Sunday, February 29, 2004

Reds e-mail Q&A

The e-mailers want to know if Aaron Boone will be a Red again and are curious about the Reds' newfound emphasis on fundamentals.

Read on:

Q, from Rob in Danville, Ill: It's already been answered a few times, but it must continue to be asked so that the Reds front office can see that we, the fans, are still angry and bitter about Aaron Boone being shipped off. Will the Reds make a legitimate attempt to resign Boone?

I really feel like Boone would be incredibly flexible if we did attempt to re-sign him. In fact, I think he's praying we do, because even though the Reds haven't had a winning season since 2000, I really feel like this team is a family. They treat each other with respect, and conduct themselves professionally on the field, even with their mistakes. Boone was a symbol of what the Reds fans want the Reds to be. Boone is an amazing guy and an amazing player, and it killed me to see him in evil empire pin stripes.

Will the front office pay the fans back by resigning him?

A: You're absolutely right, re-signing Boone would greatly appreciated by the fans for all the reasons you mentioned. I think it makes sense because the Reds have question marks at third and shortstop for 2005. Brandon Larson may answer the question at third by playing well this year. But, with Barry Larkin's impending retirement, the Reds will have an opening at short. Felipe Lopez or Ray Olmedo may be able to fill it. But there's no "may" in the case of Boone at either third or short. The Reds first want to make sure Boone can come back from his injury. Then it will come down to money.

Q, from Bill: I am writing about your Feb. 25 story on the new Reds outlook on spring training. If this stuff is all so new to the Reds organization, it is no wonder they were so bad last year. I thought the Reds were supposed to be professionals. It's odd that stressing fundamentals should represent a radical departure for this team.

A: If you watched the Reds closely last year, you saw that fundamentally they were screwed up. Your e-mail got me thinking, though, about last year's camp. I don't remember fundamentals being mentioned.

One of problems the Reds had last year was a lot of players were rushed to the majors because of the trades and injuries, so they missed that minor league seasoning.

Q, from Pat: How do Reds fans vote for Joe Nuxhall to get him back on the ballot for the Frick Award? Also, when does the voting start and is there a website to vote?

A: The voting starts in December on the Hall of Fame's website:

Q, from W.T.R in Lima: A fan for 65 years would simply like to say that so far I have not heard one answer from Dan O'Brien that doesn't sound like a politician running for office -- 100 percent effort, show up and work hard, etc. If you are going to be in the league you have to buy players in hard times and use the developed players in good times, but you don't give up on a season before it starts.

It would be great if Cincinnati could find an owner who has been blessed with great wealth and wanted to return something to the city that blessed him with what he got. It seems to me that we have nothing but disappointments for the long term, and little to do about it except enjoy the sunshine and hope that one or two players have outstanding years on a very untalented team. Barry Larkin will play his 50 games and there will be a never-ending circle of candidates for third base and the pitching rotation.

A: It's clear that the Reds aren't going to buy their way into contention under the current ownership. O'Brien is guarded in his statements. But you really didn't expect O'Brien to say: 'We're going to be awful. We don't spend enough money.' He is sticking to the plan he was mandated to carry out when he was hired. Because the Reds don't spend with the big boys, building through development is the only way things will turn around.

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