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OnBaseMachine
08-08-2008, 01:43 AM
A view from the outside

By Hal McCoy | Thursday, August 7, 2008, 09:32 PM
Latest comment

A man I have known a long time, a scout for years and years who has watched the Cincinnati Reds, asked me a question before Thursday’s game:

“Have you ever seen a Reds team so lifeless, so dead, so disinterested?”

I answered honestly: “Never. This team looks like nine mannequins, nine fire hydrants, nine pine trees at Christmas time, nine que-tips in a stand-up box.

It’s the old which comes first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, which comes first, the losing or the lethargy? The lethargy or the losing? When you lose 11 of 13, you not only look bad, you ARE bad.

Actually, these days the Reds play like chickens with egg on their faces.

The long-time observer said, “I saw Homer Bailey three years ago and thought good things about him. Iee him now and there is no fire, no consistency and no sense of confidence. He used to have the hammer - a big, breaking curve. That’s gone. The last time he pitched he threw it for one strike. One.”

Another guy in the know, from out of town, said he couldn’t believe the abuse Adam Dunn gets. He hears it when he sits in the stands.

“Now that Ken Griffey Jr. is gone, if they let him go those same people are going to whine about it,” he said. “They better keep him. They need his power and they need him because they have so many young players.”

And another wrinkled his nose when Brandon Phillips was mentioned.

“Nice talent, but I can’t stand the guy. Don’t like his attitude. He does things to make the other team mad. And I couldn’t believe the stuff he said last week about wanting to be the face of the team, the captain, the leader. Very next game he didn’t run out a ground ball. Some leader.”

And so it goes with the intreprid warriors on the banks of the Ohio.

A defeat Thursday was a given. Roy Oswalt. 20-1 before the night began and 21-1 after. The Reds can’t beat him when he is ordinary, and he is ordinary this year and was very ordinary tonight. The Reds got nine hits off him in seven innings, but one run.

What the heck is it, anyway?

The question of the night: How did he lose the one game?

Asked how one pitcher can be 21-1 against his team, manager Dusty Baker said with a shrug, “A 5-0 lead doesn’t hurt? Psychologically, he knows he can beat us, psychologically his team knows it and, probably, psychologically our team knows it. Plus a lot of great pitching and a lot of luck.

Mostly great pitching, but on this night he was eminently beatable.

It isn’t only Oswalt Syndrome that infects this Reds team — losers in 11 of their last 13, 12 games under .500 and 17 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs.

Although rookie Jay Bruce doubled in the sixth, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, he went 1 for 5, dropped a fly ball for an error and inadmisably tried to go from second to third on a ground ball and was thrown out.

“A tough night for Jay,” said Baker. “A tough night once in the field and a tough night once on the bases. Call it youthful exuberance and he was as upset as anybody. He knew he made a mistake and you won’t see him make it any time in the future because he is a smart ballplayer. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.”

Oswalt usually downplays his mastery over the Reds, perhaps fearing he’ll jinx it, but did issue an indictment with the Reds are often charged.

“I threw a lot of pitches in the first inning, but when we scored a lot of runs it seemed they began swinging early in the count,” he said.

Gee whiz. Where have we heard that one before? Oh, about every night.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/

Edskin
08-08-2008, 02:04 AM
Anyone who thinks the Reds stink because of the "chemistry" stuff is off-base.

Anyone who thinks the "chemistry" stuff has no bearing on why the Reds stink is also off-base.

Hal makes a good point about the chicken-egg thing. It's hard to decipher.

However, the more you lose, the harder it becomes to win-- at some point I do believe it even goes beyond talent, managing, etc.. at a certain point, I believe an organization can become SO associated with losing, that it really infests everything about the organization-- from the players to the front office to the fans.

The Cincinnati Reds are a lifeless, pathetic organization. Quite possibly one of the 10 worst of all the major sports. That's saying something. And that isn't easy to fix.

WVRedsFan
08-08-2008, 02:33 AM
Anyone who thinks the Reds stink because of the "chemistry" stuff is off-base.

Anyone who thinks the "chemistry" stuff has no bearing on why the Reds stink is also off-base.

Hal makes a good point about the chicken-egg thing. It's hard to decipher.

However, the more you lose, the harder it becomes to win-- at some point I do believe it even goes beyond talent, managing, etc.. at a certain point, I believe an organization can become SO associated with losing, that it really infests everything about the organization-- from the players to the front office to the fans.

The Cincinnati Reds are a lifeless, pathetic organization. Quite possibly one of the 10 worst of all the major sports. That's saying something. And that isn't easy to fix.

Ed:

Chemistry has a lot to do with who puts together the roster. The Reds have been obsessed with bullpen pitching for two years. Yes, our bullpen was horrible, so we spent almost every resource in getting that right while depending on the minors for replacements at other positions. Wenow have a decent bullpen. Hallelujah. On the starting front, we have two rookies (I still consider Volquez a rookie since he hasn't pitched much), a chamelion (Arroyo), Josh Fogg, and Homer Bailey. All five sport over 5 ERA's over the near term. Yes, pitching is expensive and there wasn't much out there, but Josh Fogg? Your ace goes down and what happens? You're seeing it now.

Then you bank on guys like Corey Patterson, Junior Griffey, Brandon Phillips, Edwin E., and two other rookies (Votto and Bruce) to be successful immediately. How foolish. Patterson came to spring traning without a team, Griffey was aging, Phillips is a hacker, Edwin is on and off, and Votto and Bruce are rookies. In the meantime, two guys you count on (and I don't know why) go down with injuries as well as your ace starting pitcher. Poor planning. Then, through all of this, you declare you're not that far off just like before (remember when it was stated that Paul Wilson wa the key and then it was Majewski and Bray, and finally Bruce and Votto--and then it was Thompson and Burton?). We finally gave up on Wilson, Majewski has been a dissappointment, Bray is a relief pitcher with his ups and downs, and Bruce and Votto are still learning. Recipe for disaster. Then we carry three catchers who are average at best (Ross with his spectacular OBP, Bako with his horrilbe OPS, and Valintin, who probably wouldn't be on any other roster, and you have the crux of the problem.

For those who want to indict Dusty Baker and Walt Jockkety, I just say this. Baker was a horrible mistake and Jocketty is innocent. It will take all of WJ's magic to correct this team. Dusty will be successful if Walt corrects it. But, as of now, I don't see it. The sins of the past will take a long time to get to redemption.

oneupper
08-08-2008, 06:10 AM
It's not like this is the first bad team the REDS put on the field in the last few years and its probably not the worst.

But it is, IMO, definitely the most unwatchable. I like winning (who doesn't), but I also want to be entertained. No personality, few good "stories".
A "challenged" manager who doesn't even make the strategy element of the games interesting. Blech...

camisadelgolf
08-08-2008, 06:42 AM
I agree with you, oneupper--the entertainment value is down from previous years--but the talent on the team has me, personally, more interested than in some of the past previous years.

Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Edwin Encarnacion, Homer Bailey, Daryl Thompson, Bill Bray, Jay Bruce, Josh Roenicke, Joey Votto, etc. are all young (26 years old or younger at the start of 2009), but right now, they should be going through the rough years of their career. Theoretically, they will all be entering their primes in a couple years--I just hope the organization is smart enough to realize that and keep them all around. There are some growing pains, but I feel like that will help me enjoy the team more when things finally come around (and they will, unless the team makes some very stupid moves).

Bob Castellini always said this team was being built to win as soon as possible, but I think it would stupid of us not to recognize that this team was, thanks to Wayne Krivsky and a little bit to Dan O'Brien, built with the future in mind--probably more so than the present.

wheels
08-08-2008, 08:28 AM
".......Losing. Is a disease. Much like syphilis."

Sea Ray
08-08-2008, 09:32 AM
Suffice to say this team cannot go through the off season status quo. First of all Dusty has to look in the mirror and find out if he still has the desire and energy to manage this young team. He has looked as lackadaisical as the team. We really can't fire him but Cast does need to have a heart to heart with him.

Assuming he does want to manage, he has to accept coaching changes. Guys like Jacoby and Pole have to go. They've blown it. They have coached no one to a year above their career norm.

Finally they need to call in some youthful reinforcements. Bring up Dickerson, Hanigan and a few others just to change the energy on this team if nothing else. Why are they hanging onto Paul Bako anyway?

princeton
08-08-2008, 09:35 AM
We really can't fire him

baloney

Sea Ray
08-08-2008, 10:01 AM
baloney

OK, I'll expound on that. We can't fire him for a few reasons.

First of all he can argue it's not his team. He inherited a poorly put together team.

Secondly Cast would have a hard time attracting another experienced manager if they see us cut Dusty after only one year

Thirdly it would cost Cast a lot of dough.

I take it you wouldn't have hired Dusty in the first place and I agree with you but it would be difficult to fire him at this point.

princeton
08-08-2008, 10:11 AM
OK, I'll expound on that. We can't fire him for a few reasons.

First of all he can argue it's not his team. He inherited a poorly put together team.

Secondly Cast would have a hard time attracting another experienced manager if they see us cut Dusty after only one year

Thirdly it would cost Cast a lot of dough.

I take it you wouldn't have hired Dusty in the first place and I agree with you but it would be difficult to fire him at this point.


it's easy to fire someone. As to your reasons:

1. he can't just make an "argument." it's not his decision. Most importantly, he may have given up on team, which is never ever ever allowed.

2. Jocketty has developed a lot of credibility in the industry. His last manager still hasn't been fired.

3. Dusty's a sunk cost. The money that it would cost Cast depends now on who they hire

if Jocketty's got an idea for a replacement, he should get it done.

if he was smart, Jocketty would have negotiated the right to make a lot of new hires this winter before he signed on with Cast. If we're throwing $15mill+ at three amateurs this summer, then we've surely got money for better coaching throughout the organization.

Cooper
08-08-2008, 10:25 AM
This is the 2nd mention this week where Brandon Phillips was held up as a leader and the person with the opinion said "no".

Earlier this week Bronson Arroyo was interviewed on WLW and was asked who would be th enew leader. Phillips name was thrown out there -but Bronson went out of his way to report the new Reds clubhouse leader would not be Phillips. He mentioned Votto or Bruce.

Phillips is a wonderful talent and one of the few good things to watch on this team-but it appears he's not the leader of the clubhouse. The media may think he should be, but I don't think that's going to happen. I think Votto may the the man for the job.

Raisor
08-08-2008, 10:32 AM
I think Votto may the the man for the job.

Who's going to follow a Canadian anywhere? ;)

NJReds
08-08-2008, 10:34 AM
Of all the negatives in the scout's assessment, one thing stood out to me. The Reds can't afford to lose Dunn. He may wear the bullseye in the view of the fans and the media, but in at least in this one scout's opinion, he's part of the cure, not the disease.

Chip R
08-08-2008, 10:35 AM
Who's going to follow a Canadian anywhere? ;)


Other Canadians?

NJReds
08-08-2008, 10:37 AM
Who's going to follow a Canadian anywhere? ;)

http://www.bombago.com/082402/amax0163.jpg

princeton
08-08-2008, 10:40 AM
Earlier this week Bronson Arroyo was interviewed on WLW and was asked who would be th enew leader. Phillips name was thrown out there -but Bronson went out of his way to report the new Reds clubhouse leader would not be Phillips. He mentioned Votto or Bruce.


BP wants it too much. I suspect that he's more likely to get beat up than lead.

but I figure that it's Dunn. Arroyo makes it sound like Dunn's gone.

Johnny Footstool
08-08-2008, 10:43 AM
This is the 2nd mention this week where Brandon Phillips was held up as a leader and the person with the opinion said "no".

Earlier this week Bronson Arroyo was interviewed on WLW and was asked who would be th enew leader. Phillips name was thrown out there -but Bronson went out of his way to report the new Reds clubhouse leader would not be Phillips. He mentioned Votto or Bruce.

Phillips is a wonderful talent and one of the few good things to watch on this team-but it appears he's not the leader of the clubhouse. The media may think he should be, but I don't think that's going to happen. I think Votto may the the man for the job.

All this talk of "clubhouse leaders" reminds me of being 8 years old and hanging out with the neighborhood kids in our neighbor's tree house.

REDREAD
08-08-2008, 10:44 AM
But it is, IMO, definitely the most unwatchable. I like winning (who doesn't), but I also want to be entertained. No personality, few good "stories".
...

I agree that this is one of the most boring teams I have ever seen.

The offense is so terrible, you feel they can not overcome a 3 run defecit, no matter who the opposing pitcher is.

If the Reds pitcher is on a roll, you just get this impending feeling of doom that the defense will let him down or a reliever will blow it.

REDREAD
08-08-2008, 10:48 AM
OK, I'll expound on that. We can't fire him for a few reasons.
.

There is really no point in firing Dusty. This is a last place team.
You make great points. But there's also the financial argument: why fire Dusty and then have to spend more money on a new manager to babysit a last place team? Dusty can do that.

Get the talent on the field. Then if you feel uncomfortable with Dusty, then work on the manager.

Personally, I don't think any manager could've done a better job than Dusty has done this year. This team stinks, regardless of who the manager would've been.

Az Red
08-08-2008, 10:59 AM
1999 seems like such a loooooooooooooooong time ago....

princeton
08-08-2008, 11:00 AM
about a week ago, Dusty was recalling how Roger Craig told him to never let a team have a players-only meeting-- you'll lose them. Dusty scoffed.

so, he let 'em have a players-only meeting

Craig was smarter

Raisor
08-08-2008, 11:14 AM
about a week ago, Dusty was recalling how Roger Craig told him to never let a team have a players-only meeting-- you'll lose them. Dusty scoffed.

so, he let 'em have a players-only meeting

Craig was smarter

I dunno how he was supposed to stop them. They could just call it a union meeting.

Chip R
08-08-2008, 11:48 AM
it's easy to fire someone. As to your reasons:

1. he can't just make an "argument." it's not his decision. Most importantly, he may have given up on team, which is never ever ever allowed.

2. Jocketty has developed a lot of credibility in the industry. His last manager still hasn't been fired.

3. Dusty's a sunk cost. The money that it would cost Cast depends now on who they hire

if Jocketty's got an idea for a replacement, he should get it done.

if he was smart, Jocketty would have negotiated the right to make a lot of new hires this winter before he signed on with Cast. If we're throwing $15mill+ at three amateurs this summer, then we've surely got money for better coaching throughout the organization.


If someone's not doing the job and you don't feel that they are ever going to get the job done, it's best to fire them no matter how much you're paying them or how long they have on their contract. The question is, is Dusty not doing the job because the team is so bad or because he just isn't very good? Also, the Reds job isn't exactly one that people are salivating over.

Over the past decade, the Reds have either hired rookies (Knight, Miley) or guys who have had chances before and have either failed (Boone, Narron) or have been tarnished (McKeon, Dusty). We're not getting the Johnsons and Piniellas anymore. There's no real template for hiring a successful manager. 15 years ago you wouldn't think that Joe Torre would be mentioned in the same breath as Casey Stengel, Sparky Anderson and Tony LaRussa. Tito Francona got fired in Philly and now he's the first Red Sox Manager to win a World Championship since 1914. People say, "Get a former player. One the players respect." Sometimes it works out (Torre) and sometimes it doesn't (Boone).

They used to say of Leo Durocher that when he had a team that was clearly out of it that he'd throw the towel in as well. Obviously Dusty is not on a level of Durocher as a manager but one wonders if Dusty hasn't given up as well. He says all the right things and perhaps he believes that what he's doing and the way he does it is the right way. It's not his fault the defense is awful and Harang got hurt/was ineffective. But the comments about this not being his team makes you wonder.

The problem with firing Dusty now is that the same person who had final say on hiring him has final say on his replacement. I don't think anyone questions Bob's desire to win but he seems to be the kind of guy who is trying to impress all his friends at the country club with the bigger car or the hotter wife or the nicer house. The big car may have have a bad engine, the hot wife may be unfaithful and the nice house may have termites but that doesn't matter because he's one of the boys and he's trying to keep up with the Joneses.

WVRedsFan
08-08-2008, 12:02 PM
You have to ask yourself this question: Could anyone do better with the personnel we have? While many think we have a team loaded with talent (some in the minor leagues, which is always a crapshoot), I beg to differ. You have to think that a Dickerson might put up marginally better numbers than Patterson, but the sad truth is we do not have a center fielder and trading Griffey just opened up that sore.

When Dusty came on board, he was stuck with a marginal team that had painted itself into a corner with horrible contracts. I do not think it would be fair to can him under the current circumstances. I'm certainly not a Baker fan by any means, but like I keep saying, no one could win with this mess.

nate
08-08-2008, 12:08 PM
You have to ask yourself this question: Could anyone do better with the personnel we have?

Maybe. But no one would make the Reds a playoff team right now.

Other than Jesus, and he'd probably have to settle for the wild card.

WVRedsFan
08-08-2008, 12:16 PM
Maybe. But no one would make the Reds a playoff team right now.

Other than Jesus, and he'd probably have to settle for the wild card.

Jesus Alou. Now, there was a ball player :).

dfs
08-08-2008, 12:54 PM
On firing Baker....Does anybody really think that's gonna help?

This franchise has gone through how many managers and how many general managers in the last 9 years? Just maybe part of the problem we're seeing on the field is precisely because there is no organizational continuity? If you keep firing either your manager or your gm every other year, why would you be surprised that the product on the field starts to suffer?

What Baker brought to the table when they brought him in was the ability to act as a counterbalance to the front office. The last...5-6 reds managers were seriously hamstrung by their relations with the front office and when push came to shove, they were exposed as organizational yes-men. Baker broke that mold and (rightly or wrongly) still has enough contacts and respect within the industry to continue in that role. For that reason alone, they need to keep him around in order to try and actually build something.

They do need to keep Dunn. Phillips comments ARE out of line. Nothing newsworthy about either of those comments.

flyer85
08-08-2008, 12:58 PM
On firing Baker....Does anybody really think that's gonna help?not sure much of anything is going to help now .. or in the near future. Walt is going to have to perform some alchemy

LincolnparkRed
08-08-2008, 01:02 PM
All this talk of "clubhouse leaders" reminds me of being 8 years old and hanging out with the neighborhood kids in our neighbor's tree house.

I realize that no team really likes each other, 25 guys will probably never get along when some are jealous of at bats and playing time. On the other hand you really can't have someone stand up and say I am the leader without doing the things that back it up. Phillips doesn't do them and that makes it worse when he tries to makes himself a leader that no one will follow.

vaticanplum
08-08-2008, 01:09 PM
First of all he can argue it's not his team. He inherited a poorly put together team.

It's never a manager's job to put together a team. If he's lucky his opinions will be taken into account. If not, it's his job to manage what he's given.

I do find it interesting that the basic focus of this article is the poor and apathetic attitude of this team, since the one (only?) thing that was highly touted about Baker as a manager on his hiring and beyond was his ability to be a "player's manager", to deal with players and motivate them on precisely that level. Now, I think the importance of that is slightly overplayed on both counts. I also think this team would be fairly bad without him. But at this point I feel no qualms in saying that Baker has failed in everything he was hired to do. I can't say flat-out that he is a bad manager. I do think he is a horrible fit for this team.

remdog
08-08-2008, 01:15 PM
I realize that no team really likes each other, 25 guys will probably never get along when some are jealous of at bats and playing time. On the other hand you really can't have someone stand up and say I am the leader without doing the things that back it up. Phillips doesn't do them and that makes it worse when he tries to makes himself a leader that no one will follow.

That's correct. You can't appoint yourself 'the leader'. Others place the mantle upon your shoulders.

Rem

RichRed
08-08-2008, 01:40 PM
The question is, is Dusty not doing the job because the team is so bad or because he just isn't very good?

Yes.

LoganBuck
08-08-2008, 01:41 PM
Brandon Phillips is as proportionately overvalued and admired, among Reds fans and media, as Adam Dunn is undervalued and disdained.

Spring~Fields
08-08-2008, 01:55 PM
A view from the outside

By Hal McCoy | Thursday, August 7, 2008, 09:32 PM
Latest comment

A man I have known a long time, a scout for years and years who has watched the Cincinnati Reds, asked me a question before Thursday’s game:

“Have you ever seen a Reds team so lifeless, so dead, so disinterested?”

I answered honestly: “Never.

With group and team synergy when there is goal and objective blocking it is a natural order for apathy to follow. If the team lacks motivation then the leadership of the team can be considered to be at fault. Bob Castellini has either fired or signed off on the firing of many people and the goal of winning is still far away, he hired Dusty Baker to be a difference maker.

Leadership is earned, it is given and empowered by the people.

Surely, Castellini did not expect Baker to make a difference without the people or the talent?

princeton
08-08-2008, 02:19 PM
Surely, Castellini did not expect Baker to make a difference without the people or the talent?

I like the talent.

and there are people. who are "the" people. We?

Spring~Fields
08-08-2008, 02:22 PM
I like the talent.

and there are people. who are "the" people. We?


Leadership is earned, it is given and empowered by the people.

Leadership is without power, if they are without people to follow and to buy into their vision, thus the people empower them.

princeton
08-08-2008, 02:26 PM
Leadership is without power, if they are without people to follow and to buy into their vision, thus the people empower them.

I've no idea what this means, but I think that you're saying that Dusty would be better off teaching preschool, but only if like preschoolers, he believed in no popsicle limits

Spring~Fields
08-08-2008, 02:28 PM
I've no idea what this means, but I think that you're saying that Dusty would be better off teaching preschool, but only if like preschoolers, he believed in no popsicle limits

:) Now you have me confused, doesn't take much to do that. ;)

westofyou
08-08-2008, 02:29 PM
Jesus Alou. Now, there was a ball player :).

The worst Alou

Worst Walk rate for players with with 4000-5000 PA's

Alou at 1 every 33 PA or abou 15 every 500 PA's.

I'll take The other members of the family


WALKS BB PA
1 Damaso Garcia 130 4124
2 Deivi Cruz 132 4375
3 Jesus Alou 138 4577
4 Charlie Hickman 150 4120
5 Doug Flynn 151 4085
6 Gary DiSarcina 154 4032
7 Red Dooin 155 4271
8 Lave Cross 159 4158
9 Don Mueller 167 4594
10 Luis Salazar 179 4375

RFS62
08-08-2008, 02:29 PM
I've no idea what this means, but I think that you're saying that Dusty would be better off teaching preschool, but only if like preschoolers, he believed in no popsicle limits



I think you're close, Princeton, but it's more elaborate than that. He can't just believe in the no popsicle limit. He also has to believe in a no ding-dong or no ho-ho limit as well.

Hope that clears things up.

Spring~Fields
08-08-2008, 02:31 PM
He can't just believe in the no popsicle limit. He also has to believe in a no ding-dong or no ho-ho limit as well.



Consistency would help, in a manager.

Chip R
08-08-2008, 02:47 PM
The worst Alou

Worst Walk rate for players with with 4000-5000 PA's

Alou at 1 every 33 PA or abou 15 every 500 PA's.

I'll take The other members of the family


WALKS BB PA
1 Damaso Garcia 130 4124
2 Deivi Cruz 132 4375
3 Jesus Alou 138 4577
4 Charlie Hickman 150 4120
5 Doug Flynn 151 4085
6 Gary DiSarcina 154 4032
7 Red Dooin 155 4271
8 Lave Cross 159 4158
9 Don Mueller 167 4594
10 Luis Salazar 179 4375

If Dunn isn't re-signed, perhaps Moises Alou will be the Reds LF for 2009.

Highlifeman21
08-08-2008, 03:21 PM
If Dunn isn't re-signed, perhaps Moises Alou will be the Reds LF for 2009.

Just don't shake his hands.

traderumor
08-08-2008, 03:32 PM
It still just kills me to see folks using the "sunk cost" theory rather than just calling it a scapegoat :) BTW, "sunk cost" is a myth. The money has to be paid and will either come out of a future budget or out of an owner's pocket. It is reasoning people use when they aren't funding said "sunk cost."

cumberlandreds
08-08-2008, 03:48 PM
The worst Alou

Worst Walk rate for players with with 4000-5000 PA's

Alou at 1 every 33 PA or abou 15 every 500 PA's.

I'll take The other members of the family


WALKS BB PA
1 Damaso Garcia 130 4124
2 Deivi Cruz 132 4375
3 Jesus Alou 138 4577
4 Charlie Hickman 150 4120
5 Doug Flynn 151 4085
6 Gary DiSarcina 154 4032
7 Red Dooin 155 4271
8 Lave Cross 159 4158
9 Don Mueller 167 4594
10 Luis Salazar 179 4375


What exactly is Red Dooin? Well, he ain't a walkin. :)

At least Doug Flynn will be known for something.