Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-26-08. Jeff and Thom were the hosts for an abbreviated show tonight because of the Reds pre-game show.
Thom asked Jeff what is the deal with all the players still left in camp. Jeff said he could understand if it were just a couple or three players left but there are still at least 14-15 extra players left in camp. Jeff said that is ridiculous. He believes by now they should, for the most part, be going with the guys who are going to be on the roster. He said whomever the CF is has to be able to communicate with Jr. He said everybody's playing in different positions and Patterson's out there one day, Freel the next and Ol' Gil the next. Jeff said that if Kepp is the SS he's going to be wanting to work with Brandon every day to get their timing down but that isn't happening. He said the 1st baseman - be it Votto or Hatteberg - would like to take throws from the guys that are going to be the regular IFers. Jeff said in order to be a great ballclub and to get off to a great start you need to be playing with the guys who are playing every day. He said Ross is a prime example of someone who hasn't worked with the starters yet. Jeff said the Reds are in flux now and that isn't how you want to start the season.
After commercial, Thom asked Jeff about the rotation. He said that Belisle threw 55 pitches in a simulated game today and to him that means there is no way he'll be in the Opening Day rotation. Jeff agreed. Thom said that Fogg is the 5th starter and Belisle is on the DL but no one has made that decision. Thom said that in the bullpen they have Cordero, Weathers and Burton and after that there's Affeldt, Bray, Brower, Capellan, Coffey, Stanton, Mercker and Lincoln. Thom asked when are the Reds going to make a decision on who stays and who goes. Jeff said he would hope that decision will be made sooner than later (No kidding, Jeff. The season starts Monday) He said if you're not going to take certain players north and they don't have options, you look around to see if there is any interest in them but eventually you have to make a decision on them and when you do there are going to be other teams looking to pick up these guys. Anyone who has had a good spring training
isn't going to want to go to AAA and are going to want to hook up with a big league team.
The first caller wanted to know who's on first (No, it wasn't the late Lou Costello) Jeff sais that he thinks it's going to be Votto because although he's had a slow spring, when he was up last year he faced teams who were in the playoff hunt, with the exception of the Giants, and hit well. Over the last 3-4 games he's hit the ball hard and had great ABs and is very balanced up there. The caller said he's a big Hatteberg fan and why shouldn't he start. Jeff said he's had probably the best spring of anyone but Votto is the future and has tremendous power to all fields which is an asset in GAB. Hatteberg is a great hitter but doesn't have as much power as Votto. He thinks Votto can carry this club in tough times
After commercial, the next caller asked about the CF battle and whether there will be a trade and whether there should be a trade. Thom said they know Freel can play a lot of different positions and if Jr. and/or Dunn need a night off against a tough lefty, you could have an OF of Freel, Hopper and Patterson. (Shivers should go up the spine of every Reds fan at the thought of that OF. Especially since Patterson can't hit lefties.) Thom asked Jeff if he thinks there will be a trade involving those guys. Jeff said he doesn't know if there will be one right away but perhaps down the line when everything works out. Jeff said Freel's the wild card since he can play in the IF too. He said there's no one else that can do that if EE starts off slow or gets hurt or if anyone else gets hurt. Freel can step into the lineup and give a team energy. (Freel's important for that sort of thing since they outlawed greenies)
The next caller asked what is the problem with Homer. Jeff said it's not just the fact he's not finding the strike zone. Jeff feels he's confused right now with pitch selection. Jeff said he has a great fastball, has a lot of intestinal fortitude, is a great competitor and has a lot of ingredients you can't teach a guy. But he has to become confident in a secondary pitch he can throw for a strike. Jeff said that Homer's big curve isn't going to be called a strike at this level. If he can shorten that up and throw it for strikes, we'll see Homer a lot up here. Thom said don't get impatient with Homer because he's only 21. Jeff agreed. Thom said give him some time and some guys take a little longer to develop than others. Thom said he'll get more chances.
Thus endeth the last Reds Hot Stove League show report for this off season. I'd like to thank everyone for reading the reports and for the nice things you've said. I've enjoyed doing it and it's been a lot of fun and I hope you have been enlightened and entertained. The Sean Casey Meter didn't really work out but you can't blame a guy for trying. So, until November, so let it be written. So let it be done.