Monthly Archives: October 2007

October 31, 2007

Milton Files For Free Agency

An era officially came to an end in Cincinnati this week as lefthanded pitcher Eric Milton, for three years an icon for the Reds’ starting pitching woes, filed for free agency on Tuesday.

Milton was signed by former GM Dan O’Brien to a three-year, $25.5 million free agent contract in December of 2004. The payoff for the Reds? A 16-27 record, a 5.83 ERA in 66 starts, and a league-leading 40 homers allowed in 2005. Does anyone still wonder why one of the very first things Bob Castellini did when he took over the club was to show O’Brien the door?

A few weeks ago, one of the mainstream national sports magazines did a preview of this winter’s free agent market and actually listed Milton among the top 20 free agent pitchers likely to be available this offseason. That speaks volumes about the quality of the pitching that is likely to be available to the Reds (or any other team for that matter) via free agency this winter. You know the pickin’s are going to be mighty slim when a guy with an 0-4 record and 5.17 ERA in 2007 who is recovering from a torn ligament in his pitching elbow is one of the top 20 pitchers to be fought over by 30 major league teams, most of whom could use an upgrade in the pitching department.

So, any significant additions to the Reds’ pitching staff for 2008 are most likely going to have to come through trades. Or maybe new manager Dusty Baker pulls a few rabbits out of his nice, spanking-new red hat (Kerry Wood became a free agent on Monday and Mark Prior is expected to become one if the Cubs don’t offer him arbitration). Or maybe GM Wayne Krivsky has a couple more bargain-basement acquisitions up his sleeve. Or maybe all of the above.

Baseball’s winter meetings are still a month away, but there should be some big news on the Reds’ player personnel front in the next week or so. The Reds must exercise Adam Dunn’s $13 million option for next season by Sunday if they wish to do so, and Eddie Guardado’s $3 million option must be exercised by Friday. Then there is Scott Hatteberg’s $1.85 million option, and of course, the $1.3 million option on longtime RHM favorite Javy Valentin.

One thing’s for sure – Baker is now officially on the job. His contractual obligation to ESPN ended when the World Series did. On Tusday, the Reds named the two new members of the coaching staff. Chris Speier becomes Baker’s new bench coach, as well as the Reds’ new infield coach. Juan “Porky” Lopez takes over as bullpen coach. Both of these guys worked for Baker on other teams, as did pitching coach Dick Pole, so Dusty will have some familiar faces around as he bends to the task of turning the Reds into a force in the NL Central.


October 30, 2007

At least they weren’t counting on Marquis

When I see a blog post that makes me laugh out loud, I want to link to it. Does make it hard, though, not keep within the bounds of fair use when the post is only two sentences long.

Screw it: Pat will understand.

The biggest night of Josh Fogg’s life

The Colorado Rockies’ World Series life is most certainly on the line tonight and the Rockies are turning to the one, the only, JOSH FOGG. Sweet merciful crap, they’re in trouble.

October 29, 2007

Redsfest Tix on Sale Monday

Kahn’s Redsfest 2007 will be December 7-8 this year. Tickets go on sale Monday.

You can buy tickets online at, by calling (513) 381-REDS or (877) 647-REDS, or at Cincinnati-area Meijer stores. Proceeds from Redsfest benefit the Reds Community Fund.


 On Friday Dec. 7, Redsfest will operate from 4-10 p.m. ET and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 8. One-day tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for fans 12 and under, while two-day tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids.

Redsfest 2006 drew a record two-day crowd of more than 18,000 after coming ofRed Hot Mama at Redsfestf of a two-year absence.

Current and former Reds players expected to attend Redsfest 2007 include second baseman Brandon Phillips, outfielder Josh Hamilton and Reds Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Browning. The first day will include the introduction of the Reds 2008 Hall of Fame class. Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo will highlight concert performances.

Other weekend activities include a Reds Community Fund Wiffle Ball Tournament of 64 teams, with registration available only on Saturday will mark the return of the popular Celebrity Poker Tournament with a $150 per person entry fee that is considered tax deductible. There will also be a kids-only press conference, a “Reds Idol” karaoke contest and the Reds Hot Stove report featuring new manager Dusty Baker and general manager Wayne Krivsky.

There will be several exhibits from the Reds Hall of Fame, a Reds memorabilia gallery, a sports bar and an interactive area that will feature a Fun Zone, batting cages, a speed pitch, steal home challenge and the Reds Rookie Field.

And if that’s not enough, I’ve just learned that my favorite band, the Screaming Mimes, will be closing out the event at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Suddenly I’m feeling like a Reds fan again.

October 29, 2007

Biggio Wins Clemente Award

Craig Biggio is a world-renowned nice guy. For some reason, I never really realized that, maybe because I only ever saw him wearing his big scary game face. But here, just a scant month after he’s retired, I’m getting up to speed.

Major League Baseball was apparently already in on the news, seeing as Biggio is being presented with the Roberto Clemente award (via The Astros Dugout):

Craig Biggio wins Clemente AwardDENVER — With 3,060 hits and 291 home runs, Craig Biggio will undoubtedly be remembered first for his offensive contributions during his 20-year Major League career. But it’s quite possible the veteran second baseman is as recognizable to those in his adopted home of Houston for his affiliation with the Sunshine Kids as he is for his on-field accomplishments.

Less than a month after he said goodbye to baseball and hello to retirement, Biggio, one of the most celebrated players in Astros history, was given the highest off-the-field honor in baseball — the 2007 Roberto Clemente Award.

“I’ve often said … that baseball is a social institution, and for those who really are into sport and understand it, we have enormous social responsibilities,” Commissioner Bud Selig said during a press conference at Coors “To be part of this award and recipient this year, I am very humbled anField. “I hope all the young players in this sport will watch and follow this man’s career, because he is what a Major League Baseball player should be, on and off the field.”

The Clemente Award recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team. It is named in honor of the former Pirates outfielder whose spirit and goodwill will always be remembered. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to transport relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972.

Biggio, the 2005 winner of the Hutch Award and the recipient of the 2006 “Heart and Hustle” Award, made it a hat trick this year, winning the top community service honor. Biggio was presented the Clemente Award during a pregame ceremony prior to Game 3 of the World Series in Denver.d grateful for this,” Biggio said. “This is something that, as a Major League Baseball player, some of us get the opportunity to have an impact on the community. Some have a chance to have a real big impact on certain communities, and I know that I’m very grateful for my 20 years in Houston to be associated with the Sunshine Kids.”

Congratulations to Biggio and to all the kids who are benefiting because of him.


October 29, 2007

Baker Gets Bum Rap Concerning Wood, Prior

OK, so the Reds have hired Dusty Baker as their new manager, and half of Reds Nation has gone ballistic, with the chief complaint against him apparently being that Dusty ruined Mark Prior and Kerry Wood when he was in Chicago.

Before you subscribe to the theory that something Baker did somehow derailed the career of Mark Prior, you might want to read this analysis by Chris O’Leary, a part-time pitching mechanics analyst and consultant who developed methodology for analyzing pitching mechanics that was used by one major league team for the 2007 MLB draft. In that analysis, O’Leary demonstrates that Prior’s arm troubles are the result of numerous flaws in his delivery and motion. Even if Dusty never managed an inning for the Cubs, Mark Prior’s arm was bound to fall off anyway.

Besides that, some digging I’ve done on the web reveals that Prior’s medical problems seem to have begun when he had a collision on the basepaths with Marcus Giles while advancing to second base on a ground ball during a game in 2003, on which play Prior may have separated his shoulder. In any case, he missed almost a month for something that has nothing to do with Dusty Baker or pitch counts, and afterward he apparently altered his delivery and throwing motion to compensate for pain in his throwing arm in a way that further contributed to his own arm troubles.

As for Kerry Wood, he was a medical trainwreck before Dusty Baker ever put on a Cubs uniform. Two days before the 1995 MLB draft, when he was a 17-year old high school player, Wood threw 175 pitches in a doubleheader, then was drafted by the Cubs, and a year later, sat out a month as a minor leaguer because of a tender elbow. He made it to the majors in 1998. In August ’98 he sprained his elbow but, with the Cubs in the wild card race, he worked through the pain in the season’s final weeks. Then he tore a ligament in his right arm during his first outing of spring training in 1999 and was done for the year, undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 1999 – four years before Baker took over as manager.

While I couldn’t find an analysis of Wood’s pitching motion similar to the one for Prior that I linked to above, I do know from watching him myself that he has a bad habit of throwing across his body, which I’m sure has contributed to some of his injury history…and so has the fact that this is a guy who fires the ball to the plate as hard as he can every time he takes to the mound.

Why am I posting this? Regardless of what you think of Dusty, he’s been hired to manage the Reds for the next three years, and once he puts on that uniform, he’s one of us. I wasn’t thrilled they hired him either, and the whole Wood/Prior thing was the main reason why. But like many of us who are Reds fans, I don’t follow the Cubs very closely (Seriously, who’d wanna?), so I wasn’t watching the careers of Prior and Wood, before or during Baker’s tenure as manager. I accepted what was coming out of Chicago’s media on the subject as fact.

But after doing some more reading since the Reds hired Dusty, it’s plain to me that the pundits in Chicago were wrong. I don’t know what their axe to grind with Dusty was, why they hung the blame on Dusty for Prior and Wood’s medical problems. I don’t know what other peoples’ beef against Dusty may be, either. I do know that if it has to do with Prior and Wood, you may want to do some more research before you nail Dusty to the cross despite the fact that he has yet to manage an inning in a Reds uniform.

Dusty Baker is not the reason for the injury problems of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.

Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are the reasons for the injury problems of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.


Update Nov. 2, 2007: This thread subsequently produced an e-mail from Chris O’Leary advising that on his web site, he has an updated analysis of Prior’s mechanics that readers here might also be interested in.