Thursday, April 17, 2008
C Trent Weighs In
Iím not a panic guy, but this early, there are still some things you can do, if not to help the club win as much to make things cosmetically better.
* Itís only three starts, but itís two terrible starts and one OK one. Josh Fogg, thanks, but youíre back to the bullpen. What I do differently than maybe some others, although Matt Belisle has thrown well in the minors, I do activate him, but he is a long reliever, paired with Jeremy Affeldt until Affeldt is ready to go 6 innings. Weíve seen Belisle and I think he has talent, but Iíd rather have the lefty Affeldt in there.
* Todd Coffey, you know the way to Louisville. Work on things. Itís not your arm, itís your head. While youíve got the door open, take Jared Burton with you. Both of you have the stuff, but get the other things ready to be big league late-inning pitchers. Burton skipped some minor league lessons as a Rule V pick last season, he could use them.
* To fill the spot of Affeldt in the bullpen, bring up Bill Bray. Brayís got nothing left to prove in the minors. Heís one of the best pitchers in the organization and is ready to help the big club.
* Stick with Edwin Encarnacion. Itís tough, but you need the patience for him to come around.
* David Ross is back, thereís got to be a taker for Scott Hatteberg. This platoon isnít working. Hattebergís a great clubhouse guy, a great influence on the young players, but the two left-handed hitting first baseman platoon isnít working. Javier Valentin can play some first, as can Jeff Keppinger. Keep Paul Bako, who the pitchers like, and he and Ross split time behind the plate. Valentin can work behind the plate in a pinch.
* Corey Patterson is not a lead off guy. Shake up the lineup. Why canít Brandon Phillips hit lead off? Heís a lot like Jimmy Rollins, and it works for the Phillies. An odd thought, but how about this lineup, just for a day to see how it works ó Phillips, Dunn, Keppinger, Griffey, Encarnacion, Votto, Patterson, Ross/Bako. There are lefties back-to-back lower in the order, but still not too bad. Iím not huge on lineup tinkering, but I like Phillips at the top spot and going from there.
* A right-handed bat from the minors, perhaps Jolbert Cabrera (who can play third and first) and send Norris Hopper down. Itís not that Hopper isnít doing well, itís just that heís a redundant piece. If not Cabrera, then Jerry Hairston Jr., who is playing well and can play outfield and some infield.
* Soon enough, youíll see Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey, but itís not that time now.