Here is the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 1-18-11. Thom was the host tonight. Thom said that the Reds signed Bill Bray to a 1 year deal. He added that with Votto’s new contract, Cueto and Volquez are the only arbitration eligible players currently unsigned. Thom said that Ryan Freel will be on the Reds Caravan in Ashland, KY on Thursday and continue with the southern tour on Friday then go on the western tour in Muncie, IN on Saturday and finish in Hamilton on Sunday (Grandmothers beware!) Thom also said scout Gene Bennett will be in Ashland as well (Better double security for Ashland.) Thom also said that Razor Ramon will be inducted into the Western Michigan White Caps HOF.
The first caller said he loves Scott Rolen but wonders how long he will continue to play and if Francisco doesn't produce, will Todd Frazier be the Reds 3B of the future. Thom said everyone believes Rolen should get more rest and both he and the Reds wanted him on the field a lot last year. Thom said Frazier got off to a bad start but finished very strong and he has great makeup. Thom said it will be interesting to see if Frazier will get a shot at making the team with Cairo signed. Thom said Frazier can play infield and OF so he may have an edge in making the team as an extra player.
The next caller asked when the young players will get a shot since the Reds signed of Renteria and re-signed Cairo. Thom said that when teams build around and win with a core group of players you don't want to stunt the growth of a player like Francisco having him sit on the bench in the majors rather than playing every day at AAA. Thom said the Reds would like to see guys like Francisco and Yonder, who got off to poor starts last year, play well for a full season before they bring them up.
The next caller said he heard Bob talk the other day and said there have been only 10,000 season tickets sold. The caller said that we have to do better than that. He said he sits right above the radio booth with 4 other guys and he thinks it’s a bargain compared to the Bengals. Thom said the economy's tough and he isn't going to criticize fans for not spending their money on ball games.
After commercial, the next caller said that he's angry at MLB network for not giving the Reds credit for winning last year. He said they are all excited about MIL and the Reds aren't the team to beat. Thom said it doesn't matter and they will be on the maximum times next year on Fox and will be on Sunday Night baseball a few times. The caller said he may be biased (Nooooooooo?) but he's steamed that the Brewers are getting all the love. He does feel better because of what Thom said. Thom said that these people are making themselves look foolish and on paper the Reds should be the favorite.
The next caller wanted to know Thom's thoughts on Votto being MVP of the Midwest League 5 years ago and winning MVP this last year. (What made
this caller's question art was the constant slurring of his words.) Thom said he deserved it. The caller also wanted to know where the dogs sat and where they go to the bathroom during the Bark in the Park games. Thom said there are special sections for both and pimped the Bark in the Park games.
The next caller wanted to know when the caravan will be in Indy. Thom didn't know and said to check on Reds.com. The caller asked about the Dodger ownership situation and heard Steve Garvey wanted to buy them. Thom said that the judge awarded ownership to both of the McCourts but they both want to own the team and neither has the money to do it alone so that may be where Garvey comes in. Thom said it's a mess there but doesn’t think there's anything funny about divorce.
After commercial, the next caller wanted to know what Thom thought about Heisey's role with the club this year. Thom said that the OF is crowded with the re-signing of Gomes and the signing of Fred Lewis - who Thom thinks is a great signing because on the days he plays, he gives them that added dimension of speed. He said Heisey's going to have to bust his tail to make the team and reiterated that Frazier may have a good shot due to his versatility. He doesn’t think they are down on Heisey but he may have to wait till next year.
The next caller wanted to know why the Reds didn't re-sign Lance Nix. (Probably cause he can't spell his first name worth a darn.) Thom felt that it was more of a situation of the Reds needing a leadoff hitter than a guy like Nix. The caller asked if Harang would pitch anywhere next year. Thom said he signed with the hometown Padres and he should flourish there because of the big park.
The next caller asked what the rotation will look like at the start of the year. Thom said that the Reds have never had this kind of riches in starting pitching before. Thom said Arroyo's the #1 starter and Chapman will be in the bullpen for the last year. He said Volquez should be #2 and Cueto #3. He believes Wood has earned the #4 spot and the #5 starter should be contested among Homer, Willis, Maloney and Leake. Thom said Leake might have to bust his tail to win a spot in the rotation. Thom said it's interesting how times have changed. 3-4 years ago, Leake may have been the #1 starter. 5-6 years ago, he would have been the #1 starter for sure (Unless the Reds would have done something crazy and sign a guy like Eric Milton to a multi-year deal.)
After commercial, the next caller and Thom reminisced about when he was a kid and helped out in ST.
The next caller said he was a StL fan and wondered if the rivalry will be friendlier or stay ugly. Thom said he thinks it's going to be ugly for a while. He said not only due to Brandon's remarks but about what happened in the last series between the teams in 2009 when Carpenter whined about the baseballs not being rubbed down properly and Duncan accused Arroyo of having pine tar on his hat. He said none of the players are going anywhere and La Russa and Dusty already have a rivalry from managing against each other for all these years. He thinks the rivalry between the teams will continue to be intense.
The next caller said the Reds haven't made a lot of moves during the off-season but thinks it's cool to have stability. Thom interrupted him and said they have signed several guys and extended others. The caller said that there only place he thinks they need to upgrade is the LH out of the bullpen since Rhodes left. Thom said he believes that Phil Valliquette will get a long look in ST and he was the best LH reliever in the minors. He said Willis may get a look too since he's done it in the past.
After commercial, the next caller said that Valiquette throws 97 and will turn some heads. He also said that Rolen and Francisco may split a lot of time at 3rd like Hatteberg and Votto did a few years ago. (Does that mean Francisco takes over for Rolen in May?) He thinks Francisco will be a superstar. Thom said he's put up unbelievable numbers in the minors. He said he strikes out a lot but that’s not uncommon with young players. The caller asked if Mesoraco will get a shot. Thom said they won't carry 3 catchers and Mesoraco will need to stay in AAA for a while at least. He said if he has the same season he did last year and there is a weakness at that spot in the majors, the Reds may bring him up.
The next caller asked if Mesoraco hit .570 in AAA. Thom said he wasn't sure but he was only there for a week and a half and he may have. Thom said he hadn't hit too well up till last season but he was drafted out of high school and he's still in his early 20s. He said that the Reds drafted a switch hitting catcher #1 last year so the cupboard is not so bare at that position anymore.
The next caller asked if MLB is going to put pressure on colleges to go back to wood bats even if MLB has to subsidize it. Thom said that is the only way it will happen since colleges are feeling a financial crunch and are dropping sports.
Thus endeth the Reds Hot Stove League show report for 1-18-11. So let it be written. So let it be done.