Votto in a groove at plate

Joey Votto had a productive, but not overly blazing first half. He went through a funk in June and picked it up again in July before the All-Star break. Coming out of the break, Votto has been scorching the ball.

Including a 3-for-4 game with a home run in Wednesday’s 9-1 win in Game 1 of the doubleheader vs. the Cubs, Votto is 12-for-24 (.500) with two homers in the second half.

“Even his outs right now are hard line drives all over the field,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

What’s been helping Votto lately?

“I’ve been working with [hitting coach] Don Long to make some adjustments to what was a flawed swing,” Votto said. “I’m still kind of working through it. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction. There are some subtle adjustments to make.”

How were the flaws found?

“The ball speaks for you,” Votto replied. “The way the ball comes off the bat, timing with the pitchers, the way you feel at the plate. That does plenty for you. Then after that, you go to the video or have discussions with the right people and work from there.

“The best thing you can do is stay on it at all times. You want to be comfortable and natural in the box. But at the same time, we play over six months. All of us have aches and pains or changes in our bodies or all of a sudden, something creeps in and a month later, you realize it became something you never wanted it to be. That’s the advantage of our era now. We get to watch video. We get to chat about it and see it from a bunch of different directions and make the adjustments and hopefully produce a consistent swing.”

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Really ! Lol

Tremendous work ethic and it shows. Hope the young players seek him out.

I have always contended that Votto is the Ted Williams of our generation. It is always a privilege to watch him work during his at bats.

Trade idea: Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees
David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
The New York Yankees’ bullpen closed out another win on Wednesday, 4-3 over the Baltimore Orioles, although Andrew Miller did give up a home run in the ninth inning. The Yankees have taken the first two games of the series, and the two one-run loses dropped the Orioles from four games behind the Yankees to six back. Important wins for the Yankees, big losses for the Orioles.

Miller is now 22-for-22 in save opportunities. Dellin Betances pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two batters in an efficient eight pitches. Chasen Shreve pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. The Yankees are 50-0 when leading after eight innings, 44-2 when leading after seven and 39-2 when leading after six. That bullpen trio is the primary reason why, with a combined 1.61 ERA and .131 opponents’ batting average.

Which is why my idea is a little radical. While Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said just the other day, “There is a strong possibility that there might not be anything that makes sense for us,” a strong possibility is not the same thing as no possibility. If the Yankees do make a trade, everyone seems to suggest it should be for a starting pitcher. But the starting pitchers available — other than Cole Hamels — are all rentals: Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija, maybe Scott Kazmir and David Price.

Cashman doesn’t want to give up one of his top prospects — right fielder Aaron Judge or pitcher Luis Severino — for a rental. But maybe he’d consider this trade: Aroldis Chapman — a guy who isn’t a free agent until after the 2016 season — from the Cincinnati Reds.

Adding Aroldis Chapman to an already stellar Yankees bullpen could be what the Bombers need to make a long October run. David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports
Why add Chapman to a bullpen that is already so strong and includes Justin Wilson and Adam Warren along with the above trio? Two simple reasons. Acquiring an ace pitcher is no guarantee of anything. In fact, according to this study by Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs, of the 21 teams to acquire an ace-type pitcher since 1995, only two even reached the World Series. Neither of them won it.

The bigger reason is that the dynamics of the postseason have changed, with managers possessing quicker hooks with their starters and relying more and more on their bullpens. Yes, Madison Bumgarner was awesome last season. But even when including Bumgarner’s numbers, however, Giants starters averaged just 5⅔ innings per game in the postseason. The starters other than Bumgarner had a 5.40 ERA and averaged less than five innings per start. The Giants’ bullpen? A 2.11 ERA. Royals starters in the 2014 playoffs? Just 5⅓ innings per outing and a mediocre 4.12 ERA. Royals relievers? A 2.74 ERA.

While a strong rotation can still carry a team, the 2014 playoffs were undoubtedly a barometer of postseasons to come. Managers can work backward when devising a game plan — from closer to middle relievers to starters, figuring out when to go to the bullpen, not hoping the starter gets to the back of the pen. And the deeper the bullpen, the more flexibility and the quicker hook a manager will have. Mike Trout is up in the fifth inning with the bases loaded in a 2-2 game? Why not bring in Chapman and let him go two innings. Mike Moustakas is up in a big situation in the fourth? Bring in Shreve.

Adding Chapman to Betances and Miller gives the Yankees three guys who can all go more than three outs if needed. Talk about shortening games. It would be a dominant, electric and scary bullpen. Even with an additional starter, the Yankees’ rotation still wouldn’t be all that great. With Chapman, the bullpen can do what Kansas City’s bullpen did a year ago: Carry the team all the way to the World Series. And maybe one win further than the Royals.

If I’m Cashman, I’m not trading Judge, but I’d do Severino and a lower-level prospect for Chapman. You’re the New York Freakin’ Yankees. You don’t stand pat at the trade deadline.

As for the Reds, we know they’ll trade Cueto and probably Leake, two free agents the team will likely not re-sign. Why trade Chapman as well? Really, the Reds might as well blow things up. They’re not competing with the Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs this season with all those guys, and they’re not going to compete with them next season without Cueto and Leake. Joey Votto’s contract hasn’t even started to max out yet, Homer Bailey will make $86 million the next four seasons, and the Reds will want to try to extend Todd Frazier before he’s a free agent. So there won’t be much cash for free-agent reinforcements. Trade Chapman. Heck, trade Jay Bruce, who also has just one year before hitting free agency.

Rebuilds are never easy, but the Reds are looking up at three of the strongest organizations in baseball. If they want to attempt to compete in 2018 or 2019, they have to start adding some younger guys while they still have talent to trade. It’s not an easy sell to the fans, but the Reds have to admit the 2010-13 team that made the postseason three times in four years no longer exists. By trading Cueto, Leake, Chapman and Bruce, they can bring a nice haul of young talent back and start over.

Aroldis Chapman in pinstripes … you have to admit, it’s a fun idea.

His career is a cautionary tale as to how quickly fortunes can change in baseball, especially if you’re a pitcher. After 7-4 two years ago, he was seen as a rising star. A bum shoulder later, who knows?

Staked to a 5-0 lead in the second game last night, Cingrani gave it all away. He doesn’t have a starting pitcher’s repertoire, even as he has worked on developing other pitches. After the game, the Reds sent him back to Louisville. And this is a team highly short on quality pitching depth.

2.92 ERA
104 IP

Looks like he is a reliever. Arroyo is looking better all the time LOL.

Kazmier to Houston. And the return looks small. Not a good sign there…

A rental for the remainder of the season; $5M+…2.38 ERA, 109 IP. Should help Houston considerably. I think we are looking for Cueto to go to a bigger team; say
Yankees, Dodgers or Royals…all deep in prospects.

Dodgers dont want to trade any pieces so they say. Blue Jays and Royals may be more willing. I felt like Houston had the glut of OF that the Reds really need though. Maybe they will make another trade. That would be bold.

Actually, if we back up from a potential trade and see the outcome…this one would create an extremely formidable SP staff; Kershaw, Greinke & Cueto…yikes! However, their #1 prospect and #1 overall is a C and he is off the table; they certainly have others in the top 20. As Jocketty has said again and again, the Reds won’t pull the trigger unless it benefits the team-rebuild. Also, we can’t lose sight of the reason why we are rebuilding; to get out from underneath potential deal-breaking salary contracts, therefore we aren’t about to enter into another world of hurt. Instead, our design is prospects, prospects and more prospects; hopefully ready to go in the next year or so.

Trade deadline 192 hours.

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