Is everyone ready for the second half of this surprising season? I am, though mostly I’m just excited to see MC Hammer tonight.
If you haven’t heard, Bronson Arroyo will start tonight, which makes me happy since Arroyo is probably my favorite Red at this point. That, of course, is the kiss of death for Arroyo, if you remember the last two Reds I burdened with that designation (one and two). On Saturday, I’m looking forward to being in the park when Edinson Volquez makes his first start in more than a year. I would love to see Volquez with one of his patented electric outings to get the Reds rolling in the second half of the season.
We declined to make too many predictions in our recent Second Half Preview on the podcast (and if you haven’t listened to that, why not?), but I’m optimistic about Cincinnati’s chances. The good guys only have a half-game lead right now, but the Cardinals aren’t exactly world-beaters. The Reds are going to be involved in this division race for the rest of the season.
Of course, Walt Jocketty really needs to keep working the phones to improve the team. They are going to need help in the bullpen (Homer Bailey?) and it would be great to see them find another bat, perhaps to play shortstop, but that looks unrealistic (oh, how I wish the Reds could’ve gotten their hands on Yunel Escobar!!!). If they make any move, it’ll likely be for an arm, either a top of the rotation starter (although the ship may have already sailed on that one, as Cliff Lee was probably the best option of those available) or a reliever. As many of you have already said, however, it makes no sense whatsoever to trade actual assets for relief pitching, unless you are getting an absolute stud back in return. Middle relievers are fungible, and you don’t trade top prospects for them.
Therefore, I’m putting everyone on notice that I will jump off a bridge when Walt Jocketty trades Yonder Alonso for some set-up guy.
One last point: all kidding aside, I’m much more comfortable with Jocketty being at the reins than I have been with a Reds GM in a long time. I still have concerns about ol’ Walt — he’s the guy who signed Orlando Cabrera and Willy Taveras and Mike Lincoln, after all — but he has also shown a steady hand with this ballclub, and the organization is making progress under him.
That said, I don’t know if we’ll see a big blockbuster deadline deal or not. The Reds certainly have some trade chips, and they have some holes to fill. We’ll see how it all shakes out.