Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-10-09. Mo Egger was the host for the show and after previewing the game that evening and announcing the cuts; Jeff Brantley joined Mo by phone. Mo asked about Homer and asked if just leaving him alone has been the reason for his turnaround. Jeff agreed and said that he thought a lot of people at the beginning tried to put their two cents in to what Homer needed to do and Homer finally understood what everyone was saying to him. He feels with his temperament and they way he learns things, he had to do it on his own and heís reaping the benefits so far. Mo asked if you have to wait for people to adjust to him and how he adjusts to those adjustments. Jeff disagreed and said that Homerís always been strong mentally but not physically and not knowing why his pitches do what they do. Jeff said he looks like a totally different pitcher. Mo asked if Owings has the inside track on the 5th spot. Jeff said that he always felt that it was Owingsí job to lose. Mo said heís intrigued by Owings because of his hitting ability. Jeff said he talked to Owings and he felt that when he was with AZ, he was always seen as more of a pinch hitter than a pitcher. Jeff said itís tough to be a young pitcher and prepare for your start then get ready to pinch hit on your days off. Mo asked if the best way to use him as a pinch hitter - if he makes the rotation - that you leave him alone the day before and the day after he pitches unless itís absolutely necessary to use him as a pinch hitter. Jeff said the day before is the big key and he has his bullpen session because itís a tough day physically. He said if you listen to Owings it doesnít bother him now as it did before. Jeff said he looks like a polished big league pitcher and doesnít get rattled if someone screws up behind him. Mo asked about Corderoís struggles. Jeff said part of it is in his head and might be worrying about his ankle and it might be affecting his concentration. Jeff said Walt is looking to see if he has his fastball and breaking ball and his changeup and if his mechanics are good. Jeff said that everything seems OK except heís been rocked which tells him that his location isnít there and thatís what ST is for. Jeff said heís not worried about him and he hopes no one else is.
After commercial, Mo asked about Massett. Jeff said heís looked good except for that 1st outing and he would have been out of that inning had he thrown the ball to the right IFer. Jeff said everything is magnified in ST if youíre trying to win a spot. Mo asked Jeff how much of the WBC heís watched. Jeff said not much but heís tried to keep up with it. Heís glad Vottoís back. Mo asked about Hernandez and how much it hurts to have him out of camp. Jeff sad normally youíd be worried but this may be an exception. He said it wonít matter much to Arroyo and Harang since they are veterans. He speaks Spanish so he can communicate well with Volquez and Cueto. Mo said that the Reds are somewhat comforted by the fact that Mario Soto is the DRís pitching coach. Jeff agreed. Mo asked of there is a better time to have the WBC. Jeff said heís talked to a bunch of guys and said that thereís really no time thatís a good time. After the season is out because guys have gotten hurt when they have pitched all star games in Japan.
Mo asked about Gonzo and said he makes the team better just by his defensive presence on the field. Jeff said he used to be one of the best and said that he may be in the same boat as Cordero in that heís still worried about his surgery and while it may not hurt, he could be expecting it to hurt. He said as the spring goes on weíll see the Gonzo of old. Jeff said heís seen him run bases and heís looked great but there were times when heís been hesitant rounding first. He said all in all, Gonzo will be fine and could hit 20 Hrs. Mo asked about Corey Tavaras. Jeff said he covers more ground than any other OFer in the game and a lot of it has to do with getting good jumps on the baseball and his speed. He thinks heíll take away a lot of doubles in GAB. He feels more balls will be caught out there and the pitchers will be more confident. Mo said that a lot of people have criticized the Reds for not getting a RH power hitter. Jeff said that if he was Walt, unless there was a flat out no doubt LF guy out there he wouldnít spend the money to get him because of the steroid issue. (Steroids? Really?) Jeff said you canít tell whoís on the juice whoís coming off of it and whose numbers have been inflated from it. Jeff believes the game is going back to speed, defense and pitching. Mo talked about Brandon hitting 4th. Jeff said if you want to split the lefties, Brandonís the cleanup hitter by default. But if you are looking at a cleanup hitter without having to worry about splitting the lefties, Vottoís the man. Jeff said you donít want to hit Votto and Bruce back to back. (Cause itíd make too much sense.) Jeff said there isnít going to be a lot of Hrs from one guy but there could be 7 guys who hit 20 Hrs and thatís a lot of production.
After commercial, Mo asked Jeff if he saw some players in camp that have been flying under the radar. Jeff said Jeff Kennard threw a couple of times and heís a central Ohio guy and he may have been nervous his first time out when he got shelled. He said the last time out he threw well. He said he has a great arm and great stuff. Mo asked about Darryl Thompsonís shoulder tightness. Jeff said itís really nothing to worry about now. He thinks this will be the first year starters will be ready to go in April and we may see more complete games in April of this year than we have in a long time. Mo said Gomes has been hitting well so far and asked Jeff what he brings to the table. Jeff said heís a gamer and he plays as hard as he can and doesnít take losing lightly. He said heís not real smooth but when he hitís the ball it goes a long ways. Mo asked about Yonder. Jeff said heís a great kid. He said weíll see him real soon and heís the real deal. He works hard and is a tremendous hitter and knows what it takes to play in the big leagues. Jeff said that he thinks one of the reasons he wasnít down this early is to get adjusted to his teammates and work in a fashion to get him to the majors. Jeff felt Nix and Dickerson are the most impressive so far in LF. Jeff said Nix was a top prospect with TEX and got hurt and hadnít recovered. Jeff said heís going to hate to choose between Gomes, Dickerson and Nix.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 3-10-09. So let it be written. So let it be done.