According to C. Trent Rosecrans, the Cincinnati Reds have expressed an interest in Free Agent outfielder, Carlos Beltran. He has been courted heavily this offseason by the New York Yankees and many feel they have the upper hand in negotiations with the 36-year old Beltran. Read the rest of this entry »
Nobody is a clear-cut favorite to win the MVP in the National League for 2013. Some names have been bandied about, some deserving and some not. Let us start at the top. Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw is said to be a strong candidate. If you don’t think the Cy Young Award is sufficient reward then maybe he is. I never, I said never liked the idea of a pitcher getting the MVP award. Even in 2011 when Justin Verlander won both prestigious awards with a 24-5 record and an ERA of 2.40. Read the rest of this entry »
The Cincinnati Reds ended weeks of speculation by signing Bryan Price to a three-year contract as manager. In spite of all the rumors flying around about various people considered for the job, only Price and Louisville Bats manager, Jim Riggleman had been on a short list.
Price, 51, was announced as the team’s new manager on Tuesday at a news conference at Great American Ball Park. He begins his managerial career after being the Reds pitching coach for four years. He is given credit for the turnaround in the pitching staff the last couple of years. He takes over for Dusty Baker who was fired after the Reds early exit in the playoffs this season, Including the one playoff game, the Reds had lost six consecutive games to end the season. Baker had been the skipper of the Reds for six years.
Reds president and CEO, Bob Castellini said,
“Bryan is exceptional and we’ve been with him long enough
to know how exceptional he is…he also can communicate very,
very well and he knows the game and he loves the Reds.
And if we hadn’t kept him here, he would have gone elsewhere, I’m sure.”
When asked what he thought about Price, right-fielder Jay Bruce said,
“He’s prepared. He’s as prepared as any person I’ve ever seen,
professionally or even not professionally.” Bruce also said,
“I think Bryan’s going to be great…
I respect him as a person and I imagine the people he brings in
will be of the same level of
preparation and he’ll expect and demand the same things that he does.”
There are mixed reactions by fans on the social media platforms. Some are cautious, some are happy and some think it is a mistake. Welcome to the top Mr. Price.
Speculation has run amuck that the Cincinnati Reds want to trade their All-star Golden Glove second baseman, Brandon Phillips. Where it originated I cannot say assuredly. Cincinnati Enquirer writer, John Fay wrote that the Reds seem interested in trading him. The reason Fay cited was that the Reds have shown interest in Cuban phenom Alexander Guerrero. The young Cuban plays middle infield and should make a dandy second baseman.
Another reason is the remarks Phillips made about the ownership of the team. He allegedly called Bob Castellini a liar for saying he didn’t have the money to give Phillips a better contract. Of course, prior to extending Phillips’ contract, he just gave former MVP, Joey Votto a king’s ransom. Phillips characterized it as a ‘slap in his face.’
Hmmmmm. A slap in the face, you say? $72.5M for 6 years. Some may call that a slap in the face, but probably not you or me. Over $12M a year for playing a kid’s game that you love sounds like fun to me. Slap me in the face every day for that kind of dough.
Phillips is clearly a polarizing figure. Most people either love him or hate him. I am not one of those. I like him, enjoy watching him play, but could do without all of the add-ons. Add-ons, you say? Yeah, like calling the Cardinals a bunch of “pu**ies” and then slapping the catcher on the shin guards the next day as though nothing happened. Or humiliating a writer in a press conference because he brought up your anemic numbers at the time. Kids watch you and idolize you, sir.
If you watched Reds’ games day in and out like I do, you probably think Phillips is the best second baseman in the free world. Reds’ TV announcers certainly say it enough. He is a very good player, but not great, or ‘the best.’ He can make plays that would make you wonder how many legs or arms he really has. He can then let one go right through the wicket. Sometimes, his base-running is more than suspect, like the time against the Phillies when Jimmie Rollins picked his pocket after chatting him up for a bit. That was embarrassing for me to watch.
Some have called in to task his RBI, seemingly as though they have lost their meaning since higher math has been introduced to statisticians. Nonsense, you still have to knock the runs in to get credit for them. 100 RBI in 1920 is 100 RBI today, I don’t care who you are or who bats ahead or behind you.
His power seems to have gone in hiding. In 2007 he hit 30 HR while stealing 32 bases, both career highs. In 2013 he hit only 18 HR with five stolen bases. He was actually caught stealing three out of the eight attempts. His .261 BA was 12 points below his career average entering that season. The 18 homers marked the fourth season in a row that he hit that number.
The Atlanta Braves are reportedly in the hunt for Phillips. They would like to unload Dan Uggla for him. Don’t laugh. Uggla is a year older at 33, but offensively both men would appear to be on the downhill trajectory of their respective careers. Uggla played in 136 games in 2013 and the only thing that was up was his strikeouts. He was so diminished that the Braves left him off the playoff roster. Talk about a slap in the face. He makes about the same as Phillips (when you make that much money, a million here or there is trivial), and was left off the roster, in what would have only been his second playoff appearance in his 8-year career.
Uggla’s career OBP is 20 points higher than Phillips, because he will stay up there long enough to take a walk. In fact he led the NL in BB in 2012 with 94. Even with his lousy .179 average last season he was only .001 behind Phillips in OBP.
Uggla strikes out almost twice as much, yet he walks nearly twice as often as Phillips. Since 2006 Phillips has grounded into 146 double plays while Uggla has only done it 68 times in that same span.
For their respective careers Phillips has an OPS+ of 110 while Phillips is just 96. If you are unfamiliar with those numbers, it is saying that offensively Phillips is four points below league average, while Uggla is 10 points above.
Defensively there really is no comparison. Phillips is a three-time Gold Glove winner and that says it all for defense. They have both been on three All-star squads.
With 36 HR as a career high for Uggla, it makes you wonder what he may put up with a season at Great American Ball Park. He would provide much needed power and his ability to get on base would not hurt either.
Uggla for Phillips straight up may not be quite right, but a prospect along with it may just be a good deal.
John Mellencamp wrote a song called Jack and Diane. The hook to that song is this:
“Oh yeah, life goes on,
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone…”
I must’ve heard that song a hundred times before I listened to that line.
Ponder it with me for a moment if you will.
Many of us live way beyond our usefulness. Life continues to march in a forward motion.
But, how about the thrill, where did it go?
This applies to everyone, but let us look at the sports community. Boxers may be at the pinnacle of this group.
It seems many never know when it is time to hang it up. Speed and reflexes go first, then the power. That is why a boxer always has a ‘slugger’s chance.’ The thrill may have left him long ago, but Boxing lives on, with or without him.
That is why there is so many boxers with several retirements: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Homes. Evander Holyfield…the list goes on forever, but the thrill won’t.
Baseball players are in the same boat. Why didn’t Willie Mays quit when he should have.? He was still at the top of his game in 1966. He should have stopped there, if the truth were forced out of hiding. That would mean that he ‘hung on’ for 10 years without the thrill. Oh he was still competitive after that. He won two more gold gloves and was on seven more all-star squads, but probably should not have been on most of those. Had he quit in ’66 he would have still finished with 542 HR, 1505 RBI, 2540 H, 1596 R, and a slash line of .312/.387/.591. All that in only 15 years, still with the thrill right on his shoulder.
Some leave right on time, in fact some leave early in our view. Sandy Koufax left at the very top of the game. There wasn’t then and there isn’t now a tree as tall as him in the Pitcher Forest. He left and took the thrill with him.
Bryan Price has never managed a professional baseball team. That is true. He has been a MLB pitching coach since 2001. Along the way he has accumulated a few awards. In 2011 he was Baseball Weekly’s Pitching Coach of the Year. In 2007 Baseball America named him Major League Coach of the Year. He joined the Cincinnati Reds’ staff in 2009 and has turned the pitching staff around. Under Dick Pole’s watch, the Reds’ pitching staff was nothing to write home about.
“I think he’d be unbelievable, He’s as organized as anyone in the game,
he holds people as accountable as well as anyone I’ve seen.
He doesn’t buy into stereotypical things in the game,
things that other people buy into that I don’t feel are relevant.
Price looks at evidence. He’s a freaking smart guy,
he makes his decision on reasonable evidence.
Sometimes in baseball we go by hunches,
what someone else said or they (sic) way things have gone in the past.
He doesn’t do that.”
It sounds as if LeCure is intimating that the team may have been showing signs of complacency.
The positives or pros of Price being picked are his knowledge of the players and the system which is in place, including the farm system. He could essentially hit the ground running. He seems to have a Type-B personality, someone who doesn’t get overly excited which I think is a good quality for a manager to possess.
Baker has been known as a “player’s manager.” We see where that got him. The manager will have to make the hard choices, even if that makes someone feel bad. I guess Price could walk in with a ball, bat and a glove and show that to the team; then tell them that what they are and that they are going back to the basics, Vince Lombardi style. Many base running errors occurred in 2013 and those things are unforgiving.
If you take Tony LaRussa out of the mix there is not a crop of great managers to pick from. At this point in time the Reds appear to be stuck with someone’s hand-me-down or someone with no experience.
At least if Price, 51 would be the one selected, there would be no historic bad habits to rid himself of.
There have been rumors of other teams snatching Price up for a manager’s job if the Reds leave him without plucking him with the other low hanging fruit. More than one team has mentioned an interest in him.
Like cockroaches in a fleabag motel, managerial wannabes come to surface wanting to manage a sure winner. Paul O’Neill is the latest to gravitate to the light in the wake of Dusty Baker being fired by the Cincinnati Reds. Really? I have already written about three other men supposedly being considered for the position, LaRussa, Bell and Riggleman. Click on their names to read the articles.
How many right fielders have become managers? I don’t have the patience to research it, but none come to mind, good ones anyway.
O’Neill was a good player, let there be no doubt about it. The fact that he is a Buckeye by birth doesn’t hurt his appeal either. But does a local man mean something special? Jerry Springer, now there is one that the Queen City faithful can boast of. But let me get real before I digress.
With all of the MLB managers who are currently on furlough for one reason or another, do we need to invent new ones? Back to the rumor mill at hand.
O’Neill said he would like to manager the Reds. Who wouldn’t? Move in to Dusty’s old office, look at the squad, add a little water and presto! You have a World Series team. Honest to God, I believe I could manage them to a title. According to Mark Sheldon, “Through a team spokesman late Wednesday evening, the Reds denied that they contacted O’Neill about their managerial vacancy.”
That is the way the rumor mill in sports, everything else for that matter, works its magic. A guy sees the Reds owner Bob Castellini speaking to an ex-ballplayer and immediately rush to judgment that they are talking employment. O’Neill told ESPN,
“I would love to sit down and find out
what their thoughts are,
There are basically two organizations in my life,
the Reds and the Yankees.
Any time you live in the city, you understand
and see what happens in an organization…”
I bet he would like to know their thoughts. Moreover Paul, what are your thoughts? Tired of broadcasting for the Yankees? Personally I would rather see Chris Welsh than O’Neill. At least he is familiar with the talent pool here in Cincinnati. Don’t get me wrong folks, I am not advocating a write-in campaign for Welsh, merely stating my preferences.
As far as we know O’Neill hasn’t even managed a Little League squad. Mike Matheny hadn’t managed prior to taking over for the aforementioned LaRussa. One thing to manage after being a coach for a while. A completely different scenario to just start off bare bones. I would like a little experience with my team please. Free-ballers need not apply.
With the men I have written about thus far, my pecking order would be from the top, Jim Riggleman, David Bell and O’Neill. Not much of an endorsement eh, more of an indictment on the pulpit committee.