MEET THE PRESS: REDLEGS EDITION
Hi everyone, and Happy Reds Cap Day!
Yesterday afternoon, I recorded a “Reds round table discussion” with the guys who follow the team on a daily basis – the Reds beatwriters.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, C. Trent Rosecrans of Cnati.com and the legendary Hall of Famer Hal McCoy joined in on a conference call discussion that you can access here.
When it comes to having the finger on the pulse of the club, the Reds beatwriters are unmatched among all media outlets. The beatwriters are at the ballpark everyday during the season (home and road) to report on the day-to-day activites of the club. They’re paid to cover the team 365 days a year. Because of their 24/7 duties, I always value Reds news more and give it more credibility when it comes from our beatwriters rather than when it’s reported from a national media outlet. Although I’ll admit, I’m a tad biased because the writers are practically my co-workers and have been good friends of mine for a long time.
Anyway, enjoy the discussion. If for some reason you can’t link the audio, you can find some random printed snippets from the chat below….
“The most shocking of course was the signing of the Cuban lefthander, Aroldis Chapman.” – Hal McCoy on the biggest move for the team this offseason.
“I know the team is going to take him (Chapman) to Spring Training to give him a chance to win a spot in the rotation, but to me that would probably be a long shot.” – McCoy
“I think the fact that they (the Reds) were willing to put $30 million into something that’s far from a sure thing says a lot.” – Mark Sheldon on Chapman
“If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the season which had the bigger likliehood, the Reds to sign Chapman, because his name had been thrown around, or to get rid of Willy Taveras, I would’ve said both’s about as likely as, well, people giving me 6 grand.” – C. Trent Rosecrans
“It was important not just for the ‘pick up’ but for the signal it sent. The direction this team is going and that the ownership is willing to take a chance on somebody unproven and put that money forward.” – C. Trent Rosecrans
“I think it’s definitely a longshot but it could happen.” – John Fay on Chapman making the rotation
“I asked some of them (scouts), ‘if this guy is so good why would Boston and the Yankees back off of him and not offer more money,’ and they said those teams are more into instant gratification and they want somebody who can step in right away, wheras the Reds can spend more time in developing this kid and maybe 2 or 3 years down the road they really have something.” – Hal McCoy on Chapman
“Another thing that’s possible, if you wonder, if Drew Stubbs somehow someway played himself out of centerfield, which I don’t think he’ll do, you could always put Dickerson in centerfield where he’s far more comfortable and then left field could be up for grabs for the remaining guys.” – Mark Sheldon on Drew Stubbs
“Well yeah, I think it’s a big year for him. He’s still very young. He’s younger than all of these young guys we’re talking about. He’s younger than Heisey, he’s younger than Frazier. I think one thing that took a little pressure off him was signing Cabrera. Because if they were going into Spring Training and Janish was going to be the guy (at shortstop), and he really struggles, than you can’t have 2 guys hitting in the low .200s in your lineup, so I think it (Cabrera signing) gives them a little more patience with Jay.” – John Fay on Jay Bruce
“You don’t want to bring a guy like Frazier onto the team, if he’s not going to play at least most of the time or everyday. So I don’t see him being a utility kind of a backup kind of like Ryan Freel was when he started off with the Reds.” – Mark Sheldon on Todd Frazier
“If he makes it, he makes it as a long-reliever/pinch hitter. If the starter goes 7 innings, then he becomes a pinch hitter because you know you won’t need him in long relief.” – John Fay on Micah Owings
“And if you look at Mike Lincoln, he’s done best (when he pitches) 1.0 inning. When they stretch him into that second inning, he’s gotten into some trouble there. It’s something you might try early in Spring Training but the records doesn’t seem to back it up as something that will work out.” – C. Trent Rosecrans on rumors of Mike Lincoln getting a shot at the starting rotation
As promised, 2010 Puerto Rican Winter League Manager of the Year Pat Kelly was kind enough to answer some questions for us today on Better Off Red. Pat is one of the nicest guys in the Reds organization and a big fan of the blog and the daily minor league report. It’s always a treat when I get a chance to chat with Pat. He’ll be taking over the helm this year for Cincinnati’s Class-A affiliate in Lynchburg…
PAT KELLY: In 1991 I was managing Indianapolis for the Expos and Frank Wren was in our farm department and he asked me if I would be interested in managing Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League. I thought it would be good for my managerial experience, we ended up winning the Carribean Series and I fell in love with the island and the baseball. Over the last 20 years I’ve returned 8 times to manage teams both in Mayaguez and Arecibo.
BOR: How great are the differences between baseball in Puerto Rico compared to baseball in the US?
PK: The biggest difference between player development and winter ball is that winter ball is just like the big leagues - you play every night to win. If you don’t win you get fired and the import players from the States get released, whereas in the States, development takes precedence over winning. Plus the passion of the fans and the players is amazing.
BOR: What kind of talent did you see while managing in Puerto Rico? At what level of baseball here in the States would you compare it to?
PK: In the 90′s most of the major leaguers played like Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, Bernie Williams, Carlos Delgado, Pudge Rodriguez, Javier Lopez, Carlos Beltran. Now the Major Leaguers don’t play but occasionally, most of the players are Triple A players but the league is very competetive and with good young talent. Each team can import 10 players from the States so this reinforces the teams also.
BOR: Did you win a trophy or any kind of certificate/ribbon for winning manager of the year?
PK: No, no trophies just your picture in the paper but it’s a great honor and the first time I’ve won it. My teams have qualified for the playoffs all 8 years and 4 of those years we made it to the finals in the playoffs, twice we won and went to the Carribean series and we won once. I’ve been blessed with good teams and they say good players make good managers.
BOR: Are you excited about managing at Lynchburg in 2010?
PK: I am very excited about managing Lynchburg, I’ve always felt the Carolina League is the best advanced A league in the country. Great competition, good travel for the players, and better conditions than the Cal or Florida State Leagues, much better for development of our young players.
BOR: The HillCats will mark your 15th team, right? During your years, can you list the top 5 or so players you’ve ever managed?
PK: Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Baerga, Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, Adam LaRoche, Matt Stairs.
WELCOME TO MOUNT KRAUSE: PREPARE TO SWEAT
The following photos are from a “little” something called “Mount Krause,” a conditioning hill unveiled on the Reds Spring Training campus named after Reds Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Krause.
The 30-foot incline is 12 feet to the top with a 12 percent grade. It will be used for resistance running, speed development and overall conditioning. I’m sure it will also be used to make guys barf and beg for mercy.
If I know Matt, he’s licking his chops at the chance to introduce the entire roster to this mountain of misery. To view video of unlucky souls taking on the evil Mount Krause, click here.
Hey folks, don’t forget to send in some photos of your most cherished Reds (or baseball) memorabilia. Email the photos to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and include why those items are special to you…
Today, I brought into the office Barry Bonds’ 368th home run ball. He hit it at Cinergy Field on 5/25/98 off Pete Harnisch and at the time, I was on the Reds Ground Crew.
Bonds hit the ball just over the right field wall, and I ran from my stoop beyond homeplate to retrieve it. Times were different then – no MLB authenticators, no obligation to give the ball back; it was all finders-keepers. Obviously back then, I had no idea he would become the all-time home run leader. It’s one of my favorite pieces of personal memorablia.
I have other things too, that I’d love to share with you guys. But first I wanna see some of your stuff. It doesn’t have to be an expensive autograph or anything like that (but it can), just something that’s important to you.
Special birthday wishes go out to Reds Clubhouse Manager Rick Stowe, who today turns 45!
Every year on Rick’s birthday, one lucky Elder High School student is chosen at random and awarded a free meal at Price Hill Chili, a signed 8×10 photo of WCPO sportscaster Dennis Janson, a free round of bowling at Western Bowl and a free 6 month lease on a 1983 Chevy Camaro.
Happy birthday Rick!
Well, that’s all I got for today. I want you folks to go out and enjoy yourselves this weekend. It’s been a long cold week and you deserve to have a little fun…but be safe!
As always, I’m very grateful to you for logging on. I really appreciate your support.
Take care and GO REDLEGS!!