Sorry it's late, folks. I had a meeting till 10 and then the power went out for about an hour after I got home.
Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-19-08. Bill "Seg" Dennison was the host for the show tonight. Jeff Brantley joined him by phone. He said Dusty gave the team the day off today and it was more of a mental day than a physical day off to just get the players' minds off baseball for a day. They talked about the Reds trading Brad Salmon to the Royals. Seg asked Jeff about it. Jeff said he has a chance to pitch in the big leagues. He's got a good fastball and isn't afraid of contact. He has a little work to do on his control and on his breaking stuff. Jeff said there's a difference between pitching for the Reds than the Royals. The Reds are looking towards 2008 and the Royals for the future.
After commercial, Seg and Jeff talked about the Brennaman and Bench shindig at Club 4192 at the ballpark on Friday night. They then discussed the Red Sox protest today and Jeff reminisced about the time he spent in Japan on a postseason tour.
After commercial, the first caller asked Jeff what the reasonable expectations are for Cueto this year. Jeff said he's only 21 and inexperienced and could come in and have a difficult time and get sent back down. From what Jeff sees, though, he has all the physical talent, a fastball with good velocity, a crisp breaking pitch he can throw for strikes on either side of the plate and a good changeup that Soto has helped him with and he's not afraid to throw it. Jeff said what stands out is his moxie, his heart and his guts. Jeff said he isn't afraid and that will allow him to be successful. He said there's a lot of scouts out there that believe Cueto will be the ace of the staff by the end of the 2008 season. The caller said he hasn't seen him pitch and he heard he compares favorably to Carlos Zambrano. Jeff doesn't think so and said that his aggressiveness towards the batter is about the only area to compare him to Zambrano. He's not as big as Zambrano and his control is better than Big Z's. Jeff said from the first day he walked out to the mound he grabbed his attention and said that doesn't happen very much.
The next caller asked when the next World Baseball classic would happen. Seg said maybe next year but he hasn't heard anything about it yet. The caller wanted to know what Jeff felt about it. Jeff said last time it was right at the end of the Japanese season and the beginning of our spring training and it gave them the opportunity to have the players involved with some sort of regularity. He said the Latin American winter leagues were ending then too. He said the next time they do this the countries involved have to at least put a team in that can compete at the AA level at the least. Jeff said he loved the WBC.
The next caller asked why MLB doesn't make the players wear their pants either up or down. (Cause they are too busy trying to screw coaches, managers and players out of $40K.) Jeff said there is some debate about wearing the baggy pants and how far can you pull the socks up. He thinks MLB is trying to get a consistent look but it's difficult because you have let certain players wear their uniforms a certain way. The caller asked what Reds fans could do to fet them to stay in Sarasota or Florida. Seg said not to blame the Reds and Jeff agreed. Jeff said the Reds ownership went above and beyond the call of duty to stay in Sarasota.
After commercial, Seg asked Jeff about the Reds possibly shopping for a catcher. Jeff said that he's had an MRI done and the problem is that if Ross came back tomorrow, chances are huge he'd reinjure it.
The next caller asked what would be the starting rotation on Opening Day. Jeff said in his opinion it would be Harang, Arroyo, Cueto, Belisle and Mad Dog Volquez. He said Fogg has pitched well and he pitched well on Tuesday even though he gave up 6 runs only 3 were earned. He said Belisle has more upside than Fogg but Belisle has an option and Fogg doesn't. Jeff said that Dusty wants to see a lot of these guys who are still in ST how they react under pressure. Jeff said Gonzo will be on the DL once the season starts and Keppinger will be the everyday SS with Castro as the backup. That will open a spot for someone who needs to be the utility guy. If it's Cabrera, he's all hit and no field. If t's Gil he could break down ant any time and he can't hit breaking stuff. Jeff said his choice would be one of the two Andys (Phillips and Green). He said they both bring a lot to the table.
The next caller asked about Jay Bruce and said it would be tragic if he doesn't start in CF come Opening Day. Jeff said that Hopperson has to fail. He doesn't think they can handle CF long term and if Bruce was told he would be in CF he could hit leadoff and score over 100 runs and hit .300. Jeff said Bruce is smart, he Knows How to Play the Game, he swings the bat well and he can play defense. Jeff feels the Reds think they need a speedster in CF who can bat leadoff and play a great defensive CF. Jeff thinks that he'd rather have an offensive player out there because GAB is a place where if the ball goes over the CF's head it's a homer.
After commercial,the next caller asked about Josh Hamilton. He feels that the Reds were playing with house money when they acquired him and he's a very exciting player to watch and wants to know why they traded him. Jeff said it was a bit of genius to trade Josh for Mad Dog, Jeff thinks the drug abuse hurt Josh's body to the point where he has a greater chance that he'll be injured more often than he is able to play. He said he may be fine this year but perhaps not in the future. He thinks it'd be tough to pay a guy like Josh a lot of money to be injured.
The next caller mentioned Jayson Stark's article about Cordero. Jeff said he liked the Cordero signing and said he's a quality individual, highly intelligent and expects to win every game. He said his leadership in the clubhouse is invaluable especially to Cueto and Mad Dog.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-19-08. So let it be written. So let it be done.