Former Dragons should get their shot with Reds
Listen to this article or download audio file.Click-2-Listen

By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Four players will make the Cincinnati Reds a better team in the future the near future.

If you've watched the Class A Dayton Dragons enough the past few seasons, you know who they are: pitcher Homer Bailey, first baseman Joey Votto, shortstop Paul Janish and outfielder Jay Bruce.

None of them is quite ready to play in the big leagues. So what? Bring them up now.

Apparently, the Reds aren't a threat to win their division and four raw rookies certainly won't make it happen. But why not get a start on the process?

Any first-time big-leaguer is going to be awed for a while. Get the awe out, and let them get acclimated with no team expectations until 2008.

Bailey may not be ready, but he is 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA at Class AAA Louisville. Votto may not be ready, but he is hitting .311 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 51 games, also at Louisville.

Janish may not be ready, but he is as solid a shortstop as the Reds have in their organization and is hitting .260 at Class AA Chattanooga. Bruce, the youngest of the group, is hitting .322 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 51 games at Class A Sarasota. If nothing else, why is he still there?

Oh, I know. Among other things, the Reds own a $3.5 million shortstop in Alex Gonzalez. If he's so good, trade him for a decent pitcher, and Janish won't hurt you there.

Too soon? A certain third baseman named Mike Schmidt was called up too soon by the Philadelphia Phillies and hit .196 in his first full season. Pitcher Greg Maddux was a combined 8-18 his first two seasons with the Chicago Cubs with an ERA approaching 6.00.

Whatever happened to those guys?