Turn Off Ads?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: Lonnie Wheeler Column

  1. #1
    Reds 5:11 coachw513's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    642

    Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Pretty much nails it all on the head IMHO...

    Action expected during off-season

    Column by The Post's Lonnie Wheeler

    We're here at the season's final game, Cub Appreciation Day, for the perilous task of judging theReds and saying where they stand.

    To do so definitively, there are simply too few abiding truths beyond the obvious, which would consist, of course - see last year, and the one before, etc. - of questionable chemistry and pathetic pitching in every department. How do you get a handle on a team that played so pitifully for one manager in the first half of the schedule and so unevenly for another in the second?

    And regarding the more successful of the skippers, whose rehiring, yay or nay, leads the organization's list of immediate to-do's . . . how do you fairly assess a guy who, for the most part, did all a fellow could, then folded at the finish without his five best outfielders?

    To make this thing a little more manageable, let's break it down man for man. We did learn, at least ...

    that Aaron Harang is a good place to start;

    that Bronson Arroyo will be fine with a few runs;

    that Homer Bailey is probably next in line, but only for lack of alternatives;

    that, going by Bailey's precedent, Johnny Cueto may not be as ready as we'd like to think (but who, then, is?);

    that if you're counting on Matt Belisle, you need starting pitching;

    that Joey Votto and Great American Ball Park could make beautiful music together;

    that Brandon Phillips is a ballplayer to build around;

    that Edwin Encarnacion is too good to give up on;

    that we'll never arrive at a consensus on Adam Dunn;

    that Ken Griffey Jr. will probably never be better than he was this year, and will never cost less;

    that Josh Hamilton is a fetching story, a fabulous find and a tantalizing talent who must still prove his staying power;

    that Norris Hopper is a sheer delight;

    that Ryan Freel can't play every day;

    that David Ross probably shouldn't;

    that Scott Hatteberg is a whole lot like Sean Casey, less a few slaps on the back;

    that Jay Bruce ought to be here;

    that Jeff Keppinger can hit, for sure, and also play shortstop;

    that Alex Gonzalez can play it better, if he's focused;

    that Jorge Cantu warrants a long look;

    that Jared Burton offers hope where it's desperately needed;

    that Gary Majewski might never be for Cincinnati what he was for Washington;

    that Bill Bray might;

    that Eddie Guardado still has some outs left in his elbow;

    that Mike Stanton is probably finished, though, unfortunately, his contract isn't;

    that Todd Coffey cannot remain in the game with another season like this one;

    that Mackanin can manage;

    that Wayne Krivsky is a brilliant bargain hunter who must now master the bigger game;

    and that Bob Castellini's words alone mean very little.

    It's Krivsky and Castellini who will have to decide, very soon, whether to reward Mackanin for saving the franchise from 100 defeats. And whether to pick up the option on Dunn's contract, and Guardado's, and Hatteberg's. And whether to make a commitment toward the kind of payroll that will close the gap between the Reds and the team that filled Great American for the last series of the season.

    And how to come up with at least two good pitchers, preferably three.

    Among the countless uncertainties, we do know that if the managerial decision were the manager's, he'd make it in favor of himself. "Bob Castellini told me that this is a very important decision for us, and I respect that," the interim said Sunday, after the Reds had broken their seven-game losing streak but completed the same in seasons.

    "I've learned that I belong here, in my opinion. Not necessarily with this team, but I belong in the major leagues, much the same as you would talk about a guy like Joey Votto who comes up and feels like he can play in the big leagues and after he gets his feet wet says, 'You know what? I can do this.' "

    And he's quite right. But so can Tony La Russa. So can Bob Brenly . . .

    There is, then - in that and each of the club's critical concerns - no cocksure solution for what the Reds must do between now and next year, other than this:

    Something!

    The only conclusion we can categorically draw from the 2007 season is that there can't be another one like it.


    You cannot defeat an ignorant man in an argument!
    -William Gibbs McAdoo

    Though many of us here are sure trying

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    13,793

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    He lost some credibility when he mentioned "questionable chemistry" in the second paragraph. He even mentioned it before the teams' true weakness -- poor pitching.

    Some other points:

    "Counting on Matt Belisle" is not a bad thing if you're just counting on him to be a fourth or fifth starter.

    Eddie Guardado should be squeezing those last few outs from his elbow while wearing a different uniform in 2008.

    We'll arrive at a consensus on Adam Dunn when and if he no longer wears a Reds uniform. Kind of like Paul O'Neill and Eric Davis.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  4. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    13,744

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    He lost some credibility when he mentioned "questionable chemistry" in the second paragraph. He even mentioned it before the teams' true weakness -- poor pitching.

    Some other points:

    "Counting on Matt Belisle" is not a bad thing if you're just counting on him to be a fourth or fifth starter.

    Eddie Guardado should be squeezing those last few outs from his elbow while wearing a different uniform in 2008.

    We'll arrive at a consensus on Adam Dunn when and if he no longer wears a Reds uniform. Kind of like Paul O'Neill and Eric Davis.
    I prefer Wheeler's ideas, frankly.

    On chemistry, he has a fair point. For example, it's hard to beat lefties if your best offensive players are almost all left handed.

    On Belisle, maybe he can be a fifth starter, but if you think a 5.32 ERA fourth starter is a good idea, I go with Lonnie.

    On Guardado, if he's healthy, for one year, I'd take him any day and reduce the number of "tryout camp" guys the Reds will have next year.

  5. #4
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    28,164

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    On chemistry, he has a fair point. For example, it's hard to beat lefties if your best offensive players are almost all left handed.
    Well, except for Brandon Phillips and Edwin Encarnacion, who were 2nd and 4th on the team in RC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    On Belisle, maybe he can be a fifth starter, but if you think a 5.32 ERA fourth starter is a good idea, I go with Lonnie.
    The point of investing innings in inexperienced pitchers is to reap the benefits as they improve in future seasons. Obviously not all of them do improve, but Belisle's roughly where Aaron Harang was after 2004 in terms of career innings and Belisle's 2007 garnered an 89 ERA+ as compared to an 82 for Harang in '04.

    It's a fairly reasonable expectation that Belisle can be a league average starter in 2008. He might not, but teams like the Reds need to see this process through. When you don't have money to throw at your rotation, time and patience is what you can invest.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

  6. #5
    Member 15fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    5,505

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    I prefer Wheeler's ideas, frankly.

    On chemistry, he has a fair point. For example, it's hard to beat lefties if your best offensive players are almost all left handed.
    No love for Brandon Phillips and Ed Encarnacion, eh?

  7. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    13,744

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    The Reds OPS'd .790 againts righty pitching this year, 3rd in the league.

    The Reds OPS'd .732 against lefty pitching, 14th in the league.

    I like Phillips and EE as well as anyone, but the team needs a power hitting righty bat. I know this is tough because we all like Votto, Bruce, Griffey, Dunn and Hamilton. But they are all left handed.

    Unless the Reds are going to get an offensive minded catcher who hits from the right side, the lineup will either have to change or remain unbalanced.

  8. #7
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Olathe, KS
    Posts
    13,793

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    On chemistry, he has a fair point. For example, it's hard to beat lefties if your best offensive players are almost all left handed.
    That's really lineup/roster construction. Team chemistry usually refers to the "intangible" attitudes of the players on winning teams.

    On Belisle, maybe he can be a fifth starter, but if you think a 5.32 ERA fourth starter is a good idea, I go with Lonnie.
    If you look past his ERA, Belisle's peripheral numbers suggest he'll be a fine back-end starter next season. He had a decent K/9, an excellent K/BB, and was pretty unlucky in terms of BABIP.

    On Guardado, if he's healthy, for one year, I'd take him any day and reduce the number of "tryout camp" guys the Reds will have next year.
    The odds on him being healthy and effective are very, very long.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    13,744

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    That's really lineup/roster construction. Team chemistry usually refers to the "intangible" attitudes of the players on winning teams.



    If you look past his ERA, Belisle's peripheral numbers suggest he'll be a fine back-end starter next season. He had a decent K/9, an excellent K/BB, and was pretty unlucky in terms of BABIP.



    The odds on him being healthy and effective are very, very long.
    Well, if chemistry means intangibles, attitudes, etc., I don't have any problem with the club there.

    The only way Belisle will become good enough to be a fourth starter is to start mixing pitches better and deceiving hitters more. IMO his very high BAA and hits against numbers are a function of simply being too easy to hit. I haven't given up on him yet, he seemed to do somewhat better after his trip to AAA, but the jury is definitely out.

    Since the Reds staff has about 6 or 7 openings right now, for a one year deal, I'd rather take a shot on Guardado than most veteran relievers. The big risk is his health. But this is a very high-end reliever and if healthy, he will get outs.
    Last edited by Kc61; 10-01-2007 at 11:58 AM.

  10. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,591

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    I like Phillips and EE as well as anyone, but the team needs a power hitting righty bat.
    I here this time and again but could another possible solution be to work with the hitters to improve their success against lefties? Its not like every hitter succombs to the lefty-lefty matchup. Some, including Dunn prior to this year, are consistent regardless of who they're facing. Isn't this why you hire a hitting coach?
    Last edited by joshnky; 10-01-2007 at 12:06 PM.

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    13,744

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by joshnky View Post
    I here this time and again but could another possible solution be to work with the hitters to improve their success against lefties? Its not like every hitter succombs to the lefty-lefty matchup. Some, including Dunn prior to this year, are consistent regardless of who they're facing. Isn't this why you hire a hitting coach?
    You hear this time and again because it is true. There is no substitute for lefty/righty balance in a lineup. Some lefty hitters do ok against lefty pitching, but it's not the same as having a righty power bat that eats lefties alive.

    When you look at the OPS differential, which I posted earlier, you see the impact on the Reds.

    I don't think Phillips and EE are enough. Phillips is a plus because he plays second base, normally not a power position.

    But EE has to hit for more power -- and do better against lefty pitching -- to fill the necessary righty bat role at third base. Right now he is at best a sixth place type hitter (seventh on some teams), not a true middle-of-the-order guy. He could improve, of course.

    I know people don't want to hear this, they are too excited about all the lefty bats. So am I. But realistically, the Reds need another righty power guy, even he replaces an existing favorite.
    Last edited by Kc61; 10-01-2007 at 12:34 PM.

  12. #11
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    28,164

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    The Reds OPS'd .790 againts righty pitching this year, 3rd in the league.

    The Reds OPS'd .732 against lefty pitching, 14th in the league.

    I like Phillips and EE as well as anyone, but the team needs a power hitting righty bat. I know this is tough because we all like Votto, Bruce, Griffey, Dunn and Hamilton. But they are all left handed.

    Unless the Reds are going to get an offensive minded catcher who hits from the right side, the lineup will either have to change or remain unbalanced.
    Dunn hits LHPs just fine. And once again, the Reds already have one power-hitting RH bat and one emerging power RH bat. At most, what the team needs is an effective RH-hitting bench player or two. The club could also use a catcher upgrade and that could help the lineup vs. lefties.

    At most, it looks like the Reds have four LH bats in the starting lineup. That is hardly an overstack. Shopping for a RH power bat in positions the team already has covered strikes me as a bad idea, though I won't complain if the Reds deal two OFs and then bring back a quality CF (who could hit from whatever side of the plate for all I care).
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

  13. #12
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Guelph, ON
    Posts
    16,029

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    FWIW, Ross had the worst BABIP in baseball for guys with at least 200 PA. There's part of your vL problem. Javy has never shown an ability to hit them and kept getting ABs later in the season.

    Dunn has a career .842 OPS vL. Yes, he has a major platoon split, but he still hits lefties well enough and should regress to the mean in that department.

    Josh Hamilton was utterly destroyed by lefties to the tune of a sub .600 OPS. While I'd want to give him a chance to prove that wrong, Hopper and/or Freel represent a reasonable platoon opportunity.

    Conine was very mediocre against lefties, particularly for a corner IF at .774 (yes, worse than Dunn). Cantu and/or Votto represents a likely upgrade there.

    Griffey clocked in at .735. That's not likely to get any better. Again, perhaps Freel and/or Hopper represent a good platoon opportunity. I wonder if Cantu can play OF...
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  14. #13
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Mason, OH
    Posts
    12,175

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Not to be sacreligious, but I'll take Scott Hatteberg over Sean Casey.

    I don't quite get why they didn't flip Hatteberg at the trading deadline. Once Votto came up, Scott was persona non grata.

    Pay attention to the open sky

  15. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    13,744

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Dunn hits LHPs just fine.

    At most, it looks like the Reds have four LH bats in the starting lineup. That is hardly an overstack. Shopping for a RH power bat in positions the team already has covered strikes me as a bad idea, though I won't complain if the Reds deal two OFs and then bring back a quality CF (who could hit from whatever side of the plate for all I care).
    I think the Reds have a heavy overstack. It's not the number of lefty hitters. It's the quality of the various hitters.

    Two of the four righty bats are shorstop and catcher. Gonzo did ok actually, but looking at career norms, I don't think these are plus positions offensively.

    Phillips is a plus. But EE is not a plus offensive third baseman right now. Sorry.

    The guts of the offense is Hamilton, Dunn, Griffey/Bruce, Votto/Hatteberg, and Phillips. This is out of balance, even if you include EE. If Cantu comes up big, that helps things. (But of course, everyone says play Votto against all pitching so how many ABs does Cantu get?)

    Maybe the Reds can live with this, obviously pitching is the greater need, but the Reds will struggle against lefties well into the future with this group.
    Last edited by Kc61; 10-01-2007 at 02:08 PM.

  16. #15
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    34,437

    Re: Lonnie Wheeler Column

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    Not to be sacreligious, but I'll take Scott Hatteberg over Sean Casey.

    I don't quite get why they didn't flip Hatteberg at the trading deadline. Once Votto came up, Scott was persona non grata.

    Probably risk aversive. If they had stayed on the same path after Narron was fired, they might have just said, screw it, and traded Hat and gone with Votto. But since they improved, they felt they were back in it and couldn't risk going with a rookie. There were also questions about Votto's defense. And, perhaps, they didn't want to give Votto any more service time than was necessary.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25