Category Archives: Cincinnati Reds

Thank You Brandon Phillips

I would like to thank Brandon Phillips. Thank him for finally agreeing to a trade and allow the Reds to move on with their “rebuild”. I would imagine BP was given some sort of ultimatum about his playing time, so he decided to move on. But no matter the reason, I would like to thank him for agreeing to this.
I also would like to thank him for his time with the Reds. There is NO DOUBT Brandon is the GREATEST 2nd Baseman in franchise history…..next to Joe Morgan, of course. He was spectacular with his glove and bat. He also was willing to bat anywhere in the lineup. He definitely was worth the price of admission on the field.
Now, yes…Brandon did do things off the field that frustrated me. Brandon definitely loved him some Brandon. Was he dismissive of the media at times? Sure. Was he prickly with fans at times? Sure. But I also saw Brandon do many great things with fans…especially with young fans. Now be honest….haven’t you had a time or two or three at work you may not be proud of? Yes, I am sure you have.
Bottom Line….it was time. Time for Brandon to move on. Having him on the Reds roster any longer made no sense.
Thank you Brandon. Good Luck in Atlanta.

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2016 Cincinnati Reds: Permission To Lose?

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​The 2016 MLB Season for the Cincinnati Reds will be a difficult one for fans of the team.  It will be one where there are absolutely no expectations for the team to win.  In fact the team’s President, Walt Jocketty, even expressed as much during the team’s Winter Caravan.  Much of the team’s core and fan favorite players have been traded away recently. 3B & 2015 Home Run Derby Champion Todd Frazier, Starting Pitchers Johnny Cueto & Mike Leake in addition to flame throwing closer Aroldis Chapman have been dealt.  Stalwart 2B Brandon Phillips rejected, due to his status as a “10/5 Player” (10 years in the majors and five with the same team), not one but two potential trades to Arizona & Washington, which puts into question his thirst for winning as opposed to just collecting a hefty payday.  RF Jay Bruce still is the subject of trade rumors but his poor stats the past two years, due to injury in 2014 (.217, 18 HRs & 66 RBIs) and a horrible season in 2015 (.226, 26 & 87) hurts any trade value he may have.  Star 1B Joey Votto remains, mainly because of a huge contract that most MLB teams would not want and also because the Reds seem to envision him being part of a supposed resurgence in 2018.

The rest though, is “potential”.  Can new 3B Eugenio Suarez fill the hole Todd Frazier left behind?  Suarez showed potential in 97 games for the Reds last year (.280, 13 & 48) but can he do it over a full season?  If so, will fans warm to him as they did to Frazier?  Billy Hamilton is on his last chance being the Reds’ starting CF and leadoff hitter.  Billy is a demon on the basepaths with 57 stolen bases but showed no progress at the plate. (.226 batting average in 114 games).

The old adage rings true; “You can’t steal first base.”  Billy must learn how to bunt, IMMEDIATELY.

LF is a gaping hole that may take many games to fill.  Journeyman OF Adam Duvall will get a shot at the job as will top prospect Jesse Winker.  In five minor league seasons Jesse hit for a .292 average with 49 HRs & 223 RBIs.

The pitching staff will be led by RH Homer Bailey but due to injury he won’t return until mid-May.  The rest of the rotation will be filled by “Young Guns” Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen, John Lamb, Raisel Inglesias & John Moscot.

Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed, Jonathan Sanchez & Robert Stephenson could also be in the mix whether starting or relieving.  JJ Hoover, who rebounded from a horrendous 2014 last season (2.94 era over 64.1 innings in a set-up role) will take over the closer spot.  Hoover doesn’t have the 103 MPH fastball of Chapman but he can bring it and is a tough competitor.

Reds fans must be patient in 2016 and even 2017.  The farm system, while not stellar, is solid and should provide hope in a few years.  Hopefully Reds fans will stick around.

Christmas Wishes for Ohio Sports Fans

It’s the Holiday Season…so why not give our “Christmas Wishes” for fans of Ohio’s major sports teams?

CLEVELAND BROWNS- Hope, any glimmer of hope. All the fans of this downtrodden franchise want is a sign that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train.

CINCINNATI BENGALS- Success on the “big stage”.  This is the season where the Bengals need to show their fans that they can deliver in ‘primetime’. Yes, Andy Dalton is injured…but AJ McCarron should keep the ship afloat until the “Red Rifle” can return in the playoffs.

OHIO STATE FOOTBALL- A convincing win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.  Yes, the dominating victory over Michigan was nice but Buckeyes fans need a big win over the Irish to take the sour taste of no return to the College Football Playoff out of their mouths.

CINCINNATI REDS- A blueprint of a true, concrete plan.  Most reasonable Reds fans probably understand the need for the mid-market team to shed payroll.  But those fans also need to see what is being done to rebuild….or maybe just get some more sweet bobbleheads.

CLEVELAND INDIANS- A sense of direction.  Is this team really in it to win it or just to keep their heads above .500?  The franchise has made some vaguely interesting moves so far this offseason to pique interest among the fanbase but is it enough to compete in the AL Central?

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS- Leadership from within.  Yes, the hiring of John Tortorella as head coach should provide discipline but the team needs leadership from the players themselves.  Nick Foligno was elected captain but it still seems like someone, anyone, needs to start being a bit of an asshole in the locker room.  Nice guys finish last especially in the NHL.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS- A NBA Championship. Pure and simple.  This team is the only real hope Cleveland has of bringing a title to the city.  If they fail this season, it doesn’t look possible anytime soon.

OHIO STATE BASKETBALL- A .500 season with maybe a couple of Big Ten Tournament wins would be nice.  Kentucky win aside, this is a very young team and is due to disappoint Buckeyes fans a few more times this season. If they could sneak into the NCAA Tournament, that would be a bonus.

UC & XAVIER BASKETBALL- To use a cliche, “You keep being you”.  Both of these teams exemplify why  the city of Cincinnati is a true college basketball gem.  UC & X are very good teams with great coaches at the helm.  Added bonus, neither coach looks to be wanting to go elsewhere which should mean continued success for a long time.

The 2015 Reds. Well, It Was Baseball…

The 2015 Cincinnati Reds Season has mercifully come to an end & what can you say?  At least Cincinnati got to host the All Star Game & festivities.  It was truly a thrill to see Todd Frazier win the Home Run Derby, but it was not a thrill to watch him tank the second half of the season.  I always thought it was such a fallacy to hear about how Home Run Derby destroys a player’s swing afterward but I saw it happen right in front of my face this year.  Frazier was a shell of himself in the second half.  What seemed like a lock for 100 RBIs did not happen.
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The Reds overall had one of the worst seasons in their storied history.  They finished dead last in the NL Central at 64-98 and lost 14 of their last 15 games in a stretch that was painful to watch as the team quite obviously was “mailing it in”.  It was a dreadful end to a season that actually started out with four straight wins in the team’s final at-bat. The Reds once again showed a propensity to not be able to hit with runners on base and with the exceptions of Aroldis Chapman and JJ Hoover, the bullpen was a dumpster fire.  Of course trading away Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake did not help things but those deals were pretty much assumed before the season started.  Plus, the Reds did acquire some very good young pitching from the Royals in exchange for Cueto.  It is just going to be very painful to watch Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb learn trial by fire in the majors.  In addition, young, green starters Michael Lorenzen, Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias will also be run out in the 2016 starting rotation until Homer Bailey can return.
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There were a few highlights.  1B Joey Votto had a stellar year (.314, 29 HRs, 80 RBI) and finished the year with a streak of getting on base 48 straight games, tying Pete Rose for a Reds record. 2B Brandon Phillips had an under the radar good year (.294, 12 HRs, 70 RBI) and played, for another year, stellar defense.  Eugenio Suarez showed some flashes of stardom after taking over at SS for Zack Cozart, who was injured early in the season.
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But that’s about it…back to the bad…RF Jay Bruce continues to underachieve & frustrate Reds fans and CF Billy Hamilton may be the fastest man in baseball, but you can’t steal first base.  Too bad some of the magic that Dee Gordon had for the Marlins this year (NL Leading .333 Batting Average & 58 Stolen Bases) couldn’t make it to BHam.

The 2016 Reds, for a very early glance, look to not be much different than this season’s version.  GM Walt Jocketty & Manager Bryan Price will return.  It is probably a smart decision to go ahead and have Price finish out his contract since next year looks to be a lost one for the Redlegs.  Pieces like C Brayan Pena and Pinch Hitting OF Skip Schumaker will be gone but much of what you saw this season will be back.  The main question will be…what to do with Suarez/Cozart?  Cozart was actually having a pretty good season before injury.  Look for one, most likely Suarez, to move to LF.

Small market Reds break the bank…again

The Reds have once again proven that the “small market” label used by many sports teams is nothing more than an excuse.

In 2012, fans were preparing for the worst, fearing that two of their stars would skip town for a long-term contract and bag o’ cash.  Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto were outgrowing Cincinnati and the small-town Reds.  Could the Reds possibly scrape up the money to sign one of them?  After Votto agreed to the biggest contract in club history, Phillips signed a six-year deal for big money.

The Reds have inked Homer Bailey to a six-year, $105 million contract.  The 27-year old has developed into the pitcher that the club and fans have been waiting on.  I really like this deal.  Bailey has his moments, but he is a workhorse with immense talent.

Reds Announce Spring Training Information

The Reds have announced report dates for Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers will report to Goodyear, Arizona on February 14 and will be followed by position players on February 19. There is also schedule, ticket and travel information on reds.com.

The group that heads to Goodyear in February will look a lot different than the one that finished last year in Cincinnati. Most notably, Billy Hamilton will enter camp as the centerfielder. He will replace Shin-Soo Choo, who agreed to a 7-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Regardless of what changes may take place in the next month or so, Spring Training is always an exciting time. So, if you want to get me a Christmas present, how about speeding up the calendar?

Reds Snatch Wang

The Cincinnati Reds made a move, albeit a small one, signing Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league deal. Wang will be invited to Spring Training. If Wang can show he still has what it takes and makes the club, he will be surely be embraced by Reds fans as one of their own. A strong spring would make this Wang move seem rather large.

A team can never have enough pitching depth, so I hope Reds fans get their Wang and hold on to him. There may be a period of acclimation for people to familiarize themselves with this Wang, not to confused with Vera Wang, Alexander Wang or Wang Chung. You can always check Google for Wang information, pictures or even video. Please remember to protect yourselves and examine your Wang results before clicking. One should avoid messing around with an unknown or strange Wang.

The Reds’ Wang last performed at the highest level in July of 2013. He will need to show that he is able to return to that level without any performance enhancing drugs, which he has never used to my knowledge. Exercises will be encouraged. I would assume that many pitchers swim to strengthen their bodies. However, I am not sure which strokes the Reds’ Wang is familiar with.

He won’t get to work with Dusty Baker, but I think that is a positive thing. A Dusty-Wang combination wouldn’t have benefitted anyone. Wang will get time to work with bullpen coach, Mack Jenkins, who loves working with his pitchers. I am sure Mack will be all over his Wang early in the spring.

What do you think? Will we get to see the Reds’ Wang with a ball in 2014?

What’s the truth about the Brandon Phillips situation?

Rumors have run wild this offseason about Reds second baseman, Brandon Phillips. Will he be traded? Did Walt Jocketty already try to trade him? Did the Yankees really turn down a deal?

The latest rumor about Phillips to the Yankees for Brett Gardner is the most interesting. Reports are that the Yankees turned down the offer. This surfaced just days after the Redsfest drama of whether or not Phillips would show, and then Jocketty insinuating that the Yankees may have just been trying to use previous rumors about a deal as leverage against Robinson Cano.

In my opinion, the Reds tried to deal Phillips and the Yankees turned the deal down. The Reds tried to smooth things over so Phillips would appear at Redsfest and, hopefully, not carry any ill feelings into Spring Training. Phillips is very popular with the fans, and the Reds brass recognizes that. However, they will do what is necessary to improve the club. If that means trading Phillips, so be it.

The reality of the situation is that nobody actually knows anything outside of Jocketty and Brian Cashman. Beat writers, bloggers and other social media “experts” who claim to have the inside scoop usually don’t. Jocketty is notorious for keeping people in the dark about potential deals, as he should.

So, Reds Country, be careful what you believe. Just remember to always root for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

Joey Votto Foundation

This is not just the re-posting of a link. This is the personal endorsement and expression of admiration in regards to the Joey Votto Foundation. Votto wrote about his newly created foundation in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The foundation helps returning veterans and the family members deal with PTSD and related issues.

It is a tremendously worthy cause. Congratulations to Joey Votto and everyone involved.

Visit the foundation’s website at vottofoundation.org.