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Reds: Is this the end?

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Reds Baseball Heaven
The Baseball Heaven Alumni Association is selling raffle tickets for a spot in next year’s (2015) Reds fantasy camp. Tickets are $25 each or five for $100. Only 500 total tickets will be sold so the odds are pretty good. The winner’s name will be drawn at RedsFest in December. You do not need to be present to win.
Get all the details at HERE (click on “Buy Raffle Tickets” for the specifics)
Thanks and good luck!
Steve Ritchie – HOF 2013, BBHAA


Reds: Pointing to 2015?

Poll: Is the 2014 season over for the Reds?

Last night had a rather bleak feel to it, like the tone had changed for the 2014 season. Even Marty and The Cowboy spent the 8th inning discussing players and roles for the 2015 season. The Reds are now 6.5 games back of Milwaukee and 4 out in the Wild Card. There are 41 games remaining and the deck is clearly stacked against them. The Reds have dropped 17 of 26 since the All-Star break. They will get Brandon Phillips back, they might get Joey Votto back. But with Simon meeting the reality of regression and Homer Bailey headed to the disabled list, have we officially turned the page from 2014 to the offseason and 2015?

Walking the line/Protecting the investments
I've said the Reds feel like they are out of the race, despite the standings indicating they still have a pulse. Overcoming a 6 game deficit for the the division, or 4 games for the Wild Card is not impossible. It's not likely, especially considering they have to jump three teams in each race, but not impossible. Having said that, of greatest importance for the Reds is protecting their longterm investments in Joey Votto and Homer Bailey.
The Reds need to shut both players down for the season, with an eye on them being healthy for 2015. I think the Reds have to consider the same option, or at least a reduced role for Alfredo Simon. Simon will get a sizable raise in arbitration from his $1.5M this year. The Reds will be paying him in 2015, for his performance in 2014. Simon has already thrown nearly 1,000 more pitches this year, than last year, and he has likely 6-7 more starts. What do those pitches do to his 2015 performance?
As for Brandon Phillips, the Reds need him to play and play well, to hopefully create an offseason trade market. Then hope he agrees to a deal as a 10/5 player. Don't hold your breath on that.

(Getty Images)

Things heard

119 games down, 41 games to go
Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds for Reds:
Earn Wild Card: 12.5%
Win division: 3.4%
Odds making playoffs: 15.9%

At 60-61, here is the math for the Reds
To get to 85 wins:
Must go 25-16 (.609)....pace of a 99 win team.
To get to 88 wins:
Must go 28-13 (.682)....pace of a 111 win team.

NL Central
Brewers ---
Cards     2
Pirates   2.5
Reds    6.5
Wild Card
1. Cards
2. Pirates
Giants   .5
Braves   3
Reds      4
Miami    4

Reds offense since All-Star break/ML rank
29th runs: 82 in 26 games, 3.15
29th BA: .223
30th OBP: .271
29th SLG: .333
29th OPS: .604

Clock strikes midnight

(Getty Images)

It's a shame Alfredo Simon's season is going to end the way it appears to be headed. He gave this team everything he had, but he's come back to earth and likely running on fumes. Remember, Simon entered this season with a career ERA of 4.11 and just 19 career ML starts. After a 1st half that saw him go 12-3 2.70, Simon is now 0-5 5.46 since the All-Star break. After throwing 87.2 innings last year, he has made 24 starts, tossing a career high 148 innings this year (12-4 3.28). 
Pitches thrown by Simon:
2013: 1,318
2014: 2,229
I continue to say, 'where would this team be without Simon'? Who would have taken the ball for his 24 starts? It's still amazing to consider that if Bret Marshall didn't get hurt in his final Spring Training start, Marshall would have been the 5th starter and Simon would have been in the bullpen. Simon is making $1.5M this year, he will get a nice raise in arbitration this offseason.
Many question why Walt Jocketty didn't try to deal Simon as his max value.
If you knew a second half regression was coming, don't you think opposing general managers knew a second half regression was coming? If I'm another GM, why am I trading for a guy that was going to hit the wall, and then be the guy that pays him for his 1st half performance with the Reds? And, had the Reds traded Simon, who was going to take his spot in the rotation? The Reds had to ride Simon out. I worry what Simon's 2014 workload does to his arm for 2015, and what that means for his role? Is it really fair for the Reds to run him out to make 6-7 more starts and wind up in the 180 inning range?

Simon says.....Jack Armstrong?
1st half: 12-3, 2.70 ERA, 116.2 innings
2nd half:  0-5, 5.46 ERA,   31.1 innings
1st half:  11-3, 2.28 ERA, 114.2 innings
2nd half:  1-6,  5.96 ERA,   51.2 innings

Who takes Homer's spot?


(Getty Images)

Replacement options for Bailey at Louisville
The Reds will need to add a starting pitcher for Saturday's game. 
David Holmberg was the choice to pitch in the doubleheader vs the Cubs July 8. He is also the only candidate listed below that is on the 40-man roster. However, Holmberg pitched last night, leaving him unavailable for Saturday. Scott Diamond last pitched on Sunday and got knocked around. He is slated to go Friday night. Dylan Axelrod pitched on Monday, so Saturday would be his normal day to pitch. Cingrani is not ready to pitch at the ML level. Brett Marshall is getting beat up, and pitched Tuesday.
Adding Axeldord means another 40-man roster move. The Reds had to create a spot on the 40-man roster earlier this week when they added Raciel Iglesias and designated OF Ryan LaMarre for assignment. Promoting Robert Stephenson or Michael Lorenzen would mean burning an option. 

Dylan Axelrod:  29-year old RHP, not on 40-man.
Traded by White Sox to Reds on July 17.
With Bats: 2-1 3.06. 
Monday night: 7.2 IN, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 4 K.
In August: 2.16 in 16.2 IN, 9 H, 9 K, 1 BB. 
CG shutout in 1-0 LOU win August 5; 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K. 
Season: 8-8 4.09.
David Holmberg:  23-year old LHP, on 40-man.
Made one start for Reds earlier this year (2.2 IN, 7 H, 5 R, 3 HR vs Cubs). 
Wednesday night for Bats: 5.2 IN, 9 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K. 
Last 10 starts: 3.34 ERA.
Scott Diamond:  28-year old LHP, not on 40-man.
Released by Twins July 12, signed by Reds July 17. 
Last start August 10: 2.2 IN, 10 H, 5 R. 
With Bats: 1-2 4.20 (7.2 IN/0 R August 4).
Season: 5-9 5.89
Bret Marshall: 24-year old RHP, not on 40-man
Slated to be Reds 5th starter to begin season, injured last week of spring training.
Season: 0-9 8.17
August: 0-2 6.35
Tony Cingrani: 
Placed on DL June 26.
Recently resumed throwing program (shoulder strain), then was shut down again. 
Has not pitched in a game since June 19.
Robert Stephenson: 21-year old RHP, not on 40-man
2014: 5-8 4.56
Organizations top pitching prospect
August: 9.10 ERA in 8.1 IN
Last 10 starts: 2-3 6.10 ERA
Michael Lorenzen: 22-year old RHP, not on 40-man
Last pitched Sunday
2014: 4-5 2.98

Down on the Farm
Lively dominates last night, gets no decision



No man better to succeed Selig than Manfred 
BALTIMORE -- The right answer can also be the easiest one.
That was the case with Major League Baseball's task of replacing Bud Selig as Commissioner. A search committee was named in May and spent three months poring over dozens of potential candidates, but the best option was Rob Manfred, a man who sometimes feels he has spent 25 years on the telephone with Selig.

My to-do list for Rob Manfred:
*Pace of game becomes priority, umpires enforce rules on book.
*Add designated hitter to NL by 2016.
*All-Star game becomes exhibition, not tied to home field advantage.
*Return honor of being first game played each year to Cincinnati.
*Reinstate Pete Rose, conditionally. Use Rose as an ambassador for the game, visiting each team in spring and minor league teams throughout season, telling his tale/promoting the game.
*Day 1 of MLB draft becomes stand alone event, held on a Monday, with no ML games that day.
*International Draft...if players from other countries want to play MLB, they enter the draft, just like everyone else.
*All-Star game becomes Team USA vs World every four years, in association with World Baseball Classic in those years.
*PED suspensions raised to 162 games 1st offense, lifetime ban for 2nd offense.
*All draft picks can be traded.
*Catcher's rule becomes as simple as it should have been: Runner must slide, catcher can't block plate.
*Hall of Fame voting process will open to include broadcasters.
*One game Wild Card becomes best 2 of 3. 

Rose reinstatement
Danny Graves talked about Pete Rose  last night on 120 Sports


Is Dalton's chip enough to win a Super Bowl?
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports 
CINCINNATI -- As Andy Dalton settled into a seat for an interview, the bill of his baseball cap low on his head to almost cover his face, my video shooter asked him if he could tilt it up a bit to show more of his face.I get the idea there are times Dalton likes wearing his hat that way so people can't see his face -- or his recognizable red hair.
When you are the quarterback of an NFL team, hiding at times is normal. When you are a quarterback of an NFL team, and fans and media take you apart in a blood sport of sorts, can you blame him?

(Getty Images)

Guenther tops list of coordinators to watch this season
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
After spending time with new Bengals coordinator Paul Guenther, I get the impression the job of taking over isn't too big for him. Guenther, in his 12th season with the team, takes over as coordinator after serving as Zimmer's right-hand man for the past few seasons as linebackers coach.

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