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M2
07-09-2010, 08:49 PM
I was talking with someone about baseball the other day and the Reds came up as a subject and, for the first time in a long time, it caused me to have Reds-related thoughts. Anyway, since I had them I figured I'd share them.

First off, this year's Reds are a testament to the fact the lineups DO matter. On April 27, Brandon Phillips moved up to the #2 slot in the order and Scott Rolen moved up to the #4 slot. Before that, the Reds were 8-11 with a fairly forgettable offense. Since then the Reds have been the class of the NL at the plate and the team has gone 41-27.

Apparently the Scott Rolen trade was a masterstroke. He's really freakin' good. Hall of Fame good. One of the best 3Bs in history good. The Reds prospered immediately when he came over last season and making him the cleanup hitter literally unlocked this lineup. Walt Jocketty deserves all the praise in the world for making the deal and Dusty Baker deserves all the praise in the world for finding the right combination with the players at his disposal.

Joey Votto may be the guy getting all the MVP attention (rightfully so), but I'm not so sure his game gets to this level without Rolen behind him. Phillips also has responded exceedingly well to hitting at the top of the lineup. It makes sense, because the #2 slot (or even the leadoff slot where he's been of late) asks him to be the slash-and-instigate player he is instead of the RBI man he was miscast as in recent years.

It doesn't hurt that Jay Bruce is starting to show why we all were so excited about him and that Jonny Gomes is doing all right vs. RHPs (maybe he really was injured for three years).

Ramon Hernandez has been the kind of tag-along player that princeton once noted Steve Parris was. When the team is bad, Hernandez can't get the job done well enough. When the team is good, he's a useful additive.

And it's kind of exciting the way Chris Heisey has stepped into the majors.

On the pitching side, it is impossible to say enough good things about Bronson Arroyo. Seriously, he deserves a medal for what he's delivered in 4+ years in a Reds uniform.

Sure enough, Johnny Cueto has become a pitcher. Meanwhile Mike Leake has proven an object lesson in the kind of impact a team can get from a starting pitcher who is immediately ready to pitch in the bigs.

Francisco Cordero at the end of the bullpen enforces sanity and structure for the rest of the pitching staff. And Aaron Harang may yet have some positive impact on this season ... not to mention that Edinson Volquez guy.

Anyway, the point is the Reds have a lot of things going right at the moment, the folks in charge deserve praise, and fans of the team should enjoy this run after nine years of misery. There really isn't any reason the Reds shouldn't win the NL Central. They aren't a lock to do it, but it's within their grasp.

OnBaseMachine
07-09-2010, 08:51 PM
Great post, M2. So glad to see you around here again. I hope you stick around.

Spitball
07-09-2010, 09:43 PM
It is good to read your thoughts again, M2. I have been wondering what happened to you.

RichRed
07-10-2010, 09:46 AM
This site needs more M2.

lollipopcurve
07-10-2010, 10:22 AM
Stay on board, please. Reinforcements are needed.

kbrake
07-10-2010, 10:38 AM
Great post M2.

Benihana
07-10-2010, 01:29 PM
He's on the board for ten years, and the Reds are terrible.

He's off the board for three months and the Reds are amazing.

Within an hour of his return to the board, the Reds have their second worst blowup of the season.

Please go away M2 ;)

Mario-Rijo
07-10-2010, 04:12 PM
Good stuff as always M2. Agree with alot of it though not sure about CoCo anymore he's just not been real strong this season, scuffling to get where he is it seems every outing. Cueto still has a ways to go but I can see baby steps, same with Bruce.

Lineup construction --- yeah spot on it does definitely matter. And well put on Ramon couldn't quite put my finger on it but that sounds like him to a tee.

Perhaps as you say we could try to enjoy it a bit more ---- though we wouldn't be RZ if we did.

Raisor
07-10-2010, 05:30 PM
Don't be a stranger, M2.

RFS62
07-10-2010, 05:44 PM
Don't be a stranger, M2.



Agreed!


:beerme:

RANDY IN INDY
07-10-2010, 05:58 PM
I'll second that! :beerme:

Ghosts of 1990
07-10-2010, 08:26 PM
Great post. I agree on many accounts. Hope to see your name around here more frequently!

VR
07-10-2010, 09:03 PM
Brilliant!

M2
07-10-2010, 10:51 PM
He's on the board for ten years, and the Reds are terrible.

He's off the board for three months and the Reds are amazing.

Within an hour of his return to the board, the Reds have their second worst blowup of the season.

Please go away M2 ;)

I really should change my handle to The Red Death.

Hey, saw some of Travis Wood tonight. He looks really good. I like that he spent five years and 627 IP in the minors before he got to the majors. I'll be he knows more about pitching than your average rook.

Oh, and one other thing I wanted to mention -- remember when it was heresy to suggest that Joey Votto was anywhere near as a good a prospect as Brian Dopirak?

lollipopcurve
07-11-2010, 10:31 AM
Hey, saw some of Travis Wood tonight. He looks really good. I like that he spent five years and 627 IP in the minors before he got to the majors. I'll be he knows more about pitching than your average rook.

Wood is a case of some nice development work on the part of the Reds, as you suggest.

Guys drafted out of HS take longer. The 2nd round pick of Wood was summarily derided by lots of posters on this board within minutes of the selection. But lookit now....

And in the meantime, here's Mike Leake with 0 IP in the minors. Two very different paths, two very similar pitching athletes. Just goes to show, they get molded in many ways, but there's no substitute for talent.

BCubb2003
07-11-2010, 11:54 AM
The Reds spend huge bucks on an off-the-charts phenom and we start to feel a little better about the starting pitching, considering the Reds have never really been known for starting pitching. If Harang can find his way back, if Arroyo puts two good halves together, if the prospects keep making progress ... So what happens? Arroyo becomes the steady veteran we always hoped, Cueto finds himself, and the phenom? We hardly need him, because we have another phenom, and another one. And that's not counting Volquez. Or Bailey. Even the No. 5 starter Maloney is better than most of the rotation in many years of Reds' pitching mediocrity. It's a weird feeling.

IslandRed
07-12-2010, 09:20 AM
We often fall into the habit of thinking only the new-breed GMs are creative, but the Rolen trade was a masterstroke not just in identifying the right piece, but going across the grain to obtain it. Deadline deals are supposed to fit a certain mold -- teams in the race obtaining veterans, teams out of the race obtaining prospects. So when Jocketty pulled the Rolen deal for prospects when the team was out of the hunt, most analysts were, "huh?" But truthfully, the deadline can be a great place to start shopping for next year's team if you know what you need, and it'll be interesting to see if any other teams give it a try, especially now that Walt's done it twice. (The 1997 McGwire trade isn't an exact parallel since he was a rental and they were gambling on re-signing him, but it was the same "trade for a veteran when out of the race" scenario.)

kaldaniels
07-12-2010, 09:29 AM
We often fall into the habit of thinking only the new-breed GMs are creative, but the Rolen trade was a masterstroke not just in identifying the right piece, but going across the grain to obtain it. Deadline deals are supposed to fit a certain mold -- teams in the race obtaining veterans, teams out of the race obtaining prospects. So when Jocketty pulled the Rolen deal for prospects when the team was out of the hunt, most analysts were, "huh?" But truthfully, the deadline can be a great place to start shopping for next year's team if you know what you need, and it'll be interesting to see if any other teams give it a try, especially now that Walt's done it twice. (The 1997 McGwire trade isn't an exact parallel since he was a rental and they were gambling on re-signing him, but it was the same "trade for a veteran when out of the race" scenario.)

Very interesting take. What about going a step further...selling in a year in which you are in the race. I'd say as long as you sell in a seller's market and buy in a buyer's market over time you are going to have a stronger organization. Now I'm not advocating any firesale, but I do think going against the grain (and making the correct decisions vis a vis player evaluations) is one of the few ways a small market team has to stay competitive.

Mario-Rijo
07-12-2010, 12:51 PM
We often fall into the habit of thinking only the new-breed GMs are creative, but the Rolen trade was a masterstroke not just in identifying the right piece, but going across the grain to obtain it. Deadline deals are supposed to fit a certain mold -- teams in the race obtaining veterans, teams out of the race obtaining prospects. So when Jocketty pulled the Rolen deal for prospects when the team was out of the hunt, most analysts were, "huh?" But truthfully, the deadline can be a great place to start shopping for next year's team if you know what you need, and it'll be interesting to see if any other teams give it a try, especially now that Walt's done it twice. (The 1997 McGwire trade isn't an exact parallel since he was a rental and they were gambling on re-signing him, but it was the same "trade for a veteran when out of the race" scenario.)

Quite an interesting observation IR. Do you think perhaps the deadline somehow plays into Walts style of making a deal? For example I thought I had read someones remark (that someone a GM or some F.O. personnel) about Walt one time that if he calls you and wants to deal you might not hear from him again about it, implying he isn't one to stand around if he wants to get something done and if you do you better do it now. The deadline would be a time where everyone is in deal mode so is it just a natural time for Walt to deal?

Meaning perhaps we should expect something to take place before or just after the start of August.

IslandRed
07-12-2010, 02:58 PM
Do you think perhaps the deadline somehow plays into Walts style of making a deal?

I don't know if it's that so much as, there are only a couple of periods in a year where lots of teams are in trading mode and one of those is in July, but most GMs tend to limit themselves to certain types of deals in July. Jocketty is willing to shop for next year's team during both periods, even if the conventional wisdom says he should only be selling at the deadline.


Very interesting take. What about going a step further...selling in a year in which you are in the race. I'd say as long as you sell in a seller's market and buy in a buyer's market over time you are going to have a stronger organization. Now I'm not advocating any firesale, but I do think going against the grain (and making the correct decisions vis a vis player evaluations) is one of the few ways a small market team has to stay competitive.

I assume you mean a team that's genuinely in the race, not just a fringy wild-card possibility... On a purely academic level, that could work nicely. I did it before in a fantasy keeper league, it worked out great. But I didn't have to sell real tickets to real people, and it's difficult to imagine a real contender ever doing this unless monetary survival is behind the selloff. Waving the white flag before the season is demanding surrender is something fan bases have a hard time forgetting or forgiving, particularly winning-starved fans such as ours. And let's be honest, Castellini wouldn't permit any such thing.

westofyou
07-12-2010, 04:00 PM
I don't know if it's that so much as, there are only a couple of periods in a year where lots of teams are in trading mode and one of those is in July, but most GMs tend to limit themselves to certain types of deals in July. Jocketty is willing to shop for next year's team during both periods, even if the conventional wisdom says he should only be selling at the deadline.

Pirates tried it with Matt Morris, that didn't work out too well.

15fan
07-12-2010, 04:12 PM
Apparently the Scott Rolen trade was a masterstroke. He's really freakin' good. Hall of Fame good. One of the best 3Bs in history good. The Reds prospered immediately when he came over last season and making him the cleanup hitter literally unlocked this lineup.

Joey Votto may be the guy getting all the MVP attention (rightfully so), but I'm not so sure his game gets to this level without Rolen behind him.

If only I had a nickel for every time I beat the Junior-Rolen-Dunn-Kearns drum in 2002.

What coulda been.

bucksfan2
07-12-2010, 04:12 PM
Pirates tried it with Matt Morris, that didn't work out too well.

I thought of that deal as well. Actually at the time I was a little disappointed that it was the Pirates making the deal and not the Reds.

I think the Rolen deal last year was a very keen deal done by Walt. I don't know if a deal like that would have been made had Rolen not been the key piece in the trade. You could also say the White Sox made two moves at the end of last season geared at 2010 in the trade for Peavy and Rios. Up until a week or sow ago (Peavy's injury) the deal was looking great for the Sox.

It takes a deal of faith in the GM as well as some criticism from the fan base and the know it alls at BA and BP but deadline deals made for the next season are a good way to improve your club.

IslandRed
07-12-2010, 04:21 PM
Pirates tried it with Matt Morris, that didn't work out too well.

True enough, they still have to target the right people.