Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show for 11-14-07. Steve Stewart was the host tonight filling in for Joe who is in intensive care in the hospital for pneumonia. Steve said he talked to Joe's son Kim and Kim said that Joe's going to get a pacemaker put in but everybody feels good how things are going. John Fay joined Steve in studio. Steve asked him if he was going to be ready for an active offseason. Fay said he thinks we'll see some things happen and the Reds need pitching. He thinks there's some free agent pitching that can help them and he thinks they will sign a couple of pitchers.
After commercial, Steve said it's tough to know what team can get what player cause every team's salary structure is different. Fay said that you don't really know what payroll's going to be until Opening Day or close to it but we do know Eric Milton's money is going to be gone. They increased ticket prices and got more money from radio so it should be higher than last year's payroll. It may be $75-$80M which could get a relief pitcher or two. Steve said if payroll is $80M, it will be almost double what it was 4 years ago but it still has the Reds at the lower end of the middle of the pack as far as team payrolls go. Fay said that Brandon Phillips is going to get a big raise and so are Harang and Arroyo and that will eat up all of Milton's money.
The first caller asked if Pete Mackanin would be the bench coach and if they were surprised the Reds picked up Dunn's option. Fay said that Pete won't be the bench coach but will probably be coaching in the minors or majors or managing in the minors. Fay said he wasn't surprised that Dunn's option was picked up and there were some that wanted to let him go and get draft picks but Dunn has been about the best draft pick of the Reds in the past 10 years. Fay said that there really isn't anyone on the free agent market who he'd spend $13M on. (Sounds like someone has grown a brain). Steve agreed and said it's hard to replace his production. Fay wouldn't be surprised to see him sign long term within the next few months. Fay said last year was a big improvement on the year before for Dunn. Steve said there's a glut in the OF. Fay said that it kind of depends on Freel and if he's healthy, they can move someone like Hamilton or Hopper. Freel has a fairly large salary for a utility guy so he could be hard to trade. Steve asked about trading Jr. Fay said teams will be a little skeptical because of his injury history and perhaps his days here are coming to an end especially if Jay Bruce is the real deal.
After commercials they talked about the Reds moving out of Sarasota and they both wanted to see them stay. The second caller asked about Josh and if the Reds would re-sign him for next year. Steve and Fay said he's under the Reds control for the next 5 years. Steve brought up the fact that if he struggles, the Reds can now option him to the minors. Fay said that he's a good deal for the Reds since he will come cheap the next couple of years. Steve asked Fay if there was any concern about Josh now that Johnny Narron won't be back. Fay said that at some point you have to do that and it didn't sit well with some players that Josh had his own personal coach but he thinks Josh will be fine.
The next caller asked about Norris Hopper and thought the Reds were playing well when him and Keppinger hit in the first couple of spots in the order. Fay said that Hopper proved a lot and he has He knows his limitations as a hitter and doesn't try to knock everything out of the park. Fay thinks the Reds see him as a extra OFer and he could get more time if there are injuries. Fay said that the one bad thing about Hopper in the leadoff spot is that he doesn't walk a lot but he did reach base pretty consistently when he was playing. (Are we sure this is Fay and not C. Trent?)
After commercial, the next caller said that Fay has said that the Reds had problems scoring runs without Jr. and Dunn during the last couple of weeks of the season and he doesn't think that's entirely true. He sad if they both were gone, Bruce and Josh would be able to fill in along with Hopper and Keppinger. He thinks the Reds can score runs without Dunn and Jr. but they have to have major league quality players to play instead of the scrubs that played last year. Fay said he made a good point but Josh and Freel have had injury prone. He said they would be a different club without Jr. and Dunn and they would have to rely less on power. He thinks some fans feel like that would be better. The caller said it would be much more enjoyable to watch. Fay said that the Reds want to win and it hasn't worked the way it has been going. The caller thinks Dunn could be traded for pitching and Jay Bruce could take his place. Steve said Dunn has a no trade clause until about the middle of the season. The caller said that Dunn would have to sign off on a trade. Fay said that they tried to move Dunn last year and they didn't have much success but he had a great second half and that may have increased his value but he's a free agent so that may be a wash. Fay said that Bob and Dunn had that lunch last year he thought the Reds looked at Dunn differently after that. The caller said that scares him and hopes Wayne makes those decisions and not Bob. Fay said that on the big contracts, Bob has a say since it's his money. The caller said that Dunn is a luxury that only a team that brings in a lot of money can afford cause he can't hit in the 3rd or 4th spot. The caller said he drives in 100 runs but they aren't 100 crucial runs. (Hey, it's Bad Fundamentals!) He said that someone with Dunn's power should be driving in 125 runs a year and you can't have one of your most expensive players not be one of your most productive players (Nuh, uh. Eric Milton was expensive and he wasn't productive) He thinks Brandon Phillips is a more productive player and there are 3 or 4 players on the Reds that would drive home a runner on 2nd more often than Dunn would. Fay said that has been the knock on him hitting with RISP. Fay said he improved from the season before and even Brandon isn't that great with RISP. Fay said one of the better hitters with RISP is Encarnacion. Steve said that when a guy is under your control for more than a year it's easier to trade him.
After commercials, the next caller asked if the Reds were 1 or 2 starting pitchers away from a good starting rotation. Fay said it depends on who those pitchers are. He thinks they are pretty close Harang's a given and Arroyo had a lot of bad luck and Homer could improve. The caller said there doesn't appear to be much pitching on the free agent market and he was surprised the Reds didn't go aggressively after free agent pitching last year. He thinks Homer was hurt last year and when he was brought up he wasn't 100%. He said the bullpen needs a couple of good pitchers and Brandon is a great second baseman. Steve said everyone is looking for pitching. Fay said the market is lean and a guy like Lohse may make $9 a year for 4 years and Carlos Silva has a 4 ERA and is going to make a lot of money. He thinks the Reds will try to improve the bullpen and hope the kids can improve and maybe trade for a pitcher. Steve asked where Fay thinks Maloney and Cueto will start the year. Fay thinks they will be in LOU.
The next caller asked how different the dynamic for the Reds would be if they could sign Cordero and trade for Santana. Steve said that Santana's a risk since he's going to be a free agent after this year and he'll be wanting around $20M a year. Plus you will have to give up a bunch of talent like Bruce, Cueto and.or Bailey.
After commercials, Steve asked Fay how soon we may see Jay Bruce in Cincinnati. Fay said there's a chance he makes the club out of ST if an outfielder is traded and he could be up here for good by the All Star break. He said he doesn't really have anything to prove in AAA. Steve wished John Allen the best. Fay said he brought back RedsFest and did a lot of other good things and he'll be missed.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 11-14-07. So let it be written. So let it be done.
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