"Can Reds afford to cut Stanton?
By Hal McCoy | Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 10:58 AM
Dusty Baker made both an interesting and telling comment Tuesday morning in the visitor’s clubhouse at Clearwater’s Bright House Field.
The question was the final determination of the bullpen, who goes and who stays. As candid as always, Baker said, “I know it is not my money, but I hope money isn’t a factor in the final choices. I know the team wants to stay in a budget, but. …”
The reference obviously was to left-handed relief pitcher Mike Stanton, who wasn’t very good last year and has been mediocre, at best, this spring. But he has a $3 million guaranteed contract with a $500,000 buyout. If the Reds want him to go away (he already cleared waivers, nobody claimed him) and they can’t trade him, it will cost them $3.5 million to show the fans they REALLY want to win this year.
Baker’s bullpen of left-handers would be Jeremy Affeldt, Bill Bray and Kent Mercker. If ownership says, “Keep Stanton,” then Bray has options and might land in Louisville. Or they could jettison Mercker, a situational pitcher Baker likes.
In six appearances, Stanton has given up three runs, four hits, two walks and struck out one.
Affelt hasn’t been that good, either, but Baker stuck up for him.
“I’m a bit concerned about him after he gave it up Monday (two runs, two hits and a walk in one inning, ballooning his spring ERA to 12.51). But he’s a guy you have to consider as having a good track record. Maybe he is throwing too many strikes. He needs to throw quality strikes and keep it as simple as possible. He is a guy who analyzes things too much and he wears his problems all over his face. He cares big-time and you’d rather have that than a guy who doesn’t care.”
The roster remains too large, but there was one cut made Tuesday. Outfielder Jerry Gil was re-assigned to minor-league camp.
Gil most likely will end up at Class AAA Louisville with Jay Bruce and Chris Dickerson and Baker said, “They are going to have some ouftield in Louisville, man. Boy, that potential outfield they have. Whew. Wow. Some good arms, good speed. Probably one of the best around.”
I was tempted to say it, but bit my tongue when I wanted to say, “If you kept Bruce, you might have a much better outfield in Cincinnati.”
Call me Chicken Little.
Of Gil, Baker said, “He needs to play. He didn’t play at all last year (injury) and he is going to be a good player. He realizes he needs some at-bats and needs to play. In fact, he is going to be a very good player. He just needs to stay away from injuries because he has had some unfortunate things happen to him.”""
Next he's going to say saavy veterans don't deserve roster spots over potential-laden rookies?!?!?
Who is this man, and what has he done with one Johnnie B Baker, Jr?!?!
He's giving slack to the guys he likes - Affeldt (in the pen), EE, Votto - who were having slow Springs, and poo-pooing some guys he obviously doesn't (like, thinks is ready, thinks can contribute) - Stanton, Bruce, Affeldt (in the starting rotation), etc..
IFF this guy actually puts Keppinger in the lineup over Castro, and successfully gets rid of guys like Stanton, I think I might actually forgive him for putting Patterson in the lead-off spot - which actually I was already starting to back down off of the ledge for anyhow, since it looks like he actually DID EARN it by playing well in ST, with some decent hitting and *gasp* OBP stats. Guy took a walk to lead off the game today for Pete's Sake!!!
I might have to rethink this stance if he actually pulls this one off.