Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. To tap into that knowledge, contact him at email@example.com.
Q: Could the assembing of the 2015 Cincinnati Reds be overshadowed by all the hoopla over the preparation for the All-Star game in Cincinnati? — DAVE/Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.
A: The reconstruction, if there is to be a reconstruction, will be in the hands of General Manager Walt Jocketty and his baseball staff. The All-Star Game is in the hands of MLB and the Reds’ marketing department. As for all-stars, maybe the Reds can sign a few or trade for a few and those guys who played for another team in last year’s All-Star Game can represent the Reds in next year’s. Oh, yeah, just call me a dreamer.
Q: Of pitchers Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Mat Latos, who gets traded and who do the Reds keep? — RICK/Loveland.
A: If I’m general manager, I keep them all. But I’m not the GM and they won’t ask me. Cueto is a keeper, for sure, but how much money do you think the New York Yankees might throw at him? Or Boston? Or the Dodgers? If they go ahead and trade Leake or Latos or both and then can’t sign Cueto, where does that leave them? They’d be back in the early 2000s when they were starting Jimmy Wayne Haynes, Joey Hamilton and Paul Wilson on opening day. Right now I keep them all and see what develops.
Q: Is there any possibility the Reds go the way of the Florida Marlins and completely blow things up and start over? — Arley, Hamilton.
A: Is there enough dynamite? The Marlins invested heavily in free agents before the 1997 and 2003 seasons. They won the World Series both years and then cleaned house of their high-priced players and made wise trades. The Reds can’t do that because they haven’t invested in big-ticket free agents to get to the World Series. And they aren’t even going to make the playoffs. They don’t have the money to draw big-name free agents and they don’t have the personnel to make big trades the way the Marlins did. They’ll have to come up with their own plan, whatever that might be.
Q: People are saying Reds manager Bryan Price and GM Walt Jocketty have to go. What do you think? — RICHARD/Hebron, Ky.
A: Fortunately, “people” don’t make those decisions. Owner Bob Castellini does. It would be unfair to fire Price after one year when he managed with not only one hand tied behind his back, but both hands and both feet tied together. The projected starting lineup coming out of spring training has played together in 12 games. Jocketty’s contract is up after this season and Castellini loves the man and if Walt wants to come back he probably will be back.
Q: Will the third base coach and the hitting coach be back next year? — BOB/Cincinnati.
A: There always have to be fall guys, right? Third base coach Steve Smith, who has been in baseball longer than the Roman Empire existed, has taken heat for getting 25 runners thrown out at home plate. He is merely following instructions from manager Bryan Price to be aggressive because the Reds are run-challenged. And hitting coach Don Long can do all the instructing, observing and video-watching possible, but he can’t take a Louisville Slugger to home plate and swing it.
Q: What major-league player was the most difficult for you to interview during your career? — JOE/Beavercreek.
A: Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent both had reputations of being surly and nasty with writers, so I avoided them. The Reds once had a pitcher named John Denny, who won the Cy Young Award in 1983 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He had steely-gray eyes that burned holes in people. He was not a fun guy to interview and I steered clear of him, too. That was a wise choice because he attacked Cincinnati Post writer Bruce Schoenfeld one day, reportedly grabbing him by the neck and banging his head on a concrete wall several times. I heard Denny became a minister after his career and I figured it was with The Church of the Latter Day Contradictions.
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