Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3/29/06. Andy Furman was the host tonight. Marty called in to start the show. They talked about how everyone was anxious to get ST over with and start the season. Andy asked if every Red got a fair shake down there. Marty said they did and it was the most fair and equitable camp he's seen. He said there will be guys upset they didn't make the club but he doesn't feel any player didn't get a fair shake. Andy asked about Brian Buchanan. Marty said his chances of making the team may have improved with McCracken's injury and LaRue's injury. Marty thinks that despite LaRue's protests, he will go in the DL just to be on the safe side. Marty feels Buchanan should make the team since he is hitting and fielding well. Andy asked about Jacob Cruz. Marty said that he has had a poor spring and does not give you much defensive versatility. He is a guy who is on the bubble every year but his chances also may have been enhanced by McCracken's injury. Marty said Cruz is well liked but still may not make the team. Andy asked about if Buchanan might make the team over Cruz because of contracts. Marty said that could happen and with long term contacts and options the best 25 don't always make the club despite what the manager and GM say. (Yeah, yeah, we get it. I hear this from him every spring about how the best 25 don't make the team. Build a bridge, eat a peach and get over it) Andy asked what the 19 and 11 won loss record meant. Marty said it didn't mean a thing. The Red Sox have a lousy ST record and they aren't going to be lousy. The important thing is to get the guys ready to play. Andy asked about Harang's performance today. Marty said he pitched well for the first 5 innings but then had problems after that that could be related to the flu. Marty gushed over how well he has pitched all spring and is excited about the kind of year he could have. Andy said you could say the same about Jr. since he has had a great spring as well since tearing it up in the WBC. Marty agreed and thought the WBC had a lot to do with it. He said he and Narron talked about that today. He said he doesn't think Jr. would ever say that he knows how he stacks up to the great players in the game today and he has the kind of confidence that he feels he can play with anyone. Marty said that what he accomplished there showed that he was still among the elite in the game and it gave him tremendous confidence. Marty said his swing looks as good as he has seen it and his attitude is outstanding. Andy talked about Doc K and LaRue getting flown up to Cincinnati and back in Bob's private plane and what that meant to the players. Marty said that you cannot imagine the feelings the players had based on that one gesture. He said you can't buy that kind of confidence and loyalty from the players by doing that. (And I'm sure they will be just as touched if Jason is traded)
After commercial Andy asked about Todd Coffey. Marty said that no one there will say anything bad but he feels Narron is disappointed one of the young pitchers didn't step up and take the bull by the horns as far as the closer's role is concerned. He said Belisle gave up a 3 run HR today and Coffey barely got out of the game without a loss. He said that a closer has to have a certain mentality in addition to the talent to do the job. He doesn't know if they have the mindset to do the job or they are just too young to fill that role. Andy asked about Ryan Wagner and Marty saifd he pitched very well this spring and pitched 2 innings yesterday which made Marty think they were showcasing Wagner. He said between Belisle, Mike Burns, Coffey and Wagner, one pf those 4 will be in LOU next week. Marty thinks Burns is a lock. Andy asked about the catching situation. Marty said there have been trade rumors, but nothing specific, they have 3 catchers who are all unique in their own abilities and he believes by May one will be traded. He thinks all 3 have a certain appeal and Ross is the best defensive catcher of the 3 (Damning him with faint praise?) Andy asked about the starter at 2nd. Marty said if he were a betting man, Aurilia would start on Monday but that doesn't mean he will be the starter full time. Andy said Aurilia is a better defensive player than Freel at 2nd. Marty agreed and said he's certainly better than Womack. He said he thinks Rich will start cause of his defense but over the course of the year, Freel will get a lot of starts there and elsewhere. (Marty not on the Womack bandwagon? Hmmmm) Andy asked about Freel's lack of hitting this spring. Marty said no one's worried about it.
After commercial, Steve called in. Andy asked him about the Opening Day deal. Steve said he would do the first half of the game with Marty and Joe would do the last half with Marty. Andy asked if all 3 would be in the booth at once. Steve said that Marty doesn't want it like that and that is how it will be. He said he is just glad Joe will have a role. Andy asked Steve about Aaron's performance today and asked if his fever had anything to do with it. Steve said they couldn't get him enough cowbell for the fever (Just kidding ) He actually said that they weren't sure he would actually pitch today with his flu but he did get his throwing in and Steve hoped it was a Mulligan. Andy asked about the rest of the rotation. He asked if Claussen was the #2 starter. Steve said that Arroyo would probably get the #2 spot and Claussn would get the #3 spot. Milton will be the #4 guy and has looked better this spring than he did last year. Andy said it must drive the coaches crazy that he is good one outing and not so good the next. He said Claussen is inconsistent as well, Arroyo is too new to judge and Williams has had a horrible spring (Welcome to the Wonderful World of Reds Pitching). Andy said Williams may come back to haunt the Reds if he doesn't pitch well since he was traded for Casey. Steve said he is probably under the microscope somewhat but that won't affect how Williams prepares. Steve mentioned Paul Wilson and if he comes back there will be a decision of who to take out of the rotation. Andy felt one of them would pitch his way out of the rottion by that time. Steve agreed and said Williams will probaly get skipped on ocassion cause he's the 5th starter. Steve said if they coud be in the middle of the pack in ERA the offense can help win them more games. Andy questioned how long the Reds would stay with Milton if he stinks again. Steve said if he does suck, he would probably go to the bullpen. Steve said that the good thing about Milton's deal is that each day the Reds owe him less money. (Now that is optimism. Reminds me of the story about the boy who was happy to find a room filled with manure cause he figured with all that manure, there would have to be a pony in there somewhere) Steve thought if he were in the 3rd year of the deal and he still sucked they very well could release him. Andy asked if Milton's situation was mental, physical or both. Steve said he's OK mentally and his bad knee that he strengthened may help him out. He may feel that with the trade for Arroyo that the spotlight may be off him. Andy said Tom Browning is a big believer in Milton and thinks he will have a big year. (Mercker and Browning both think he will have a big year? And people wonder why southpaws are goofier than pet coons) Steve said that if Milton is pitching well he pitches a lot of innings and pitches to contact (Thought we heard the last of that phrase, didn't you?) he can take strain off the bullpen. If he can pitch like his career average, it will be huge for the Reds.
After commercial Andy gushed over Brian Buchanan again (This manlove for Buchanan is getting Grande/Edmondsesque. Andy and Marty are going to have to fight it out to prove who loves B. Brian more) Steve said with injuries he could make the roster. He compared it to Rob Stratton's spring last year. He said he has earned a spot but if he makes the team it may be tough to continue the momentum since he has been getting multiple ABs every day. Andy asked him if he doesn't make the roster, does he play in Louisville. Steve said it is possible but there's a pretty god chance he goes north. Andy asked about Jacob Cruz (Would it kill him to ask Marty and Steve different questons? I feel like I'm reading the Post and the Enquirer's similar stories each day.) Steve said if LaRue and McCracken are on the DL, Buchanan and Cruz could make it.
After commercial Andy asked Steve about the 2nd base situation. He felt Womack has played himself out of the starting spot with his poor defense (If I were Tony, I would demand to be released so I could bring my scrappiness to a team in dire need of it) Steve said Tony has hit well but Aurilia has been steady offensively and defensively and Freel has stolen 9 bases so Tony may be low man on the totem pole. Steve said Lopez becomes leadoff hitter by default if Freel isn't playing. Andy asked if Womack could be on the bubble. Steve said not at the present time but perhaps into the season. He said he has enough of a big league track record that he feels pretty safe Womack will be on the team but you don't know what will happen as the year goes on.
This endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3/29/06. This is the last one till November, kids. It's been a little slice of Purgatory. Thanks for reading and until November: So let it be written. So let it be done.