A Letter to Dusty Claus

Dear Dusty Claus,

At this time of year, people are constructing their wish lists for Christmas. We here at Blog Red Machine are no different than anyone else. We’re asking for a few things from your Cincinnati Reds in 2011. We’ve been good this year. Honest, we have. We aren’t asking for a whole lot. Really we aren’t.

We also think if you ask your head elf, Walt Jocketty, some of these items are possible.

Here’s Blog Red Machine’s list of Christmas wishes.


1. A great April-June for the Reds. I think if they are in contention, Jocketty will be very active trying to get the key piece to make the team better and help them advance in the playoffs. He missed on Cliff Lee last year, but will get a nice piece this year.

2. Turn back the clock on Scott Rolen and his back. If Dusty Claus can rewind the clock back to 2003, I think that would be quite a blessing for the oft-sore Rolen.

3. I wish for one of our promising young pitchers to rise up and become the dominant ace of the staff. Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Travis Wood, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake could all do it. We need a traditional #1 pitcher!


1. Institute a bonus/incentive program where players who hit the ball to the opposite field receive a “mark”, two marks if it’s a hit. Whoever has the most marks per month receives a bonus. Whether it’s a car, cash, whatever – it doesn’t matter. The result will be the same – more hits, more wins and more butts in the seats because people love to see hits.

2. Add a veteran left fielder who hits for average. I love Jonny Gomes hustle, but to be perfectly honest, when it came right down to it, every swing was meant to hit the ball 600 feet. What comes out of those swings? Extra base hits. They’re great for fans when they happen, but based on his history, last year was the best since he came up with the Rays in 2003. 511 at bats and 45 extra base hits (including 21 doubles, 3 triples and 18 homers). That’s 8.8% productive so to speak. On the other hand, he had 136 singles – just about triple the production of his extra base hits. Of course everyone has similar stats where singles are more frequent than anything else, but shouldn’t the goal be to get on base first – by any means possible?

3. Develop Aroldis Chapman into a legitimate Major League closer and let Nick Masset run the setup role. It was fairly obvious that he was not in the shape that he needed to be in to throw 3/5 days or 2-3 games in a row. Pitching at the level that is required to win the division again is going to require more than just throwing the ball hard.

4. Keep having fun. Baseball is a great game that we all love and it’s very obvious that Dusty’s love of the game passed onto his players last year. It’s easy to have fun when you’re climbing the ladder, but when you’re fighting off the charge while at the top, the stress can mount. So, easier said than done, just have fun and love the game.


1. I wish for the Reds to break 2.5 million in attendance. I know that Cincinnati is considered a small market. I know that winning is practically a cure all for this. So…

2. I wish for more wins in 2011. 91-71 was awesome last season. No one saw that coming. If the Reds win more games in 2011 than in 2010, another divisional title is a virtual guarantee…even with the Brewers getting Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

3. I wish for Francisco Cordero to have half the blown saves he had in 2010. Nine is too many.

4. I wish for Drew Stubbs to be the leadoff man with positive results. Notice I threw that last part in there. The kid has the talent. He could even be a star in the league.

5. Finally, I wish for Joey Votto to stay as well grounded as he is. Seen it so many times that a tidal wave of success can blow a guy’s mind. I doubt Votto ever gets to that point, but just in case.

Oh, and Dusty Claus, we even have a couple of Reds fans that have some wishes as well. We don’t think they are asking a lot either.

Jaime Lee Spears has a few.
1. Try to keep the main team as much in tact as possible.

2. Don’t mess up silly things.

3. Get more depth in bullpen since the Phillies are most likely going to dominate pitching next season.

4. Work on producing more offense in clutch situations .

5. A World Series!

Then there’s Scott Shrewsberry. He has a wish we think every Reds fans has.
1. I wish for no player to have a DL stint.

And we finally have our Twitter follower stormchasernick.
1. a LF that will hit .300+ with 25+ SB – asking too much?

Dusty Claus, I know this list looks really long, but we also think all these items will help the Reds not only repeat as NL Central Champs in 2011, but go after the big prize.

Blog Red Machine…and friends