The Blog Red Machine

Cincinnati Reds baseball capEarlier today, you were treated to insight on the Cincinnati Reds from Reds beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Post.

Now, you get the viewpoint of a Reds fan and blogger, Bill from RedlegNation, a popular blog covering the Redstockings.

1. After making a legitimate run for first place in 2006, the Reds stand at 36-52, 13 games behind and in last place. What the heck happened?

I think the problems started when Wayne Krivsky made what some of us term “the trade” with the Nationals. Basically, it was two everyday players (Austin Kearns & Felipe Lopez) for two relievers (Bill Bray & Gary Majewski) and the Reds bullpen didn’t get any better and the offense got worse. He extended players that he shouldn’t have (Cormier and Castro, for example) and made some bad signings (Stanton). The bullpens a mess, the rotation hasn’t performed as well as expected, etc. Conversely, the offense isn’t as bad as expected because of Hamilton and Gonzalez playing well offensively and Griffey being healthy and effective.

2. Who deserves more blame — Jerry Narron or Wayne Krivsky?

Krivsky. Narron’s not blameless. He put together some decent lineups at times, but his seemingly personal issue with Edwin Encarnacion and his constant concern about hitting Griffey and Dunn back to back didn’t help. But Krivsky put the team together. He inherited a team that was a borderline playoff team in a bad division and has turned it into one of the worst teams in baseball.

3. Thirteen games back means nothing in the NL Central — where sometimes it seems like no one wants to lead. Do the Reds have any chance to make a run of it in the second half, and if so, what has to change?

No chance and they shouldn’t even be thinking about it.

They should be looking to be sellers, not buyers. Kyle Lohse, Scott Hatteburg, Ryan Freel possibly Ken Griffey Jr and any other older or overpriced player should be looked to be traded for players that will help this team in the future. The problem is they’re trying to trade Adam Dunn (terrible idea, IMO) and I think they’ll also unload Edwin Encarnacion either now or in the off season.

Don’t be surprised if Adam Dunn is traded for a closer. (ugh)

4. Josh Hamilton has had a remarkable first half. Is he the real deal, and the face of the Reds for many years to come?

I was a huge skeptic, but he really appears to be the real deal. He doesn’t seem to have many bad ABs and doesn’t have long dry periods. He’s getting on base more than I expected he would and is a very, very good defensive player with a huge arm. I don’t know about “the face of the Reds”…we’ll have to see.

5. Speaking of the real deal, give us the scoop on the recently demoted Homer Bailey. Will he be back this year? What’s keeping him from sticking with the big league club?

I was at the game Saturday night when he threw against the Diamondbacks and he looked good. He threw too many pitches, but hitters are going to make him throw pitches until he shows he can get ahead of the hitters. He went 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 2 hits and only walked 2, striking out 5.

I don’t think anyone expected him to come up and be “lights out”, very few young guys are. He’s only 21. I’d seen him numerous times in 2005 when he was in A ball, he’s come a LONG way. He’ll be fine.

I’m not sure what the thinking was with sending him back to Louisville, the Reds said it was to keep him on a regular pitching schedule. If so, he should be back up in about a week. We’ll see.

From what I’ve read and heard the key for him is his change and curve improving and getting in front of the hitters.

6. Young lefthander Bill Bray was one of the unknown keys to last year’s trade with the Nationals. How do you feel about his upside, and does he project to be closer at some point in the future?

We heard about all this before he came over…but he was a disappointment last season and has been hurt all this season. He’s presently still rehabbing at AAA. IMO, until he shows otherwise, he’s an example of Krivsky getting duped by Jim Bowden.

9. Edwin Encarnacion: do you see him as someone to hang onto, or an eternal enigma?

I like EE. I think he’d be fine if Reds management left him alone. The kid is only 24 and he’s developing. I’m not saying he’s going to be Mike Schmidt, but he’s a good prospect, quit messing with his head.

10. Ninth inning, tie game, two outs, man on third. What Red batter do you want to see at the plate?

Tony Perez, but I’m showing my age. Now? Junior, I guess.

Thanks again to Bill for giving us the inside scoop on the Cincinnati Reds. You can read more from Bill and several other excellent Reds bloggers at Redlegnation.

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.