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The Utility Player: Awards, Bracelets, Innings, More

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Unless you’ve become a Reds fan within the past month, one thing you’ve had to contend with in being a Reds fan is that the national spotlight usually doesn’t shine on Cincinnati. It’s the status quo. On one hand, it can be a blessing. On another, some view it as a curse. There’s another point of view where it is seen as a lack of respect. That’s why whenever any player has his name mentioned for a post-season award, the fan base is instantly energized at that mere mention.

“We finally have the respect from the national media!”

Don’t get me started on power rankings…

During the Al-Star break, I penned (well, actually, I typed) a piece about how I personally felt Todd Frazier was being slighted as the NL Rookie of the Year due to the national hype machine that, at the time, was Bryce Harper. Much has changed since then. And, no, I will not take credit. Some things simply take time.

Frazier has received mention from Jake Bullinger on SI.com and within two days, double mention from Anthony Castrovince on MLB.com (here and here).

We also have seen Aroldis Chapman receive a push for the NL Cy Young from Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports and Jayson Stark of ESPN. (For the record, Stark is one from the WWL that I like.) FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal doesn’t buy into the Chapman hype, but feels Johnny Cueto could be the guy.

Some will bring up Ryan Ludwick and the Comeback Player of the Year (mostly from the fans) as well.

We’re halfway through August. Let’s go another couple of weeks, check the numbers and then we’ll push the crap out of this.

The hate for Dusty is insane

This has nothing to do with Tyler’s post from yesterday, the #FireDusty campaign or the fact Baker has no contract after this season (although I can see an extension come down by the end of the season).

No, this hatred of Dusty is severely misplaced. For some reason when the umpires made R.A. Dickey remove the friendship bracelet (which was given to him by his daughter prior to scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro) during Wednesday night’s game, “people” assumed it was Baker that alerted crew chief Jim Joyce of the bracelet and requested Dickey remove it. Not the case.

Joyce personally told Dickey that it was not Baker. Dickey and Mets manager Terry Collins were informed that the league is cracking down on such…which in this case is absolute bull. What got Dickey was the game was once again delayed so that Joyce could deliver that message.

I can honestly understand Dickey being hacked regardless of the “snitch”, Baker or baseball. It was start #24 (25th appearance overall) and nothing had even been said to Dickey or the Mets about it. Okay, maybe the memo got lost, but this is beyond being a distraction. Dickey’s knuckler is the “distraction”, not the bracelet.

I believe there are other issues that need attention far greater than “uniform code”. Like, say, getting calls at first correct.

Concern over Bailey’s Innings

Last night on Reds Live prior to and after the Reds game, a topic that was discussed was the number of innings Homer Bailey has pitched this season. No question he was in uncharted waters in that Bailey has already pitched more innings this season that in all of his previous seasons. That is a true statement if you consider only his MLB innings. In 2009, between Louisville and Cincinnati, Bailey pitched a total of 213 innings and made 34 starts.

Yes, there is the injury history with the bulky shoulder Homer owns, but we’ve not heard word one about that this season. We also heard that Bailey has altered his delivery to compensate for that shoulder.

Should the innings be a concern? Yes and no. I say yes only because he’s never pitched this amount of innings at the MLB level. I say no because, and I will repeat, we’ve heard no news of a shoulder issue and I will add that Bailey has previously had a higher number of innings on the arm.

Catch-22? It is.

Chris Welsh pointed out that the Reds may want to give Homer an extra day to recover from a start if Bailey is tiring. This is only the second time in Bailey’s career that he will pitch more than 150 innings including 2009.

Melky and Testosterone

I’m sure you’ve heard the San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera is lost for the rest of the regular season and five more games (postseason or the beginning of 2013) due to a test that showed elevated levels of testosterone. Cabrera has admitted to the wrong doing and accepted his punishment. Has this ever re-opened the can of worms.

Of course the “source” to visit on such is that of Victor Conte, founder of BALCO. Conte stated that he believes that, as an educated guess, that “maybe as much as half of baseball” is still cheating. Conte also stated he knew the Melk-man was cheating.

Conte also threw this bone is a USA Today piece.

“I’m not going to name names,” Conte said, “but I’ve talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they’re doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball.”

— Victor Conte

I will hazard a guess that MLB does not appreciate Conte being considered as a reliable source. MLB vice president Rob Manfred believes that Conte could not know such and it is merely a guess.

Well, Conte was asked to guess and he put a number out there, and it doesn’t matter that we believe it or not. Whether we want to consider Conte credible or not is actually not the issue here. It is that Conte states he knows of the continued cheating. That should be of great concern for the suits at the MLB offices.

Then again, this could be a ploy orchestrated by Conte to get his name back out on the interwebs. Is that something we want?

Frazier for the Week

NL Rookie of the Year candidate Todd Frazier has himself quite a week, Prior to last week’s TUP, I thought Frazier was perhaps getting a little tired and needed a rest. Having Monday off has the appearance of all the ToddFather needed. Here’s what he did over the past week…

.500/.552/.846, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R

Yep. Frazier looks like he was tired. He played in all 7 games, and the Good Guys were 5-2 the past week.

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Tags: Aroldis Chapman Baseball Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker Homer Bailey Johnny Cueto Melky Cabrera MLB New York Mets NL Central R.A. Dickey San Francisco Giants Todd Frazier Victor Conte

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