Sunday, August 24, 2003

Reds Q&A


Fan says loyalty is 2-way street

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I found the following e-mails among the hundreds of "Re: That Movie" and "Re: Thank you!" bogus mail some no-life hacker filled my inbox with.

From Bob in Huntington, W.Va. OK, John, I want you to explain why Reds management would expect fans to remain loyal to them. What about the Reds front office's loyalty to its fans? In my opinion, the Reds are the poster child for what is wrong with baseball. They have just completed dismantling a good team that had too many injuries and not enough starting pitching (a front-office responsibility). But shipping money with Scott Sullivan to the White Sox? Scott Sullivan was a class act. . . . I can't say the same for the Reds' management, and I'm fed up with it. There won't be any trips to Great American Ball Park until I see a commitment to us fans.

A: The Sullivan trade baffled me. You need clubhouse stability. Sullivan was a leader, all-around good guy, and good for the community.

Q, from Frank in Huntsville, Texas: After the salary dump, the Reds are still only 9 1/2 games out in baseball's worst division. With the new manager and making strategic trades for starting pitching (not front-line but better than we had), do you think the Reds could have contended?

A: Good question. I think the trades will be good long-term. Given that the Astros, Cardinals and Cubs haven't pulled away, it's conceivable the Reds could have hung in. But win the division? Doubtful.

Q, Jim in Galway, N.Y.: Pitching always has been a problem for the Reds. I have been a fan since 1960 and I don't think the Reds have had five different 20-game winners in that stretch. I think the last one was Jim Merritt with the early Big Red Machine in 1970. Do you see us getting someone who can win 20 in the near future?

A: You're forgetting Tom Browning, who won 20 in 1985, and Danny Jackson, who won 23 in 1988. The Reds certainly think Brandon Claussen can win 20.

Q, from Chuck in Fairfield: (With all the trades), the Reds have shaved, conservatively, about $9 million and perhaps as much as $14 million off next year's payroll. If they don't bring back Barry Larkin, Ryan Dempster, Scott Sullivan and Kelly Stinnett, the Reds might have as much as $25 million in available payroll to spend on free agent pitching. Let's take Carl Lindner and John Allen at their word and assume they actually will acquire pitching. . . . Which top-tier starting pitchers will be available this offseason and what are they likely to cost? Can they afford real stoppers like Tom Glavine or Curt Schilling, instead of underachievers like John Smiley and Denny Neagle?

A: I don't think the Reds are going to spend the money to sign a top starter. That's why they traded for all the prospects. Pitching is overpriced on the free agent market. Look at Glavine. He makes $11 million and he's 8-11. The Rockies are still dealing with the effects of signing Neagle. Sidney Ponson is one of the top free agents-to-be. He'll get $10 million a year, and his career record is 55-62. I think the Reds would be better served to live with young pitching and sign an outfielder and a third baseman. You get a lot of bang for your buck that way. Reggie Sanders (29 homers, 70 RBI) signed for $1 million.

Q, from Robert in Cincinnati: Since the Reds will be shopping for a new GM, and with the push by MLB to at least interview minorities, do you think there is a possibility that management may consider interviewing former assistant GM Doc Rodgers? I know he filed a discrimination lawsuit by the team after being demoted over the winter. But since the now-departed Jim Bowden decided on Rodgers' demotion, do you think this changes the scenario any?

A: The suit was filed against the Reds. There have to be some hard feelings on the part of Allen and Lindner, so it's doubtful Rodgers will get serious consideration.

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E-mail jfay@enquirer.com




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