Ask Hal: Price still needs to win to keep managing Reds

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. Tap into that knowledge by sending an email to

Q: With Devin Mesoraco out the first part of the season, could the Cincinnati Reds bring David Ross out of retirement?

A: Ross has to be the most popular and most publicized backup catcher in the history of the game. And he isn’t going away. He is on Dancing With the Stars and they may make a movie about his life. Betsy Ross and Diana Ross never received the attention he got, especially last year with the Cubs. They should entitle the movie ‘The Catcher in the Wry.”

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Q: If the Reds are losing, how long will ownership keep Bryan Price, who is not a manager? — RON, West Carrollton.

A: Price IS a manager. It says so right on his office door. And it is not his mandate to win. Even ownership is smart enough to know Price does not have a team capable of winning. His job is to develop and teach the team’s young, inexperienced players, especially the pitchers. Yeah, sure, and if anybody believes that they can come to my backyard and prospect for gold.

Q: Are the Reds trying to get fans to play major-league prices to see a minor-league team? — BRENT, Troy

A: We are supposed to get what we pay for, right? Well, if you are paying to see hitting, then the everyday lineup will hit and is worth major-league money. If you are paying to see pitching that’s another story and you probably won’t get much bang for your buck.

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Q: Will we see another Cubs-Indians World Series? — JOE, Kettering.

A: Sure, if you want to pop a DVD into your TV and watch “World Series, 2016.” Spoiler alert: Cubs win. As for 2017, who knows? Nobody knows. That’s why they play the games. I’m saying the Cleveland Indians beat the Washington Nationals in the World Series, only because I’m a Tribe fan and a Dusty Baker fan.

Q: Is Dave Bristol worthy of making the Reds Hall of Fame? — SCOTT, Kettering.

A: If it were up to me, yes. I love guys with baseball blood and Bristol wears baseball on his sleeves. Many believe Bristol should be credited with helping form the Big Red Machine, but he was fired after 1969 and replaced by Sparky Anderson. He was only with the Reds 3 ½ seasons and his best finish was 1969 when he was 89-73, good only for fourth place. He also served later in his career as a Reds third base coach. But, unfortunately, they’ll say his resume with the Reds wasn’t lengthy enough or successful enough.

Q: Who was your favorite Reds closer? — CARL, Kettering.

A: I love closers. They all are type A personalities, outspoken and always available after games to talk about failures. You can lump John Franco, Jeff Shaw, Danny Graves, Norm Charlton-Rob Dibble-Randy Myers (interchangeable closers) all in a pile. There were all the same guys.

Q: Why not start Arismendy Alcantara in center field instead of Billy Hamilton? — MIKE, Beavercrek.

A: Why, why, why? Alcantara played a few games over three season with the Cubs and never hit higher than .211. Yes, he had a good spring, but spring will fool you every time. He can’t play the outfield like Hamilton, he can’t run like Hamilton, he can’t steal bases like Hamilton. But if Scott Schebler starts this season the way he did last season Alcantara could get a shot at right field. Hamilton, though, is in the lineup like cement shoes.

Q: Are the Reds at the point where they lock up talent like Adam Duval or will they continue to be a feeder team for the rest of baseball? — STEVE, Northcreek, Mich.

A: The last two players the Reds locked up with long-term contracts were Devin Mesoraco and Homer Bailey. How has that worked out? And it is not good business to lock up players before they are close to free agency when you still have them under control. Let’s see if Duvall can maintain what he did last year before they pile money bags at his feet.


Q: Zack Cozart is the Reds’ most tradable player, so why is he still with the team? KEITH, Brookville.

A: It takes two (or more) teams to agree on a trade. Cozart was nearly traded to Seattle last year but the deal fell through. If the Reds can get what they want, he’ll be gone. When the Reds signed Scooter Gennett, it clanged a bell in my mostly-empty head head. They can trade Cozart and move Jose Peraza to shortstop and play Gennett at second until Dilson Herrera is healthy and ready to play second base.

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