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Thread: No team is perfect in April

  1. #1
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    No team is perfect in April

    The start of the baseball season is always messy. You don't know who's going to switch it on when the games start to count and who's going to go turtle. There's going to be surprises both pleasant and unpleasant.

    More importantly, there's going to be parts of every team that don't work. I'm not overly worried if Jeff Conine, for instance, delivers nothing. Teams spend the first two months of the season sorting themselves out a bit. Some guys in the high minors will step forward and teams make small deals to plug their holes. So I don't fret that parts of the club will go wrong. There's always problems to fix, just don't pile up known problems (e.g. Eric Milton).

    In April what you're looking for is a few guys to lead the charge while the team sorts out the parts that don't work. Hal Morrises can come along to replace the Todd Benzingers. Change is going to happen. Just stay competitive and kick it into gear around Memorial Day. The latter part is where the Reds constantly run into trouble. The franchise tends to get the early season right, but it hasn't found a higher gear since 1999.

    Right now the marching orders should be to put your best players in a position where they can succeed, eliminate known problems and be open to making the necessary changes.

    It's almost impossible to start the season with an optimal lineup, a perfectly arranged bullpen or a bulletproof rotation. That applies to all 30 teams. What we're hoping for is for the team to get more right than wrong, to put itself in a position where some sensible adjustments lead to an honest-to-goodness quality ballclub.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  3. #2
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    It's why having depth is important. The Reds do seem to have options in the pitching area. However, I am concerned about a potential lack of options from an offensive standpoint.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  4. #3
    A Lost Ball In High Weeds shredda2000's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    very well said, M2
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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    That said, a quick review of the 1990 Reds tells us that a pennant can be won in the early goings. A 13-3 April set the tone for the team that season and helped them outlast a 30-30 record in August and September.

    I'm a fan of putting the best team you can on the field in April, then watching carefully to determine where problems are so you can avoid a second-half collapse. The Reds seem to have early success down pat, but apparently fail to correctly identify the smoke-and-mirrors parts of the act, and that failure ends up biting them in July and August.
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  6. #5
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    Reds have a small margin for error and don't have that talent that a team like the Twins had last year when they realized their manlove for old suckitude wasn't working out. A month of Milton and others may be enough to put this team far enough behind that they can't catch up.

    Interestingly enough, last year the Twins manlove was for position players(Batista, Castro, White), this year it has transferred to pitchers(Ortiz, Ponson,Silva), when they have a bunch of young, pretty good options(Baker, Perkins, Garza, Slowey). I guess they didn't learn their lesson in 2006.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  7. #6
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    That said, a quick review of the 1990 Reds tells us that a pennant can be won in the early goings. A 13-3 April set the tone for the team that season and helped them outlast a 30-30 record in August and September.

    I'm a fan of putting the best team you can on the field in April, then watching carefully to determine where problems are so you can avoid a second-half collapse. The Reds seem to have early success down pat, but apparently fail to correctly identify the smoke-and-mirrors parts of the act, and that failure ends up biting them in July and August.
    That team got a lead in April, but had to fend off a serious challlenge from the Dodgers late in the season.

    In fact, that team is a good example of what I'm talking about. Certainly the team laid a good foundation in April, but along the way it had to swap out Ric Mahler for Norm Charlton in the rotation. Glenn Braggs came on board to help the lineup vs. LHPs. Morris replaced Benzinger. Jack Armstrong went from ace to afterthought while Jose Rijo took a star turn and Danny Jackson got himself back on track. Last, but certainly not least, the team brought in Bill Doran to help keep the Dodgers at bay for the last month of the season.

    Also, I maintain the NL in 1990 was a beast. Look at the talent that was on the last place clubs in both divisions. The Padres and Astros were never in the hunt that season and both those clubs were loaded. Every night that season you had a fight on your hands. It would have been real easy to squander that hot start with so many capable clubs lurking behind you. A team could blink and have a 1-6 week.

    So the Reds 13-3 April put the club in position to win the division, but it hardly sealed the deal. Look no farther than the 2002-3 Mariners for how a hot start can amount to nothing. I'm not saying winning more isn't preferable to winning less, but "no team is perfect in April" and no matter how hot it starts, it's going to have to a lot of work after that if it wants to be on top of its division come October.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    Look at most of the recent OAK clubs. They hardly ever start out too well but they catch fire as soon as Beane figures out the roster. I think this was covered in Moneyball.
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  9. #8
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    great post; it's good to remember that the regular baseball seaon is a marathon rather than a sprint. The sprint, of course, comes in the post-season!

    I'm less concerned about who starts off in AAA vs. starting out in Cincinnati, than I am who is being let go. Players can come and go on the AAA train- it makes for a rough year for them, frankly, but that's the nature of the game.

    Sometimes it takes a couple of months before a team can be sure that a player can no longer help them, before they cut ties.

    It's always best to put your very best team out on the field of course. But spring training games alone often aren't enough to judge who is worthy and who is not.

    That said, I'd be darn sure to keep Hamilton and Burton on the roster, in Cincinnati all year. This team cannot afford to lose good young talent- it would cost far more to replace that talent than it costs the Reds to keep them up all year. That means some other guys are going to be on the Riverbats train, back and forth all year- most probably Coutlangus, Deno, Hopper, Livingston, maybe Belisle even.

    I think Milty's going to get his shots in April to prove that ST was an aberration; but I also think they aren't going to be patient with him. If he doesn't produce, I think we'll see another Dave Williams situation. Unless, of course, a team is desparate enough to trade for him now. The team that needs him the most, the Nationals, have no desperation at all- they know they're going to be really bad this year, and Milty won't matter to them one way or another.

  10. #9
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    The reds played well early in the season (last 3-4 years), but that was always a function of luck. They have not done themselves any favors in carrying along the likes of a Dave Williams (last years Eric Milton), in fact, i feel like it's just the oppsite. Why do we have to go into every season with 3 or 4 pitchers that we know aren't the candidates. Because we play over our heads for 2 months it seems like we can wait to make good decisions.

    A good case can be made that there were some awful decisions made early in the year that may have cost the team 3 or wins prior to the All-Star break. To not go ahead and fix the obvious problems seems silly. I will say this administration is quicker to pull the plug on some silly early season decisions.

    Btw, it may have been 04 or 05 (they tend to run together don't they), i thought the pitching staff in louisville was better than the one in Cincy. I really thought you could have switched them and the Louisville staff would have done a better job. That's a lot of getting things wrong and waiting for things to work themselves out.

  11. #10
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    Quote Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
    Why do we have to go into every season with 3 or 4 pitchers that we know aren't the candidates. Because we play over our heads for 2 months it seems like we can wait to make good decisions.
    FWIW, I think nearly every team in baseball is in this boat. Teams with very good pitching still spend April and May figuring out who is #4 and #5.

  12. #11
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    The teams in question usually carry the old guys with the idea that they are gonna find their old magic (eye roll). Rheal and Milton ain't had the magic in 5 years. Why carry an old guy you know can't perform just because everyone else does it? You are giving away games.

  13. #12
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    I understand that no team is perfect and it takes time, tuning, thought, and patience to get the club to its optimum configuration (or as close as possible).

    But games count just as much in April as they do in September. So let's not dilly-dally about getting it together.

    If there is a reasonable replacement in the minors, let's not waste time on letting sub-replacement level vets get it together (Mr. Milton, I mean you sir).

    Pay attention to the open sky

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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    Signing Eddie Perez and releasing Conine would be a nice upgrade on a platoon at first....unless you kinda figure you ain't gonna be in the race anyway.

  15. #14
    Let's ride BRM's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    Quote Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
    Signing Eddie Perez and releasing Conine would be a nice upgrade on a platoon at first....unless you kinda figure you ain't gonna be in the race anyway.
    Wasn't Eduardo Perez available when Wayne traded for Conine?

  16. #15
    Member redsrule2500's Avatar
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    Re: No team is perfect in April

    The Reds were close last year!
    redsrule2500
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