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Their Headlines (You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me – 1st Edition)

Posted by Matt on May 31, 2007

Hopefully this is the first in a series of posts under the “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me” tag line; enjoy.

An actual headline on Reds.com yesterday:

“Reds won’t choose draftees based on need”

After clicking on the link the full headline reads:

“Reds won’t draft for big-league needs”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

It is like the Reds are are actually trying for last place. Now I realize talent drafted could take up to four or five years to reach the big leagues, so immediate needs can rarely be addressed; however, if my memory serves me correctly pitching was an issue for the Reds five years ago and if I were a betting man I’d say pitching will be in issue five years from now as well. With the Reds in the sad state of affairs that they’re in, this headline is the LAST headline a Reds fan wants to read, regardless if the article somehow justifies it.

Furthermore, the Reds Scouting Director, Chris Buckley, was quoted in the article:

“When you’re drafting out of need, you end up elevating players and pushing them. I’m against drafting for need.”

Now I understand the logic in the first statement, you don’t want to give someone with substantially less talent preferential treatment just because the Reds are in dyer need at the position at the Major League level, especially if there are other draftees still on the board with plenty of more upside. I understand this.

But being against drafting for need, did he really just say that? I thought the sole purpose of a draft WAS to address needs. Needs numbers 1-5 for the Reds? Pitching. Buckley even touches on the topic of pitching:

“There is such an attrition rate with pitching. You like to sign a lot of them in order to get a few of them.”

Keeping his philosophy on pitchers in mind, let us look at the last two first round draftees for the Cincinnati Reds, taken straight from the above article.

OF Drew Stubbs, 2006 (eighth overall): A three-year starter at the University of Texas, Stubbs signed quickly and batted .252 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 56 games with rookie-level Billings. Although he’s an exceptional athlete with speed, the organization is working with Stubbs to cut down on his strikeouts.”

ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! A .250-hitting, free swinging outfielder from the University of Texas who is prone to strike-outs. DOES THIS RING A BELL WITH ANYONE BESIDES ME?!?!

(Adam Dunn — a career .246 hitter with 70 strikeouts this season and 14 homeruns)

Hopefully whoever is helping Stubbs “cut down” on those strikeouts is the same guy that gave Adam Dunn his “new swing”……….

OF Jay Bruce, 2005 (12th overall): At advanced Class A Sarasota, the 20-year-old is among the Florida State League’s batting leaders and remains one of the organization’s top prospects with five-tool talent. In 2006, Bruce batted .291 with 16 homers and 81 RBIs for Class A Dayton and was Baseball America’s low Class A player of the year.”

Now I realize the philosophy of not drafting for big-league needs, but how can you justify drafting outfielders when we CLEARLY DO NOT NEED ANY, farm system included. In the past two seasons we’ve been forced to dump our plethora of outfielders for pitching:

  • July 13, 2006: OF Austin Kearns was traded in a deal to the Nationals to acquire, in part, pitchers Gary Majewski and Bill Bray. Majewski recorded an ERA of 8.40 in 19 games for the Reds last season and an ERA of 10.80 in 2 games this season. Bray offered a 4.23 ERA in 29 appearances out of the Bullpen for the Reds last season and has yet to lace ’em up in “the bigs” this season.
  • April 27, 2007: OF Chris Denorfia was traded in a deal to the Oakland Athletics to acquire, in part, pitcher Marcus McBeth. McBeth has not made an appearance for the Reds this season but is doing well in Triple-A Louisville — I can sleep easy at night knowing the Bats are beating up on competition in the minors, that’s all that really matters.
  • March 20, 2006: OF Wily Mo Pena was traded in a deal to the Boston RedSox to acquire pitcher Bronson Arroyo, and thankfully that has turned out quite well for the RedLegs, but it is clear that we did not need, or have room for, Pena.

So please remind me why our last two first rounders were outfielders, even when there is a known, and admitted, attrition in the number of drafted pitchers to the number of successful pitchers. Now I realize our 2004 first rounder is Homer Bailey, a pitcher who is, as “Charlie Hustle” put it, “mowing down AAA batters like there’s no tomorrow.” However, who gets slid in to the fifth slot in the starting rotation when Eric “Fly Ball” Milton lands on the disabled list? Kirk Saarloos. Where Saarloos now, after only two starts? Triple-A Louisville. Let’s take a look at Saarloos’s starting rotation numbers:

  1. May 22, 2007: 5.1-innings, 6-hits, 3-earned runs, 2-strike outs, 2-walks
  2. May 27, 2007: 0.0-innings, 5-hits, 5-earned runs, 0-strike outs, 2-walks on 40 pitches without recording an out

You’ve got to be kidding me.

I COULD DO BETTER THAN HIS LAST START, and I am assuming Homer Bailey and any incoming high school senior could as well, yet we aren’t going to draft based on need.

It sounds like the Reds organization is in a dyer need of an overhaul. Someone needs to come in and teach this ball club how to draft and play “small ball” as this is the only way the Reds are going to be successful in a “small market.” The Reds are in for a long season if they continue to pitch and play like they have in the month of May, thus all that I can say is “God speed.”

It is times like these that make me miss this woman:

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