Janish during the 4th inning in game against the Royals at Surprise Stadium. Does he have a bench spot secured? (Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE)

The Utility Player: Motivation, Arroyo, Position Battles


This week TUP will take on the task of trying to figure out Bronson Arroyo as well as get a grasp on the position battles. We’ll also see what’s up with the televising of spring games and a little more.

As we are all well aware of, spring training is just that, training. We may not always see the W’s, but it’s the work that is the overall goal. But what 2012 holds for the Reds could be summed up in one word: motivation.

Motivation for 2012?

I don’t believe it’s a big secret that the Good Guys need little to motivate them this season. After winning the NL Central in 2010, the Reds stumbled in 2011. The phrase heard is “not living up to expectations”. That phrase can serve as that motivational factor. Plus, seeing your new found rival take home baseball’s biggest prize can only enhance that.

Well the Reds get an early shot at the St. Louis Cardinals as the Redbirds will visit GABP April 9-11. If you’re so inclined, check out the ticket availability here.

Bronson Air-royo?

After last season ended, there were endless tweets about the Reds either trading or flat out releasing Bronson Arroyo. Not sure I’m completely on board with that due to the hefty price tag that would accompany that move. When Arroyo received his new deal prior to 2011, there was that little bit of cash attached to the deal: $15 million in deferrals. If the Reds were to drop Arroyo from the roster by either of the previously mentioned means, he would collect those dollars.

As both John and Tyler have aptly pointed out, Arroyo has struggled this spring. Since 2008, Arroyo has not exactly performed well during spring training.

YEAR W L ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2009 0 3 5.95 5 19.2 26 20 13 5 9 13 1.78
2010 1 4 5.70 6 23.2 30 20 15 3 7 11 1.56
2011 1 2 4.43 5 20.1 20 10 10 7 2 10 1.08
2012 0 1 9.00 2 5.0 8 5 5 2 3 1 2.20
TOTALS 2 10 5.67 18 68.2 84 55 43 17 21 35 1.54

For the past three regular seasons, here is what Arroyo has delivered after those dreadful spring numbers.

YEAR W L ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2009 15 13 3.84 33 220.1 214 101 94 31 65 127 1.27
2010 17 10 3.88 33 215.2 188 95 93 29 59 121 1.15
2011 9 12 5.07 32 199.0 227 119 112 46 45 108 1.37
3 YR TOTAL 41 35 4.24 98 635.0 629 315 299 106 169 356 1.26

Not outstanding by any means, but we can see that with the exception of the dreaded mono/Valley Fever episode of 2011, Arroyo does show a bit of a bounceback from poor springs. The 2010 Arroyo must appear in 2012.

But there’s that glaring number: HR allowed…especially last season.

What Position Battles?

How many real position battles are there? One: left field, and that isn’t exactly creating any buzz either. Both Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey have not had memorable springs. Heisey leads the team in whiffs (12 in 26 AB) while hitting .115. Ludwick has “earned” 7 strikeouts while hitting a beefy .190.

The real battle is for the bench spots. As I indicated in the last podcast, there are a number of candidates and, as I see it, only 2 spots.

Generally speaking, a team would like to have a corner infielder (Miguel Cairo), an extra outfielder (Heisey or Ludwick depending on your preference), an extra catcher (Devin Mesoraco or Ryan Hanigan), a middle infielder and an extra bat that can preferably play more than one position. As you see, the first three on the list are filled. That would leave the middle infielder and extra bat.

Outside of those two battles, there’s little drama surrounding the Reds camp in Goodyear.

Spring Training on TV

I like that the Reds have added the audio stream to games not on the Reds Radio Network. Every spring game can now be heard. I know the MLB Network has a handful of games slated either live or on a tape delay basis, but not everyone has access. And you do have MLB.com and MLB.tv to help with a couple of those games, but I would have liked for those that watch their games through their local FOX Sports affiliate to see more than the one game (which has already aired).

Spring training isn’t only about the starters and those that are assumed to already have a roster spot locked up. It’s also about the young guys that are coming up through the organization. Be nice to affix a face with a name.

Fantasy baseball drafts have either already been held or are in the process of being set. While I no longer play, I do have one simple piece of advice, one that may already be widely known, but those considering playing for the first time don’t make this mistake.

It’s simple. Get in a league where you know the owners will be active. Some websites support leagues where you can jump into a draft where the draft will start within a short time span. These types of draft are not auction type drafts which is preferred by the more hardcore fantasy player. If you join one of those type of leagues (no auction) instead of joining one where you know all the other owners, you will notice something and it would annoy the snot out of me.

After the first round of the draft, the majority of the other owners simply stopped drafting and utilize the “auto draft” feature. It makes the draft go quicker, but that leaves little (if any) room for draft strategy, a key factor. If you’re not going to be active, don’t play.

FWIW

Seeing both UC and X in the Big Dance should be a thrill to all Cincy area hoop fans and all teh alum from the schools. I’m sure many of you filled out at least one bracket. For the first time in at least a decade, I didn’t.

For today’s games involving UC and X, I like the Bearcats over Texas. I like Notre Dame over X. Yes, it’s chalk, but UC played extremely well in the Big East tourney while X looked flat in the A-10 final against St. Bonaventure.

They lost to a team called the Bonnies. Think about that for a minute…

——————————

Like what you’re reading? Stay up-to-date on all things Reds by following Blog Red Machine on Twitter (@blogredmachine). Also, please take a minute and “Like” our page on Facebook!

Tags: Baseball Bronson Arroyo Chris Heisey Cincinnati Reds Featured MLB Popular Ryan Ludwick Spring Training 2012