UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after a couple of months relaxing (OK, loafing) while putting the finishing touches on my book, The Real McCoy.
The book went to the printer this week and the release date is March 1 with quite a few book signing appearances on the horizon. I will keep you apprised of the dates.
THOSE SHUDDERS AND rumblings you may have heard today probably came from the front office of the Cincinnati Reds when they heard the news. Max Scherzer signed with the Washington Nationals for seven years and $210 million the deal is deferred and he’ll get $15 million a year over the next 14 years. That’s some 401-K, isn’t it?
That set the bar for Johnny Cueto, a bar the Reds probably can’t reach with a vaulting pole. So here is what is going to happen. The Reds won’t be able to sign Cueto (his deadline is the end of spring training). If the Reds aren’t in the chase for a playoff spot they probably will trade him at the July 31 trade deadline to a contender who will either sign him or he will become a free agent after the 2015 season.
One wonders if this is something the Reds can withstand. The strongest part of the team the last two seasons was the starting rotation and they traded two of them this winter, Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon.
So who becomes the No. 4 and No 5 starters? If Tony Cingrani’s shoulder problems are over he will be No. 4? No. 5? Candidates can apply immediately to Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio.
OTHER THAN to dump salary by trading Latos and Simon for a gaggle of prospects, the only thing the Reds have done this winter is sign 37-year-old Marlon Byrd to play left field. At the last check fans aren’t lining up down the sidewalk at Great American or jamming the internet purchasing tickets for 2015.
While Byrd has hit 20 or more home runs and driven in 80 or more runs the past two seasons, he is not ‘The Savior.’ The Reds are not going to win even if Byrd reaches those numbers in a Reds uniform.
They are only going to win if:
IF JOEY VOTTO is healthy and puts up good offensive numbers, if he doesn’t take the approach of trying to take walks and put up a high on-base average. The Reds need him to drive in runs, hit home runs, score runs.
IF JAY BRUCE bounces back from his way down under season that was littered with injuries and strikeouts and a refusal to hit the ball the other way against the shift.
IF BRANDON PHILLIPS avoids injuries that have wrecked his last two seasons and he can once again become a productive offensive player
IF DEVIN MESORACO and Todd Frazier can repeat their breakout seasons of 2014, if they can actually get better.
IF BILLY HAMILTON can have a complete season like the first half of 2014, if he can keep the ball out of the air and if he can learn when and how to steal bases when they count.
IF THE BULLPEN, one of the worst in baseball last year, even with Arolids Chapman at his best, can bounce back — especially Sam LeCure and J.J. Hoover, plus a full injury-free year from Sean Marshall.
IF THE REDS CAN find the right guys to fit into the rotation with Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake.
Those are more ‘ifs’ than Rudyard Kipling ever thought about and it means everything must go right for the Reds to be competitive this year.
But things happen? As former pitcher Joaquin Andujar once said, “I’ll say this with one word, youneverknow.”
THE FIRST WEEK of June I will be inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, joining my mentor, Si Burick, the iconic sports editor of the Dayton Daily News for more than 50 years. I have een so blessed and fortunate in my life. I have two great sons (Brian and Brent), a great stepson (Chad), three fabulous grandkids (Staci, Eric, Beckett), a wonderful great grandson (Liam) and the best wife anybody could ask for (Nadine).
And my job? For more than 50 years I have been privileged because I love baseball, I love writing and I love traveling. I have been able to do all three for half a century and I got paid for it.
And my fans? So loyal and so supportive. I love you all and I’m glad to be back and can’t wait for spring training to start