Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 2-22-06. Steve was the host tonight. Steve said that Wayne hired Mark Snipp as a special assignment scout. He helped sign guys like Robin Ventura, Lee Stevens, Vernon Wells and Casey Blake.
The first caller wanted to know the weight limits for the players. Steve explained the reasoning behind the release of Josh Hancock and said that it differs from player to player.
After commercial Marc Lancaster called in from Sarasota. Steve wanted Marc to compare Narron's ST to Miley's. Marc said that it was more like Camp Narron vs Camp O'Brien. He said DanO liked the split sessions and it made for a long day for everyone. Now the workouts are done about 1:00 p.m. and people seem more refreshed and upbeat - especially the coaches. He says there's a burst of optimism among the players. Steve asked if everyone had reported and Marc said Wily Mo, Tuffy Rhodes and Anderson Machado showed up yesterday (Too bad Andy didn't make that left turn at Alberqurque.) Marc said they had the team dinner last night and both Bob and Johnny Bench spoke to the players. Wayne talked to the players this morning and next week they have an intersquad game and an exhibition game against the Koreans (Doesn't everyone wish Joe would do the Korean game on the radio? ) Steve asked what are the big storylines so far. Marc said there will be a battle for some of the bullpen spots and the 5th starter since Wilson probably won't make his scheduled first start. The leader in the clubhouse for the #5 spot seems to be Justin Germano. Marc said they are high on him and he'll get a good luck once the exhibition games start. Mike Gosling may be another guy they will look at. He said Standridge and Simpson will have to fight for spots on the team. Marc said 2nd base is an open competition and no one really knows what is going on with that now. Marc said he keeps asking Narron about it and Narron talks in circles. Marc seems to think that Narron will tell each man how he plans on using them before anyone else finds out about it.
After commercial the next caller asked about Joe's role in the booth this year. Steve said that hasn't been set yet but he'll do more games. Steve asked Marc about expectations. Marc said that they have low expectations but they think they will surprise some people. Steve asked if there would be a deal for more pitching. Marc said it's possible an OFer gets traded and Hatteberg has looked good so far. Steve asked about Eric Milton. Marc said he seems more determined to improve from last year. Steve asked about the players' opinions on the Dunn signing. Marc said they like it and Jr. said that it's good they are now willing to sign younger guys to long term deals. He said the players would like to see that become a trend.
After commercial Joe called in. Steve asked about how things were going in camp. Joe said he thinks there are some impressive arms down there. He is impressed with Journell and Homer. He said Paul Wilson is happy with his progress. Steve asked if he saw Milton pitch yet. Joe said he saw him pitch BP today (Big deal. We saw him pitch BP a lot last year. Yeah, I know. That was an easy one. ) Joe said Milton was happy. Joe mentioned his knee problem and said it felt good and LaRue was impressed by the way he threw the ball. Steve mentioned Tom Browning helping Milton. Joe said he was talking to Tom today and they were saying that Milton sets up on the 3rd base side of the rubber and they think that he should be on the other side or more towards the middle. Tom also is trying to get him to throw a sinking fastball. He said that Mario Soto is trying to teach some of the younger pitchers the changeup. Steve asked why Soto's changeup was so good. Joe said that Soto threw hard and the change really made a difference. Steve asked what it meant to the pitchers to have some of those guys down there. Joe said he thinks it's good. He said Tom was a fast worker and Soto was such a good competitor and Bench and LaCoss have been talking to the pitchers too. Joe said he talked to Bob today and believes Bob really wants to turn things around and he wants to win.
After commercial they talked about the passing of Curt Gowdy. Steve asked about who would be the closer and mentioned Coffey and Wagner. Joe said both have the stuff and it's a matter of throwing strikes. He said Ryan tried to be too fine last year and didn't trust his stuff. He thinks Ruhle and Narron will try to emphasize that. He said Coffey throws in the mid 90s and needs another pitch. Joe said that Todd mentioned that when he was called up last year, the ball felt different and that was why he couldn't throw his splitter. Steve said he sounded happy with his splitter when he was in the AFL. Steve said he has a lot of confidence for a young guy. Joe said you like to see that personality in a closer. Steve asked about Harang and Claussen. Joe said they won around 10 games apiece last year and he said if the pitching staff can improve the team ERA by a run or a run and a half, with the offense they have they could be a contender. Joe said Milton can't possibly have another year like last year and if Wilson comes back and if Dave Williams can live up to his promise, with Claussen and Harang they mighrt be better than expected.
After commercial the next caller said that he thinks they will trade Pena and move Dunn back to LF and put Hatteberg at 1st. He said if they do that who will be the backup OFers. Joe said Denorfia could step up and do the job. The caller asked if Womack starts at 2nd and Freel is the backup. Joe said they have Aurilia as an insurance policy at 3rd and 2nd. Joe says they are in pretty good shape if a trade goes down or someone is injured.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 2-22-06. So let it be written. So let it be done.