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OnBaseMachine
08-02-2008, 12:35 AM
Post-Griffey era begins for Reds
Club looks to move forward with solid core of young players
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The giant black trunk that Ken Griffey Jr. routinely used to store his equipment was gone from the Reds clubhouse Friday. His voice that cracked numerous jokes was missing and there wasn't a No. 3 jersey hanging in any locker.

"It's the end of the Griffey era," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Indeed it was. The closest Reds players could get to seeing him on Friday was via television. They gathered around to watch Griffey's first press conference with the White Sox following his trade from Cincinnati on Thursday.

One of those intently watching was rookie Jay Bruce, who has taken the torch from Griffey symbolically. For Friday's game vs. the Nationals, and likely going forward, Bruce was batting third and playing right field. Both were Griffey's spots.

"I'm ready for everything that's about to happen," Bruce said. "I think that now it's a new era with Griff gone. He was the franchise since 2000. Now he's gone. It kind of starts a new time with the Reds. I'm ready for that. We have a great nucleus here. No matter what the record says, we have a good team. I'm just excited to be a piece of it."

Baker talked one-on-one with Bruce about the move to third in the lineup. The 21-year-old had most recently batted leadoff with Jerry Hairston Jr. out with an injury. Hairston was activated Friday and resumed leading off.

Bruce, who has batted third for most of his professional career, has struggled at times this season since his red-hot start. He's trying to show more plate discipline and wants to cut down on his strikeouts.

"I talked to him about what I require a third hitter to do," Baker said. "Without taking away his aggressiveness, he'll need to be a little more selective at the plate. Take your pitch. He batted third most of his life in the Minor Leagues. We'll see."

"I think I've hit third in two games in the big leagues," Bruce said. "No matter what, it's where I'm used to hitting. Obviously, with Ken being here, there was no question over who was batting third."

Baker planned to hold a team meeting before Friday's game to address how Griffey's trade transpired and what it means going forward.

"Everybody is probably wondering, it did happen rather quickly," Baker said. "This is the biggest trade I've ever been a part of in the middle of the season, and probably the last major, major trade like this was Hank Aaron [from the Braves to the Brewers]."

Obviously, dealing without Griffey is more than batting orders and right field for Cincinnati. The club has said goodbye to an iconic player and superstar that was one of the main faces of the franchise for nine years.

"All this time, it was Griffey and the Reds," second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "It was the best thing. He was the best player on this team and was here for so long. We're going to miss his face. We're going to miss his name."

Like Bruce, Phillips wouldn't mind accepting the responsibility of being front and center.

"It's not about what I want, it's about what the Reds want," Phillips said. "Of course, I want it to be my team. Regardless of what I do or what I say, it's really how they want to present it. It's all about promoting. We have a guy named Jay Bruce on this team. If they want it to be his team, it'll be his team. They're promoting it like it's his team, so they might as well say it's his team. If you want to keep it real, that's real talk. He's hitting third.

"Plus, it starts with you guys [in the media]. People read what you say. If you say 'Bruce Almighty,' they'll say 'We want to see Bruce.' It's the truth. When people see Griffey, it's 'The Kid,' and it's catchy. Griffey is the man. He still is the man."

Whether Phillips is "the man" going forward, he still credits Griffey for helping him grow as a player.

"I thank him for that," Phillips said. "I talked to him, and he told me to be myself and people will like me for who I am. I took that to heart. I want to be like Barry Larkin. That's my idol. It'd be nice to have a 'C' on my chest [like Larkin], but I don't think they're doing 'C's' anymore. It'd be nice to be a captain. A guy like Griffey -- his shoes are hard to fill. I'll make sure to step my game up even higher than what I'm doing right now. I think it's about that time."

Others will try to do likewise. Besides Bruce and Phillips, there are other younger players like Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto meshing with veterans Adam Dunn, Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.

"It does create opportunity for somebody else," Baker said.

So what is this new Reds era called, anyway?

"I don't know," responded Baker. "The post-Griffey era."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080801&content_id=3236735&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

Razor Shines
08-02-2008, 01:10 AM
"It's not about what I want, it's about what the Reds want," Phillips said. "Of course, I want it to be my team. Regardless of what I do or what I say, it's really how they want to present it. It's all about promoting. We have a guy named Jay Bruce on this team. If they want it to be his team, it'll be his team. They're promoting it like it's his team, so they might as well say it's his team. If you want to keep it real, that's real talk. He's hitting third.

"Plus, it starts with you guys [in the media]. People read what you say. If you say 'Bruce Almighty,' they'll say 'We want to see Bruce.' It's the truth. When people see Griffey, it's 'The Kid,' and it's catchy. Griffey is the man. He still is the man."

Is it just me or does it seem like BP is whining again? Maybe it's not a big deal but if Dunn said something like this I can't imagine the back lash that would happen.

VR
08-02-2008, 01:13 AM
Is it just me or does it seem like BP is whining again? Maybe it's not a big deal but if Dunn said something like this I can't imagine the back lash that would happen.

Concerning, that's for sure.

KronoRed
08-02-2008, 02:35 AM
He's a very talkative fellow.

mth123
08-02-2008, 06:49 AM
Is it just me or does it seem like BP is whining again? Maybe it's not a big deal but if Dunn said something like this I can't imagine the back lash that would happen.

Its not just you. OTOH, he is the most vocal guy who plays with the most energy at this point. The Reds signed him to a big extension and he has the personality for it. I'd go ahead and give him the "C." It seems important for him, it probably doesn't matter to Dunn and nobody else is ahead of him in line.

If anybody objects, I'd just tell them that you have to play good defense to qualify. Corey Patterson could be released if he complains and if playing "D" was a prerequisite, no one else on the roster has the credentials.

oneupper
08-02-2008, 07:14 AM
Is it just me or does it seem like BP is whining again? Maybe it's not a big deal but if Dunn said something like this I can't imagine the back lash that would happen.

BP seems to really want the press to annoint him with the "superstar" mantle or "team leader" if you will. He'd really like to see headlines like "Phlllips and the REDS in town for three game set with Nats", etc. He wants to be the guy you come out to the park to see.

He was resentful with Hamilton getting that kind of attention last year and now Bruce. I'm not sure I like the 'tude (and who knows about other teammates). It could be a thing of him vs the press only, as in "they don't give me the respect I deserve". Who knows?

Phillips is a nice player with really good baseball instincts in the field and on the bases. At the plate....very overrated, particulary by his managers.
He's a nice player to have so you hope he's not a clubhouse distraction.

Spring~Fields
08-02-2008, 10:13 AM
Baker talked one-on-one with Bruce about the move to third in the lineup. The 21-year-old had most recently batted leadoff with Jerry Hairston Jr. out with an injury. Hairston was activated Friday and resumed leading off.

Bruce, who has batted third for most of his professional career, has struggled at times this season since his red-hot start. He's trying to show more plate discipline and wants to cut down on his strikeouts.

"I talked to him about what I require a third hitter to do," Baker said. "Without taking away his aggressiveness, he'll need to be a little more selective at the plate. Take your pitch. He batted third most of his life in the Minor Leagues. We'll see."

Gosh, I hope that this is not anything like the “talk” that Dusty gave Bruce upon placing Bruce into the lead off spot, or like the talks that Baker gave to Phillips and Votto or even Patterson for that matter.

I alway's find it kind of strange when an x number of batters who did know how to hit, all of a sudden as a group no longer know how to hit.

Matt700wlw
08-02-2008, 11:11 AM
The Reds with and without Jr
From Mark Wagner, official statistician of the Lance McAlister show

Overall Reds record since 2000: 650 - 755 (.463)

REDS WITH JR. WITHOUT JR.
Record with 442 - 501 (.469)
Record without 208 - 254 (.463)

GAMES UNDER .500 ....with 59.....without 46
BATTING AVG . with 262...........without .251
ON BASE % .iwith 335...............without .325
SLUG% .with .433 ...........without .405
RUNS PER GM with 4.8 ........without 4.4
HR PER GM with 1.3..........without 1.1
ERA with 4.78.......without 4.72

redsfan30
08-02-2008, 11:51 AM
I'm glad you guys noticed the tone of Brandon's comments as well. That's the first thing I picked up on while reading these articles this morning.

Brandon Phillips is more than capable of becoming the face of this franchise. He's got the ability and the personality that is extremely marketable, especially if this team starts to put some good seasons together. He's got a million dollar smile. I just really hope this percieved attitude doesn't become a problem, especially if Jay Bruce is the one the club really decides to market heavily.

Spring~Fields
08-02-2008, 03:29 PM
The Reds with and without Jr
From Mark Wagner, official statistician of the Lance McAlister show

Overall Reds record since 2000: 650 - 755 (.463)

REDS WITH JR. WITHOUT JR.
Record with 442 - 501 (.469)
Record without 208 - 254 (.463)

GAMES UNDER .500 ....with 59.....without 46
BATTING AVG . with 262...........without .251
ON BASE % .iwith 335...............without .325
SLUG% .with .433 ...........without .405
RUNS PER GM with 4.8 ........without 4.4
HR PER GM with 1.3..........without 1.1
ERA with 4.78.......without 4.72

Is that with Freel, Hopper, Reggie Taylor type replacements ? The Reds have never had much in the way of quality depth to replace any player, during the Griffey era.

RedsManRick
08-02-2008, 03:58 PM
Phillips strikes me as the equivalent of a wide receiver. When things are going well, he's all smiles and laughs. But it belies a massive ego. One thing he apparently has yet to learn from Junior and Larkin is humility. He still needs to learn that being a leader isn't something bestowed on you -- it's something you do.

Ego can certainly be a good thing and every athlete needs it to a degree. It's nice to see a guy with some fire and who wants to take on the responsibility. But it can turn sour pretty quickly if it turns in to jealousy or blinds him to where he needs to continue to improve.

Spring~Fields
08-02-2008, 05:42 PM
Gosh, I hope that this is not anything like the “talk” that Dusty gave Bruce upon placing Bruce into the lead off spot, or like the talks that Baker gave to Phillips and Votto or even Patterson for that matter.

I alway's find it kind of strange when an x number of batters who did know how to hit, all of a sudden as a group no longer know how to hit.

I have read so much Dusty, that he worries me. Not to mention the results.

"If you're supposed to be up there driving in runs ... a run producer, he ain't up there to get his on-base percentage up. He's in there to drive in runs," says Baker. "If you're passing it on to the next hitter, a lot of times, he's not as good of a hitter as you. Otherwise ... he'd be hitting ahead of you."
For his part, Phillips admits he's not your typical cleanup hitter -- "not even close," he says -- but he's fine hitting anywhere from 1-7 in the lineup. "I go up there trying to hit the ball hard. That's my No. 1 goal. Just put a good swing on the ball," Phillips says. "I like to swing the bat, that's what I like to do. I'm a swinger."


"I heard this thing today, man: The lineup really doesn't matter. That's [poppycock]," Baker says. "I love stat guys, but statheads have gotten way, way out there."
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/john_donovan/03/14/donovan.phillips/1.html

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/beat/Cincinnati/P120/

Does the aggressive stuff go for Adam Dunn, too? “Like I said, I don’t like called third strikes. Dunn’s not a kid. He’s not old, but he ain’t a kid. I bet you he gets better. He’s from Texas, right? There’s not a cow in Texas if he don’t get better.”
[...]
On Votto: “He needs to swing some more. I talked to him about that. Strikeouts aren’t the only criteria. I’d like to see him more aggressive.”

“A lot of this on-base percentage is taking away the aggressiveness of some young kids. Most of the time you’ve got to put handcuffs on a young to keep him from swinging.”

“I need to know which one is the smarter hitter - which one can take and which one is a better hitter with two strikes. I have a pretty good idea already, but I have to see.”

Baker said he sometimes sits in his office staring into space, pondering and pontificating over things of this nature, “And sometime I just sit here and nothing comes.”
~Spring training 2008

http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/entries/2008/02/index.html