Admit it.Ã‚Â YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been seduced.Ã‚Â Go ahead.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s okay.Ã‚Â We all have.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heady, rarefied air up here at the summit.Ã‚Â And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been done without baseballÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s version of supplemental oxygenÃ¢â‚¬â€Joey Votto.Ã‚Â 61-40.Ã‚Â This morning, even the pinstriped executives over at Bronx Bombers, Inc. are looking up at the team in flyover country, the land that time and, um, ESPN forgot.
Just a couple of weeks ago, you were begging for changes.Ã‚Â Now you want to stand pat.Ã‚Â With hours to go before the non-waiver trade deadline, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re ready to dance with the date that brought you to this dance.Ã‚Â All because of the last 10 games.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s understandable.Ã‚Â The Rampaging Reds have been nothing short of magnificent lately.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tempting to think that the season has turned a corner.Ã‚Â Paul Daugherty calls it the IT FACTOR.Ã‚Â And clearly, the Reds have IT, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t they?Ã‚Â Two weeks ago this team had holes.Ã‚Â But a couple of Coco Cordero fastballs and a weekend at Coors later, problem solved, right?Ã‚Â And JoeyMVP’s return is right around the corner.
You look up at the luxury boxes with Walt Jocketty and Co. huddled together, cell phones at the ready, and you wonder if they think the same thing, too.Ã‚Â You wonder if they think now is not the time to overpay for what might be marginal improvement.
Everybody overpays at this time of year though, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t they?Ã‚Â I mean, you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go shopping for a Tickle Me Elmo on December 24th, looking for a deal, do you?Ã‚Â And thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exactly what the July 31st trading deadline is, isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it?Ã‚Â For the most part, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a day for sellers and semi-desperate buyers.
Over the weekend, every ball at Coors Field was squared up because that ballpark doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do breaking balls.Ã‚Â In the humid, Ohio valley air, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fair guess that tonight the ball is going to start moving again.Ã‚Â So, while itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tempting to think the beat will go on, things should get a bit tougher this week.Ã‚Â The Padres arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a good team, but they can pitch a little bit.Ã‚Â And then there are the Pirates on the horizon.
The emergence of Ryan Ludwick has put the focus squarely on Drew StubbsÃ¢â‚¬â€Mr. Potential.Ã‚Â Stubbs is this teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 401k.Ã‚Â The guy whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to pay off down the road.Ã‚Â ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s making it so hard to pull the triggerÃ¢â‚¬â€that and StubbsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ place in the batting order.Ã‚Â If Drew was placed down in the batting order and Phillips was put in the leadoff spot, a problem or two might be solved.Ã‚Â But, with DustyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s edict yesterday that DatDude is DatCleanup Guy until further notice, the only way to get Stubbs out of the top of the order will be to trade him.
How crazy is that?
How nice would it be to have a starting lineup ofÃ‚Â 1.PhillipsÃ‚Â 2.FrazierÃ‚Â 3. VottoÃ‚Â Ã‚Â 4. LudwickÃ‚Â Ã‚Â 5.BruceÃ‚Â 6.HaniganÃ‚Â 7.StubbsÃ‚Â 8.Cozart?Ã‚Â Ã‚Â How nice would it be to trade a reliever for a dependable left-handed bat off the bench?Ã‚Â How nice would it be to win games by doing something other than going yard?Ã‚Â It been a home run bonanza lately and when the Reds bash, the Reds win.Ã‚Â When the playoffs come along, the bashing will get considerably tougher.Ã‚Â WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to need patient hitters.Ã‚Â Guys who can go the other way, not just go all the way (I’m looking at you, Jay Bruce).Ã‚Â Changes need to be madeÃ¢â‚¬â€internally and externallyÃ¢â‚¬â€if the Reds are going to go deeper into the post-season.
The most important phone call Walt Jocketty makes might not be to another GM, it might be the one he makes to Dusty Baker.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nice up here at the summit.Ã‚Â The view is great.Ã‚Â LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stay up here and enjoy it for a while.