Time for a rambling post about Joey Votto. From Mark Sheldon:

Dizziness from the inner ear infection that’s been dogging Reds first baseman Joey Votto struck again Friday night. The club has avoided putting Votto on the disabled list for more than two weeks but that could change soon….

After the game in the manager’s office, a 40-minute closed-door meeting was held with Reds manager Dusty Baker, general manager Walt Jocketty, head trainer Mark Mann and Votto.

No roster move was announced once the door opened, but Baker said that Votto would not play on Saturday….

It was the third time since May 11 that dizzy spells have forced Votto out of a game. On May 21 after a battery of tests, the inner ear infection was revealed….

Baker was asked if a transaction was coming.

“I don’t know yet,” he quietly responded.

Sheldon has more over at Reds.com, so be sure to read the entire article.

I’m torn here. We have been somewhat critical here about the Reds freezing like a deer in the headlights when someone gets hurt (particularly the Alex Gonzalez fiasco earlier in the year and the more recent Nick Masset and Brandon Phillips situations), preferring to do nothing rather than disable someone. Reds management has shown that they don’t mind putting Dusty Baker behind the eight ball, forcing him to play with less than a full roster.

That said, the Votto situation has been somewhat different. Votto is so vital to the team’s offense, I’ve been inclined to wait it out (as long as playing every other day, or whatever, wasn’t prolonging the effects of the condition). If I thought the Reds could get this thing cured, never to return, in fifteen days, I’d say put him on the DL.

Now, though, I’m not confident that the Reds really know what the problem is with Votto (or, alternatively, they know exactly what it is, but they aren’t telling us the entire truth). Who knows? Maybe it really is an inner ear infection. I don’t know enough about medicine (I’m in the field of law, after all) to say whether a DL stint is what Votto needs.

What I do know is this: the Reds desperately need Joey Votto if they are to remain competitive in 2009. The way they’ve approached this situation clearly hasn’t worked to this point, and the Reds continue to play with a smaller roster of available players than their opponents.

It’s just a bad situation all the way around, and it couldn’t be happening to a less-deserving player.

Now, let’s imagine for a moment that the Reds do place Votto on the disabled list. The first thought is that the Reds will bring up Wilkin Castillo, and let Ramon Hernandez take the lion’s share of playing time at first base. That’s a bad, bad idea, not because Hernandez can’t handle first base (he’s been okay there defensively, and his offense has been decent this year, too), but because Castillo just isn’t a major league baseball player.

The other option that has been suggested in many corners is that the Reds could call up Drew Stubbs to play center and left, and let Jonny Gomes take some of the playing time at first (combined with Hernandez and Adam Rosales). That’s a better solution, since Stubbs at least has the talent to play in the major leagues. I don’t see the Reds doing this, but it’s better than bringing up Castillo.

Of course, that would require the Reds to place Stubbs on the 40-man roster. Bill Bray could always be placed on the 60-day disabled list, which would open up space on the 40-man, so that’s not really a problem. It would require using up the first of Stubbs’ options, but he’s playing pretty well in AAA this year and he might be in the big leagues to stay next year, so that’s not a big deal to me, either.

Stubbs has surprised me a bit. His defense has always been great, and his hitting has actually come around more than I thought it would. Frankly, a Stubbs/Chris Dickerson platoon in center field in 2010 might be relatively productive.

If I were the Reds, however, I’d call up Kevin Barker for fifteen days and let him split time with Hernandez and Rosales at first. He’s old, a prototypical AAAA player, but he has some pop and, frankly, I’d like to see him get another shot at playing in the bigs, if only for a couple of weeks. Let him play strictly against right-handers, and he’d be fine. (Plus, I saw him play in high school; he looked great back then!)

Okay, that’s probably not going to happen either. What do you guys think the Reds should do, and what do you think they will do (those are often mutually exclusive)?

UPDATE: Joey Votto has officially been placed on the 15-day DL, and Wilkin Castillo (number 26 in your programs, number one in your hearts) has been recalled. You know what I think about Castillo being on the roster, but what about this line from the DL story:

The Reds put first baseman Joey Votto today on the 15-day disabled list with stress-related issues.

Stress-related issues? Someone mentioned that in last night’s game thread.

I’m officially concerned.

17 Responses

  1. WillRedsChi

    I am concerned about Votto. Even though he is very vital to the team, I think we have to DL him so he can get himself healthy. This reoccurring dizziness is scary and right now he needs to just be concerned about his health and not baseball. I agree that we need to bring up Barker. I don’t think that Gomes has enough experience at 1B to start everyday. Maybe they can work him in at 1B in time, but not now.

    All this means that some players need to really step up. One of which is Jerry Hairston (scary, but true). I think he can be the difference between a terrible offense and a sub-par offense if he can produce.

  2. mike

    a few days ago on baseball-prospectus they said Votto was having problems with dizziness as a reaction to the medicine not the inner ear infection.

    I had a bad inner ear infection in October/November and the doctor told me it would take 5-10 on the medicine. I was better in about 7 days

  3. zblakey

    its done! He’s on the DL, with Castillo being recalled. Whats the over / under on how many games it will be before he plays in a game?

  4. AnnapolisRed

    I want to throw up (not because of Castillo but because of Votto). I am crushed right now. UGH!

  5. AnnapolisRed

    Fay is saying it is stress related issues. Now I’m really concerned.

  6. Glenn

    I’m not sure what having Castillo on the roster does for the Reds. Wouldn’t it be more logical to bring up a first baseman from L’ville. I assume they have one.

  7. AnnapolisRed

    He’s not on the 40-man. Castillo allows Hernandez to play 1st and Hanigan will catch.

  8. Chad Dotson

    That’s really not a problem. Bill Bray can be moved to the 60-day DL at any time. The Reds have a roster spot to play with at the moment.

  9. AnnapolisRed

    Chad-Good point. Fay just wrote on Twitter that Votto has left the team. Wasn’t sure if he was headed back to Cincy or Toronto. I want to cry.

  10. Matt WI

    Stress related? More like anxiety disorder do you think? See: Zach Grienke, Kalil Greene.

  11. Kurt Frost

    I assume Hernandez will play first, Hanigan will catch and Castillo will be the backup catcher. I think the author is overreacting a little with his blanket condemnation of Castillo since he is essentially a backup. On the other hand, if Castillo starts any games during the 15 days I will be concerned.

  12. Y-City Jim

    Didn’t the Royals have a hitter many years ago that suffered from the anxiety of playing in front of crowds?

    Let’s get Votto back then trade Castillo to the Cardinals. St. Louis would then have Albert & Castillo. 😀

  13. Deaner

    KC’s Greinke suffered from anxiety problems a couple of years ago and totally left baseball for a while. Now he’s one of the best pitchers in the AL.

  14. mhopp

    Has anybody thought about Votto’s father dying within the last year? I mean, he must have been rather young given Votto was only 25. Maybe he hasn’t dealt with that plus the dizziness and flu has brought this all to a head and he needs some time to regroup.

    I remember reading that his dad was a cook and was very hard working. I sure hope he’s okay and will keep him in prayer.