Sunday, March 16, 2003

Reds Q&A

Don't expect Castro, Stinnett to move on

Q, from Springfield, Ohio: Mark Why not move Juan Castro and Kelly Stinnett? I understand the Reds have no trade takers for these two at their current salaries, but someone might take them at half the price. Why not trade them for several pairs of tube socks and rolls of adhesive tape and agree to pay half of their salary? This would allow Gookie Dawkins (who is out of options, is several years younger, can field with no stick like Castro, and, unlikeJuan, can run) and Corky Miller (who is just better than Stinnett) to stay on the team at close to minimum salary and still be money ahead. If they save $750,000 on each trade and only pay out $600,000 for the other two, it is pretty easy math.

A: The Reds rarely eat contracts. Paying $333,000 in the Elmer Dessens trade was a rare exception. The Reds don't discuss trades but there may not be takers for Stinnett or Castro even at a reduced price. Free agency was a buyer's market this year and a lot of players are still looking for jobs.

Q, from Steve: Given Danny Graves' poor transition to starter this spring, Scott Williamson's control and medical problems, and the emergence of so many viable candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, don't you think it's time to abandon the Derek Lowe plan and put Danny back in the pen? The decision to start him was made last year out of desperation because we had so few starting options, and the ones we did have were suspect. Coming into spring, though, Dempster is coming around, we've added Paul Wilson, and Seth Etherton and Pete Harnisch are making big strides. Jimmy Anderson has looked great. It seems to me that the motives for pushing Danny into a starter's role are no longer present (or as present), but that the Reds will continue with it just to save face. Your thoughts?

A: I probably got eight or nine e-mails suggesting the same thing after Graves got lit up by the Red Sox. It's spring training, folks. Derek Lowe was worse than Graves in that game, and he won 21 games last year after being moved from closer to starter. So my thought: Be patient.

Q, from Tony: How does it foster team spirit when Ken Griffey drives to exhibition games? He takes some other players and maybe the son of Bowden and (Leland) Maddox, but that seems even stranger. If the Reds are really to function as a team, it seems to me that they should work out and travel as a team.

A: A lot of players skip the bus to spring training games. Team spirit isn't exactly a baseball concept. I'm sure the guys on the bus didn't sing the fight song on the way back after the victory.

Q, from Mike: I was wondering if you knew what was going on with Blake Williams? The Reds took him from St. Louis in the Rule 5 draft. I haven't seen where he's pitched yet.

A: That question was so good it led to my story for Saturday. Williams was shut down because it was discovered he had a hole in his heart. He resumed pitching when it was diagnosed as nothing serious. He finally pitched Friday - one scoreless inning.


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