Votto dives for the ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Cesar Izturis during the 3rd inning at Great American Ball Park. The Reds defeated the Brewers 4-3. (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

The Utility Player: Frazier (Of Course), Veterans, More

The debate raged on. On the way home from the Reds game Tuesday evening, I gave in and turned on the radio to listen to the after game comments, etc. The subject of Scott Rolen, which these days creates a whale of a debate, was being discussed. Well, we know how Dusty is with his veterans, but let’s look at something here.

(photo courtesy of Jim Engbloom)

I know you’ve probably already heard these numbers, but take a moment to fully comprehend them. From the day Rolen was placed on the disabled list (May 12) to the day he was activated (June 18), Todd Frazier played in 31 games for the Redlegs. In those 31 games, Frazier’s slash was a respectable .260/.322/.529 with 6 homers and 19 RBI. The Reds record in those 31 games was 20-11.

Frazier didn’t gain a start in every one of those games, he started in 28. In those games, the Reds went 18-10, or a winning percentage of .643.

Digest this for a moment. When Rolen starts, the Reds record is 12-18. In all games where Rolen has appeared, Cincy is 17-22, making the Reds 5-4 in games where Rolen does not start. I’m no math genius, but the Reds win when Frazier starts, lose when Rolen does, but win a little more often when Rolen doesn’t.

Is this way too simplified? I can’t be the only one to see this, right?

Veteran Bats Struggle

Speaking of Rolen, he’s is struggling at the plate again. Upon his return from the DL, his slash is .241/290/.379 with a homer and 5 RBI. He’s played in 10 games and (yes, I’ll do it again) the Reds are 3-7 in those 10. He’s pulled a starting assignment in 8 of those 10. The Reds are 3-5. I’m done with that.

I’m not done on this. Rolen hasn’t reached base in his last four games (three starts). In those four games, he owns one game where he received the golden sombrero and another where he whiffed twice. Six strikeouts in two games.

So, quickly back to that deal and the debate on the radio. It was suggested that the Reds (Mr. Castellini, Walt and Dusty) pull Rolen aside and deliver the “look, we appreciate what you’ve done” speech. Thanks for helping us in 2010, but it’s time. And then the release.

Same could apply to Miguel Cairo. After is was announced that Cairo would start at second base over Wilson Valdez for the ailing birthday boy Brandon Phillips, folks were calling for Valdez to get the start. I felt he deserved it, too. He did fill-in admirably as a center fielder during the absence of Drew Stubbs. Provided a bit of offense as well.

Apparently, the Twitter love for Valdez was in bloom.

Well, three tweets may not represent “in bloom”.

Is there a need for the same speech to be delivered to Cairo as had been suggested for Rolen? Quite possibly. I can’t see letting both go though. To me that’s too much leadership leaving the clubhouse. And that could be why both still maintain a roster spot despite little production this year. For Rolen, it’s been since the first half of 2010. Not so long for Cairo.

There would definitely be a different feel around the clubhouse without one, but both?

And even if you come to the conclusion of just one, which one?

BP Scratched

A belated happy birthday to Brandon. What a way to spend your birthday…sitting on the bench. I completely see the logic in sitting him especially when the word “concussion” is being used. And BP understood that could be the case.

“To tell the truth, that word came up yesterday,” he said. “I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve never felt like this before … It’s my birthday and I’m happy.

— Brandon Phillips on potential concussion (via John Fay on Cincinnati.com).”

Just before impact (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

After Phillips appeared to have taken a shot across his nose from Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez on an attempted steal, BP was not the same. Fay states first BP was kicked in the head, then it was a knee that Ramirez delivered, but to me, it seemed more like the arm and/or elbow of Ramirez that struck Phillips across the bridge of his nose.

Actually, it doesn’t matter especially if there’s is the possibility of a concussion. BP took a shot to the head and whatever body part Ramirez used (and it did not appear to be intentional), it has left Phillips woozy and susceptible to light as was the case after Wednesday’s game. Both are signs of being concussed.

MLB has the 7-day DL designed solely for this purpose. With the litigation that is chasing the NFL in regards to concussions and player safety, teams and the league know they simply cannot fool around with this issue. And the Reds know they cannot fool around with a $60+ million investment either.

Call BP a wuss or whatever other name you want (and I have seen a few comments along those lines) in regards to him missing last night’s game, but concussions are not to be taken lightly. If you’ve never experienced a concussion, trust me, they are not fun.

Imagine being in a mental funk/haze for an extended period of time and you can only remember bits and pieces from that time. You constantly feel off-balance, and squinting your eyes in commonplace. You can never completely describe the feeling.

My NL All-Star Ballot

I had tweeted and posted on BRM’s Facebook page about All-Star Game voting. Well, here was how I personally voted for the NL.

C – Carlos Ruiz, PHI
1B – Joey Votto, CIN
2B – DatDudeBP, CIN
SS – Starlin Castro, CHC
3B – David Wright, NYM
OF – Melky Cabrera, SF; Andrew McCutchen, PIT; Carlos Gonzalez, COL

Yes, I got my 25 in for Votto and BP. Others followed suit.

We’ll find out if the push to get BP in as a starter was successful as the teams will be announced on Sunday, July 1 when TBS will air the MLB All-Star Game Selection Show at 1 PM ET. Remember, there is a possibility even if BP didn’t make the NL squad, he could be among those in the “Final Vote” which will be revealed toward the end of the one-hour show.

We Reds fans know how that all works. Votto won the final vote in 2010 with the “Vote Votto” campaign which was highly successful. We may have to pull out the campaigning strategy once more.

Tags: All-Star Voting Baseball Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds Miguel Cairo MLB Scott Rolen Todd Frazier Wilson Valdez

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