Somebody Wanna Get That, Please?
Knock, knock, knock, knock. The Reds recover nicely from a rather lousy home stand to go 4-3 on a road trip where the opposition included their cross-state rivals, the Cleveland Indians - against whom they had not won a road series since 1997.
Knock, knock, knock. Tonight they begin a three-game series at home against the Royals, arguably the worst team in all of major league baseball. Eric Milton, who hasn't lost to the Royals since 1999 and is on a ten-game personal winning streak against KC, opens the series tonight against Mike Wood, who is 3-8 with a 5.24 ERA in 17 road starts and will be making his first appearance ever against the Reds. Wednesday it's Harang vs. Scott Elarton (3-8 this year), and Thursday it's Arroyo against Bobby Keppel, a rookie still looking for his first major league win.
Knock, knock, knock. After that the Indians come to town, and after that it's back on the road for series against first the Brewers and then the cellar-dwelling Atlanta Braves (hey, I've waited 16 years to call them that!). And after that, it's time for the All-Star Break. Yes, already. See how time flies when you're having fun?
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! The Cardinals are on a seven-game losing streak and just a game and a half ahead of the Reds in the division standings.
So what's all that noise and banging? It's opportunity knocking. When the new regime took over this ballclub, we were told that if the team could manage to stay in it this long, then management would go ahead and bite the bullet and bring in some help to keep them in it.
The players have done their part. Now it's management's turn.
Knock, knock, bang, bang. Hey, Wayne? Bob? You guys wanna answer that, please?
So, what do you suggest, John? The bullpen hasn’t been sucking all of the joy out of the game as much lately, but a few deep starts have certainly had something to do with that, so that’s a prime choice for bolstering.
Anything else? We haven’t gotten a new second baseman in a while.
I am firmly against selling anything that can play a significant part in our future to make a run this year. This team is not a playoff contender without at least one more very good starter and probably three quality bullpen arms.
I agree that I would prefer management not mortgage the future of the team over the next 2-5 years in order to improve their chances this year.
That said, I think the fact is that they are a surprise contender right now. We’re almost halfway through the season, and they’re just a game and a half behind the division leader and lead the wild card race by a game. That’s contending. They’re in the race. The trick now is to stay there.
As far as suggestions go, I’m going to have to do some more research before tackling that one, look over who appears to be out of the race and has some big-ticket contracts they might want to unload. I don’t want to be like the mainstream press and pull stuff out of a hat that makes as much sense as Griffey accepting a trade to Chicago.
For example, if the Braves stay in the NL East cellar for a couple more weeks, it’s quite possible they might start looking to unload John Smoltz’s contract. That’s not to say that the Reds would be willing, or even well advised, to pay what’s likely to be a pretty stiff asking price from the Braves in terms of prospects going down to Atlanta (or Richmond, or wherever) in return. But I’m sure the same thought will occur to someone in the press eventually, and they’ll write about it, and it’ll become a trade rumor. I think if the Reds do anything, it’ll be a little less of a blockbuster move than getting a Smoltz, or a Barry Zito (who is another one the press will write about, watch and see). But, as I said, I need to do some more research first.
There simply aren’t many good SPs on the market right now. Smoltz is 40 and I’m not entirely sure he’d even accept a deal to the Reds. Zito would be an incredibly stupid move since it’d probably cost Bailey, or at least Bruce and another one of our best specs. Livan Hernandez is there, but I think he’s pretty much washed up in terms of being anything better than league average with the ERA. Willis is supposedly on the market but he’d cost a ridiculous amount in all likelihood. There’s not much out there and this team really isn’t good enough to make an attempt at the World Series a smart option this year.
What to give up is always something I find scary, which makes me realize how hard being a General Manager would be.
Having said that, Krivsky has impressed me with his ability to judge Major League talent, something O’Brien woefully lacked <coughing fit>Womack, Williams, Milton</coughing fit>.
I do trust Krivsky to make a good deal, but there’s no reason to go crazy tring to win this year. I mean, there are always plenty of players available in the off-season. For example, Carlos Zambrano’s a free agent next year.