August 2010

Edmonds trade: They said it

Here are some quotes from inside the Reds clubhouse:

“It’s been a quick six or seven hours to go from kind of the bottom of the standings to the top in a hurry. And show up here playing the Cardinals, it’s going to be a little nuts. I’m looking forward to the challenge. The respect I have for the guys on this team after playing against them for so many years, it seems like a good group of guys that are very talented. It’s nice to be on this side for once.” — Jim Edmonds

“We thought Edmonds would add a veteran, playoff experienced guy who’s had a pretty good year with Milwaukee. He’s actually a guy I thought about signing over the winter and we didn’t. I kind of regretted the fact that we didn’t. I think he’s going to help us a number of different ways.” — Reds GM Walt Jocketty

“Anytime you add Jim Edmonds to the mix, he’s been helping teams for what, 15 years? It’s obvious he’s still able to help us. I’m excited to have him here for what he’s done and how he goes about his business. He’s an unbelievable outfielder. In his prime, he was one of the best outfielders in the game. I think he will help us tremendously. He’s a veteran guy that knows what’s going on. He’s been in this situation before. He knows how to handle it. You can always use more of that.” — Jay Bruce

“I think it will be good for Stubby and his career and Heisey and his career. The guy can still play like we just saw in Milwaukee.” — Jonny Gomes

“Any time you can add a guy that’s been in a World Series or the playoffs and has 15 years in the big leagues with such a great career like Edmonds, of course it will be a help.” — Orlando Cabrera

And from the St. Louis side:

“We had heard about it. I think Jim told a couple of our guys that it was going to happen. He’ll help them. When [Rolen] is healthy, he’s proven what kind of player he is. Jim is in a different part of his career. But like I said, I think he’ll help them.” — Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa 

*Another nugget about Edmonds. He is a .274 hitter in 118 career games against Cincinnati with 32 homers and 85 RBIs.

*One NL scout expressed surprise that the Cardinals did not try to block the Reds by putting a waiver claim on Edmonds.

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Wood optioned to Louisville

To make room for OF Jim Edmonds, the Reds optioned LHP Travis Wood to Triple-A Louisville. Obviously, Wood has pitched well and was 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA in eight starts, including a nice one Sunday in Chicago.

The Reds have off days coming up on Thursday and Monday, which means the club doesn’t need five starters right now. GM Walt Jocketty explains:

“With off days, he’s going to miss one start,” Jocketty said. He’ll go down and make one start and if all goes well, we’ll bring him back in 10 days. He’s pitched terrific and has done a great job for us. But the way the pitching is set-up for the next 10 days, he probably wasn’t going to get a start. This way he can go down and make a start and come back. That’s what we told him.”

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Initial thoughts on Edmonds

I like today’s trade by the Reds for a few reasons.

1. I think Jim Edmonds still has it. Remember that game-winning PH homer he clobbered off of Bronson Arroyo in Milwaukee on July 26? He can still be big in clutch moments.

2. Edmonds is another guy in the clubhouse that’s been there and done that. He has World Series experience. That can only help a mostly stretch-run untested group of young guys. He’s a .274 hitter with a .361 OBP in seven years worth of post-season play, mostly with St. Louis.

3. I think Chris Dickerson and his injuries made the Reds impatient. He’s a good guy with lots of talent, but this trade is about now. If they wanted him here, he would have come up a while ago. He showed he was ready.

One reason to worry about the trade:

Edmonds wasn’t able to play much during the last Reds-Brewers series because of a sore Achilles tendon. It’s nagged him much of the summer. A 40-year-old center fielder with a bad wheel is certainly a concern. Obviously, he can still hit but running is an issue.

But apparently, Edmonds is well enough to start tonight. He’s in the lineup against the Cardinals.

Phillips 4
Nix 7
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Edmonds 8
Bruce 9
Hernandez 2
Janish 6
Leake 1

*No 25-man roster move to make room for Edmonds has been revealed yet. Walt Jocketty and Edmonds are meeting with the media at 4 p.m. ET.

*And this from the Reds: Major League Baseball today made a scoring change in the bottom of the second inning of Tue’s 7-6 loss at Pit…the hit by Lastings Milledge originally ruled a double has been changed to an error on Reds 3B Scott Rolen…that scoring change adjusts
the number of earned runs charged to Reds pitchers from 6er to 0er.

 That change lowered Mike Leake’s ERA from 3.86 to 3.43 entering tonight’s start. 

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Reds acquire Edmonds

Reds GM Walt Jocketty had been coy about the club’s plans for OF Chris Dickerson when he was ready to come off of the DL. Now we know why. Dickerson was traded Monday to the Brewers for 40-year-old center fielder Jim Edmonds.

Edmonds played for Jocketty in St. Louis from 2000-07 and won a World Series in 2006. Other ex-Cardinals in the Reds fold include third baseman Scott Rolen and recently signed relievers Jason Isringhausen and Russ Springer.

In 17 seasons for five teams, Edmonds is a lifetime .285 hitter with a .376 on-base percentage.

Known for making some spectacular highlight catches in center field over the years, Edmonds missed all of 2009 and staged a comeback after signing with Milwaukee before this season. Nagging injuries have bit him often, including a sore right Achilles tendon that has limited his ability to run. It hasn’t bothered him much at the plate, since he is batting .286 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs in 73 games.

Dickerson hasn’t played for the Reds since April 30 and was out after having surgeries on his right hand and wrist. He just wrapped up a rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville, where he batted .442

(19-for-43) with three homers, seven RBIs, nine walks and six steals in 13 games.

Edmonds will wear No. 15 for the Reds.

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Postgame quote patrol

It’s quite a long drive back to Cincinnati so I will leave you with a bevy of post-game quotes from the Reds 11-4 win over the Cubs for a three-game sweep and 5-1 road trip. They are 16-games over .500 at 64-48 and have a two-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. St. Louis was rained out today.

“I felt good today. I came out and my pitches were working good. I could throw them all for strikes. The fact they came out swinging, I was able to get some early outs.” — Travis Wood, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

“Let it be known, I’m not looking for that type of day very often. I’m trying to put together professional at-bats, which is simple – swing at strikes and take balls. When you get two strikes, put the good pitch in play and if you have to foul off the nasty one, do that.” — Jonny Gomes, who drew a career-high four walks and also scored a career-best four runs.

“They have a very good team, they’re hungry to win.” — Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano

“He challenges you and changes speeds. He doesn’t throw many breaking balls — he pitches basically with a fastball changeup, but he pitches to the outside par tof the plate. we hit quite a few balls decent to right field. He pitches to the strength of their defense.” — Cubs manager Lou Piniella on Wood.

“Now it’s here and now we deal with it. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun and it’s the next to last series where we know we can take care of our own business. It will be tough. This is what championship baseball is all about.” — Dusty Baker on facing St. Louis starting Monday.

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Baker backs Cordero as closer

I asked Dusty Baker this morning if he still had confidence in Francisco Cordero and if he was nervous giving him the ball.

“I don’t get nervous handing him the ball,” Baker said. “I get nervous sometimes during the game like everybody else.”

The bottom line is Baker is firmly behind Cordero as his closer. Cordero has 30 walks in 50 1/3 innings, which is second-most in the NL among qualified relievers. His 1.55 WHIP is second-highest in the NL. He’s blown six of his 36 save chances.

“Everybody wants you to go get somebody else but who are you going to find out there that’s better?” Baker said. “The Phillies went to the World Series the last couple of years. One year Brad Lidge didn’t give up any and the next year, how many did he give up?(11 blown saves in 42 chances, 0-8 record)  They’d be ready to tar and feather Coco if that was him.

“He’s my closer and he’s what I’ve got. The White Sox are having the same problem now with Jenks. That’s a tough job to me. You can save 20 in a row and as soon as you blow one – it’s like a placekicker in football, right? He kicks 10 field goals in a row but as soon as he missed that one that lost the game, they want to run him right out of town.

“We just have to find a way to help him because he’s the best I’ve got right now.”

Cordero has been working with pitching coach Bryan Price on his mechanics and trying to cut back on the walks.


A unique lineup

Sunday lineup vs. Cubs

Heisey 8
Cairo 4
Votto 3
Gomes 7
Bruce 9
Francisco 5
Hanigan 2
Janish 6
Wood 1

*Dusty Baker said yesterday that he would have a different lineup today, and he certainly wasn’t kidding.

*Phillips has a sore left shin after fouling a ball off of his leg Saturday in the eighth inning.

*I get asked this a lot — Out of Francisco Cordero’s 30 saves this season, eight have been clean 1-2-3 innings. The last “perfect” save was on July 20. He still has converted 30 in 36 chances.

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Postgame: Reds hang on

Some quick notes from Saturday:

*Reds are a season-high 15 games over .500 with the 4-3 win.

*Dusty Baker gets credit for the quote of the day:

“How old do I look now, about 75?” Baker joked after Francisco Cordero struggled with three walks and a hit batter, causing two Cubs runs in the bottom of the ninth.

*Cordero has walked 32 batters in 50 1/3 innings this season.

*Chicago sent eight men to the plate in that final rally and never had to put a ball into play. Stunning, really.

*Nick Masset barely had time to warm up but big credit to him for putting out that fire in a tough spot. He did walk in a run but he also struck out Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd with some nice curveballs. That was Masset’s second save of the season.

*The Reds are now 11-1-1 over their past 13 series, including 6-0-1 since the All-Star break.

*Drew Stubbs was 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored.

*Laynce Nix made two key plays today. His awesome diving catch saved two runs in the bottom of the second inning. And a hustling Nix reached second base when Blake DeWitt dropped a routine pop up in the ninth. Nix was able to score on Stubbs’ RBI single.

*Edinson Volquez walked four, but pitched a solid 6 2/3 innings. He induced 12 groundball outs and also had a seven-pitch 1-2-3 fifth inning. It looked like it might be a tough day when he walked his first batter of the game, Fukudome, on four pitches.

*Brandon Phillips exited the game before the bottom of the ninth with a sore foot. He fouled a ball off of his foot in the eighth. It sounded like Phillips might not play Sunday.

Quotes —

“I just used the past few days to take a step back from everything, and clean the slate up top. I had a lot of things going on in my head. I stepped back and got to where I was earlier. I tweaked a few things working with Brook Jacoby the last few days, making sure my timing was good at the plate again. I made some good swings on some balls today.” — Drew Stubbs

“We’ve been in situations like that quite a bit. It’s a little different when the game is on the line and it’s the bottom of the ninth. You try not to think about that and just attack the hitters and try to get them out.” — Nick Masset

“I’m happy with it. This is my longest start this year. I’m getting better. I was working with Bryan [Price]. I finally got everything together now. I was feeling in a better rhythm with my mechanics. I moved nice and easy. I was more consistent today.” — Edinson Volquez

“They hit the ball well with men in scoring position. I think they’re right at the top of
the league or close to it in that department. It showed again today. We had two outs a
couple times and they got two big hits in the third base hole and we didn’t.” — Cubs manager Lou Piniella

“We have a few guys kind of hobbling right now that we want to get 100 percent before the Cardinals series. So you might see a much different lineup out there.” — Dusty Baker

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Sat lineup vs Cubs

Phillips 4
Janish 6
Votto 3
Rolen 5
Nix 7
Bruce 9
Stubbs 8
Hernandez 2
Volquez 1

*Manager Dusty Baker was asked about the decision to bring up Carlos Fisher.

“There were a couple of guys that were throwing the ball well and deserving – especially [Jared] Burton and Chapman,” Baker said. “But we needed some length. That’s the one thing we were still missing in the bullpen when we sent Fish down. We didn’t have a guy that could go three innings comfortably and a guy that could save the bullpen for the next day and the next day. That’s what he gave us when he was here before.”

*One thing that makes sense to me when the Reds bring up Chapman, they’ll want to have as much control over the conditions and envrionment as possible. Having him come to big city Chicago, dealing with a cramped visitor’s clubhouse with no buffer from the media throng and the Wrigley Field crowd isn’t as optimal as having him come up in Cincinnati. There, he can be protected more.

More later on 

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Postgame: 14 over .500

A 3-0 win over the Cubs put the 62-48 Reds a season-high 14 games over .500. They are 4-1 on the road trip, have won five of six and seven of nine. This was a nicely played game in all facets for the Reds, who got enough key hits, good pitching and terrific defense.

The good —

*It was another sterling performance by Bronson Arroyo, as he pitched seven scoreless innings with five hits, one walk and seven strikeouts for his 12th victory.

*Arroyo had a huge escape in the fifth inning. After having runners on second and third with no outs, he struck out pitcher Tom Gorzelanny, got Tyler Colvin to pop out and fanned Starlin Castro.

“Sneaking out of that fifth inning was huge,” Arroyo said. “It kind of deflates a team a little bit to get nothing out of that situation. It gave me an opportunity to pitch to the seventh with relative ease.”

*Arroyo said Gorzelanny’s quick innings and having to hit twice and run the bases took a lot out of him on a muggy afternoon.

“I didn’t get a lot of rest,” Arroyo said. “I got a pinch tired and started missing spots with my fastball. I was getting into some jams.”

*Defense was big today. Scott Rolen robbed Castro with a diving stop on a grounder in the fourth and threw him out from his knees. Jonny Gomes made a diving catch in left field to take a hit away from Geovany Soto in the seventh.

*One final defensive gem came on the last play of the game. With the tying run at the plate, Blake Dewitt hit a chopper back to the mound. Francisco Cordero made a nifty barehanded grab over his head and threw Dewitt out at first base, barely, to get his 30th save.

“That was a shortstop, Brandon Phillips type play,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I didn’t think he had a chance to get him at first base.”

*Not much offense but just enough. Ryan Hanigan hit his third homer with a two-run shot in the second inning. Brandon Phillips provided a big insurance run with his two-out RBI single in the seventh.

*For a guy who hates day games, Arroyo has thrown 13 scoreless innings vs. the Cubs in two winning starts at Wrigley Field this season.

*Rolen was 2-for-4 and is batting .483 (14-for-29) over his last eight games.

Roster move —

*During the game, the Reds revealed that IF/OF Drew Sutton was claimed off of waivers by the Indians. That leaves the 40-man roster at 39 players and opens a spot up for Chris Dickerson’s return from the 60-day DL. No word on what will happen to make room on the 25-man roster, if the Reds are ready to activate him.

*Baker said he and Walt Jocketty and the staff would likely talk about that potential move and the one possibly involving Russ Springer back at the team hotel later tonight.

More quotes —

“You look at the boxscore and you never see it show up. That kind of stuff right there, especially the first play on Castro from his knees, that changes the whole inning. I’m going through the meat of the order with Castro on first base, who is pretty fast, if he doesn’t make that play. I wound up being in a jam anyway.” — Bronson Arroyo on Scott Rolen’s defensive gems.

“We got a couple of runs today. The pitching was great and we played good defense. We were able to pull out a tight one.” — Ryan Hanigan

“We wanted some more [runs] but that was all we needed today. That was a big win for the first game of a series in Chicago.” — Dusty Baker


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