Monthly Archives: December 2010

December 30, 2010

Next Up: Reds Caravan

This morning the Cincinnati Reds put up this Facebook post about Sean Casey:

For children with special needs, former Major Leaguer Sean Casey is helping to construct facilities and ballfields in Pennsylvania so kids aren’t left out and can play baseball.

Boy, that takes me back. That Casey: always the nice one. And it also demonstrates how little there is to talk about in Redsland right now if we’re going as far back as the Casey era for conversation. As if this year weren’t already rough enough, content-wise, what with the team being so darn good and all, the holiday season is even rougher without Wayne Krivsky around to make a million terrible trades to bitch about.

I’d rather look forward than back, though, since conjecture is so much easier than analysis. And the next thing on the Reds-related event list for me is the Reds Winter Caravan.

The Caravan will roll through January 27-30, though they haven’t decided which city will be which day or which players, coaches, and administrators will be on each leg of the three legs of the tour, but last year it went like this:

Northern Tour

  • Thursday: Marietta OH/Parkersburg WV
  • Friday: Athens, OH
  • Saturday: Lima, OH
  • Sunday: Columbus, OH

Western Tour

  • Thursday: Louisville, KY
  • Friday: Bloomington, IN and Indianapolis, IN
  • Saturday: Muncie, IN and Dayton OH
  • Sunday Oxford, OH

Southern Tour

  • Thursday: Charleston, WV and Huntington WV
  • Saturday: Cincinnati, OH
  • Sunday: Lexington, KY

We usually hit the Muncie stop, despite living closer to Indianapolis, and it’s always an event. Muncie remained stoically loyal to the Reds, even when the team ceded Indiana to the Cubs and Cards under the reign of Carl Lindner, but then, Muncie is a place out of time in many ways. I definitely recommend this stop for an excellent visage of a multitude of trucker caps and the hot dog stand that they set up at the back of the dealership for while you’re standing in the autograph line.

Oh, and you can read the rest of the Casey story here.

December 28, 2010

Redsland Craigslist

2009 Gold Glove, just UPGRADED to new model – $4444 (CINCINNATI) img clothing & accessories

acoustic grunge guitar lessons. U bring ur own acoustic grunge guitar – $12/hr – lessons

“Wacky” social network writer to toe company line – (Redsland) help wanted

WANTED: fans who have been in a coma since 2006 – (CINCY/LOUISVILLE) pic redemption

“top heavy” lady wants to “get away from it all” esp baseball heads and furry red monsters – (Cincy) pic w4w

to the OC: I used to hate how you blocked me, but now I’ll kind of miss it. – (Cincinnati) missed connection

1 first-place MVP vote to complete the set – (Last seen in ST LOUIS) pic hardware
December 27, 2010

Arthur Rhodes Goes the Way of Josh Hamilton

I mean signing with Texas, of course. Not the other stuff.

Last week when I was frantically doing my last-minute shopping and wrapping my heart out, Arthur Rhodes signed a one year deal with the Texas Rangers. Wikipedia says it included a vesting option for 2012, but it didn’t mention how much the contract was for. (Baseball Reference was worse, where he’s still listed as a free agent. They must still be recovering from the holidays.)

However, we know that Mr. Rhodes pulled down $2M a year for the last two years, and his All-Star team election and general awesomeness in the last couple years probably didn’t hurt his marketability, even if he *is* 41 years old. I mean, why not? He’s pitching less than Randy Johnson, and looking a lot better doing it (not that Johnson sets the bar very high when it comes to looking good).

ESPN points out:

Rhodes has earned the chance to stay in the majors because he is a high-level lefty specialist. Opposing left-handers have a career .281 opponents on-base percentage against him, which ranks fifth-best among active left-handed pitchers who have faced at least 500 lefties (58 left-handed pitchers qualify, including Billy Wagner, who ranks second and is expected to retire). That’s one point better than the Yankees lefty reliever pickup, Pedro Feliciano.

Over the last three seasons, he’s been even better, dropping that number to .236. The only active pitchers better in that span are Hong-Chih Kuo, Neftali Feliz, Mariano Rivera, and Billy Wagner.

It’s been an impressive run for Rhodes, and it doesn’t appear to be just a fluke. You may recall this tidbit from the Reds’ press release when they signed Rhodes after the 2008 season:

The 16-year Major League veteran has produced a 79-61 record, 4.23 ERA and 32 saves in 714 career appearances and 61 starts for the Baltimore Orioles, Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies and Marlins. Rhodes made 20 postseason appearances for the Orioles and Mariners, including 9 in the American League Division Series and 11 in the AL Championship Series.

All-in-all, Rhodes looks like a good pickup for the Rangers and maybe a couple million that the Reds can use on someone else. And none of this changes my early prediction of Reds versus Rangers in the 2011 World Series.

December 22, 2010

What the Brewers are Doing

You may have heard that the Milwaukee Brewers traded for Cy Young award winning pitcher Zach Greinke last week. That move immediately pushed them into the running for the top spot of the National League Central, making it likely a three-team race in 2011 with the Cardinals and Reds.

In 2010, the Brewers finished a distant third with a record of 77-85. The offense was not a problem. They were fourth in runs scored in the majors with 750. No, the problem was the pitching, and the starting pitching specifically. The Brewers allowed the third most runs in the majors, a whopping 804. It’s very difficult to pull off a winning record, let alone competing for a playoff spot, when you allow that many more runs than you score.

In addition to the Greinke deal, the Brewers earlier had traded for right-handed pitcher Shaun Marcum. He’s not as famous as Greinke, but he’s still a major upgrade over the likes of those they had starting last year (Jeff Suppan, I’m looking at you). Marcum has had three solid years in a row, and 2011 will be his age 29 season. He’ll slip into the number 3 slot in the rotation, behind Greinke, and Yovani Gallardo.

The Brewers did a great job in assessing their weakness and in implementing a plan to address it. It’s a short-term plan, especially considering some of the great talent given up for Greinke, but with slugger Prince Fielder signed for just one more year, the time is now. Run prevention from the starting pitching killed them last year. With these two pitchers, that should not be the case in 2011.

December 20, 2010

15,004 days of junior Griffey greatness

Griffey and sonIf you love Ken Griffey Jr. like certain members of the Red Hot Household, then you’ll want to check out this retrospective on The Hardball Times.

Well, less a retrospective than a list of players ranked by their Wins Above Replacement numbers. And he’s wearing the Mariners’ jersey (the second time; not the awesome time). But, hey, any excuse to read about The Kid, right?