Another Borek Morning: Talking Cincinnati Reds Baseball 5/17/2014


Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fear is a powerful motivator. If you’re like me, you woke up yesterday morning with the news coming across the wire of the Cincinnati Reds pride and joy potentially being done for the season due to yet another knee surgery. Immediately, despair sets in.

Reds fans everywhere have complained about injuries thus far in 2014, and rightfully so, but losing Joey Votto for the season would have spelled the end before Memorial Day. While there are over 120 games remaining, this current club is at best–a .500 team without Votto in the lineup, Wins Above Replacement be damned.

As has been the case in recent memory, the national media blew the situation out of proportion. Rather than getting the story right, many wanted to be the first to report that Votto was cooked and the Reds season was under siege. This type of reporting is both heinous and despicable.

The day progressed on and Votto slowly was being downgraded on the injury scale by the ever-in-flux media, who never really had a gauge until Bryan Price opened his mouth and told everyone what had occurred. Votto was going to be fine; it is just a quad contusion/strain. Deep breaths, people.

* * *

Should Joey be headed towards the disabled list, I am infatuated with the idea of calling up Donald Lutz. If for no other reason, adding a gigantic man that happens to swing left-handed will be a boost as the club has suddenly become very right-handed in the box.

Also, a platoon of sorts between Brayan Pena and Neftali Soto seems likely. If it is determined Votto can return after just a 15-day stint, this would be the route the club would take if I had to guess. Anything beyond that, they would look for an everyday replacement, a la Lutz.

* * *

Alfredo Simon is some kind of pitcher. So much so, that it almost feels wrong to bury him back in long relief whenever Mat Latos comes back from injury.

There has to be another club in baseball (Baltimore, Colorado, Texas?) looking for a legitimate starter as they make their playoff push this summer, and barring Walt Jocketty and Co. setting the price at something astronomical, Simon should be available.

The mantra of small to mid-market teams like the Reds is to sell their players when they are at their peak value. No one can doubt that Simon is one phenomenal pitcher at the moment, and were it not for his contributions, the Reds would be in a shaky predicament, but there is some tremendous value in the big fellas right arm.

* * *

While many claim that the All-Star Game in July is a meaningless exhibition, the honor of being selected to play for the team is a less than dubious one. When inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, players have listed how many times they were an All-Star throughout their career.

Devin Mesoraco could hit over .450 heading into July (he just may at this point) and he still has virtually no shot of making the National League’s squad. Either Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants or Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals is going to win the automatic bid as the starter via the fan vote, and the other is going to be selected purely on reputation by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.

While on the topic of Mesoraco, I am not quite sure if the fact that he is second on the club in RBIs is a positive in the light that he has been inhumanely hot to begin the season, or a dreadful stat to show just how horrendous the rest of the Reds offense has been.

* * *

Tony Cingrani will make the start on Sunday against Cliff Lee. Shutting down Cingrani at the first sign of trouble was an extremely wise move by the Reds front office as they managed to limit Cingrani’s innings early on in the season, rather than having to shut him down late when they may need him.

With the copious amount of injuries to pitchers occurring this year, a close eye must be kept on Cingrani, the lone left-hander in the rotation.

* * *

In case you have not seen, Cole Hamels owns the Reds. Somewhere in his multi-million dollar house he probably has the actually deed to the franchise—that is how dominant the southpaw has been.

Over his 10 starts, he holds a 7-0 record with a 1.70 ERA and a WHIP that begins with a zero. Combine that with the Reds’ two best hitters sitting on the bench and things may not be awfully pretty on Saturday night.

Then again, they play the games for a reason. Hopefully, by the time the first pitch takes place tonight, no other causalities will have fallen victim to the Reds’ injury plague.