Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-8-07. Tom Gamble was the host tonight and started the show by mentioning that the Reds were undefeated in ST and recapped yesterday's victory.
After commercial, Marty called in from Florida. Tom said that even though it is ST, you have to like what you see so far in some areas. Marty agreed and said ST is about getting people ready to play and winning is a bonus. They aren't doing things to beat themselves which is important. The defense is good and it hasn't lessened their chances of winning. Tom mentioned the victory on Tuesday where the winning run was scored on a squeeze play and asked Marty if the Reds were now doing the little things that it takes to win. Marty said that it's a wait and see deal. He said that a lot of teams talk a good game about doing the little things but they can't execute when necessary. Marty said he'd love to see the squeeze used as a viable weapon in the Reds offense much like the Cardinals use it. Tom said that you have to have guys who can do it. Marty agreed and said guys like Eckstein can get a bunt down on demand but you have to try to see if you have players who are capable of doing that and the only time you can find that out is during ST.
Tom asked Marty about Josh Hamilton and said that Josh having only 1 strikeout was impressive. Marty was less enthusiastic and said he's doing this against minor league pitching. He said it's a great story and everybody wants to see him succeed but he would like to see how he is hitting on May 1. He said from a defensive standpoint, he's the best OFer the club has today. He's got a great arm, gets a great jump in the ball and does things that are mindblowing out there. But he takes a dim view of Josh being able to hit major league pitching. Marty said he hopes he's wrong and if he is Josh will play every day. Marty said there is no doubt he will make the team then he said he has a problem with a guy like Hamilton making the team cause he isn't one of the 25 best players. Marty said back in the days of Howsam and Wagner they took the best 25 players regardless. (Marty then yelled at some kids to get off his lawn).
After commercial, Tom and Marty continued their conversation. Tom asked Marty about some pitchers and some difficult choices they are going to have to make. Marty said that a lot of it is going to depend on what a guy makes. He said Milton and Lohse are going to make the team but they haven't done anything to show that they should make the team. He said it should be interesting to see Livingston pitch tonight as Wayne really likes him and he's going to be facing a good lineup. Tom asked about Paul Wilson. Marty said he would love to see Wilson make the team but he doesn't know if he can. Marty said he was talking to Jeff Brantley about him the other day and Jeff said that if a pitcher can't throw at east 87 mph, he can't get big league hitters out. Wilson was around 87-88 his first time out and less than that the 2nd time. Marty said he will be given every opportunity to make the team cause people want him to succeed. Marty said that there is a lot of competition for the 5th spot though.
Tom asked about Matt Belisle and Victor Santos who both pitched well. Marty said Belisle has to show that he can be consistent. Marty also mentioned Hermanson and all things being equal they would live to see him pitch well enough to be the closer. Tom then asked about the Rule 5 draft and said it's a shame that the Reds have to keep him on the 25 man roster if they want to keep him. He said the Reds had to do the same thing with Pena a few years back. He said the Reds could try to negotiate a trade with TB to get his rights and then send him down to the minors and not have to worry about losing him. Marty said the Reds play 18 games against teams in their on division in April so it's going to be important to get out of the gate quickly and if a guy like Josh can't help you it compounds the problem even more. Tom said that a team like the Reds can't afford to not take the best 25 guys north. Marty said he doesn't know why he gets so worked up about it (Cause you're bitter?) cause there's nothing he can do about it. But he said that these teams talk about winning and then they have situations like this and the inconsistancy bugs him.
Tom asked if Jr's problem would linger on. Marty said he's disappointed because there hasn't been a scenario that said he is going to play on a certain day. He realizes he was injured and you have to be careful but if this is going to linger on to next week and the week after, then there's a problem.
After commercial the first caller asked if Jr. is still hurting the 3rd or 4th week of ST, what happens then. Tom said that with Jr. you can't win for losing. If you target a date and he isn't ready, then people start to ask questions. He said that Narron has told Jr. to tell him when he's ready to play. Tom said this isn't a team where guys can come along slowly and you expect to win. The caller said he's not in the "trade Jr." camp but if he can't stay healthy, you have to think about moving him. Tom said that if the Reds could have traded Jr. they would have already but how can you trade a guy who can't play. The caller said he'd have no problems with Dunn in LF, Josh in CF and Freel in RF with Deno coming off the bench. Tom said that he agrees with Marty (big surprise) and isn't sure he's ready for the big leagues.
The next caller asked if Freel could play every day. Tom said that everyone believes Freel wears down and can't play every day. Tom said that he has to prove that he can stay healthy all year. The caller asked if he is a prototypical CF for another team. Tom said he is for any team and he has more range than Jr.
After commercial the next caller asked if the Reds would let Paul Wilson go if he doesn't make the team. Tom said that he did struggle the other day and he didn't get the velocity he needed to be effective. He said the Reds can't afford to keep him around just cause he's a good guy.
The next caller said that he could understand Jr. being babied along a few years ago but now what's the big deal if he gets hurt cause you aren't that much worse off than before. Tom said that it's frustrating when he's day to day and you want him out there but you know he's going to get hurt. Tom said that Jr. doesn't have to prove himself in ST but he'd hate to see him slump through April like he did a few years ago.
After commercial the next caller asked why Harang didn't even get a Cy Young vote from the Cincinnati writers. Tom said that he doesn't know.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-7-7. So let it be written. So let it be done.