Sunday, December 23, 2001
Reds Q&A with John Fay
Fans have dim outlook on Reds
By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Reds fans are getting restless. You can tell when the subject line in the old Q&A inbox reads: How pathetic, I'm baffled, and The Cincinnati Bengals ... err Reds.
The Bengals reference has to hurt. But fans are as down on the Reds in the wake of the Dmitri Young and Pokey Reese trades as they have been since the Dick Wagner Era.
From Craig in Bowling Green, Ky.: Can hardly wait for the 2002 season. I realize that Dmitri Young and Pokey Reese were much too expensive for the Reds to keep, but I am thrilled to know that the Reds have met Jim Bowden's pledge to get quality starting pitching in return for both of them. So let's see how the rotation lines up for spring training: We have the traditional hold-overs in Elmer Dessens, Chris Reitsma and Lance Davis, who will likely fill the 3-4-5 slots in the rotation. Not Atlanta-quality, but OK for the bottom of the rotation. As for the top two spots, we have Kevin Millwood and ... oh, sorry the Reds couldn't afford him. But we can always turn to Luke Prokopec who is young and ... wait, the Blue Jays nabbed him after Juvenile Jim tried to show up the Dodgers organization. Oh well, at least the Reds were smart enough to grab Dustin Hermanson who will eat up a lot innings ... he is not a Red?
Craig, you're sarcastic enough that we may let you do the power ranking next week.
Q, from Fred: Wow! The front office went out and got theplayers we need to win. Perhaps Bowden and John Allen will manage the team collectively. Ray Knight's role will be manager in waiting provided he complete the anger management program in which he is enrolled. The Reds need a shake-up, starting with the aforementioned. I'm tired of reading about Bowden's screw-ups. He truly is the boy blunder of baseball.
Fred, you're right there with Craig on the sarcasm meter. Remember, Bowden was mandated to make these trades to trim the payroll. Reese's worth was revealed when the Red Sox non-tendered him Friday.
Q, from Nelson: I keep reading that the Reds are building a competitive club for the Great American Ball Parks's inaugural season. Who the heck is going to pitch? While Oakland has astutely drafted college pitchers (Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito); deadly hitters (Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada). Bowden drafts Jeremy Sowers, David Espinosa and Ty Howington. High-schoolers who do not demand upfront bonus money. Why do the Reds continue to shop for talent at dollar stores?
Actually all those high schoolers demanded pretty sizable bonuses. I don't think the college vs. high school argument holds true. Adam Dunn was drafted out of high school, as was Ken Griffey Jr., two pretty nice little players.
Keith in Fairfield: I am concerned that the future of the Reds rests on the development of young arms for a pitching corps. Bowden is parading Luke Hudson, Ricardo Aramboles, Chris Booker, Luis Pineda, et al, as the future of the Reds. The Reds have a meager reputation in pitching development. Wayne Simpson blew outhis arm midway in the season after going 13-1, never to be heard from again. Bruce Berenyi, Gary Nolan, Mario Soto, Jose Rijo up to present day Scott Williamson are testimony to something amiss in the strengthening of arms during the wonder years of these Reds farmhands. Is there some scuttlebutt or theories among scouts as to why Cincy fails to develop pitchers, while Oakland and L.A. seem to be more adept at bringing arms up for long careers in the major leagues?
The Reds aren't alone in pitchers having arm trouble. But they have instituted a system-wide conditioning and strengthening program. And if any of the young pitchers you mentioned turns out to be a Nolan, Soto or Rijo, Jim Bowden will be turning cartwheels down Pete Rose Way.
From Tom in Austin, Texas: I've never met Jim Bowden, John Allen or Carl Lindner. However, I was curious if you could find out if Cincinnati management is conspiring to destroy my hometown club just to spite me? We have owners in our 10-year-old fantasy league that make moves like the ones Bowden has made recently they finish at the bottom every year! Not because of financial constraints, but because of poor baseball moves ... Let's build the club for the year 2003 Kearns, Pena, Dunn. . . At this point, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Reds deal Kearns for some good young pitching. I heard Rob Bell is available.
My guess is it's nothing personal against you Tom. But Kearns or Pena could go for the right pitcher, but not Rob Bell.
Q, from Mike in Cincinnati: Why are fans so angry about the Dmitri Young trade? The Reds have little use for him, he will be a free agent nextyear with little interest in returning and with Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, etc. coming up, we don't need Young. And it seemed like with Kevin Millwood, the Reds would have gotten him if he were in the budget. Reds fans are always so quick to blame Bowden for everything, but I feel he does a great job with whathe's given to work with. He may be arrogant and talks too much, but he does a great job. Most of the blame should be given to Carl Lindner. He has the ability to raise the payroll significantly, but is cheap and is trying too hard not to lose money. Lindner is a worse owner than Marge Schott because even though she had much less money, she at least would spend her money to improve the team. Will Lindner ever decide to spend money?
It's pretty clear that until 2003, Lindner is not going to increase payroll
Josh in Alexandria: For the past few years all Reds fans have heard is: 2003. Just wait until 2003. Assuming that the Reds organization and Uncle Carl are shooting to be contenders in 2003, and also assuming that the payroll will not exceed $45 million, how do they expect to compete? Where is the starting pitching going to come from? I don't think that between now and Opening Day 2003 pitchers like Ty Howington will be ready to compete at the big league level. In order for thisteam to be contenders and not pretenders, they have to make an investment in a big name, big game pitcher. John Allen and Lindner have to realize that in order to make money you have to spend it.
The Reds may be in position to at least bid on someone like Jason Schmidt next year. But, in order to compete, Howington and some of the other youngsters are going to have to be ready and be good.
Q, from Jeff in Norwood: I see that Hector Mercado has not only been playing winter ball (Ponce in the Puerto Rican League) but he hasstarted four out of five games. And notonly that but he was phenomenal few hits, fewer walks, and tons of strikeouts. Is he a candidate for the Reds' rotation in the spring? Hey, everybody else is.
No. A Reds front office person acknowledged Mercado's pitching well in winter ball but he warned about getting excited about winter ball numbers.
Q, from Rebecca: My name is Rebecca and I have three young boys (10, 5, 2) and we loved Dmitri! We even nicknamed him Chugs because when we first saw him we were amazed at his rather fluffy middle and that he could still run out there in left field and catch those foul line balls! We will miss his finger waving, big smile and his big hair that could not hold his hat on when he ran.
Chuggs, long may he run.
John Fay covers the Reds for the Enquirer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include neighborhood or hometown. Read more questions and answers at Cincinnati.com.
Backup QBs short on experience
Desperate Ravens meet slumping Bengals in rematch
SULLIVAN: Don't stifle spontaneity
By the numbers
Isolation Booth: Takeo Spikes vs. Elvis Grbac
Keys to the game
Curnutte's NFL picks
Curnutte's NFL power ratings
San Francisco 21, Bengals 3; Dec. 6, 1981
NFL notebook: Lambeau looks for a name
49ers 13, Eagles 3
Patriots 20, Dolphins 13
Titans 13, Raiders 10
UC pounds Purdue 79-62
DAUGHERTY: UC basketball
UC notebook: Worldwide might be limited next year
Women: Cincinnati 94, Butler 66
Xavier shows heart in the Heartland
XU notebook: Recovering Frey finally in charge
Straight and 'arrow
Cottrell's family played role in success
RedHawks falls to Iona 57-51
Dayton tops St. Louis
Ohio State 72, Eastern Illinois 59
Pitino's show not all about the games
Top 25: Tar Heels upset No. 15 St. Joe's
UK's Hawkins makes his point
AHL: Ducks fall to the 'Cuse, 3-0
NBA roundup: Jordan, Wizards win ninth straight
NHL roundup: Sens shut out Devils in Jersey
Page Two power rankings
Coming up this week
Madeira's Fields thankful to be on the mend
Vikings surge in 4th quarter
Boys basketball roundup
Girls basketball roundup
Swimming: Bombers, Lions rule Silverlake
Wrestling: Firebirds prevail in Coaches Classic
Return to Reds front page...