The Hall of Famer, Mr. McCoy, posed a very interesting question on his Dayton Daily News blog last night. "How do you fix the future Reds?" There were a few stipulations.
First, a budget of $75 million or under. Then the hard part of keeping both Dusty Baker and Walt Jocketty.
Warning: This article may come out as rambling gobbledygook. I was not able to sleep at all last night, am surviving on heroic amounts of caffeine, and (no matter how tired I get), need to stay up until five p.m. to wait for a phone call that most likely will not come.
Back to the subject at hand. People are commenting on Mr. McCoy's article faster than one of Leroy Watson's Bleacher Report articles—64 so far, up 10 since my last F5.
The consensus, among those who are following Mr. McCoy's rules, is to dump both the pitching and batting coach. That means the unemployment line for Dick Pole and Brook Jacoby.
Dusty wont fire these chumps. They're his buddies. So the orders have to come from Jocketty.
I am in total agreement with the consensus. People are clamoring for Mario Soto as pitching coach. I'd be fine with that. G'blimey, any warm body is better than Diamond Dick Pole.
Rather than Soto, I prefer AAA Louisville pitching coach, Ted Power.
Kosuke Fukudome's lead-off home run on Tuesday night brings the number of games where the starting pitcher has given up a first inning earned run to 45, or 42.5 percent of their games thus far.
And it's not like just one or two guys are responsible—everyone has played a part. Which tells me, and many others, that Pole has a clueless game time preparation plan.
As far as the batting coach goes, the most frequently mentioned names are former Red Eric Davis, current first base coach Billy Hatcher, AAA Louisville's batting coach Smokey Garrett—and get a load of this one, and probably the most mentioned name...Kevin Mitchell.
If I'm the Reds, I don't even think of dialing Mitchell's number solely due to the fact that, well, he is Kevin Mitchell, former slugger (of people) and rumored cat decapitator.
I don't know who I'd choose from that group. Don't know much about Burgess, and neither Hatcher nor Davis excite me as potential hitting instructors.
Okay, the coaches are done—gone, dead as the Reds.
Next up, the players:
The Reds need to dump salary. Most of the comments on Mr. McCoy's blog say that either Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang will be traded or put on the waiver wire.
I didn't read one comment sticking up for Arroyo over Harang. If it were up to me, I'd stay with Arroyo. But really, it's too close to call.
With Edinson Volquez out the majority of next year, I would do everything possible to keep them both while hoping the new pitching coach will help. But that probably puts them over the $75 million mark.
Who I would move is Coco Cordero. The Reds wont contend in 2010. There is no need for a high dollar closer.
Just prepare for 2011 while fiddling around for an in-house stopper. Nick Masset, Carlos Fisher, or even Arthur Rhodes being my top candidates.
Dump David Weathers.
Masset went into the 2009 spring training vying for the fifth starter job. So there is a chance he could land in the rotation next season.
The only three definite starters who will remain until Volquez returns are Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and either Harang or Arroyo—Micah Owings, Justin Lehr, Matt Maloney, Darryl Thompson, Masset, and a possible trade or free agent guy can fight for the remaining two slots during spring training.
Offensively, dump Willy Taveras and don't re-sign Alex Gonzalez or Laynce Nix. Try to trade catcher Ramon Hernandez. If that doesn't work, don't re-sign him either.
Look for a free agent shortstop. Spend some money there and go after current Blue Jay Marco Scutaro. That, or save money and play Paul Janish. He's as slick a fielder as Gonzalez and can't be any worse with the stick.
Or if they don't get Scutaro move Brandon Phillips to short and give Todd Frazier a look at second.
The Reds are in desperate need of a leadoff man. Try and pry Juan Pierre away from the Dodgers. If that fails, for Pete's sake, find someone who can actually get on base.
So that gives us a starting lineup of:
C – Ryan Hanigan
1B – Joey Votto
2B – Phillips or Frazier
3B – Scott Rolen (until about game 15, after which Adam Rosales will take over due to Rolen's career ending hangnail)
SS – Unknown Free Agent, Phillips or Janish
LF – Wladimir Balentien (the guy was Baseball America's fifth ranked prospect for Seattle coming into last season; a change of scenery will do him well)
CF – Free Agent Leadoff Man
RF – Jay Bruce
Not bad for another rebuilding year.
Pitching will be the problem, both starting and relieving. But with a year of growth, a new pitching coach, and Volquez back, they should be primed for a playoff run in 2011.
To all the folks who commented on Mr. McCoy's article, I thank you. Without you, I'd definitely be snoozing and missing the phone call that never came.
I pity for the poor soul who has to edit this mess. All apologies.
Even though the Reds have turned out to be one of the lousiest teams in the majors.