable I can't believe I'm still posting about it.

What's laughable is you keep dragging it into such shallow waters, as if direct cause and effect is the only operative way to think about these things.

It's not.

registerthis
09-18-2007, 02:01 PM
That's a bit too much of a truism for my tastes. The team manages the player relationship as well as the budget and roster particulars. There's nothing wrong with everyone looking out for their own interests, but that's not the relationship you want with every player. Some players do give hometown discounts. Are we having a discussion you and I or are we having a discussion about us? It's a subtle but important difference. My take is the franchise would be wise to be thinking about where it wants Jay Bruce to fit into the "us" equation over the long haul as it determines how to deploy him next season.

Your position here is that the Reds would somehow be perpetrating an enormous screw-job on Bruce if he isn't in the starting lineup come opening day. The kid's 20 years old and has barely half a season in AAA under his belt; I hardly believe that writes him in stone into the starting lineup come April '08, and I certainly don't think that Bruce would be so tremendously bothered by spending a few more months in AAA that it would affect contract negotiations years from now. I believe Bruce could probably play at the major league level and be successful, but so long as three guys named Dunn, Griffey and Hamilton are healthy Reds come April 2008, they're the ones who'll be patrolling the outfield for the Reds. That's a perfectly sensible decision, and I don't buy for a second that Bruce would be so bothered by it that it would make him more likely to sign elsewhere in 2014.

Chip R
09-18-2007, 02:02 PM
I guess that I don't think that the "it's business" part of it will ever go away and the call up issue is a small drop in the affinity to the organization bucket. It's never not business as well. I certainly wouldn't make a decision to call him up or not based on how it might affect contract negotiations 6 months from now. I mean, can you see this conversation taking place?

Bruce's Agent: I think you can get 5/90 from somebody in free agency. The Reds are offering 5/80.
Bruce: Go ahead and accept the Reds deal -- they called up me to start 2008 rather than making me wait for an opening. This clearly shows that they care about me as a person and have my best interests at heart...


I see where M2 is coming from and he has a point. But I think even if they did start him in CF to begin the season in 08, ultimately his decision to leave or stay is going to come down to dollars and cents. If this is the most grief Bruce is going to receive from the Reds, he's going to be a fortunate young man. He has the automatic renewals for his first 3 seasons to look forward to and after that arbitration. Even if they don't actually go to arbitration, there is going to be some conflict when they talk contract. The Reds could call him up in 08 and offer him a 7 year deal at $10M a year and at the end of those 7 years he still might go elsewhere. I think we should wait and see how Bruce hits in ST before we give him the CF job.

RedsManRick
09-18-2007, 02:07 PM
What's laughable is you keep dragging it into such shallow waters, as if direct cause and effect is the only operative way to think about these things.

It's not.

I don't believe it's a direct cause and effect in terms of 1-1 relationship. Clearly that would be silly. Affinity is all about shades of gray. Though you seem to be making the case that by not naming him the opening day CF, we would be sending him a message that we are more concerned about business matters than his development as a player and that this would negatively affect his chances of signing here long term. I would argue that this realization is inevitable. Any professional ballplayer should be keenly aware that the interests of the organization as a whole take precedence to that of any single player and that what might be best for an individual player may not be in the best interests of the organization. We could not hope to maintain some facade that Bruce's wants and needs take precedence over the those of the Reds organization. In fact, if I were player, I would be disuaded from signing with an organization that pandered to certain players at the blatant expense of others and the organization as a whole, particularly ones who had yet to have to see a single major league pitch.

If Jay Bruce doesn't know this already, I am fully confident that he will learn it sometime before his arbitration years are over. If he learns it in the course of not being named our opening day CF as opposed to some point in the future, so be it.

That said, calling him up as our opening day CF or not calling him up as our opening day CF is a yes or no decision. Even if I were to concede that yes, the decision to have him as our opening day CF may have some affect on his decision to resign with the Reds when his arb days are through, there are all kinds of factors which go in to the decision. My simple point is that the effect of the decision on a future contract negotiation is not a variable worth consideration -- or that its weight is so minimal as to be non-existent.

M2
09-18-2007, 02:15 PM
Your position here is that the Reds would somehow be perpetrating an enormous screw-job on Bruce if he isn't in the starting lineup come opening day.

No, that's not my position. I don't think it's a screw job, just an unfortunate choice that starts the club down a path where it ultimately doesn't want to be.

M2
09-18-2007, 02:17 PM
I think we should wait and see how Bruce hits in ST before we give him the CF job.

Yep, totally agreed. In fact it's possible the Reds didn't call up Bruce up for September because they wanted him to stay hungry over the winter.

M2
09-18-2007, 02:28 PM
My simple point is that the effect of the decision on a future contract negotiation is not a variable worth consideration -- or that its weight is so minimal as to be non-existent.

I think you've arbitrarily come up with that estimate. I don't know how it would color future dealings between player and team, but I'm reasonably sure that it would be well above minimal. What you do in deed is the foundation for the conversation you have moving forward.

RedsManRick
09-18-2007, 02:46 PM
I think you've arbitrarily come up with that estimate. I don't know how it would color future dealings between player and team, but I'm reasonably sure that it would be well above minimal. What you do in deed is the foundation for the conversation you have moving forward.

You're right. I have arbitrarily come to my estimation, as have you. I base mine largely on the fact that I have never once heard of a player who claimed his decision making process was affected by the way the organization handled his initial call up. And if there have been cases, I'm certain that their case to be awarded the job was much stronger than the case for Bruce over Hamilton. Also, while this decision may set a tone, there will be copious opportunities for the Reds to show what kind of organization they are and how they regard their players.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Regarding your second point, I don't disagree. The decision made regarding where Bruce starts 2008 absolute lays the foundation moving forward, as do all interactions with the team. As Reds management, I would have absolutely no problem laying a foundation which states:

1.) The professional well-being of the organization well-being will take precedence over that of any given player

2.) In this specific case, it is (our) judgment that the organization is better served by giving Josh Hamilton a full time job alongside Dunn and Griffey and leaving (you) in AAA until such time that a full time OF position is available.

3.) Assuming you continue to prove your readiness on the field in AAA, You are next in line for a full time OF position when it becomes available -- ahead of Freel, Hopper, Ellison, and Dickerson.

I'm sorry, but I don't see how this would negatively affect the relationship between the player and the organization. If Bruce was being blocked by Freel or Hopper, I could understand some real lasting frustration. But if Bruce wants to be all Gary Sheffield on us and demand extra special consideration above 3 very deserving players, then that is not a player I want to build the organization around, regardless of his talent.

registerthis
09-18-2007, 03:30 PM
No, that's not my position. I don't think it's a screw job, just an unfortunate choice that starts the club down a path where it ultimately doesn't want to be.

What would be unfortunate is Ken Griffey Jr. continuing to hold down an outfield spot when either of two younger replacements could do as good/better a job. Choosing to start Hamilton over Bruce on opening day is not an unfortunate choice.

Falls City Beer
09-18-2007, 04:24 PM
I get hives when lesser players play in front of more entitled and skilled players--regardless of money or seniority.

Now I understand that every situation has its own dynamic and peculiarities, but as a rule, I like my roster flush with the best players. It's the management's job to explain why so-and-so needs to ride the pine and why so-and-so needs to be in the lineup.

Stormy
09-18-2007, 04:59 PM
I get hives when lesser players play in front of more entitled and skilled players--regardless of money or seniority.

Agreed upon that premise. However, do you actually think Hamilton v. Bruce is a landmark example of inferior talent obstructing it's better?

Aurilia impeding Encarnacion, innumerable veteran arms with guaranteed contracts blocking the promotion of the youth movement in the bullpen, bench detritus like Castro lingering instead of Keppinger, even the last month+ of Conine retarding Votto's advancement, are some prototypical examples of the normal small market, small minded F.O. penchant for allowing lesser players to slow the progress of superior talents, based upon options, seniority, money, and cliched intangibles etc...

However, Hamilton/Bruce doesn't fit that mold. Hamilton has no cost attached to him, as a rookie with a troubled past doesn't have much seniority over the franchise's prize prospect, and is controlled by the Reds for the foreseeable future. He's posted an elite 922OPS (which may improve with exposure to LHP), and has capably manned CF in a pinch. That's earning a job on merits alone, and as one of his DL stints was illness related, it seems premature to think he's overtly injury prone.

If Bruce really is ready in March/April of 2008, what will be a true shame and detriment to the team's budget and offensive prowess, is not the specter of Hamilton starting ahead of Bruce, but rather the prospect of Griffey being allowed to man Bruce's spot in the 2008 OF out of cost, seniority and status based issues, as opposed to cost benefit and production for the team.

Hopefully Wayne is proactive and resolves this situation in the offseason, making all of the concern moot.

Falls City Beer
09-18-2007, 05:10 PM
Agreed upon that premise. However, do you actually think Hamilton v. Bruce is a landmark example of inferior talent obstructing it's better?

Aurilia impeding Encarnacion, innumerable veteran arms with guaranteed contracts blocking the promotion of the youth movement in the bullpen, bench detritus like Castro lingering instead of Keppinger, even the last month+ of Conine retarding Votto's advancement, are some prototypical examples of the normal small market, small minded F.O. penchant for allowing lesser players to slow the progress of superior talents, based upon options, seniority, money, and cliched intangibles etc...

However, Hamilton/Bruce doesn't fit that mold. Hamilton has no cost attached to him, as a rookie with a troubled past doesn't have much seniority over the franchise's prize prospect, and is controlled by the Reds for the foreseeable future. He's posted an elite 922OPS (which may improve with exposure to LHP), and has capably manned CF in a pinch. That's earning a job on merits alone, and as one of his DL stints was illness related, it seems premature to think he's overtly injury prone.

If Bruce really is ready in March/April of 2008, what will be a true shame and detriment to the team's budget and offensive prowess, is not the specter of Hamilton starting ahead of Bruce, but rather the prospect of Griffey being allowed to man Bruce's spot in the 2008 OF out of cost, seniority and status based issues, as opposed to cost benefit and production for the team.

Hopefully Wayne is proactive and resolves this situation in the offseason, making all of the concern moot.

I could see Bruce putting up numbers on a par with Hamilton's next season, playing better defense, AND being able to take the field every day.

That makes him a better player and more deserving of a spot.

Ideally, though, I would want Bruce assuming Griffey's spot, yeah.