November 2010

Bench, Morgan, Perez on Studio 42

From MLB Network press release:

Secaucus, NJ, November 30, 2010 – Hall of Famers and former Cincinnati Reds teammates Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez – members of the “Big Red Machine” – are featured in a new episode of MLB Network’s Studio 42 with Bob Costas on Friday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Throughout the hour-long interview filmed in Cooperstown, New York in July 2010, Bench, Morgan and Perez discuss playing for the late Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson, winning the 1975 World Series against the Boston Red Sox in seven games, where the Reds’ dynasty of the 1970’s ranks in Major League Baseball history, and if former teammate Pete Rose should be a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

As teammates from 1972-1976, Bench, Morgan and Perez won four National League West division titles and back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and 1976. Bench, the 1970 and 1972 National League MVP, played his entire 17-year career for the Reds and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. Morgan, elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, had a 22-year playing career with the Houston Astros (1963-1971 & 1980), Reds (1972-1979), San Francisco Giants (1981-1982), Philadelphia Phillies (1983) and Oakland Athletics (1984). Perez, a seven-time National League All-Star, spent his 23-year career with the Cincinnati Reds (1964-76 & 1984-1986), Montreal Expos (1977-1979), Boston Red Sox (1980-82) and Philadelphia Phillies (1983), and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. The ‘Great Eight,’ including Bench, Morgan, Perez, Rose, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr. and Cesar Geronimo had a 69-19 record as a starting lineup from 1975-1976.

Prior to Studio 42 with Bob Costas, MLB Network’s live nightly studio show during the offseason, Hot Stove, will air at 6:00 p.m. ET with updates and analysis of the moves all 30 clubs are making and planning in preparation for the upcoming season. Studio 42 with Bob Costas is presented by Travelers.
Highlights from the interview include:
“Joe Morgan was the one guy that absolutely put our team really over the top. … Then we had George Foster come in, Ken Griffey Sr. was as good a two-place hitter as there has ever been in the game, and Cesar Geronimo won four Gold Glove awards. I mean, how could you ask for a better team?”
“Sparky Anderson made sure that not only these three guys [Bench, Perez and Morgan], but everybody on the team knew that we were only a little small spoke in the wheel. We weren’t the wheel. Everybody in here is part of this wheel. And you do your job, and he didn’t care whether Johnny Bench drove in the winning run, or Pete Rose or whomever. He just said, ‘Get it done.’ And we did.”
“Sparky Anderson was so mad. He said, ‘Was this great? Was this the greatest game you’ve ever seen? What the hell are you talking about? We just lost the game. We could have won the World Series.’ But we didn’t lose that night. We didn’t lose the World Series that night.” 
“We were a complete team. We could do more than just pitch and hit. We could run the bases, we could play defense. And I’ve said it before, we were the smartest team I’ve ever been around. … Bob Howsam was the General Manager who put this team together. He said to me after we won in 1976, ‘Joe, there will never be another team like this.'”
“Sparky Anderson wanted that World Series so bad. I don’t blame him, we all did. But after winning that World Series, I found out what it meant to be part of a World Championship. Walking into that clubhouse after the game, seeing 25 players, and it didn’t matter about stats or anything else. We were all World Champions, including the sponsors, coaches, equipment men, trainers, everybody, and all the fans, millions and millions of fans.”
“If Pete Rose got help and came out and said, ‘I have a problem. I realize now that I have a problem.’ And if he fell on his knees and said, ‘My gosh, I’m sorry to all of America and all of baseball.’ I think it would have been two years, three years, five years at most”

It pays to make playoffs

Good morning…I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and had lots of good food and family time over the weekend.

A whole bunch of players received an early holiday bonus. Major League Baseball revealed the postseason shares for each team on Monday morning.

As World Champions, the Giants full postseason share was $317,631.29. Not bad at all.

For going to the NL Division Series, here is the Reds’ breakdown:

(Share of Players’ Pool: $1,647,064.93; value of each full share: $26,910.27) – The Reds awarded 48 full shares, 10.01 partial shares and 20 cash awards.

With several of the younger players making near the MLB minimum of $400,000, that’s a pretty good haul for their efforts.

From MLB, the club-by-club breakdown follows:

San Francisco Giants (Share of Players’ Pool: $19,764,779.19; value of each full share: $317,631.29) – The Giants awarded 50 full shares, 9.89 partial shares and 5 cash awards.

Texas Rangers (Share of Players’ Pool: $13,176,519.46; value of each full share: $246,279.55) – The Rangers awarded 44 full shares, 8 partial shares and 12 cash awards.

Philadelphia Phillies (Share of Players’ Pool: $6,588,259.73; value of each full share: $123,140.50) – The Phillies awarded 43 full shares, 10.42 partial shares and 1 cash award.

New York Yankees (Share of Players’ Pool: $6,588,259.73; value of each full share: $110,302.97) – The Yankees awarded 43 full shares, 15.75 partial shares and 1 cash award.

Minnesota Twins (Share of Players’ Pool: $1,647,064.93; value of each full share: $30,883.43) – The Twins awarded 42 full shares, 10.17 partial shares and 16 cash awards.

Atlanta Braves (Share of Players’ Pool: $1,647,064.93; value of each full share: $29,510.57) – The Braves awarded 48 full shares, 7.03 partial shares and 35 cash awards.

Tampa Bay Rays (Share of Players’ Pool: $1,647,064.93; value of each full share: $28,141.51) – The Rays awarded 45 full shares, 10.48 partial shares and 20 cash awards.

Cincinnati Reds (Share of Players’ Pool: $1,647,064.93; value of each full share: $26,910.27) – The Reds awarded 48 full shares, 10.01 partial shares and 20 cash awards.

Chicago White Sox (Share of Players’ Pool: $549,021.64; value of each full share: $10,885.57) – The White Sox awarded 43 full shares, 6.33 partial shares and 9 cash awards.

San Diego Padres (Share of Players’ Pool: $549,021.64; value of each full share: $10,118.84) – The Padres awarded 47 full shares, 6.75 partial shares and 1 cash award.

Oakland Athletics (Share of Players’ Pool: $549,021.64; value of each full share: $9,832.05) – The A’s awarded 43 full shares, 12.5 partial shares and 3 cash awards.

St. Louis Cardinals (Share of Players’ Pool: $549,021.64; value of each full share: $9,679.42) – The Cardinals awarded 44 full shares, 12.05 partial shares and 4 cash awards.

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No arb offers to Rhodes, Cabrera

One surprise, one went as expected.

Before the midnight deadline, the Reds did not offer arbitration to free agents Arthur Rhodes and Orlando Cabrera. I expected Rhodes, a type A free agent, to get the arbitration offer since he could have yielded draft picks as compensation by going elsewhere. Cabrera is a Type B free agent and I didn’t expect he’d get the offer.

Even though arbitration was not offered, both players are still eligible to re-sign with the Reds.

More soon on the web site.

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NL MVP = Joey Votto

The National League MVP is: Joey Votto. He received 31 of 32 first-place votes. The other vote was for second place. Votto totaled 443 points.

Albert Pujols was second with one first place vote and 279 points. Carlos Gonzalez was third with 240 points.

It’s the 12th time the NL MVP went to a Reds player and the first time since Barry Larkin in 1995. A total of 10 Reds have won it overall.

Here is the full list of Reds NL MVP winners

Ernie Lombardi…………………… 1938
Bucky Walters…………………….. 1939
Frank McCormick……………….. 1940
Frank Robinson………………….. 1961
Johnny Bench…………………….. 1970
Johnny Bench…………………….. 1972
Pete Rose………………………….. 1973
Joe Morgan………………………… 1975
Joe Morgan………………………… 1976..
George Foster……………………. 1977
Barry Larkin……………………….. 1995
Joey Votto ……………………..  2010

Scott Rolen, the Reds’ third baseman, came in 14th in balloting with 26 points.

There will be more to come on and Votto will speak to reporters on a conference call at 3 p.m. ET.

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Who is your NL MVP?

The outcome of the National League MVP vote will be revealed at 2 p.m. ET. The Reds’ Joey Votto remains the favorite and nothing I’ve read in the last few weeks has me to think the winner will be otherwise.

Unfortunately, most of the reporters aren’t allowed membership by the Baseball Writers Assocation of America because of BBWAA rules and thus, are not allowed to vote for their BBWAA-sanctioned awards. So I do not have a vote. Meanwhile, there are BBWAA members that don’t cover as many (or any) games as us that do get to vote. Go figure.

If I did have a vote — I’d go with Votto first, Albert Pujols second and Carlos Gonzalez third. If I’m not mistaken, the voters can select up to 10 players for their ballots.

Here is my story from Friday where I make the case for Votto:

My St. Louis colleague, Matthew Leach, made the case for Pujols

And’s Brian McTaggart did an overview on Votto, Pujols and Gonzalez.

If you had a vote — and could be objective — how would you fill out your ballot?

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Baker just misses MOY

Wow — was this a close vote. Bud Black of the Padres narrowly, very narrowly, edged out Dusty Baker for National League Manager of the Year honors — by a single point.

Here are the vote totals.

                                  1st   2nd 3rd Points
Bud Black,  Padres        16   7    3       104 
Dusty Baker,  Reds         13  12  2      103 

Bruce Bochy, Bobby Cox and Charlie Manuel were third, fourth and fifth respectively.



Bruce open to long term deal

As a Super 2 player eligible for a fourth year of arbitration, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce will be getting a big raise from his $440,000 salary from this past season. Bruce is looking to stick with the Reds long term beyond the one-year contracts at a time that can come via the arbitration process.

Bruce’s agent, Matt Sosnick, said on Tuesday that his client is open to signing a multi-year contract with Cincinnati.

“If Jay can get compensated fairly over his arbitration years and into his free agency years, we’re open to it,” Sosnick said. “If it makes financial sense, we’ll look at it. There is no hesitation on Jay’s part to stay in Cincinnati for as long as possible. He loves it there.”

In 148 games, Bruce batted .281 with 25 home runs, 70 RBIs and a .353 on-base percentage. Defensively, his arm netted seven assists. In his nearly three years in the big leagues, he already has 68 home runs at 23 years old.

More later on and

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Reds re-sign Hernandez

The Reds re-signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a one-year contract, worth $3 million.

Hernandez’s return wasn’t too stunning since the club indicated it was interested in having him back. He was just as interested. Talking on the phone from his home in Miami, he seemed very pleased.

“I wanted to come back,” Hernandez said. “We’ve got a great group of guys, a great pitching staff and I like to be around good people. I can trust them and they are loyal.

“Anyone wants more than one year but it is what it is. I didn’t want bounce around from team to team.  I like Cincinnati. At least I am back next year. It’s the same [money]. I’m happy with what I’ve got and back with the team. We all know each other. We know what it takes to be a winning team. We got a taste and know what we have to do to get to the next level.”

Below is the release from the Reds:

            “We wanted to provide our young pitching staff with some continuity. We felt all of our pitchers were comfortable pitching to Ramon,” Jocketty said. “We also like his production at the plate. Our catchers were very solid last year offensively.”

            Last season, Reds catchers led the National League with 168 hits and a .296 batting average while ranking second with 91 RBI and third with an on-base percentage of .375.

            Hernandez, 34, was acquired by the Reds from the Baltimore Orioles, along with cash, during the 2008 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas in exchange for IF/OF Ryan Freel, IF Justin Turner and IF Brandon Waring. In the last 2 seasons he hit .278 in 178 appearances, including .297 in 97 games last year.

            In 2010, Hernandez led the Reds with 85 starts behind the plate but also made 2 starts at first base. He hit .311 in his last 40 appearances of the season and for most of the year led all National League catchers in fielding percentage.

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Three Reds Gold Glovers

The 2010 National League Gold Glove Awards were revealed Wednesday afternoon.

The winners from the Reds are:

P Bronson Arroyo —  0 errors, 31 assists, 5 DPs (1st Gold Glove)
3B Scott Rolen —   8 errors, 28 DPs, 10.6 UZR (8th Gold Glove)
2B Brandon Phillips — 3 errors, 90 DPs, 9.7 UZR (2nd Gold Glove)

Left out were

OF Jay Bruce —  3 errors, 7 assists, 20.2 UZR
1B Joey Votto — 5 errors, 97 DPs, 1.6 UZR

Total list

C – Yadier Molina
1B – Albert Pujols
2B – Brandon Phillips
SS – Troy Tulowitzki
3B – Scott Rolen
OF – Carlos Gonzalez, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn
P – Bronson Arroyo

This is the story I wrote for ….  Below are some extra quotes that didn’t make the story.

Of all the people left off, I thought Jay Bruce was a big oversight. He’s one of those guys who had good attributes beyond the numbers — the biggest one being how many runners didn’t advance because of or in fear of his arm?

“I think you’ll have a conference call with a lot of other guys here in the future as far as Stubby in center field and possibly Joey and Jay Bruce,” Rolen said. “They play unbelievable defense across the board as well. They’re young in the league. There are a couple of other guys that have established themselves. I think you’ll be talking to those guys for a lot of years.”

One of the controversies surrounding the Gold Glove Award is the extrememly subjective process of the vote — which is done by the league’s managers and coaches. Reds skipper Dusty Baker said he doesn’t go by stats too much, especially the sabermetric advanced stats.

“Stats don’t show a lot of times if guys get to balls or not,” Baker said. “Sometimes guys get errors on balls they can get to that other guys don’t get to. When I put my ballot together, I think about fielding percentage. I think about range. I think about how many runs that person might save their ball club, about how guys in the middle of the infield turn the double play, how they throw the ball across the diamond and try to come up with the best person at that position.”

Rolen has the third-most among all players at his position behind only Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10).

“Walt was talking about six-to-eight year extension for me for unlimited dollars,” Rolen joked.

“I’m trying to give you a chance to catch up to him,” GM Walt Jocketty replied.

Said Rolen more seriously: “Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt – to be in those sentences, especially coming up in Philadelphia, I heard that name quite a bit. I think Mike Schmidt was the best third baseman to ever play the game. To be lumped with those guys obviously is a compliment.”

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New HOF chance for Concepcion?

A press release from the Baseball Hall of Fame:

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – Eight former major league players, three executives and one former manager comprise the 12-name Expansion Era ballot for the Committee to Consider Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players for Hall of Fame election, to be reviewed and voted upon at the 2010 Baseball Winter Meetings by a 16-member electorate. The results of the Expansion Era vote will be announced on December 6 at 10 a.m. ET from the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

Every candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of the 16 ballots cast will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend 2011, July 22-25 in Cooperstown, New York.

The 12 individuals who will be considered by the Expansion Era Committee in December for Hall of Fame Induction in 2011: Former players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; former manager Billy Martin; and executives Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner. Martin and Steinbrenner are deceased; all other candidates are living.

The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot features: Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith; major league executives Bill Giles (Phillies), David Glass (Royals), Andy MacPhail (Orioles) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox); and veteran media members Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian (ESPN), Ross Newhan (retired, Los Angeles Times) and Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated).

The Expansion Era ballot was devised by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) appointed Historical Overview Committee, comprised of 11 veteran members: Dave Van Dyck (Chicago Tribune); Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun); Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch); Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Moss Klein (formerly Newark Star-Ledger); Bill Madden (New York Daily News); Ken Nigro, (formerly Baltimore Sun); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Nick Peters (formerly Sacramento Bee); Tracy Ringolsby (FSN Rocky Mountain); and Mark Whicker (Orange County Register). 

The Expansion Era covers candidates among managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players whose most significant career impact was realized during the 1973-present time frame. Eligible candidates include: Players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list, and have been retired for 21 or more seasons (those whose last major league season was no later than 1989); Managers and Umpires with 10 or more years in baseball and retired for at least five years, with any candidates who are 65 years or older first-eligible six months from the date of the election following retirement; and Executives who have been retired for at least five years, with any active executives 65 or older eligible for consideration.  

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