The e-mailers want to know what's going to happen - to manager Bob Boone, to general manager Jim Bowden and many assorted Reds. Read on:
Question, from Tom: Do you see the Reds riding out the season with what they've got (general manager, manager, etc.) and then making a fresh start next season? It seems something will have to be done to keep fans coming back and hoping for a contender.
Answer: If you see Reds Chief Executive Officer Carl Lindner, ask him; no one else seems to know. If the Reds were going to fire Boone or Bowden, the post-All-Star break skid was a good excuse to do it. If the team is going to bring either or both back, it should say so.
Q, from Pat in St. Mary's, Ohio: Can the Reds release Jimmy Haynes? This way he could not exercise his player option to return next year. And what is the status of the contracts for Kelly Stinnett and Juan Castro? I think there are good enough players in the Reds organization to replace them - Corky Miller, Ray Olmedo and Ryan Freel.
A: Releasing Haynes would not get the Reds out of his option, unless his agent agreed to a really bad contract. Stinnett has a mutual option for 2004. Castro is signed for 2004. Stinnett and Castro have played well in their roles and are much more expensive than Miller and Freel or Olmedo would be, but neither is the reason the Reds are where they are.
Q, from Rich in Arlington: It's clear, given the penny-pinching of Reds' ownership, that the team will not re-sign its best and most consistent hitter (Jose Guillen). Why not trade him and get something for the loss? Do we really need to watch him hit another 15 home runs for what could be a last-place team? Surely teams in contention would welcome one of the best bats and arms in the league for a playoff push. Might a trade bring some young arms? Of course, given that he is the Reds' best hitter and has the best arm of any outfielder on the roster, why not re-sign him?
A: Guillen's trade value isn't great, because he's a free agent next year. That said, you're right. If the Reds aren't going to re-sign him, trading him for a prospect makes sense.
Q, from Joe in Greendale, Wis.: Can you provide a reason why Reds fans should be optimistic about the future? For the life of me, I can't find one. The starting pitching is awful and shows little promise. The lineup is loaded with too many hitters with too many strikeouts. They will lose their best player this year (Guillen) to free agency. Their defense is among the worst in baseball. There are few tradable individuals. History tells us they won't be active for anyone meaningful in free agency. I need a reason to believe!
A: The Reds are relatively young. Some of the young pitchers in the minors (Dustin Moseley, Ty Howington) are close to being ready. Ryan Wagner is fun to watch. Great American Ball Park is a nice place to watch a game. You sold yet? Neither am I. The Reds need to address this, but chief operating officer John Allen isn't doing interviews. Fans deserve an explanation.
Q, from George in Lexington: Don't you think Bowden should have been fired weeks ago? He duped Cincinnati taxpayers and Reds fans into financing his new ballpark and office and put the weakest team I have seen in a long time on the field. Injuries are no excuse.
A: Bowden is responsible for the club on the field, which has failed miserably - blame him for that. But I don't think he duped taxpayers. Bowden has never said this, but my guess is he expected the Reds' payroll this season to be a lot more than it is.
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