From yesterday's DDN:
It's time for the Reds to trade Dunn
By Hal McCoy
Sunday, October 08, 2006
It was written in this space exactly a year ago that it was time for the Cincinnati Reds to trade Wily Mo Pena and Austin Kearns. Somebody was listening, right?
Pena was traded during spring training for pitcher Bronson Arroyo. How did that work? Kearns and shortstop Felipe Lopez were traded July 13 in an eight-player deal that, so far, hasn't done that much for the Reds.
Now, what for 2007? Drum roll, please. Three things the Reds need to do:
1. Is it time to trade Adam Dunn? Probably. Houston salivates over the thought of having the hometown guy on their roster. The Chicago Cubs and L.A. Dodgers have shown interest in the past.
This is a tough one because it isn't easy to find guys who hit 40 home runs every year, walk 100 times, score 100 and drive in close to 100. But can the team stand 180 strikeouts nearly every year, a batting average that dwindles every year — .266, .247 and .233 the past three seasons? And Dunn has yet to meet an easy fly ball.
As a person, there is none better. As a teammate, there is none better. As a guy who recognized his shortcomings, there is none better. But because he is only 26, he might be a piece the Reds could dangle for a starting pitcher, which bring us to No. 2.
2. As one reader suggested, the line on the Reds' starting pitching staff is, "Harang and Arroyo and oh-boy-oh-boy-o." True. Aaron Harang and Arroyo are as solid as a Ford commercial, but what follows is a mish-mash of mystery.
Who knows about Eric Milton's starts. Depends on the angle of the sun or something. Brandon Claussen (remember him) was a disaster before his surgery. Who knows about the inconsistent Kyle Lohse. The fifth spot was a vast wasteland, a spot that always seemed to be under audition. Maybe Matt Belisle can fill it, maybe not. Is Homer Bailey ready? He probably needs a month or two in Triple-A to start 2007.
That means General Manager Wayne Krivsky must work his magic to land a starting pitcher who is either on the same level as Harang or Arroyo, or better, whether it be through a trade (Dunn?) or free agency.
3. Pick up Rich Aurilia's option, put him at second base and move Brandon Phillips to shortstop. Aurilia was the team's only .300 hitter this year, its only consistent clutch hitter, its best veteran presence. He started at all four infield positions — 39 times at third base, 37 at first base, 25 at shortstop, four at second base.
Even though he is willing to play anywhere at any time — "except the day I see my name as the catcher" — wouldn't he be even better if he had a permanent location?
Phillips signed as a shortstop and was a minor-league marvel. The Reds played him there for the Hall of Fame exhibition game in July, but it was rained out in the second inning. Manager Jerry Narron put him there for two games in September, with thoughts of looking at him the rest of the season, but the Cardinals kept inviting the Reds to catch them, so Narron put him back at second base "because we got back in the race."
Narron said Phillips is good at second base: "A future Gold Glove with a chance to be one of baseball's best second basemen." But isn't shortstop more important than second base? What's to prevent him from winning Gold Gloves and becoming one of baseball's best shortstops?
The only way is if he isn't put there.
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http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/con...0806mccoy.htmlTHREE UP, THREE DOWN
Reds in review: Good acquisitions offset by injuries, bad trip
By Hal McCoy
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Over the course of a 162-game season — the Cincinnati Reds never play more than 162 because more bad things than good things seem to happen to exclude them from the postseason — well, stuff happens.
A look at the good and the bad, taking the positive first:
GOOD — Hello, Mr. Arroyo
The Cincinnati Reds' spring training clubhouse was buzzing with positive vibes. Players were smiling as they chatted amongst themselves. Manager Jerry Narron had just told them, "General Manager Wayne Krivsky just traded Wily Mo Pena for pitcher Bronson Arroyo."
Knowing that Arroyo, an accomplished singer/guitarist, had a No. 1 best-selling CD in New England the year before, pitcher Kent Mercker said, "All right, our karaoke team just got a whole lot better."
The Dayton Daily News beat writer felt better, too, because he had just written, "Wily Mo Pena couldn't get his glove through an airport metal detector," and wondered if the behemoth Pena would pinch his neck off.
Not only did the karaoke team improve, the pitching staff improved by Superman leaps and bounds. Despite one spell during which Arroyo tried unsuccessfully 11 times to get his 10th win, he went 14-11 with a 3.29 ERA.
Wily Mo? Who?
GOOD — Grabbing three good players, cheaply
In addition to getting Bronson Arroyo, Krivsky made three other early acquisitions that vastly improved the outlook — first baseman Scott Hatteberg, second baseman Brandon Phillips and catcher David Ross.
"I couldn't believe that Hatteberg was still out there and available in February," said manager Jerry Narron.
Hatteberg was a free agent. Phillips and Ross were trades that cost the Reds some prospects/suspects. Phillips was available because he wasn't working out in Cleveland and was considered a problem child. Ross hadn't shown much in his short career, mostly because he had never played much.
All three were huge contributors to the team's early and midseason success, and Phillips was no problem, although he has enough hot dog in him to require a dash of mustard.
GOOD — The Krivsky and Castellini show
Bob Castellini bought the team and claimed an office in Great American Ball Park, something previous owner Carl Lindner didn't do. Clearly, this guy is hands-on. Then he hired Krivsky as GM, the guy who should have been hired when the Reds hired his predecessor, Dan O'Brien. Krivsky was runner-up.
Said Castellini, "If Krivsky had been hired in the first place, I probably wouldn't have bought the team because it already would have been going in the right direction."
It was fortuitous for the team. Castellini is dedicated to building a winner, as is Krivsky. Throughout the year, Castellini approved move after move as Krivsky kept tinkering, especially with the pitching staff, trying to win this year.
They came close and neither gave up to the very end.
BAD — The Reds' hopes go south out West
The Reds began a 10-game West Coast trip with a win in San Francisco, putting them percentage points behind St. Louis for the National League Central lead. They had a five-game lead in the wild card.
They lost eight of the next nine, batting below .100 with runners in scoring position and leaving enough runners on base to turn Springboro into a major metropolis. The big crippler was a 16-inning loss to Los Angeles. Of the regulars, only Rich Aurilia hit above .225 on the trip.
They fell five games out of first place, slid to third in the wild card and, although they stayed in the NL Central race until the final weekend, that trip was the end-all.
BAD — Bullpen, aka Elbow Surgeries R Us
Tommy John hasn't played baseball since 1989, but his name had a lot to do with the Reds' misfortune. John was the first pitcher to have successful elbow ligament transplant surgery and the procedure is now called Tommy John surgery.
The Reds were hit twice. Krivsky acquired left-handed closer Eddie Guardado from Seattle on July 6 for nothing more than minor-league pitcher Travis Chick. And they got cash, too, to offset Guardado's salary. He solidified the bullpen, enabling Narron to line it up, giving pitchers specific roles.
Guardado quickly saved eight games, but his elbow hurt. In early September — shortly after the 2-8 road trip on which he was unable to pitch — he had Tommy John surgery.
Mercker's elbow hurt, too. All year. But he pitched on and was effective as a guy to get out specific left-handed hitters and as a set-up man. He made 37 mostly effective relief appearances before Tommy John intervened, taking away another important bullpen piece in late August, before the ill-fated West Coast journey.
BAD — Griffey's toe woes
On Sept. 4, Reds center fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. tried to climb the Great American Ball Park outfield wall to snag a Barry Bonds home run. His foot caught, and he dislocated the second toe on his right foot. He didn't play in the field after that and made only two pinch-hitting appearances in the team's last 24 games, one of them producing a game-winning home run.
While the team obviously lost an offensive weapon, Adam Dunn lost protection in the lineup. Dunn hit 40 home runs this season, but only two of those came in September, when he batted .161 with five RBIs.
"Losing Griffey was huge," said Reds manager Jerry Narron. "Not only did we lose our top clutch hitter, it changed the way they pitched to Dunn."
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http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/con...00806reds.htmlMcCoy's 2006 memories: In clubhouse or taxi cab, he's a 'credit' to the game
By Hal McCoy
Sunday, October 08, 2006
We asked Hal McCoy, the Dayton Daily News' hall-of-fame baseball writer, to give us three memorable moments from the 2006 season. Here's what he came up with:
1 It was a Saturday afternoon in Cleveland. In that morning's paper I had written, "The Cincinnati Reds don't have a bullpen, they have a pigpen."
Bullpenner — or pigpenner — David Weathers walked into the clubhouse that day and shouted, "So, now we're a pigpen!" If looks could turn humans into animals, I would have had a round snout, pointy ears, a squiggly tail and I would have been standing hoof-deep in muck eating corn cobs.
Mr. Weathers was in hurricane mode. One of his best friends and fellow bullpenners, Kent Mercker, was standing right next to me and he said, "Read the stats, Stormy. We are a pigpen. All I ask is that they call me the head hog."
Later in the year, Mercker was asking Weathers goofy and silly questions for a scoreboard video and spotted a group of writers watching.
"Anybody in the media at whom you would like to throw a poison dart?"
"Yeah," said Weathers. "Hal McCoy."
2 They do have more than one taxicab in Houston, right? I'm sure they do.
On a trip in early June, I walked out of the hotel at 4:30 a.m., looking for a cab for the long trip to Bush Intercontinental airport. None in sight for about 15 minutes, until a black with red and gold trim taxi pulled up. Unusual. Most cabs in Houston are yellow.
Turns out the cabbie is a huge baseball fan and we chatted amiably the entire trip.
Fast forward to late July. Houston again. Another early-morning flight, another 4:30 a.m. departure from the hotel, another search for a cab. After a short wait, a black cab with red and gold trim pulled up.
When I jumped in, the cabbie said, "I thought you might be looking for a cab right about now." Same guy.
Are cabbies stalkers? I'm not that big of a tipper.
3 The lunch was delicious at the Mexican restaurant on Second Avenue in New York City — three enchiladas, black bean soup, a taco. It was siesta time when I paid with an American Express Card and left.
A day later, I pulled out my wallet to pay for something on Fifth Avenue. No American Express Card. Where did I lose it? Visions of somebody going on a shopping spree at Macy's or Cartier's swept my brain.
I quickly remembered where I last used it and, hoping I hadn't dropped it in the street, I hoofed it to the restaurant. I told the hostess my dilemma and showed her where I sat. She said she didn't remember anybody turning in a credit card, but she would check the office.
After several minutes, she came back — carrying the precious little piece of plastic. As she handed it to me, she said, "The bartender who found it quit yesterday and is in the Bahamas right now."
Seeing my face turn purple, she said, "I'm kidding, I'm kidding."
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