One good thing about watching the 2008 2000-08 Reds is a very good familiarity with the aspects of bad baseball teams.  I was thinking about 2009, and started imagining how things could go wrong.  For example: 

  • If Brandon Phillips is hitting 3rd or 4th next year, this team isn’t going to the playoffs. 
  • If Jeff Keppinger and Chris Dickerson both get > 350 ABs, this team isn’t going to the playoffs. 
  • If Harang, Voltron, and Cueto don’t combine for at least 100 starts, this team isn’t going to the playoffs.
  • If Corey Patterson is on the roster, this team isn’t going to the playoffs.
  • If either Hanigan or Bako catch >35 games, this team isn’t going to the playoffs.

Any additions to the list?  

(I’m sure, at some point this off-season, we’ll make a list of “ifs” that could lead to a playoff appearance.  I’m just not ready yet.  Plus, it’s not like any one thing can symbolize a good team.  Dunn hit a million HRs, and we lost.  Harang nearly won a Cy Young, and we lost.  Freel was fast, LaRue threw out runners, and Weathers was a cheap closer — and we lost, lost, lost.)

34 Responses

  1. Kurt Frost

    I’ll end this right now…

    WHEN the 2009 Reds take the field on opening day, they won’t be going to the playoffs.

  2. Sultan of Swaff

    Done w/ the efficiency of a hit man. Bravo, Kurt.

    I’ll take exception to only two contentions—Hanigan and Dickerson. I’m totally comfortable/enthusiastic w/ Hanigan as a backup (look around the league, it’s bad everywhere)–there’s +40 starts right there. Even if Dickerson is only a platoon guy, he’ll likely have a shade more than 350 ABs. Again, look around the league. I don’t see how those two roles would preclude the Reds from competing. Rather, it would add some versatility/depth. But the gist of your post holds true, it’s the big dogs who help us sink or swim.

  3. Y-City Jim

    Phillips will be hitting 3rd or 4th
    Keppinger AND Dickerson will be getting 350 ABs
    I really don’t see how Harang, Volquez, and Ceuto can combine or 100 starts in a five man rotation
    Patterson will be on the roster
    Both Hanigan and Bako will each get greater than 35 starts

    My additions:

    If Harang, Arroyo, Ceuto, and Volquez don’t each pitch 200 innings or more
    If the bench consists of guys like Valentin, APhillips, Castillo, Cabrera, etc.
    If Brooke Jacoby is still the hitting coach
    If Dusty Baker is still the manager

    We aren’t going to the playoffs unless Walt Jocketty pulls off the miracle of the 21st century.

  4. Y-City Jim

    Forgot to add if Ryan Freel is on the team.

  5. wanderinredsfan

    I realize that they haven’t had outstanding minor league careers, but why so down on Hanigan and Dickerson? They may in fact prove all of us pundits wrong and perform well as major league players. For one, I’ll take Hanigan over Bako (and Ross) anyday; they should not be lumped together as equals. And Dickerson over Patterson would have certainly produced a few more runs and wins. Granted they make a few rookie mental errors, but they are much better (offensively and defensively) than what we started with this year.
    I’ll take Hanigan for >35 games, and if Dickerson is platooning with Stubbs in CF, then I’ll take ~350 ABs against right handers from him. I’m willing to give these guys a chance. So far, they’ve deserved it, which is more than you can say for most of the remaining squad.
    With your big ‘ifs’, you don’t mention what would be a better option. Please enlighten us.

  6. Evarmstrong

    Gee I just wish we could have 8 Manny’s on the Reds and then life would be good. To bad we have to have players like Dickerson and Keppinger, how dare they put on a uniform.

  7. Y-City Jim

    If Keppinger was a better defender than I could possibly live with less than average offensive output. It seems very apparent that the 241 ABs last year were an aberration.

    I could live with Dickerson if we have a stud in LF beside him.

    I don’t agree that Hanigan is better than Ross. Cheaper, yes. Better, no. My only complaint with Ross was in poor glove work on throws from the outfield. Offensively, the guy got on base very well for a catcher.

    8 Manny’s!!! No sportswriter would ever want to go into that locker room without fearing for their life.

  8. Kurt Frost

    I am willing to give Keppinger a pass since he broke his kneecap a couple of months ago.

  9. Phill

    wanderinredsfan, come on dude you should know that Hanigan and Dickerson have no future as major league ballplayers. If you add the vortex to TrPxWHm² you can see that they aren’t going to be good. We don’t care about letting a guy fail we’ll just refuse to let them try and succeed.If they had had a few years in the majors and not showed any success I’d be fine with saying we don’t want them but how could it be told as anything more than complete stupidity to say a guy with less than 100 AB’s will never hack it as a starter or on the MLB team.

  10. Kerm

    If we sign old never was players and claim their veteran leadership is what the young guys need to get over the hump. We aren’t going to the playoffs in 2009

  11. Y-City Jim

    No one said anything about not giving them a chance but before either gets 350 ABs they are going to have to prove themselves worthy. Plus should the Reds just stay pat and assume those two are going to be two of their starters or should Walt Jocketty spend the off season trying to find upgrades that could provide some much needed punch to the line-up? Imagine how good the Reds might be if Dickerson and Keppinger were part of the bench? Sure would be an upgrade to this year’s bench.

  12. Y-City Jim

    If we sign old never was players and claim their veteran leadership is what the young guys need to get over the hump. We aren’t going to the playoffs in 2009

    Like the Corey Pattersons of the baseball world.

  13. Y-City Jim

    Speaking of Patterson, Dusty “I am a freakin’ moron” Baker has him batting lead off tonight.

  14. Chris

    The point, wise guys, is not that Keppinger, Hanigan, or Dickerson aren’t legitimate major leaguers. They might be. They might be starters. Hell, Dickerson or Keppinger might even be able to start for a playoff team.

    The point, Phill, isn’t about giving guys tryouts or “fair shots.” The point is that if the Reds hand 2-3 lineup spots over to those kind of guys, they’re not going to be in the playoffs.

    If all three of those guys are getting significant ABs, it means either that a starter got hurt, or that the Reds didn’t acquire championship-caliber talent in the off-season. Either way, no playoffs.

    (And before some other wise guy says so: Yeah, the Reds could acquire Pujols, Utley, Chipper, Beltran, and Vlad. In that case, they can make the playoffs with Kepp, Dickerson, and Hanigan.)

  15. Phill

    I can agree about Keppinger being a starter would spell certain trouble. We need a healthy A-Gon. I also agree that Jocketty needs to address left field. I’d like to see some sort of 1-2 year deal with a guy like Raul Ibanez but chances are he wouldn’t come here anyway. I’ll apologize right now by saying I read into what you said a bit too much and that’s my fault. I think the Reds have probably the hardest holes to fix through free agency. A decent hitting catcher with + defense, a right handed bat hopefully left fielder that can fit in the 3-4-5 slots, a quality starting pitcher(probably necessary for contending, not so much if we want to wallow in the bottom still), if Alex Gonzalez is still hurt we’ll need a legit short stop, there’s probably more but I can’t think of anything.

    Sorry I didn’t put it in the ‘if’ format. I’m a dummy.

  16. Chris

    Thanks, Phill.

    I agree that the Reds’ holes look really tough to fill via free agency. But to be optimistic for a minute: I suppose we could trade Bronson, Homer, or one or more of the prospects for a bat/catcher/whatever.

  17. Kevin

    I think a trade has got to be coming, looking at the free agent market. I hope we sign a good left-field right-handed bat, or maybe that we sign Adam Dunn, and that we trade Bailey (although I wonder about his value at this point) along with maybe another SP and prospect to fill another one of the holes. Who knows, maybe a change of organization would do Bailey good, like it did for Volquez.

  18. Chad

    I think the Reds should sign me and give me 200 at-bats. Ignore my high school numbers. Give me a chance to prove myself before you declare me a failure!

    I might be a good major leaguer. I might have better numbers than I’ve ever produced before! We’ll never know until you give me a chance! 🙂

  19. rob

    I tend to agree with all those points except the Hanigan one. There is a good chance he will at least be the backup next season and possibly the regular. The Reds can still contend of Hanigan is a backup. What avenue is WJ going to take to fill the catcher spot? Off the top of my head the only primary catchers who were the main components of a trade trade are Varitek, John Buck, Brian Schneider, and I guess you can put Pudge on that list. Major free agent signings? B. Molina with the Giants. The rest either were developed by their respective teams or were scooped up off the scrap heap. I’d look for ole Walt to go the scrap heap route this winter.

  20. Kurt Frost

    You could probably put up numbers comparable to a certain outfielder and catcher on the current Reds team and be a lot cheaper.

  21. pinson343

    I don’t have a problem at all with Dickerson as a platoon guy, or with Hanigan as a backup. If we get a right handed power bat in LF, I’m OK with speed and defense in CF. Just please no more CP and no more Bako.

  22. NickP

    If we signed Raul Ibanez, I’d quit following the Reds. He’s a worse hitter than Dunn and WAY WORSE fielder. And the money would probably be similar per year (although less total years). That would be a disaster.

  23. justcorbly

    It’s unrealistic to expect this team to make the playoffs next year unless they are just plain stupefyingly lucky.

    Management can, and may, make personnel changes that will improve the team, but in today’s climate it is unreasonable to expect them to be able to make the wholesale personnel changes needed to make this a winning club.

    The record does not show it, but the club improved this year in that they had a reliable closer and at least one reliable starter. Votto and Bruce on the team are good signs.

    Unexpected stuff always happens, and this year it was the reversal of Harang’s record and Arroyo’s erratic season. If Harang had had a typical year, and if Arroyo hadn’t collapsed in the first half of the season, the Reds record would be quite different.

    I’m going to pay atention to how much money the team seems willing to spend in the offseason. They’re isn’t going to be much on the market, but if folks want this team to win in the next few years, the club is going to hafta buy some talent.

  24. Chris

    A few things:

    It’s definitely possible to make a significant improvement from one year to the next. Tampa lost 95 games last year, and will will nearly 95 this year.

    I disagree that the Reds have improved. Yeah, one area improved, but they’re also much worse in others. Last year they scored 783 runs. This year, they’re on pace for 707. Runs allowed went from 853 to (on pace for) 811. So the improvement didn’t make up for the fall-off.

    I agree with you about Harang, but I’m not sure that “if Arroyo hadn’t collapsed in the first half of the season, the Reds record would be quite different.”

    As has been discussed, Arroyo’s season has been quite strange — a few horrible starts ruining an essentially okay season. He only had four starts — all season — where he gave up more than 5 runs. Let’s say he throws shutouts instead. That doesn’t make a huge difference.

    He actually received pretty good run support (5.3 R/G, and >5 Runs in 16 of his 30 starts).

  25. Glenn

    The Reds are in desperate need of a catcher that can hit his own weight. I hope there’s something out there in Free Agency.

  26. justcorbly

    I thought someone would point to Tampa. They’re a fluke. Typically, teams do not make that kind of change. The Reds could do it, too, (maybe) if everyone simultaneously has the best year of their career, etc., etc., But, management and the players cannot make that happen. Odds are that next year some Reds players will have a better season and some will have a worse season. I hope not, but that’s reality.

    I said the Reds improved because they added Cordero and Volquez. That’s one improvement. Adding Votto and Bruce bodes well for the future, but they haven’t improved matters much at all, yet.
    Otherwise, yes, the offense sucks.

    I said the record would be different if both Harang and Arroyo had both pitched to form, not just Arroyo. Pitchers can’t escape responsibility for losing just because they held the other side to “only” 5 runs. That’s not good enough.

  27. The Redhead

    If anyone who was has ever played for the Cubs is signed to play for us…we will not get into the playoffs.

    If Dusty Baker continues to bring in his “friends” and or “lovers” we will not make it to the playoffs.

  28. The Redhead

    Yes…I said “lovers” otherwise how can a guy like Patterson continue to play. Maybe he’s not dating Baker’s daugther, He may be dating Dusty!!!

    FIRE DUSTY!! FIRE DUSTY!! FIRE DUSTY…AND SEND CORY WITH HIM!!!!

  29. Evarmstrong

    People keep clamering for the Reds to get a good hitting catcher. Okay WHO? How many good hitting catchers are there in baseball right now and of those few, whom is available. Why not look at what we can improve with what talent will be available, and also understand we can’t have All Stars at every position.

  30. Flash

    I can not understand why people cannot accept Hannigan as a starting cathcher. He has hit .300 at every level, he only K’s once in every nine at bats. He has a .390 OBP. He is good 8 hitter and was the best minor league catcher this year.

  31. Dan

    I’m up for giving Hanigan a shot. I’m glad at least Dusty is playing him.

    As for who’s available… I think Texas is seen to have an excess at catcher.

    –Teagarden
    –Laird
    –Saltalamacchia (sheesh… did I spell that right?)
    –One other I can’t think of.

    Those first 3 guys can all hit.

  32. Flash

    Those are good questions. It is true that Hanigan didn’t hit .300 a single A. The Reds sent him to Arizona after his season at Chatt in 2005, but he didn’t get to play much. I really don’t know why he hasn’t played more. He seems to hit lefthanders as well as right. I know he has beaten extreme odds just to be here. Undrafted, untouted, maybe always underestimated.