Midweek Minutia

You can’t put much stock in the spring stats, and Single-A players swing from the heels against a big leaguer, but Milton is becoming PR nightmare for the Reds. Matt Belisle has a 2.08 ERA; Bobby Livingston has a 1.23 ERA and one of them is going to start the year in Triple-A. Milton is 16-23 with 5.89 ERA in two years with the Reds and he’s getting a spot on track record.

But $9 million is a lot of eat.

John Fay

PR Nightmare is an understatement, to put it simply the Eric Milton era is quickly climbing the list of losers in the Reds all time history.

The list below shows the worst Reds starters with at least 25 games started as a Red. As we can see the top three are all in the “steroid” era and all three pre date the current regime. The Reds have long lingered on lists as one of the worst pitching team in baseball and now that Bowden has faded and O’Brien it’s time to cut all ties to the past crap that has stuck to the shoes of this franchise for the past 6 season.

In a perfect world the Nationals with their proposed staff of John Patterson, Shawn Hill, Matt Chico, Jerome Williams and likely Jason Bergmann, will come looking for help and in turn for the grayness of the Majewski deal I propose they take Milton off the Reds hands. They can pay him, they can have him

Then we can call the whole thing a wash.

ERA                        DIFF   PLAYER   LEAGUE     BR/9 IP    RSAA
Ryan Dempster             -2.17     6.39     4.21      15.50      -46
Kevin Jarvis              -2.00     6.21     4.21      14.81      -53
Eric Milton               -1.55     5.89     4.35      13.43      -47
Jay Hook                  -1.38     5.23     3.85      13.13      -55
Jose Acevedo              -1.28     5.59     4.31      13.07      -48
Herm Wehmeier             -1.25     5.25     4.00      14.59     -145
Jack Armstrong             -.94     4.61     3.68      12.88      -36
Ownie Carroll              -.92     4.84     3.92      13.81      -41
Kent Peterson              -.90     4.92     4.02      14.27      -41
Scott Scudder              -.90     4.54     3.65      13.60      -22

HITS/9 IP                  DIFF   PLAYER   LEAGUE
Kevin Jarvis              -2.11    11.18     9.06
Bill Dammann              -1.67    11.58     9.90
Jimmy Haynes              -1.51    10.41     8.90
Charlie Leibrandt         -1.48    10.26     8.79
Eric Milton               -1.46    10.62     9.16
Ryan Dempster             -1.46    10.39     8.94
Tim Pugh                  -1.43    10.45     9.01
Clarence Mitchell         -1.41     9.58     8.18
Mike LaCoss               -1.30    10.08     8.78
George Culver             -1.24     9.52     8.29

When your name crawls up the list of a franchise with over 100 years of hurlers and a franchise that is awash in not many pitching gods, you know you are bad.

Speaking of the Nationals the former Reds on the team have been having some odd numbers pour out of their spring performances

Kearns has brought his RFK game to Florida, his walk total is high (12) but his Total Base total is low (18) his line is once again top heavy in the OB% (.275/.413/.353 ) and if he continues on this path he’ll be a young Scott Hatteberg. Meanwhile Lopez is having a horrible spring at the dish (.200/.246/.273) his power has been in flux since he left Cincinnati. Earmarked as the Nationals lead off hitter it will be interesting to see how he handles that and his new position. Speaking of his old position I’ve seen former Red Jimenez manning short for the Nationals this spring, he too is top heavy in his OPS (.278/.381/.361) and as a SS he leaves one longing for more… from another player that is, Jimenez also has the pleasure of leading the Nats in errors with 5.

I sense some tension in the air over the Griffey move to RF, his absence this spring, coupled with his less then bubbly approach to the move has me believing that he is less then happy about it, the press plants some seeds but doesn’t turn over any rock concerning the situation. This worries me when set aside the Milton situation, a major portion of the Reds payroll is tied up and underperformer and a superstar that makes it hard to get a focus on how he feels as he is moved and as he ages in a game that caters to the young.

It’s reminiscent of the experience that Casey Stengel had to face when he became the manager of the Yankees. When Casey came to New York he was not afraid to mention that DiMaggio, as great as he was had lost a step in the outfield. It became a small passion with Casey to fit DiMaggio in his robust juggling players and positions scenario that was perplexing the league that was known for trotting the “best eight” out every day of the year. Apparently in 1950 a 3-9 record over a span of games caused Stengel to finally float the idea, “It was my idea, I asked him to try first base for the good of the team. It has been a sore spot all season and so has the outfield. Joe agreed.”

Note the games that DiMaggio played at each position

CAREER GAMES BY POSITION:  1B: 1  LF: 66  CF: 1638  RF: 18

The next day the headlines screamed: “DiMaggio Adequate, but Awkward at First.”

BTW: The Man planning the part of Ryan Freel in DiMaggio’s drama is Cliff Mapes

That night Hank Bauer twisted his ankle and DiMaggio ended up in the outfield, in to first slid 37 year old Johnny Mize and his 25 home runs eclipsed the anger that DiMaggio still felt over the move to first and he declined the opportunity to give it a try later on.

So as the preseason climbs closer to the top rung and the idea of Griffey playing RF and not patrolling CF I hope that little tid bits such as this from the press.

From the Post

(Griffey RF (more than one person has been surprised to see his name on this road trip)

And the Enquirer

On the switch to right: “Obviously, I knew a month ago. It didn’t really matter how I felt.”

Repeat from yesterday: “It’s not a big deal. You guys are making it a big deal.”

On the switch to right, too: “It’s been discussed behind closed doors. It’s going to stay that way.”

On playing right? “I don’t know. I’ve never done it.”

On playing center: “You never know. I might play it again.”

Read what you want into that last one. Griffey is saying all the right things now. But believe me, this was a big deal. And a lot went on behind the scenes before Narron said point-blank they were going make the switch.

Griffey by position

CAREER GAMES BY POSITION:  1B: 2  LF: 3  CF: 2034  RF: 4  DH: 65

It might be smoke, but you know the saying, where there is smoke, there are unhappy ballplayers. Anyway, the Reds have two problems in the PR field, one is obvious and stands on the little hill in the middle of the field, the other now stands in right and could either be nothing more then an evolving, older, superstar, or a man that is having issues with his baseball lifespan.

Either way how each is handles will speak volumes about this teams direction in the future, way more then worrying about who is currently playing part of the 25th man on the Reds ML roster.

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