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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Reds Beat Arch Rivals For Third Straight Time

The Reds jumped on Cardinals starter John Lackey in the first inning and held on for its third straight win over their arch enemies 3-2.

Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto singled before Lackey could get loose.  Todd Frazier hit into a double play and it looked like Lackey would escape but the red hot Jay Bruce doubled against the shift to score Phillips.

The Reds rolled on.  Marlon Byrd doubled off the right centerfield wall to score Bruce. Brayan Pena walked and Eugenio Suarez delivered Byrd with a single.

Reds' starter Anthony DeSclafani gave up a two-out single to Jason Heyward in the first but struck out four in two scoreless innings.

Randal Grichuk tripled over Billy Hamilton's head to start the third for the Cardinals. Matt Carpenter hit his 14th home run one out later. It was the first runs scored off Reds' pitching in 24 innings.

Phillips singled and Votto walked in the second inning but Lackey retired the last 14 batters he faced.

DeSclafani allowed one hit in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth but kept St. Louis off the scoreboard.  He finished with six innings with two runs on seven hits and a career-high nine strikeouts.

The win evened DeSclafani's record at 7-7. He beat St. Louis in two straight starts.

"I had them guessing a lot more," DeSclafani said. "I try not to do anything different. I let Brayan (Pena) call the game. I was ready to make an in-game adjustment if I had to."

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"He attacked the strike zone with good stuff," Bryan Price said. "It's more attitude than anything else. He has no fear in him. His stuff is great. When you work fast and throw strikes the defense wants to play behind you."

Billy Hamilton nearly got to Grichuk's triple and did take an extra base hit away from Jason Heyward in the eighth inning.

"The ball took off," Hamilton said. "I've always played that way, 100 percent. I will watch the replays. Anything to take my mind off missing that bunt."

Burke Badenhop took over in the seventh. Since April, Badenhop has a 1.82 ERA in 33 appearances, turning in a scoreless inning..

Seth Maness took over for Lackey in the home seventh.

Skip Schumaker led off the inning with his league leading 15th pinch hit.  Hamilton popped up an attempted sacrifice bunt.

J.J. Hoover worked a scoreless eighth to turn over the lead to Aroldis Chapman., looking for his 23rd save in 24 tries.

Chapman slammed the door with two strikeouts.

Chapman has saves in 56 straight opportunities at home.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pirates Rock Rookie As Morton Salts Reds Wounds

Rookie Keyvius Sampson had a perfect start to his Major League career, retiring the first 10 batters he faced, including seven in a row in his first start on Sunday..

Sampson pitched five innings, allowing just three hits and a walk but took the loss 3-0.

Sampson was recalled Thursday when Nate Adcock went on the disabled list and made his debut in the Reds' 15-5 win that night. He retired all three batters he faced, striking out two of them.

Sampson struck out four of the first seven batters in his first Major League start, in which he joined the Reds' "Kiddie Korp" of five rookie starters.

"I pitched Thursday and that took some of the nervousness away," Sampson said. "I was still nervous but I just told myself to keep the ball down. I have a reputation of walking guys. I wanted to attack. I walked a couple but they weren't bad walks because there was a base open. I just have to make sure when I pitch outside I get it outside. That one inning the ball came back over the plate a couple times."

Sean Rodriguez doubled as if to explain that Sampson wasn't in Kansas anymore or Louisville or his native Gainsville.  "This is the big leagues," the hit screamed.  Sampson recovered to fan Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton.  Gregroy Polanco, however, coaxed a walk, then Starling Marte doubled to score both runners.
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Neil Walker drilled a pitch to right centerfield that rolled back towards the infield. Walker stopped at third but an umpire's review took 1:34 to determine the ball hit beyond the wall and bounced back for Walker's 10th home run.

Morton gave up singles to Ivan De Jesus Jr., who was subbing for Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips in the third inning but nothing came of the mini rally.  Morton threw seven shutout innings and gave up five hits but four were singles. Morton didn't walk anyone and struck out seven.

Tempers flared in the bottom of the eighth Tony Watson drilled Phillips with one out in the eighth after Andrew McCutchen was hit in the middle of the back by Pedro Villarreal. Homeplate umpire D.J. Reyburn escorted McCutchen to first and warned Watson.

"I've been here six years," Bryan Price said. "A lot of ours guys get hit. A lot of their guys get hit. There is always something in the air. The constant is we both pitch inside. It speaks to the success of our pitching staffs. When you pitch inside guys are going to get hit. There is a lot of testosterone. It's just baseball."


The two teams have had a history of hit batters and seemingly McCutchen gets hit at least once in Cincinnati every year.

Votto led the charge off the bench and Marlon Byrd had harsh words with Joe Blanton, Sean Rodriguez and Francisco during the show of forces between the teams with both benches and bullpens joining the fray.

Byrd was hit by Blanton on Saturday night.

"I was upset last night," Byrd said. "I don't like balls coming at my head. I got hit. McCutchen got hit. I know he didn't like it. My teammate got hit and I was going out to support him."

Sean Rodriguez was ejected along with Byrd and Votto. Byrd was hit by Joe Blanton on Saturday. The two were nose to nose during the discussion.

"I have no problem with guys going out to protect their teammates," said Price even though Votto was unavailable to pinch hit. "At some point, the umpires have to take control. It's the environment we're in. There is a lot of suspicion. This was brewing it was bound to happen when you play each other 18 or 19 times a year."

Mark Melancon entered in the ninth, trying to earn his 32nd straight save. His last blown save was on April 21 against the Cubs.

Jay Bruce greeted Melancon with a double. Billy Hamilton grounded out to Melancon as a pinch hitter. Melancon hit Tucker Barnhart with a high and tight pitch and was immediately ejected by Reyburn. Pirate manager Clint Hurdle was also ejected because of the eighth inning warning.

Joakim Soria replaced Melancon and earned his first save as a Pirate.

Joey Votto Gets Rare Day Off

The dog days of August are here and the Cincinnati Reds know it because Joey Votto is getting a day off.

Votto has started 99 of the Reds' 102 games.  He's started every game since his last non-start on June 17 against Detroit. He entered that game as a pinch hit in two of those games.

The only games he has not been in the starting lineup was April 29 against Milwaukee, May 9 (1st game of DH) and June 17 against Detroit.

Votto has played complete games in 94 of the 99 starts, leaving in the ninth inning twice, the seventh inning twice. The earliest he's left a game was after a third inning ejection.

The Reds' leading hitter, has been running the bases a lot lately too.  Since the All-Star break, Votto has been on base 47 times in 16 games. The extra activity warranted a day off.

"We tried to find the best time to give him a day off," Price said. "This will give him two in a row."
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Votto is hitting .491 with a .635 on-base percentage but is 0-for-5 the last two games and he struck out three times on Saturday.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Raisel Iglesias Keelhauls Pirates

Cuba was never a safe haven for Pirates. A Cuban born starter, closer and catcher chased the Buccaneers from the banks of the Ohio River.

Iglesias, a member of the Reds' new "Kiddie Korp", punished the Pittsburgh Pirates in swashbuckling fashion 4-3.

Iglesias allowed just four hits in 6 2/3 innings, one of which was a home run by Jung Ho Kang  The 25-year old Cuban native retired nine straight batters between Kang's eighth homer and Neil Walker's two-out single in the seventh.

"I was upset at the moment that Kang hit the home run," Iglesias said. "I knew I made a mistake with the location (of the pitch). I told myself to refocus."

His mates, especially Eugenio Suarez, provided the offense.

Marlon Byrd tripled past Andrew McCutchen to open the second inning. Suarez brought him home with a long fly to centerfield.  Byrd singled with one out in the fourth and advanced on Brayan Pena's single. Suarez doubled Byrd home. Brandon Phillips opened the fifth with a single. He scored on a double by Jay Bruce, his sixth straight game with at least one RBI (11 total). Suarez drove in Bruce in the eighth after Bruce hit his second double of the game. Bruce raised his average to a season-high .260.
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"Suarez did a nice job. He got to two strikes but found a way to get the run home," Bryan Price said. "He is finding ways to be productive."

The Reds chased 14-game winner Gerritt Cole after five innings. The Reds have hung three of Cole's ffive losses on him. He started the game 0-4 lifetime against Cincinnati.

Iglesias retired the first two batters in the seventh before Walker's single. He issued his second walk of the game to Pedro Alvarez. Pinch hitter Travis Ishikawa hit a smash back through the box that Iglesias got a glove on but couldn't stop on its way to short center.  Burke Badenhop struck out pinch hitter Francisco Cervelli to end threat.

"It is a learning experience, but regardless of age, they have to learn how to pitch out of jams," Price said. "I'm not going to force feed them innings. They have to earn them but we can't keep throwing them life preservers.

"I'm happy that I went deeper in the game to save our bullpen," said Iglesias through Brayan Pena's interpretation. It was huge. It shows they trust me. When Jeff Pico came out I looked at the scoreboard to see a had over 100 pitches. I am earning trust little by little."

Aroldis Chapman entered to earn his 22nd save and seal the win for his fellow countryman after a little two-out drama.  Chapman gave up three broken bat singles in the ninth, allowing one run but struck out Starling Marte with the bases loaded.

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Keyvius Sampson Starts Sunday Against Pirates Kyle Waldrop Promoted

Keyvius (KEE vus) Sampson will be the fifth rookie to get a start for the Reds against the Pirates on Sunday.

Sampson was claimed on waivers from the San Diego Padres on January 8.  Sampson, who started the season at Double A Pensacola after spending spring training with the Reds in Arizona, made his Major League debut on Thursday with a scoreless inning of relief against the Pirates.

The 24-year old right-hander from Gainsville, Florida was a fourth round pick of the Padres in the 2009 draft out of Ocala Forest High School.

Sampson was 1-2 in eight starts for the Blue Wahoos before he was promoted to Louisville where he was 2-4 in seven starts with a 5.08 ERA.

“We targeted him as a guy who could give us depth in starting pitching," Bryan Price said. "He scuffled a little bit in Triple-A, but then he turned the corner and had a good start his last time out. This is an opportunity to feed off that. We thought it made sense coming off that good start.”

All five of the current Reds' rotation had rookie status entering the season.  Anthony DeSclafani made five starts for Miami last season and is now the veteran of the staff with 25 career starts.

“It’s a unique dynamic," Price said. "It places a lot of responsibility on the coaching staff. Instead of being able to watch a veteran on the day before you pitch, you’ve got a rookies watching rookies.”
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The Reds recalled Kyle Waldrop from Louisville to fill Mike Leake's roster spot.

Waldrop played in the Futures Game as part of All-Star week.  Waldrop also started the year in Pensacola.
He was promoted to Louisville after hitting .277 with six home runs and 31 RBI in 67 games.  In Louisville, Waldrop hit .202 with four RBI in 27 games with the Bats. Waldrop made 27 appearances at firstbase and 65 in the outfield.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Reds Open New Era With Rookie Starters Late Rally Fizzles

Miehael Lorenzen is now second on the Reds' pitching staff with 14 starts and 78 2/3 innings. Only Anthony DeSclafani has more with 20 starts and 120 innings.

Lorenzen took on the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team with the second best record in the National League. The Pirates took advantage of Lorenzen's wildness to push across twosixth inning runs for a 5-4 win.

"Lorenzen was better. He threw a lot more first-pitch strikes," Bryan Pena said. "We didn't lose that game. They won it."

The rookie gave up a dribbler for a single to leadoff hitter Gregory Polanco.  Starling Marte was hit by a pitch.  Lorenzen struck out the 2013 Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen and retired Aramis Ramirez on a fly to left.  Jung Ho Kang hit a ground rule double to center to give the Pirates a quick lead.
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Marlon Byrd, a former Pirate, singled to open the Reds' second against Jeff Locke.  Ivan De Jesus Jr., who arrived from Triple A Louisville homerless, drilled his fourth home run to left.  Lorenzen singled and Billy Hamilton walked. Brandon Phillips drove in his eighth run in two days with a single.

The Pirates chipped away. Kang doubled again leading off the fourth. Pedro Alvarez delivered with an RBI single.  McCutchen tied the game with his 15th home run in the fifth.

Kang doubled again to open the sixth.  Lorenzen was about to pitch out of the jam, retiring the next two batters. Manager Bryan Price elected to walk number eight hitter Francisco Cervelli to bring up the pitchers' spot.  Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle sent Travis Ishikawa to pinch hit. Lorenzen walked Ishikawa, then walked to the shower, as Jumbo Diaz took over.  Kang scored on a wild pitch while Polanco was working another walk. Marte singled to left.  Cervelli scored but Ishikawa was thrown out by Jason Bourgeois at the plate.

The Ishikawa at bat frustrated Lorenzen most of all.

"It was a better start. It was a step in the right direction. You have to trust the process," Lorenzen said. "It was disappointing. Ishikawa took some tough pitches. There was a high pitch that I thought he was going to swing at. He fouled off some tough pitches too."

Marlon Byrd hit his 18th home run of the season off Jared Hughes.

Joakim Soria pitched the seventh for Pittsburgh.  The right-hander acquired from the Tigers got Phillips and Bourgeois out to start the inning. Votto walked for the third time in the game. Todd Frazier singled. Marlon Byrd walked on a 3-2 pitch.  Soria fell behind Brayan Pena 3-0, then got a called strike. Pena lined the 3-1 pitch up the middle but Soria speared it to end the threat.

Pena exhibited frustration that is uncommon for the upbeat Reds' catcher. He threw up his hands after the catch and bent over with his hands on his knees.

"I've never been one to act like that," Pena said.  "I felt like this one was on me. I tried to redeem myself. I know he (Soria) is a pretty good athlete but I didn't think he would catch that. It was frustrating. I was thinking about getting that run in or maybe give us the lead. Soria was my closer in Kansas City. He will probably tease me about it because he won the battle. It is tough to take but tomorrow is another day."

J.J. Hoover, Burke Badenhop and Ryan Mattheus pitched scoreless innings to keep the Reds' hopes alive.

The Pirates sent their top closer and All-Star Mark Melancon out to earn his 33rd save and his extend his team record to 31 straight. His last blown save was April 21 against the Chicago Cubs.

Phillips opened the ninth with a single to center. Bourgeois bunted Phillips to second. Votto walked for the fourth time. Frazier grounded a single to left but Starling Marte threw Phillips out at home easily. The Reds challenged the home plate collision rule but the call was confirmed in 1:25. Byrd worked another full count. Byrd hit a sinking liner to left that Marte picked off the grass to end the game.

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Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman Stay With Reds

There was plenty of interest in Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman but Walt Jocketty didn't think the Reds were offered enough in return.

The 28-year old Bruce and  27-year old Chapman are still with the Reds entering the prime of their careers.

“There was interest in both players, but we weren’t necessarily looking to move them," Walt Jocketty said. "The guys we moved were going to be free agents at the end of the season. We were very happy with what we did. Another benchmark I use is talking to general managers of other clubs, and all of the ones I talked to felt like we got some very good talent.”

Jocketty, perhaps learning from one of the worst trades in Reds' history, kept the two stars that are still on the rise rather than make a mistake like Bill DeWitt did by trading Frank Robinson.  DeWitt was quoted,"Robinson is an old 30."  He traded Robinson in the winter of 1965. Robinson won baseball's triple crown for the Baltimore Orioles and became the only player to win the Most Valuable Player Award in both the National and American League.
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Jocketty did get four pitchers and a power hitting infielder for pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, who were both on the last year of their contracts.

"There were a couple of deals that could’ve gone either way, but in the end, we weren’t getting the value we were looking for," Jocketty said. "We felt like we did well with the Cueto and Leake trades with what we got in return and meeting the objective of them to possibly playing in the post-season. It worked out well. We were very, very happy with our return.”

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Mike Leake Goes To San Francisco Reds Pitching Gets Younger

The Reds knew they couldn't keep Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey.

They knew they couldn't sign them all.  Bailey was signed to a six-year deal last spring, becoming the only holdover from the young starting rotation that led the Reds to three playoff appearances in four seasons.

Veteran Bronson Arroyo left two years ago.  His replacements Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos were traded for younger players.
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Now Cueto and Leake become expendable and will command a lot of money next year when their contracts expire.

The Reds' pitching staff is now full of rookie starters.  Anthony DeSclafani, Josh Smith, Jon Moscot, Michael Lorenzen, David Holmberg and Raisel Iglesias have all started games for the Reds. Former starter and by former, I mean a week removed, Keyvius Sampson made his Major League debut out of the bullpen on Monday.

Less than two hours after the game, the Reds announced that Leake was traded to San Francisco for infielder Adam Duvall, a Louisville, Kentucky native who was at Triple A Sacramento, and the Giants' top pitching prospect RHP Keury Mella.

Leake left on a high note with a 9-5 record. He allowed just two runs in his last 30 innings as a Red.

Mella is 21 years old from Bonao, Dominican Republic.  He was pitching in High A at San Jose in the Giants' system. Mella is 6'2" and 200 lbs. He was 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA at San Jose in 16 starts.

Duvall was the Giants' 11th round pick in the 2010 draft out of the University of Louisville. He is 6'1", 205 lbs.  Duvall made his Major League debut in San Francisco against the Reds on June 26, 2014.  He was 1-for-4 with a home run off Leake, one of four hits Leake allowed in a 3-1 Reds' win.

Duvall played in 28 games for the Giants in 2014 and hit .192 with three home runs and five RBI in 73 at bats. He struck out 20 times. Duvall was 2-for-7 as a pinch hitter with one of his home runs and two of his RBI coming off the bench.

At Sacramento, Duvall was hitting .279 with 26 home runs and 79 RBI. He also hit 25 doubles and two triples, stole four bases and walked 25 times.  Duvall struck out 90 times in 398 at bats. He got on base at a .323 clip with a slugging percentage at .548.

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Mike Leake To Giants

The Reds dealt Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants for INF Adam Duvall and RHP Keury Mellla

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reds Put NL Central On Notice With Big Outburst

All of a sudden, the Reds have perked up when playing the top two teams in their own Central Division.

The Reds hit a trio of three-run home runs and Brandon Phillips set a career high with seven RBI on two home runs as the Reds pounded Pittsburgh with a 15-5 victory.

The Reds won a series in St. Louis, a rare accomplishment against the first place Cardinals, then came home and jumped all over the second place Pittsburgh Pirates.

"We/re playing good baseball right now," said Phillips, who was the first player in baseball history to have four hits, two home runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases in the same game. "We're trying to finish up strong. We still believe in ourselves. I'm glad you told me about being the first one to do that.  Willie Mays didn't do it? Hank Aaron? I'm really feeling myself right now."

Marlon Byrd unloaded a three-run home run off A.J. Burnett in the first inning to stake David Holmberg, making his first start of the season, to a 3-0 lead. Ivan De Jesus Jr, who is giving Todd Frazier a rest, singled. Joey Votto singled to set the table for Byrd's 17th long fly.

Holmberg was reached for a long home run by Pedro Alvarez but his new teammates weren't finished with Burnett.

Votto doubled to open the third.  Byrd sent Votto to third with a single up the middle. Jay Bruce hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run for the fifth straight game (10 total).

Billy Hamilton started trouble for Burnett in the fourth by dodging a tag try by firstbaseman Alvarez. Hamilton stole second with Brandon Phillips batting.  Burnett, who once intentionally drilled Billy the Marlin in Florida as a member of the Marlins' team, hit Hamilton squarely in the back on a pickoff attempt.  Hamilton with, empathy for Billy the Marlin, was in pain and didn't advance when the throw squirted into centerfield.  Hamilton outran the pain with his 49th steal of the year at third and trotted home on Phillips' single past a drawn-in secondbaseman.

Holmberg allowed base runners in the third, fourth and fifth. The Pirates found no treasure at home plate.  Holmberg struck out Andrew McCutchen looking with a man on in the third to end the inning. He struck out Alvarez swinging to end the fourth and coaxed a double play groundball from Starling Marte with two on to finish the fifth.

"He used his defense and commanded the strike zone," Bryan Price said. "He gave us six productive innings."

Cincinnati finished off Burnett in the fifth. Tucker Barnhart was hit by a pitch with one out. Holmberg pulled back from a bunt stance and drilled a hit-and-run single to right. It was his first Major League hit. Hamilton hit a one hopper to Alvarez, who was moved from thirdbase because he was erratic with his throws to first, who threw the ball into leftfield. Barnhart scored. The Reds had runners at second and third.

"Burnett has been tough on us in the past," Price said. "We made him throw pitches and hit with a lot of men on base. It was great that everybody contributed to the offense."

Deolis Guerra relieved Burnett and promptly surrendered Phillips' sixth home run of the year. De Jesus Jr. walked.  Votto reached base for the fourth time in the game with another walk. Bruce doubled over McCutchen's head, driving in two more runs to make it 11-1.

Holmberg gave up a run on two hits in the sixth.  Skip Schumaker delivered his league leading 14th pinch hit for Holmberg in the bottom of the inning.  Holmberg finished with six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out four.

"I just tried to treat it as just another game," said Holmberg, who had to wait his turn. "Whatever team you play for you try to just do your job. It was pretty cool to come back. Everybody greeted me. It was a lot easier to pitch with a lead too. The hit was pretty cool. I didn't get a lot of A,B's down there."

Hamilton singled for his second time in the game.  Phillips victimized Guerra again with a 390 ft. home run. It was his 11th career multi-home run game and set a new career-high with seven RBI.

Pittsburgh scored three runs off Ryan Mattheus after the first two were retired in the seventh.
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The Reds took advantage of Anthony Bastardo's wildness scoring two runs on on a hit batter and three walks.

Keyvius Sampson made his Major League debut for the Reds in the Pirates' eighth, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Sampson didn't find out until 3:00 that he was being recalled. He ran into traffic from Louisville and arrived at 6:15.

'I didn't get to play toss or anything," Sampson said. "I got dressed and went straight to the bullpen.  Words can't describe what it felt like. I wouldn't have written it up any other way. My heart was pounding. I tried to control my breathing. I was just worried about throwing my first pitch for a strike. I'm glad we had a big lead."

Jaff (pronounced Jeff) Decker became the first position player to pitch for the Pirates as he entered the game in the ninth inning.  He pitched out of a second and third no out jam to put up a scoreless inning.

Pedro Villarreal mopped up and closed shop for the Reds.

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Joe Blanton Finally Arrives In Cincinnati (With Pittsburgh) As Cueto Departs

Joe Blanton arrived in Cincinnati seven years late.

The Reds had trade discussion with the Oakland Athletics in the winter of 2007 and 2008.

Oakland reportedly was asking for either Homer Bailey or Johnny Cueto and Joey Votto.

At the time Bailey was 21 and had a 4-2 record with a 5.76 ERA in nine starts for the Reds. Cueto was 22 with no Major League experience. Votto hit .321 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 24 games with the Reds.

The Reds naturally, and thankfully balked at such a trade but Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty knew better than Reds' brass.  The following words were written by Daugherty on February 8, 2008:

Building for the future and other mistakes

Interesting how so many fans are so concerned about trading prospects for established talent. This time, it involves acquiring J. Blanton from Oakland for, apparently, Bailey/Cueto, Votto and a lesser prospect.

I do it in a second because (1) a reason you build your farm system is to have players to trade and (2) If you are a small-money club, you don't get chances to win every year. The Reds' equation this year is simple: Make Matt Belisle your #3 starter, finish 3rd or 4th, win about 80 games; trade for Blanton, win 85 or more, be in the mix all summer.

I look at prospect-hoarding like this: You save your whole life for retirement. You sacrifice when you're young, so you can take it easy when you're not. Then when you retire, you become sick or infirm and all that money you could have spent when you were young enough to enjoy it just sits there.

Blanton is a proven winner, a guy who threw 230 innings last year, gave up only 16 homers in the AL and walked only 40 hitters. Cueto is. . . is. . . we don't know. Same for Votto and Bailey.

Do you want to win after 8 years of losing? Or do you want to brag about the prospects? Spend your money now, while you can? Or hoard it, for an uncertain future that might never arrive?

The subject came up because the Pittsburgh Pirates took Daugherty's advice.  They purchased Blanton's contract from the Kansas City Royals on Thursday after the Royals designated Blanton for assignment to make room on the roster for, guess whom?  They made room for THAT Johnny Cueto.

Blanton finished that 2008 season with the Philadelphia Phillies after starting the season with the A's.  He was 9-12 with a 4.69 ERA for the two teams.

Blanton's best year was 2009 with a 12-8 campaign with the Phillies.  Blanton was in the Philadelphia rotation with Vance Worley, who ironically was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Blanton.
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The 34-year old from Bowling Green, Kentucky was 2-14 with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013 and was out of baseball for a year.

'I didn't do anything for 10 months," Blanton told a gathering of reporters. "It was a little refreshing to be honest. My plan was to never play again."

But as the with Daugherty's proposed trade, fate has cards it needs to show.

Former Reds' pitcher Zach Duke moved into Blanton's Nashville neighborhood.  Blanton agreed to play catch with Duke during the off-season.

"I remembered that I used to be pretty good at this thing," Blanton said. "My agent asked around and a couple teams were interested in me."

Blanton signed with the Royals.  Blanton made four starts among his 15 appearances with Kansas City. He was 2-2 with a 3.89 ERA.

Blanton threw 3 2/3 innings against the Pirates last Friday in a 3-1 Kansas City win, striking out five.

"We watched Joe for awhile," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We thought he was a better overall fit for us out of the bullpen (than Worley). We saw him when a starter went down in Kansas City. He got the call and put us down quick and efficiently."


Nate Adcock To Have Surgery Tuesday

The season is over for Elizabethtown, Kentucky native Nate Adcock.

Adcock pitched in Colorado on Sunday. After the game he felt something in his tricep muscle.

"My tricep locked up," Adcock said. "They treated it but come to find out that I had a complete tear. It's tough for me and my family. You can't establish yourself with a team if you're not healthy."

The Reds promoated  Keyvius (pronounced KEE vus) Sampson from Triple A Louisville.

Sampson was with the Reds in spring training but was optioned to Pensacola as the team broke camp. Sampson was a fourth round pick by the San Diego Padres in the 2009 draft. The Gainsville, Florida native will make his Major League debut at age 24 when he gets into a game. The Reds claimed him off waivers from the Padres on January 8.
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Sampson made eight appearances, seven starts, at Pensacola (1-2, 1.85 ERA). He was promoted to Louisville on June 10, where he pitched in eight games, seven starts with a 2-4 record with a 5.08 ERA. His last start was on July 24 at Indianapolis. Sampson pitched eight innings of five-hit shutout baseball.

The Reds will be able to cover multiple innings out of the Reds' bullpen.


"We thought Sampson could support us out of the bullpen," Bryan Price said. "We put him back in the starting rotation at Louisville but then we made the trade. (Johnny Cueto for three pitchers, two of whom went to Louisville as starters.) That pushed him back to a bullpen role. He threw very well for us in spring training. He has a delivery that is easy to repeat and is always on time. It is consistent enough so he can bounce back the next day after pitching in relief."

Adcock's surgery will be "Tommy John" in which a ligament from his left arm is used to repair a torn ligament on his right arm.

Adcock, 27, pitched in 13 games for the Reds. He was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 innings.

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