Interesting item here by Hal McCoy:

There are a couple of players who not only are on the DL, they are AWOL.

Well, maybe AWOL is a bit harsh. AWOL means absent without leave and, well, maybe it isn’t too harsh.

Nobody said Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper couldn’t leave when it was determined that injuries ended their season. And they haven’t been seen much in the clubhouse.

In contrast, Alex Gonzalez hasn’t played all season, but he is in the clubhouse all the time and has been most of the season.

It says something to manager Dusty Baker and it says something to the other players….

The point about Freel and Hopper is this? When it comes down to making some choices next spring, what is going to be remembered about them? They didn’t care enough to stick around and support their teammates.

Baker likes guys like Edwin Encarancion and Jay Bruce, guys who got hurt recently but are already begging to get back in the lineup.

After missing five straight games, Encarnacion took batting practice Sunday and said, “I plan to play (today).”

Bruce was hit by a pitch Saturday and although he said he is all right, manager Dusty Baker didn’t even ask him about playing Sunday, “But I’m sure he’ll be OK (for today).”

Of Encarnacion’s and Bruce’s desires to play, even with nothing at stake, Baker said, “I like that. I’m telling you, I like guys who want to play. I don’t care if nothing is at stake, you have to want to play. I don’t like those shut-it-down guys who shut it down.

“Guys who want to play have pride and hunger,” Baker added. “And you can’t give that to anybody. It comes from inside. You have it or you don’t.”

So, what do you guys and gals think? I guess it really doesn’t bother me that much, but I can see where people would be irritated by this type of thing. To me, I hope the question of who to keep next spring comes down to keeping the most talented players, not guys who like to be at the ballpark.

Of course, if I were Norris Hopper or Ryan Freel, I think I would be spending every second at the ballpark that I could, even when I was injured. Frankly, the Hoppers and Freels of the world are expendable, and their major league careers could be over any second anyway. Especially Hopper. After spending all those years trying to fight his way to the big leagues, I can’t believe he wouldn’t want to hang out at the park and spend as much time in the big leagues as possible.

Again, what do you think?

10 Responses

  1. Kerm

    I think it would be very discouraging to watch Patterson being ran out there in your place every day. I think the grind of the season and watching that can only be taken for so long.

  2. Mark in CC

    This isn’t high school. How many of us would be at work if we were off on sick leave.

    Bottom line is that the best roster will play next year. If the best includes Hopper and Freel then they will be there. I’ve spent some time with Hopper and there couldn’t be a better kid on the team from a personality and attitude standpoint.

    How many years in a row did Griffey leave with an injury half way through September. Heck under McKeon, Griffey and Larkin left early and weren’t injured. Didn’t get held against them.

    Hal is running out of things to stir up.

  3. nycredsfan

    It does seem like Hal doesn’t like these two and is trying to stir up something against them…he even basically admits as much at the end of his post. On the other hand, if I was a fringe talent guy like those two, I’d be doing everything in my power to keep myself in the picture. Sure Griff left, but with his talent (5 or 6 years ago) who was going to threaten his spot on the team? Unfortunately for these guys, they don’t have that talent and can’t afford to be thought of as expendable, which it seems like they are now.

    And regarding Patterson, as much as I can’t stand him, we can’t blame everything on him. Freel and Hopper are big boys, if they’re going to pout and not show up because of him, I don’t want them on the team anyway.

  4. World

    They are a member of a team and they are expected to support the other members. The club doesn’t necessarily want to spend the money for them to travel with the Reds on the road but home attendance is looked on favorably by Big Bob, the Williams boys, and the front office.

    Actually, I understand that both spend a fair amount of time in the trainer’s room earlier in the day when Mark and Steve come in. That room is off limits to the press anyway and these two factors may not lend themselves to ol’ Hal seeing them at the yard.

  5. Ryan

    As much as I would love to agree that “the best roster will play next year” – that hasn’t (necessarily) been the case this year. If I’m Hopper or Freel I recognize that the daily roster is filled out with feelings, hunches, and divining rods and I recognize that my being around is a good way to get in the good graces of my manager.

    You may double the OBP of our everyday centerfielder, but unless Dusty likes you you’re not playing. Dusty isn’t going to like you if you’re not around.

    To me, it speaks of a lack of desire to remain on the team. Can you blame them?

  6. Kevin

    I guess I’m not sure what I think about this issue…I really like a team full of guys who are passionate about the team, who like Cincinnati, are rooting for us to win, etc. But at the same time, the season is over and these guys know they’re not even playing again until April…I wonder if I’d be in the clubhouse every day if I was Freel or Hopper, probably not, even though my idealistic image of baseball is a bunch of guys who wouldn’t want to stay home for a single game…

  7. Shane

    maybe Freel and Hopper are just following the footsteps of certain blogger owners that stopped watching the reds at all and started rooting for another team because things werent going the way they wanted them too

  8. Shane

    “So you don’t have any other teams you root for in the postseason chase or postseason”

    the key word there is POSTSEASON

  9. Glenn

    I think Hal makes a good point. When a player is not with the team, even if it’s because of injury, he ceases to be thought of by the other players as being part of the team. I think that’s just a fact. I think we’ve all heard of players who go into a mental funk because the injury keeps them from being with their teamates.
    I applaude Gonzales for being there. I’ve always thought of Hopper and Freel as being scrappy overachievers but now, at the very least I really have to question their judgement.

  10. Shane

    “it’s perfectly OK ”

    oh, well now that we have your permission………….