Inside Look: Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds baseball logoThe Mets are hosting the Cincinnati Reds at Shea for the first time in 2007, and since the New York media doesn’t let much word in regarding teams west of the Meadowlands, we’re counting on the Reds’ beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Post to give us the scoop.

Don’t worry, we’ll still be getting the perspective of the Reds fan later in the day, from one of the top Cincinnati baseball blogs.

Until then, here is a Q&A with C.Trent:

1. At 36-52 and 13 games behind, it looks like it’s going to be a long second-half for the Reds. After a strong showing in 2006, was there any way to see this coming?

Last year’s team overachieved and put some expectations on this year’s team, which still, on paper is better than last year’s. This year’s team has underachieved. Just look at the Pythagorean W-L. This year it’s 41-47 — not great, but still about how good they are. Last year’s was 76-86 but the real record was 80-82. So, this year they’re underachieving by five games and last year overachieved by four. They’re somewhere around there in the middle. And, the bullpen was always tenuous — but it’s just been bad pretty much every time out, which has hurt.

2. The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that nearly the entire Reds roster is available for trade. Is that true, and if so, who are the most likely players to be dealt?

Oh, just about everyone is available — but there’s a price. I think Dunn’s contract and Griffey’s injury history will make them tougher to trade than everyone hopes. I don’t see them getting the asking price for either of those two guys. Most likely to get dealt will be some of the veterans — Scott Hatteberg, Jeff Conine, David Weathers, Mike Stanton. They have track records and could help some teams. Hatteberg in particular could be a steal for a team looking for a 1st baseman. You know any teams that need one of those?

3. The Reds have been hit with multiple injuries throughout the season, and their pitching has been less than par. That said, did Jerry Narron deserve to get the blame?

No, but does the manager ever? It’s just the typical play from the playbook. It surprised no one.

4. Wayne Krivsky was awarded much of adulation after a Reds resurgence in 2006. Does HE take the blame for the failures (so far) of 2007?

Some are putting it on him, but after so much turnover from the GM spot in the last couple of years (Krivsky in his second year, O’Brien just had two years here) that it would set the organization back to start over once again.

5. What does Krivsky — and the Reds — have to do to finish this season strong and renew the optimism for 2008? And, do you think there’s any chance of making a race of it this year, in the weak NL Central?

No. 13 games isn’t impossible, but there are five teams they’d have to jump. That’s not happening. But if they play .500 ball the rest of the way, there could be some guarded optimism for next season.

6. A bright spot: the Josh Hamilton story has been wonderful to watch. Will we get to see the phenom this weekend, or is his wrist injury going to keep him out?

We’ll see. Hamilton had a cast on Sunday and is going to get it off tomorrow (Thursday) and have it reexamined. We’ll see.

7. How much of an impact did Narron’s relationship with him have on Hamilton’s success? Will Johnny Narron be kept on board?

Johnny and Jerry Narron are baseball guys and understand the business of baseball. Johnny knows Josh needs him more than Jerry does. So Johnny keeps coming in and putting on the uniform. Johnny and Josh have become very close, and Johnny will be around in some capacity for a while. Narron’s relationship helped early, as Narron said Hamilton would get a chance to play every day in spring training and he’d stick with him even if he started 0-for-80. Well, that didn’t happen and Hamilton’s talent took over. And here we are.

8. Does Ken Griffey retire a Red? Will the Cincinnati fans miss him if he leaves?

Two very, very interesting questions. Griffey said in Seattle that he wanted to retire a Mariner. But, he could still play his last game as a Red and then officially retire as Mariner — a la Emmitt Smith and the Cardinals/Cowboys. Junior — a big Cowboys fan — even said, “like Emmitt” when he talked about retiring as a Mariner. Griffey won’t play in a Reds uniform past 2008. I think the season he’s having has rejuvenated him a little. I think he seriously thought he’d retire after next season, but now I think he may be rethinking that. As for the fans of Cincinnati? Some will really miss him and some won’t. The expectations put upon him here were just too high when he came in 2000. Anything short of seven World Series titles wasn’t going to be enough for Reds fans.

Thanks again to C. Trent for his invaluable insight. Be sure to check out his blog at the Cincinnati Post — he’s clearly one of a handful of baseball beat writers who “gets” this blog thing.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.