June 10, 2014

Welcome back, Joey

Votto about to swing at the pitch.

This picture of Votto about to swing is symbolic of the “swing” he’s about to make at this whole “coming back from injury and waking the Reds the hell up” he’s about to try.

After 25 days of a quadriceps strain, Joey Votto is finally back!!

Will he be the silver bullet that pulls this team together? He wasn’t before the injury, so I don’t know why he would be now.

I’m excited anyway. I guess if I have to see a team lose, I’d rather watch Votto lose than the triple-A guys. (If I wanted to watch a triple-A team, I’d watch the Braves. They’re the youngest team in baseball, with an average age of just over 27, but they’re still leading their division. Maybe I *should* watch the Braves.)

Speaking of triple-A guys, to make room for Votto on the 25-man, the Reds optioned Donald Lutz.

June 6, 2014

Grading the draft’s first day

Howard pitches for the University of Virginia

Nick Howard, the first pick by the Reds for the 2014 draft.

The first round of Major League Baseball’s 2014 amateur player draft happened yesterday, and Jesse Spector of The Sporting News graded each team’s selections.

Spector begins with a disclaimer.

Here’s the thing about draft grades, though: 10 years ago, the draft featured eight first-round picks who never played a day in the major leagues, including No. 1 pick Matt Bush and No. 8 Wade Townsend. Mark Reynolds, a three-time 30-home run hitter, went in the 16th round.

What follows, then, is a series of grades that are stupid, but that also come with the knowledge of their stupidity.

And how did the Reds do?

Nick Howard (No. 19) is part of the Two First Names Club, so there are some people who will not trust him, but this is part of the Reds’ philosophy, as they selected Philip Ervin in the first round last year. Hopefully he’ll be able to avoid Tommy John surgery. Stanford shortstop Alex Blandino (No. 29) is the compensatory pick for Shin-Soo Choo, so, hey, no pressure, right?

Yay! The Reds got an “A”! I’m sure we’ll all look back on this grade in 10 years time and nod with satisfaction. Especially if Howard avoids Tommy John surgery.

May 22, 2014

Daugherty carries Jocketty’s water

I was going to make a microprocessing fart funnel, but I realized the world already has Paul DaughertyYou can tell that Cincinnati Reds so-called General Manager Walt Jocketty is so ineffective by the fact that Cincinnati sports columnist Paul Daugherty is defending him.

RHM favorite Paul Daugherty has decided that Jocketty is awesome and should be praised instead of criticized until he does something to earn his paycheck.

Props to Walt Jocketty.

Good job, helping The Club to three playoffs and two division titles in four years. Thanks for bringing in S Rolen, without whom the Reds don’t win the 2010 division title.

Yes, Jocketty has been the GM when the Reds have returned to the playoffs. That is true. Rolen was a valuable addition in 2010. Unfortunately, he killed the team in 2011 and 2012. The Rolen trade was a short-term boost that was a good move in 2010 that became a bad one later. Rolen is both a plus and a minus for Jocketty’s record.

Thanks for dealing for Mat Latos, who when healthy is a bull and a very solid No.2.

Hell, Latos might be a number one when healthy. That was a gutsy trade. I remember being excited about it when Jocketty made it back in 2011.

Thanks for A. Simon, acquired for nothing, off the waiver wire.

It was a no-risk move when Jocketty picked Simon up from the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. Without Simon, the team’s record this year would be even worse.

Daugherty forgets to mention the trade for Shin-Soo Choo in 2012, but since that coincides with Jocketty’s failure to replace Choo, I understand the omission.

Basically, Daugherty’s grand defense of Jocketty boils down to things the GM did years ago. Those things were good, and my criticism of Jocketty is made in comparison to those. In Jocketty’s first years with the Reds, he was active and competent. His moves addressed weaknesses and strengthened the team. But after the trade for Choo in 2012, Jocketty has become passive and incompetent.

Including the pickup of Simon as an example of a shrewd move by Jocketty does more to show his lack of them now. Have there been no other players available on the waiver wire that could’ve helped this team? Have there been no minor trades that Jocketty could’ve made to bolster the upper minors? With 29 other baseball teams, I find that hard to believe. There was someone out there who was available cheaply and at little risk who would have been better than an unable to play Joey Votto. Jocketty just isn’t trying.

May 19, 2014

Who is the fattest team in MLB?

The Content Marketing division over at Best Tickets sent me an email recently with a link to their Unofficial 2014 MLB Player Census.

I gave it a click, and–I won’t lie–it starts out pretty rough. First you get to hear about how the author isn’t really a baseball fan, being much more in to football and basketball (how original).

Then you get an informative lesson in why there are more pitchers than other position players (“This is likely due to the fact that pitchers do not play every single game of the year.”–Stop it! You’re blowing my mind, man!)

But just when I was ready to blow off the whole thing, I realized I’d scrolled all the way to the bottom checking out the graphs.

So I guess that means I ought to share this little time-waster with you, too. If you go check it out, you’ll learn:

  • There are 19 players who throw left-handed but bat right-handed, and they’re paid the least of all the throwing/batting handedness combinations.
  • The Colorado Rockies are the tallest team, but only the 11th-heaviest team.
  • There are only 5 players from Canada, which makes them the 8th biggest contributor of players to MLB. It would have been 7th, but Puerto Rico got counted as a separate country. It would be 9th if you counted Texas as its own country, which seems pretty reasonable to me.
May 19, 2014

Disastrous weekend in Philly

In case you weren’t paying attention to the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, you probably had a better weekend than most Reds fans. In fact, you probably saw more good baseball being played than anyone who tuned in for the final two games against the Philadelphia Phillies.

After a great start to the series behind Alfredo Simon, the Reds never came close to winning again. They lost 12-1 on Saturday and 8-3 on Sunday. Every part of the team is terrible right now. The starting pitching, the bullpen, the offense, and most especially, the general management.

On Saturday, Homer Bailey lived up to his name, allowing a 2-run home run, along with 4 other runs. Then the bullpen came in to allow 6 more. On Sunday, Tony Cingrani returned from the disabled list and was slightly better than Bailey, but still allowed 4 runs over 6 innings. Again, the bullpen came on to pour gasoline on the fire. The offense was as it’s been all year: incapable of getting hits.

And then there’s Walt Jocketty. Well, maybe there is. Has anyone seen him? Joey Votto missed the weekend series due to an MRI on his knee. So far, it doesn’t look like he’ll need surgery, but he’s not available to play. If the Reds had a competent GM, Votto would be placed on the DL to recover. Sadly, the Reds don’t. And Jocketty once again has forced manager Bryan Price to field an uncompetitive team.

I wonder when owner Bob Castellini will realize that Jocketty should have been replaced at the same time Dusty Baker was. Until then, the Reds will plod along, blaming all their struggles on injuries instead of incompetent team-building.