Ask Hal: Is it time for Reds to offer Castillo a contract extension?

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Q: Why should Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell be allowed to attend a post-game press conference after being ejected from the game? DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.

A: He was ejected from the game, not from the media interview room. And if you believe a manager who is ejected from a game still doesn’t manage the game from his clubhouse office via cell phone or human messenger, then you are as naive as a newborn lemming.

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Q: With the sky-is-the-limit potential of Luis Castillo will the Reds give him a Homer Bailey type contract offer to keep him? — JEFF, Troy.

A: Fortunately for the Reds they have five years to think about it. Castillo is not eligible for free agency until 2024. And by then, if Castillo continues what he is doing, it will cost the Reds a lot more than the $105 million they gave Homer Bailey. Fans despise Bailey because he got hurt, had three surgeries, and was awful his last year with the Reds when he was still recovering. So far with Kansas City, a team worse than the Reds, Bailey has won four games, more than anybody on the Reds except Castillo. If most of the Reds young players and prospects come through, they should sign Castillo as the anchor of what could be a very good team.

Q: Luis Castillo has been nearly unhittable so far this year, so which former Reds player that you covered does he remind you of? — GLENN, Siesta Key, Fla.

A: That’s an easy one. He is the mirror image of former Reds pitcher Mario Soto. Amazingly, they both are from Bani, Dominican Republic, although Castillo says he never heard of Soto until somebody asked him about Soto when Castillo was in the minors. Both feature two pitches, sizzling fastball and tantalizing change-ups that nobody could hit. And both had the misfortune to pitch for bad teams. Soto had a 14-13 record in 34 starts for the 1982 Reds, the only Reds team to lose more than 100 games (101).

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Q: With all the unrest in Venezuela, how is Dave Concepcion doing? STEVE, Piqua.

A: Last I heard Concepcion is a very successful rancher (Brahma bulls) and a trucking company owner in a suburb of Maracay, his hometown in Venezuela. With all the turmoil, Eugenio Suarez and Jose Peraza, both native Venezuelans, are reluctant to talk politics, fearing retribution and punishment to their relatives still in Venezuela.

Q: My wife and I are vacationing in Los Cabos and I wondered if the Reds have had any players recently from Mexico? — RON, Vandalia.

A: Have a Dos Equis for me. Most memorable recent players from Mexico: Slicking-fielding shortstop Juan Castro, who had hands as soft as Charmin and always wore a Mexican National team soccer jersey; pitcher Dennys Reyes, whom manager Jack McKeon always called ‘Big Sweat’ because he couldn’t remember his name, pitcher Elmer Dessen, now a roving pitching instructor for the Reds, and Daniel Ray Herrera, a guy so small that the first day he reported to the Reds Ken Griffey Jr. said, “Hey, didn’t I just see you riding in the Preakness?”

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Q: What happens with Scooter Gennett when he finally comes off the injured list? — MARK, Kettering.

A: He reclaims his property at second base. The Reds desperately need a consistent bat in the lineup. Say what you want about Derek Dietrich and some of his big hits and his 10 home runs, but he has only 10 other hits and is hitting .233. Jose Peraza? He is hitting only .207, but does have five more hits than Dietrich. They need Scooter and they need him bad, but he still isn’t doing anything with a baseball and probably won’t be back until sometime in June. By then the Reds might not need a Scooter to catch up, they’ll need a motorcycle.

Q: Manager David Bell’s record speaks for itself, so do you have any feel that management feels any buyer’s remorse and is he feeling the heat? — JACK, Vandalia.

A: They wanted an analytics guy and if you noticed Bell is very insistent toward analytics with the shifts and the pitching matchups and the lineups. He is doing exactly what they want him to do so there should be no remorse. If he is feeling any heat I don’t notice him shedding his jacket. Nearly every day he says, “I like what I see.” He likes the hustle, he likes the team’s camaraderie, he likes the team’s work ethic. But he certainly can’t like the won-loss record.

Q: Which is your favorite Reds throwback uniform and why? — AMANDA, Dayton.

A: I loved the blue 1911 uniforms and so did most of the players. Why? They were so different and that’s also why the players loved them. What nobody could figure out, though, is why the 1911 team, the Cincinnati Reds, wore blue uniforms. They weren’t the Cincinnati Blues. And why did they wear white socks. They weren’t the Cincinnati White Sox.


Q: Based on what you have seen so far, where do you think the Reds will be at the end of the season? — JUDY, Centerville.

A: If I knew that I’d be in Las Vegas buying a Ferrari for my wife, Nadine, to drive me around. Based on what I’ve seen, and everybody has seen, so far it is great pitching, no hitting. Like most every team in baseball, everybody on the Reds wants to swing from the heels and hit home runs. They don’t manufacture runs. Where will the Reds be at the end of the season? They’ll all be home playing golf, fishing and playing with their kids if they don’t watch the playoffs on TV.

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