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Thread: Straight Talk

  1. #1
    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Straight Talk

    I see a lot of ahnd wringing around here since the acquisiton of Traveras. That's understandable considering his offensive statistics. I do see improvements at shortstop (if Gonzo comes back which is debatable) and catcher. Gonzalez, though not the defensive whiz that Krivsky said he was, is OK and does have some pop on occasion. Hernandez is twice the catcher any of our guys who played last year is. That may not be much, but it is an improvement.

    Will the Reds win more games than they did in 2008. That's debatable. Improved catching is a plus and stability in center field (defensively) might be a plus if that comes to pass. Defensively, this team is a mess and continues to be. In the infield you have Votto, who may or may not become a stellar fielder, Phillips, who is the best at his position, Keppinger/Gonzalez, where I hope it's Gonzalez, and Encarnacion, who is a train wreck. It's simply not championship calliber. In the outfield, Bruce has a chance to be good, Traveras is a question mark, and left is a huge black hole. On offense, the big boppers are gone and the club is moving toward small ball. That means the pitching has to improve. Seen any moves in that direction lately? Not me.

    What we have is a team that is marginally improved, but not improved enought to contend--same as the last three years. I'm not wringing my hands, though. The addition of Willy Traveras was not a major factor in keping this club below .500. Remember who led off for the Reds in the last few years? Willy Traveras in disguise. Until the coffers are opened to acquire free agents (providing we have the money), this is the way it always wil be. I've decided that enjoying baseball isn't based on winning in Cincinnati, since it's never going to happen.
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    Re: Straight Talk

    WV fan I think you're giving up at just the wrong time. The way I read it is we finally have a GM who knows the difference between a team with an actual chance to compete and one that has no chance. 2009 has no chance to compete for anything meaningful, so the game is to make it look like you're trying everything while not doing anything to hurt the team farther down the road--either through the acquisitions one makes or the kinds of contracts one extends. Jocketty is doing superbly. The prime area for improvement in this year's team is the rotation: Harang, Cueto, the #5, and the development of depth. Taveras is, as I see it, defensive insurance and a transitional centerfielder--he gets us to whoever will claim the position for the next several years, Dickerson, Stubbs, or Heisey. Left field in 2010 and beyond will be Joey Votto. 1b will be either Yonder Alonso or EE. 3b will likely be Todd Frazier or perhaps Juan Francisco, maybe even as early as 2010. The bullpen is filled with solid, if unspectacular, professional relievers, and it, too, will look quite different as early as 2010--Fisher, Roenicke, Manuel, maybe even Herrera could be part of that. So what we get to see in 2009 is the development of a whole host of interesting young players--Volquez, Cueto, the other starters, Votto, Bruce, Dickerson et. al. By August I think they will be pretty good, and we'll have a good read on what the team will look like when it starts to really have to be taken seriously--2010 and after.

  4. #3
    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRed View Post
    WV fan I think you're giving up at just the wrong time. The way I read it is we finally have a GM who knows the difference between a team with an actual chance to compete and one that has no chance. 2009 has no chance to compete for anything meaningful, so the game is to make it look like you're trying everything while not doing anything to hurt the team farther down the road--either through the acquisitions one makes or the kinds of contracts one extends. Jocketty is doing superbly. The prime area for improvement in this year's team is the rotation: Harang, Cueto, the #5, and the development of depth. Taveras is, as I see it, defensive insurance and a transitional centerfielder--he gets us to whoever will claim the position for the next several years, Dickerson, Stubbs, or Heisey. Left field in 2010 and beyond will be Joey Votto. 1b will be either Yonder Alonso or EE. 3b will likely be Todd Frazier or perhaps Juan Francisco, maybe even as early as 2010. The bullpen is filled with solid, if unspectacular, professional relievers, and it, too, will look quite different as early as 2010--Fisher, Roenicke, Manuel, maybe even Herrera could be part of that. So what we get to see in 2009 is the development of a whole host of interesting young players--Volquez, Cueto, the other starters, Votto, Bruce, Dickerson et. al. By August I think they will be pretty good, and we'll have a good read on what the team will look like when it starts to really have to be taken seriously--2010 and after.
    Not giving up, just facing reality. What were the biggest needs? A decent CFer, a LFer, a third baseman who could field, a catcher, and a shortstop. How we doing? We've resgined some pitchers, traded for a catcher and a replacement level CFer.The left side of the defense is still just plain horrible and the offense is emasculated. Now, Jocketty might pull off some things prior to ST, but for now, it doesn't look good and lowered expectations seem to be the best plan of attack.
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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRedsFan View Post
    Will the Reds win more games than they did in 2008.
    They were around -90 in run differential in 2008 and the moves to this point don't look to impact that number greatly.

    So if you want the Reds to be a winning team in 2009 you basically have to sign up for the pitching being lights out. Is it possible? Sure, but it isn't probable.
    Last edited by flyer85; 12-29-2008 at 04:09 PM.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    Member SMcGavin's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    The 2009 pitching is going to be good. Probably not good enough to carry a bad offense, but at least average or better. That's why I don't buy the theory that the Reds never had a shot to compete this year. If the Reds got the offense just up to average, which was a doable task, I think they'd be playing meaningful games in September. But as things are looking right now, the offense will likely end up well short of average.

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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by SMcGavin View Post
    The 2009 pitching is going to be good. Probably not good enough to carry a bad offense, but at least average or better. That's why I don't buy the theory that the Reds never had a shot to compete this year. If the Reds got the offense just up to average, which was a doable task, I think they'd be playing meaningful games in September. But as things are looking right now, the offense will likely end up well short of average.
    Agreed. The Reds basically had a league average pitching staff last year (Team ERA+ of 99) despite having Josh Fogg, Gary Majewski, Matt Belisle combine for 150ish innings of pure suckitude. Homer Bailey also struggled mightily and our ace struggled due to an injury. With seemingly the same solid bullpen (plus Roenicke), the health of Harang, and improvement of Cueto, I expect this pitching staff to be above average assuming the defense is improved. If Jocketty can put together a league average offense then I could see the 2009 Reds playing meaningful games late into the season.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Will post for food BuckeyeRedleg's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Agreed. The Reds basically had a league average pitching staff last year (Team ERA+ of 99) despite having Josh Fogg, Gary Majewski, Matt Belisle combine for 150ish innings of pure suckitude. Homer Bailey also struggled mightily and our ace struggled due to an injury. With seemingly the same solid bullpen (plus Roenicke), the health of Harang, and improvement of Cueto, I expect this pitching staff to be above average assuming the defense is improved. If Jocketty can put together a league average offense then I could see the 2009 Reds playing meaningful games late into the season.
    True, but what about the possibility that we get the Volquez of the 2nd half as opposed to the Volquez from the 1st half?

    I'd say we'd be lucky to get a combo of the two, but the possibilty exists that he doesn't put up the same numbers in 2009. His first 10 or so starts were ridiculous.

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    Re: Straight Talk

    I'm very hopeful about our pitching staff, but to be more realistic, our getting better than league average means Harang's recovery, Cueto's improvement, Bronson's staying about even, Volquez's not regressing, and solving the dilemma of the fifth starter (lack of which is why we got a lot of last year's suckitude). These are, IMO, too many things to expect to all happen for a league average staff to get good enough to be a contending staff. This is a year for getting Harang back on track, getting needed experience for Cueto and Volquez, getting the fifth starter position solidified, and getting some added value for the other guys currently on the margin--so that the right ones of them can be moved to get other things we need. That gives me a lot of hope for 2009 and a lot to be interested in, but does not persuade me this team has any chance to be a serious contender for the post season.

  10. #9
    Member SMcGavin's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRedleg View Post
    True, but what about the possibility that we get the Volquez of the 2nd half as opposed to the Volquez from the 1st half?

    I'd say we'd be lucky to get a combo of the two, but the possibilty exists that he doesn't put up the same numbers in 2009. His first 10 or so starts were ridiculous.
    I do expect a regression from Volquez. That will be overcome though by the improvements I expect from each of the other four rotation spots. The bullpen will probably be a bit worse (it really was quite good in 08).

  11. #10
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Regression from Volquez is easily countered by overall better pitching from the #5 spot alone. There is no reason to think Harang from 2008 will repeat, so that's two spots improved. Arroyo has to remain about the same, so the wild card is Cueto.

    Can Johnny Cueto progress as a pitcher in 2009. He's got a few things going against him. 1st there is a potential sophomore slump. Can he mature as a pitcher and adjust? 2nd, he's pitching both winter ball and in the WBC. that's a lot of innings. 3rd, and this goes really to mu first point: expectations has he matured enough as a person to handle the increased expectations on him?
    Suck it up cupcake.

  12. #11
    Member SMcGavin's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRed View Post
    I'm very hopeful about our pitching staff, but to be more realistic, our getting better than league average means Harang's recovery, Cueto's improvement, Bronson's staying about even, Volquez's not regressing, and solving the dilemma of the fifth starter (lack of which is why we got a lot of last year's suckitude).
    Go down the list you just made.

    Harang's recovery: 3.75 ERA
    Cueto's improvement: 4.00 ERA
    Bronson staying even: 4.75 ERA
    Volquez not regressing: 3.25 ERA
    Solving the fifth starter dilemma: 4.75 ERA

    Average those five ERAs (a little inaccurate since in reality your top pitchers throw more innings thus should be weighted more, but it's just an estimate): 4.10 ERA from the rotation. League average starter has a 4.41 ERA. If all those things you mentioned come true, the Reds won't have a league average rotation, they'll have a very good rotation. Of course, all those things happening are unlikely - but we shouldn't act like the Reds need all of them to happen to have a solid rotation.

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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by SMcGavin View Post
    Go down the list you just made.

    Harang's recovery: 3.75 ERA
    Cueto's improvement: 4.00 ERA
    Bronson staying even: 4.75 ERA
    Volquez not regressing: 3.25 ERA
    Solving the fifth starter dilemma: 4.75 ERA

    Average those five ERAs (a little inaccurate since in reality your top pitchers throw more innings thus should be weighted more, but it's just an estimate): 4.10 ERA from the rotation. League average starter has a 4.41 ERA. If all those things you mentioned come true, the Reds won't have a league average rotation, they'll have a very good rotation. Of course, all those things happening are unlikely - but we shouldn't act like the Reds need all of them to happen to have a solid rotation.
    2008:
    Harang: 4.78
    Cueto: 4.81
    Arroyo: 4.77
    Volquez: 3.21
    Owings: 5.93
    (other prominent candidates for the 5th spot: Bailey 7.93, Thompson 6.91, Ramirez 2.67)

    I stick to my original point. The likelihood of this group putting up the numbers you project for 2009 seems to me extremely slim.

  14. #13
    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    It seems like everyone wants to ignore Harang's past and judge him on 2008.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

  15. #14
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRed View Post
    I stick to my original point. The likelihood of this group putting up the numbers you project for 2009 seems to me extremely slim.
    I'm not projecting those numbers. The entire point of my post, if you did read it, was that those numbers don't need to happen for the Reds pitching to be pretty good.

  16. #15
    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Re: Straight Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    It seems like everyone wants to ignore Harang's past and judge him on 2008.
    That's the closest to what we've seen. I expect Aaron Harang to be somewhere between the 3.75 we expect and the 4.78 we got last year. About 4.00. Not bad and not so good. Aaron's problem is his ability to give up the long ball which I do not expect to change.

    As for the others, it's pretty much a crap shoot. I expect Arroyo to do what he always does--good some days and horrible the next. Volquez will not duplicate 2008, but he'll be OK. Cueto...who knows? If he can harnass his temper and get a little bit smarter, he might be the ace. IF. The big question is what happens after that? It's an unknown. Could ge good and could be horribly bad. If a reliable 5th starter can be acquired, I will breathe a bit easier, but if not, and we get Josh Fogg II, Uh Oh.

    Too many questions and not enough answers.
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    "You only have to bat a thousand in two things; flying and heart transplants. Everything else you can go 4-for-5."
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