Time for another trip around the internets….

–Well, this is bad news:

It wasn’t considered a setback, but a clarification of a condition. Either way, the Reds will be without starting pitcher Edinson Volquez for longer than they anticipated.

During the previous homestand, Volquez had a second MRI taken on his right arm. It revealed there still was inflammation on the muscle between the forearm and the elbow. He was told to shut down his throwing program until it reduces completely.

With the Reds staring down the barrel of a free fall in the standings, this isn’t the best news we could have received.

–On the other hand, maybe it will be a chance for Homer Bailey to show off the splitter he has been using in Louisville to the tune of a 4-0 record with a 0.47 ERA in June (38/7 K/BB). Hopefully, Saturday will be the day we get to see the new and improved Homer.

–Walt Jocketty is keeping his eye out for a hitter to come available on the open market. Should we trust him?

–Chris Heisey has been a stud all season long for AA Carolina. Doug has taken a look at Heisey’s career path in numbers, and it’s definitely worth a read.

–CSG says these are times of trouble.

–No, it isn’t funny anymore.

–Justin has some thoughts on the Joey Votto situation.

According to Mark Sheldon, Dusty still has faith in Willy Taveras. Not exactly a shocker.

–Finally, it’s times like these that I always remind myself of something: the Reds are never as good as they look on their best day, and they’re never as bad as they seem on their worst day. (This is something I try to stress to the high school basketball teams I’ve coached; helps keep things in perspective.)

Things are going to get better. I promise.

43 Responses

  1. Rich

    Yes, the boat is starting to show some more leaks and I know that many Reds fans want a big trade right now for a power bat. This year has not been great, but it has not been that bad either! I think that the team and its minor league system is showing significant improvement. I have never been the type of person to bash someone, but I think that it is truly time to bench Taveras an even approach him to go down to the minors to get more at bats at that level which has been mention previously. I would bring Stubbs up and see what he can do too. With the SS & 3rd situation, I would definitely put him at SS. Even if he does not hit, he is going to improve the infield defense. At 3rd I would let Hariston and Rosales rotate there until Eddy E returns. Going back to the trade situation, most teams are going to want your top minor league prospects and pitching in particular. Our pitching is starting to show some holes and pitching is the foundation in any team development. Also it is most likely in a trade for a power bad you are going to take on a pretty hefty contract. The question is that in the best interest for the team now and in the long run? At this point, I would say no for we still have 3-4 teams to jump in the standings. If we only had to jump one or two teams, I would stay pull the trigger and take on the extra payroll. So, I don’t feel like we are just one player away from overall contention. So, I am thinking it would be best to roll with what we have and continue to develop our young talent for now.

  2. Rich

    With the SS situation, I was referring to putting Janish in.

  3. Y-City Jim

    I just cannot understand why the Reds are pushing to movement of some of the MiLB position players. Jocketty was in St. Louis when Pujols made his one year move from the minors to the bigs. I honestly don’t think any of the minor leaguers could do any worse than the “veterans.”

  4. Matt WI

    Uncle Walt is just waking up from his mid-season nap or what? Now he wants a bat? I say let Arroyo throw another one of his good games, trade him, shed the payroll. Let a youngster come up and hit for awhile, and wait and see what’s around next season. Oh yeah, and replace Dusty if he doesn’t replace Willy.

  5. Matt WI

    Fully agree Y-City. What’s the point of being young if you have to wait until they get old?

  6. Sultan of Swaff

    Dusty is putting both himself and Janish in a no win situation. If Janish doesn’t hit tonight, he rides the bench for another month. If he does, Dusty gets second guessed by the media again, so it’ll reinforce his suspicion of the media and makes him even more set in his ways.

  7. Mr. Redlegs

    Oh c’mon, getting second-guessed by the Cincinnati media? That’s like going toBaskin-Robbins and choosing between vanilla and vanilla bean. If you’ve got thin skin because of the Cincinnati media, join a church softball league. The harshest words in the Cincinnati media would get rejected by the copy desks in New York, Boston, Chicago and Dallas. If anything, the Cincinnati media needs some backbone.

  8. Mr. Redlegs

    “I honestly don’t think any of the minor leaguers could do any worse than the “veterans.”

    So, if any of these minors guys were so major league-ready, they wouldn’t be replacing Nix or Gomes? They would not have been called up before Castillo or Richar or Rosales?

    Stubbs? All the cries for Stubbs? Seriously. Jay Bruce is the former minor league player of the year. Gifts that Stubbs never dreamed about. Look at him now. He’s completely overmatched by MLB pitchers. At worst, he should be sent down. At best, he should be platooned.

    Now you want Stubbs brought up on what evidence? Because he’s got nothing left to prove in Louisville? Because he’s no longer challenged by the pitching? Right, just like everyone said about Rosales.

    People like Y-City screamed bloody hell for Bailey two years ago when he clearly was not ready. What has been the result? What is the residual? By being impatient and stupid, now the Reds have to keep Bailey on the roster next year. All because of absurd comments like “the minor leaguers could do any worse than the ‘veterans.’

    You bring them up when they are ready, not because you want to hold tryouts in-season. Ridiculous.

  9. Matt WI

    I like this quote from the Sheldon article: “It’s really noticeable in two areas when guys don’t hit,” Baker said. “No. 1 is your leadoff man. If they’re not getting walks as non at-bats, the at-bats mount up quicker than anybody else on the team.”

    It seems to suggest that Dusty thinks Willy unfairly gets a bum rap because he isn’t walking, making it look like he’s hitting worse than others simply because he gets more AB’s. I don’t know where to begin.

  10. GRF

    FWIW, I agree with both Sultan and Y-City. Janish needs more than a game to show if he can hit, and at this point I would rather take chances with the kids hitting than spend some of the young talent on a rent a bat.

    If they keep hitting, and admittedly that is a big if, Dix/Gomes should have left covered. 3B is tentatively covered if EE is back, and I do not see any better bat on the market. CF is potentially covered if Dickerson plays or you give Stubbs/Hopper a shot. Again, not sure if there is a dramatically better option available. SS is the only place I can see a real need to go outside for a bat, and even there Janish has not been given the opportunity to show he is not the guy. Plus, the SS market looks pretty thin as well.

    Reds may not have the talent to win now, but they do have the options to give themselves a better chance than they have done to date.

  11. Y-City Jim

    You bring them up when they are ready, not because you want to hold tryouts in-season.

    What determines when they are ready? Is there a little pop-up device like you use when cooking a turkey?

  12. GregD

    People like Y-City screamed bloody hell for Bailey two years ago when he clearly was not ready. What has been the result? What is the residual? …. All because of absurd comments like “the minor leaguers could do any worse than the ‘veterans.’

    Did Bailey do any worse than Belisle or Fogg? If anything, it forced the Reds to allow Bailey the split-finger fastball.

    If you don’t think Stubbs could match Taveras year-to-date performance, then you are just being a blind front office apologist.

  13. Dan

    Redlegs just likes to show up here and tell us all how stupid we are. It’s a shame, b/c I think he’s got good information — occasionally some “insider” information? (I remember him being all over the Owings acquisition before it was announced) — but I’ve gotten to the point where I just tune him out.

    Redlegs, how about telling us sometime when you see something you DO agree with?

    Or better yet, what do you suggest changing (if anything) about this year’s roster and lineups? Got some opinions there?

  14. The Mad Hatter

    No Cincinnati Red’s fan is going to be happy until we trade, Alex Gonzalez, Willy Taveras and Homer Bailey for Albert Pujols. Sorry but the bat we are looking for isn’t out there for the price we are offering and one bat isn’t going to help this offense.

    On a side note, it really bothers me that the front office preached speed and defense and a return to fundamentals all off season and when it’s time for the lineup to built around solid defense because of injuries and other happenings, we have multiple players playing out of position. All the people around the interwebs and the radio and particulary Marty and Thom that bitched for pitching, speed and defense for the last few years, here you go, you got what you wanted. Now isn’t this exciting baseball?

  15. per14

    I agree with GRF in that the Reds have the resources to cover these positions we all know our trouble spots (CF, SS, 3B, LF). The problem is they are covering them all just adequately, or a little better. When they are isolated, I like the resources at those positions (when healthy). But, you need a big bat somewhere among the positions and the Reds don’t have it.

  16. brublejr

    So EE is hitting in AAA, does that mean he will be back after the Toronto series? I sure hope so, that could give the offense a shot in the arm. As far as Bruce, it is no unusual for a player to have a down year in his sophomore season, it has happened to plenty of guys…he will work his way through it. The only move I can see to make the team and lineup better is to try to get Jhonny Peralta. He would make the Defense better in the middle, plus give some more offensive punch. Bring him in with EE that makes the left side much much better, then you can send down some of those AAAA guys that are filling the roster right now. I would also place Taveras on waivers (I highly doubt anybody would take him) and bring up Stubbs to just see what he can do. At best he helps the team a lot, at worst he looks over matched and you send him back down after Taveras gets a couple of weeks getting back to seeing the ball better. Either way it will help the team in the short term because this offense stinks and something needs to be done.

    The schedule is very demanding over the course of the next month and if you sit on your hands, this will be a cellar team. Period! None of the moves above might not put this team over the top, but it is at the point you HAVE to try something to save the season (and I don’t mean sell the farm for a 3 month rental).

  17. jason1972

    “Redlegs just likes to show up here and tell us all how stupid we are.”

    Every message board created has spawned crotchety internet savants like MR. RedLegs. Their mission in life is to acerbically point out the egregious failings in every idea, down to the minutiae. He probably just needs to take a Gas-X before he frustrates himself with the stinking masses and their vapid comments.

  18. brublejr

    The other thing that really gets me mad is that coming out of ST, Janish made the team to cover if Gonzalez wasn’t able to go…well, twice now Alex has been out and JHJ is playing over Janish. McDonald made the team (over Gomes) out of ST so there was another CF because Willy wasn’t right to start the season…yet Dickerson has proved to be able to play center very well, and we had 24 games over McDonald being completely over matched. Meanwhile, Gomes has been brought up and hit the ball well in his opportunities and could have really helped win some games early in the year.

    What the management tells the media and us are completely different than the way things goes down. We are not stupid, we will see these things. Then Dusty gets all POed because people question him. Well, buddy, deal with it…you ARE managing in the major leagues, that IS what happens when you don’t win or play well.

    It is just very, very frustrating following this team.

  19. Mr. Redlegs

    “Redlegs just likes to show up here and tell us all how stupid we are. . . .”

    Seriously, I wouldn’t have to do that if you didn’t indict yourselves so often and so easily. To wit: “What determines when they are ready? Is there a little pop-up device like you use when cooking a turkey?”

    The things they look for are only partially related to stats. Here’s an example: Last year in the minors, Bruce kept missing the cutoff, throwing to the wrong base, using the wrong grip and having a fade on his long throws. They worked with him and worked with but he kept making the same mistakes. That’s the kind of thing that doesn’t show up in the stats.

    At the time Bailey was called up in 2007, he had significant flaws in holding runners, working out of the stretch and something as simple as paying attention to baserunners. Again, it’s a fundamental issue that is pretty huge on the bigger level.

    Each player obviously has his own things to work on. That’s why when I see a guy like Stubbs or Heisey, I’m not very interested in what they are doing well–that is expected of major-leaguers–I’m more interested in what they’re still needing to work on. If you look hard, many of the hitting things that concerned them about Bruce have come to fruition.

  20. Mr. Redlegs

    “The other thing that really gets me mad is that coming out of ST, Janish made the team to cover if Gonzalez wasn’t able to go. . .”

    A-men.

    On one hand Baker preaches the defense of Gonzalez, which had been exceptional, but when he needs to make a replacement he chose the so-called offense of Hairston over defense at the most important defensive position.

    Go figure.

  21. mike

    i’d like to add another link from around the Interwebs

    Here is a detailed breakdown of some of Bruce’s bad luck
    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/6/25/922615/jay-bruce-and-balls-in-play

    It’s heavy on the #s and BABIP.

    our friend Doug makes some good comments in the comments section so don’t skip those

    I’m no PitchFx expert (read I don’t always understand what conclusions to draw from the #s)
    The good news is that his BB rate is up and his SO rate is down
    The bad news is that his line drive rate has fallen off a cliff mostly replaced by fly balls. Which might have something to do with him having a lower BABIP.

    pitchers are also throwing him fewer fastballs and more CB and CH

  22. RiverCity Redleg

    We need to leave Toronto with a win today. We’ve got our best pitcher on the mound and need a pick me up. Go Redlegs.

  23. mike

    a little more on Volquez from Will Carroll

    Edinson Volquez (50 DXL)
    The news is bad for Volquez. Just before it was expected that he would be back up on the mound, he’s instead back down. An MRI showed swelling in the soft tissue of the forearm, and he’s been shut down for at least two weeks. That makes a return before the All-Star break impossible, and it could push it back as far as August, even before we factor in the possibility of further setbacks. About the only good news here is that this type of injury seldom requires surgery, but the issue even then is that this type of injury comes from fatigue and workload. That’s something he’s unlikely to avoid in the future, so his long-term health, even if this heals up cleanly, is going to be in question. If I had spidey-sense, I think it would be tingling. Something doesn’t feel right here, and for an already risky pitcher like Volquez, it could end up being a tipping point. Has anyone noticed that Volquez was a Verducci Effect guy?

  24. Y-City Jim

    Taveras back in the line-up tonight batting lead-off. To Dusty’s defense, there is a LHer on the mound for Toronto but still…

  25. Mr. Redlegs

    I think Voltron’s issue come more from pitching winter ball and in the WBC–against the Reds’ wishes–than the Verducci Effect.

  26. mike

    well, the extra innings pitching winter ball and WBC would just make the Verducci Effect more likely. All Verducci showed is that an increase in innings at a certain young age range is likely to cause a decrease in success.

  27. GregD

    “As some of you know, my father passed away last August. The first day back I kind of put that all on the back burner and just played baseball all the way to the end of September. ”

    “When baseball started up in February, I kind of did the same thing I did last August and threw it all on the side, threw all my emotions on the back burner and played baseball.”

    Votto OPS by month
    Sep 2007 – .907
    Apr 2008 – .880
    May 2008 – .913
    Jun 2008 – .701
    Jul 2008 – .689
    Aug 2008 – .954
    Sep 2008 – 1.123
    Apr 2009 – .979
    May 2009 – 1.274

  28. pinson343

    The Cubs and Cardinals lose again, and the Brewers are behind. This division sucks to the point that it can’t compete against AL teams.

    If the Reds win tonite, they’re only 3 and a half back and in a virtual tie with the Cubs. Then we go into Cleveland to face a slumping Indians team and 3 weak starting pitchers.

    And we should win tonite – Cueto against a lefty kid who gets devoured by RH hitters, and has given up 7 HRs in 33 innings. Let’s just hope Cueto can keep the ball in the park or at least limit the damage to solo HRs.

    I agree with Chad that this team is not as bad as it seems right now. My main complaint about the team, which has been mentioned above, is that it is weak on fundamentals. You name a fundamental – heads-up and sensible baserunning, bunting, moving a runner up (especially from third) with a productive out, no mental lapses, taking pitches when the opposing pitcher can’t find the plate, etc. and we’re bad at it.

    Why is that after so much emphasis on good fundamental baseball for so many years ?
    The Cardinals always have good fundamentals, and they’re playing with as many castoffs and utility players as we are.

    I’m not so thrilled with WJ’s moves so far, but this is on the manager and the coaches.

  29. pinson343

    I didn’t look at the analysis above of Bruce’s bad luck, but I believe it. Every time an OFer makes a diving catch of a ball that got smashed, it seems like Bruce is the hitter who got robbed.

    Having said that, his main problem is that he’s trying to pull everything. If he stays back and goes with the pitch, he has just as many HRs and his average is about 60 points higher. He has tremendous power straightaway and to left center.

    What is Jacoby telling him ?

  30. brublejr

    I put it on there again because the more you read it the worse it gets.

  31. mike

    from the article in post 33

    “Forever an optimist, Reds manager Dusty Baker is convinced center fielder Willy Taveras eventually will hit. ”

    “forever an optimist”??
    how about ignorant blind faith in something that isn’t going to happen?

    there is a difference between blind optimism and delusional

  32. preach

    No, the quote actually says: “Forever an optimist, Reds manager Dusty Baker is convinced center fielder Willy Taveras eventually will get a hit. ”

    I agree with Pinson. Our fundamentals are atrocious. I’m not just talking about the sort of lapses that occur with guys playing out of position (although we really should not be in this bind in the first place), but simple things: base running, bunting, hitting the cutoff man, etc. It’s confirmation that the whole ‘speed and defense’ mantra was nothing more than what it was initally conceived as: an attempt to get by on the cheap. Either that, or we don’t have the right personnel to manage such a team. The Cards have a pretty thin roster themselves, and do quite well in these areas. It’s taking care of the fundamentals that keep them in the hunt (along with their first baseman and Duncan)on a consistent basis.

    It has to be clear that Taveras has been dogging it to Dusty. Where’s the incentive for that to stop?

  33. preach

    Oh, and as far as us winning tonight: I would have more confidence if we were facing a Cy Young contender than a cast off pitcher. Maybe if we had faced Greinke in KC we would have won a game. Too bad Halladay is hurt.

  34. pinson343

    How about Dusty’s referring to a walk as a “non-at bat.”
    That’s all a walk is to Dusty, a non-at bat.

    Most incredibly of all, he said it in the context of how the lack of these non-at bats is piling up the at bats for WT, exaggerating the perception of his slump.

  35. preach

    Yeah, isn’t that a lead off runner’s job: to get on base? A walk accomplishes just that. It also lets the pitcher throw several pitches to let everyone else behind you see what might be coming and what the zone looks like. And since everybody knows leadoff hitters are fast CF’ers, it allows Havoc to commence.

    I can understand (not agree with)why fans don’t want the power hitters to take walks, but your leadoff guy? That hardly counts as a non-at bat. And since Willy hasn’t taken a walk in over a month, we don’t have to worry about base clogging.

  36. preach

    “We weren’t wrong in our assessment of what we needed [when we signed him.]”

    No, you weren’t. Unfortunately, you still have the same need after the signing.

  37. brublejr

    Maybe they had the wrong assessment on him, we here at Redleg Nation did not have the wrong assessment…we were all pretty much in agreement that it was a horrible signing then and now. 🙁

  38. John

    Wasn’t there big talk about how pitchers who play in the WBC are more prone to injury? Now Volquez has another setback. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s a Danny Jackson flash in the pan.

    As for Dusty’s faith in Taveras, that’s just another reason why Dusty Baker should be fired.