Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 2-20-08. Marty was hosting the show tonight from Sarasota. He said everyone has reported and everybody's attitude is good and everyone is optimistic. Marty said that this camp is different than previous years because Dusty's in charge. (Not knocking Marty here but don't we hear this every year from the media about how this camp is different and there's no lollygagging and it's the most efficient camp they have ever seen? I mean, come on.) Marty said you can have a lot of fun with Big Dust but when it comes time to work, the players will work hard. Marty said the success of this team is going to be how effective the pitching staff is. After the 2nd spot there's Belisle but Marty is definitely not sold on him. Also there are a bunch of young arms that everyone likes and Marty talked to Ted Power and Mario Soto today and he has never seen optimism from those guys like he saw when they were talking about the young pitchers the Reds have.
After commercial, Marty said there will be an intrasquad game next Tuesday at noon and the first game will be Wednesday and will be broadcast on WLW. Marty said the team seems to be healthy with the exception of Bray. Marty gets the impression that no one is really concerned about it. Marty said Kent Mercker is back in camp and went on about how he could help the team as a lefty relief specialist and in the clubhouse. (He also is great when Marty needs a 4th for Canasta). Marty talked to Jr. today and he is feeling good and he said Dunn is in camp and there is talk about there being no talk going on about a contract extension. (I like how Marty said that: Talk about no talk. But that's just me being silly. ) Marty said he certainly would be in favor of that type of thing and he thinks we will see a different Adam Dunn and an Adam Dunn that's going to have even a greater impact on this baseball team. (That's a direct quote from the Marty, folks, believe or not.)
Marty said the CF position is up for grabs and a lot of people think Lofton will be signed and Marty thinks if that happens it will be in a platoon situation. Marty thinks he would be a plus factor on this club. Marty said the Blanton talks have quieted down but it may heat up depending on how the young pitchers perform. He mentioned Cueto, Homer, Roenicke, Volquez and Maloney as candidates for the rotation. He mentioned unsigned guys like Weaver, Fogg and Lohse. Marty said if he were them, he'd be worried that they aren't going to find a big league gig.
After commercial, Marty spoke about Bob Howsam passing away yesterday.
The first caller said that Arroyo isn't a #2 starter and Marty agreed but said he is the Reds de facto #2 pitcher. He said that he hopes Bronson is going to be a pitcher this year and not a pitcher-musician. (Nobody had any problems with his music in 2006.) The caller was also concerned with the Cordero signing and said he only saved 75% of his save opportunities. Marty said he saved 44 of 51 games which isn't bad. The caller said the majority of his saves were at home. Marty said that his numbers weren't good on the road. He was in favor of the signing but is concerned about those home/road splits. The caller said he's more optimistic about Belisle than Marty is but not as much as Thom. Marty said that he hopes he's wrong and he has the stuff to do it but this is the year to do it.
The next caller said he's excited about Big Dust managing the team and thinks he will be successful. Marty said the injury factor is something no team can predict. He said this division is weak and if some of the young pitchers can come through and the key players can stay on the field you never know. The caller asked if the Reds were going to play any exhibitions in minor league towns before Opening Day like they have if they go to Arizona. Marty said they aren't doing it this year.
Marty talked about Joe not winning the Ford Frick Award yesterday and he thinks that fan support for Joe is strong enough that he will be on the ballot year after year.
After commercial, Marty said Bob came into camp today. He said they asked Bob about a potential ST move to AZ and Bob said he was pleased Sarasota is making an effort to keep the Reds. Marty said the exclusive negotiating period will end on April 15 and that he believes that this all happened because Sarasota took the Reds for granted and never thought they would leave.
The next caller said the pitching staff has so many question marks it's ungodly. He said they would be sunk if something happened to Harang. Marty said that you can't operate on the assumption that someone is going to get hurt. He said the only team that could survive a major hit to their rotation are the Red Sox and Schilling may not be able to pitch. The caller wanted to know what would happen if Cueto and Bailey weren't as good as advertised. Marty agreed but wanted to know what he'd have them do, go after Blanton or someone else. The caller said he'd go after Blanton or someone like Fogg. Marty said the only way he'd get Fogg is if he didn't have to overpay for him. (So anything above the minimum, then?) The caller said that he's getting cheaper by the day and Marty asked if he thought it funny that no one has signed Fogg yet? The caller said that no one wants to give him a long term deal. Marty said we will see what happens and he'd rather have Fogg than Weaver and Lohse (Man, Lohse must have messed up Marty's hair or something. I'm no Lohse fan but I'd certainly take his inconsistency over Weaver's and Fogg's suckitude). The caller is even more pessimistic than Marty is on Belisle (if that's possible) Marty said someone showed him that Belisle's and Harang's numbers were very similar when they had the same level of experience so he's willing to cut Belisle some slack but to hand him the 3rd spot in the rotation is a bad deal. The caller asked on what team would Belisle be a 3rd starter for. Marty asked who would Bronson be a #2 for. Marty said the bullpen is very improved which should help the starters. He likes the defense and thinks Gonzalez will be a different player (Can he be A-Rod?) without the burden of his son and he is concerned about the catching. The caller agreed and said he hopes the Reds can swing a deal like Votto for Matt Cain cause you can get a 1st baseman easy cause we've seen Hatteberg and Sean Casey do the job (There it is! The first Sean Casey mention of the off season. It's a bit of a stretch since he wasn't saying we should get him but what the heck).
The next caller asked if the Reds might be interested in trading for C.C. Sabathia since the Santana deal didn't cost the Mets that much in the way of prospects. Marty wasn't aware he was on the market but he wouldn't give up the guys CLE would ask for like Bailey and Cueto and Votto. The caller said the Mets didn't give up those type of prospects for Santana. Marty said that's a different mindset between the Twins and CLE. If CLE shops C.C. teams are going to fall all over themselves trying to get him. The caller said Lofton's veteran experience would be a plus but that's an awful lot of left handed hitting on this team. Marty said he agrees the Reds are lefty heavy and says EE is the key. He said Gonzo will have to pick it up offensively and he's not worried about Brandon.
After commercial the next caller thinks this will be a mediocre team in a mediocre division and if Dunn isn't re-signed, Jr. is gone after this year and then the offense is going to lose a lot of power and he's not very optimistic about the future. Marty said he may be right but he thinks - and a lot of baseball people agree - that this team will be improved. He isn't worried about Jr. and Dunn not being here after 08. They have Jay Bruce and the farm system is very fertile. The caller asked if the Reds end up 5th in the division again, will Wayne be back. Marty said no.
The next caller said that it would be very stupid for the Reds to get Blanton because he sees him as another Milton (Pot. Kettle. Black) He said he put up good numbers in a pitcher's park. Marty said that Milton was the ultimate fly ball pitcher and Blanton isn't. The caller said it was a good point and Marty said it was a helluva point. ( I give Marty crap but sometimes I honestly don't know how he puts up with these people) Marty would take a shot at Blanton if he didn't have to destroy the farm system. The caller agreed and thinks Belisle will have a great year cause his numbers compare favorably with Harang's. (Someone was listening to the show earlier) Marty said he hopes he's right.
After commercial, the next caller said he's somewhat optimistic and he grew up following the teams of the late 80s and 90s and that's the last time the Bengals were relevant and he hopes the Reds can get fans following them again, Marty said that players are already noticing a difference in this camp and it's important the Reds get off to a good start.
The next caller asked who is starting in CF. Marty said it is wide open. Hopper, Freel and Bruce are the top candidates and Bruce probably won't make the team unless he plays so well he forces the Reds hand. The caller mentioned Freel and Marty said he's healthy (for the moment) and that's good news. The caller said you have to have wheels like Freel does to cover the ground Jr. and Dunn can't. Marty agreed but said he is reckless out there. The caller said he's still against trading Hamilton and Marty predicted that they will not miss him. The caller wondered why Marty dismissed him like that. Marty said you can't count on him to play every day and you don't know how those drugs affected his system. Marty said he could hit 50 HRs this year and he would still say they made a good trade cause Volquez has electric stuff. Soto is high on him and if he can develop a good breaking ball he can be a big time pitcher. The caller wondered who the backups would be if Jr. went down and Bruce made the team. Marty said besides Hopper and Freel, Chris Dickerson is a great defensive OFer and a fine athlete but can't hit much. The caller asked if they were thin in the OF in AAA. Marty said they are.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 2-20-08. So let it be written. So let it be done.
Sean Casey Meter - 1