Rounding up, Ramirez-Francisco
Reds lineup vs. Pirates
*After his three hits last night, Brandon Phillips has raised his average to .301. He could be the first Reds second baseman to finish a season at .300 or better since Bret Boone batted .318 in the strike-shortened 1994 season. Phillips could wind up with a Silver Slugger Award since he leads all NL second baseman in hitting, runs (89), hits (179), doubles (37) and OBP (.352).
Dusty Baker always talks about rounding up numbers, especially in contract years like Phillips is in.
“He’s one of the ones [rounding up],” Baker said. “Some of them are rounding down. That’s what you don’t want to do. Time is running out. You want to round up, not down. The kind of guys that round up are the fighting tough guys, you know what I mean?”
*Interesting anecdote came when the topic of Baker and the Cubs trading for Aramis Ramirez from the Pirates in 2003. Chicago was making a playoff push and Pittsburgh had tired of Ramirez after six seasons, yet he was only 25 at the time of the deal. It ended up being a disastrous move for the Pirates.
But Ramirez has imparted some of his knowledge and experience on another young third baseman — Juan Francisco.
“At that time, his fielding wasn’t that good,” Baker said of Ramirez. “He was throwing balls away. I remember Wendell Kim and Chris Speier worked with him big time on foot work and getting his body in position. He’s one of the guys that took it upon himself to talk with Francisco the same way we talked to him about how bright your future could be, what he was in that stage, really working out this winter, getting into tip-top shape and give yourself the maximum chance to prosper in your career, no matter what role, that is until the time comes you can possibly be playing every day.”
Francisco has definitely been better than expected in the field since his recall. You could tell he’s been putting in the work to get better in the field.
In nine seasons since joining Chicago, Ramirez hit .294 with 238 home runs, 805 RBIs and is a two-time All-Star.
**In original post, I forgot to mention who was in the trade: Ramirez and Kenny Lofton and cash to Cubs for a player to Matt Bruback and Jose Hernandez and later as PTBNL, Bobby Hill.
“I was begging Jim [Hendry] not to panic yet, just to take our time and get a better deal. The next thing you know, that deal just fell in our laps,” Baker said.
*The Reds are trying to avoid a Pirates three-game sweep for the first since April 16-18 of last season.
*Jay Bruce’s next home run will be No. 100 of his career. When he hits it, Bruce, 24, will become the third youngest player in franchise history to reach the milestone behind Johnny Bench and Frank Robinson.