Hal McCoy: Buyers or sellers? Reds should be neither at trade deadline

Could Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett be on the move at the trade deadline? David Jablonski/Staff

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Could Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett be on the move at the trade deadline? David Jablonski/Staff

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 halmccoy1@hotmail.com.

Q: While you were out of the country the Cincinnati Reds did not lose a game so if I start a fund-raiser would you be willing to go back? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.

A: Wrong again, my friend. The first three days I was in Italy the Reds lost two of three to the Pirates. Then they won seven straight. But go ahead and start that fund-raiser because I haven’t unpacked my bags and 10 days in Italy is not nearly enough. You could put together a book to sell called, “Dave’s Best Questions to Ask Hal,” but it would only be a pamphlet.

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Q: Every year after the All-Star break, teams are often categorized as buyers or sellers, but might the Reds be well-served to be neither and use the rest of this season to better evaluate what they have moving forward? — LARRY, Washington Twp.

A: That’s an extremely good point and I agree. They have enough young talent in the rotation, in the bullpen and on the field that should be given the rest of the season to see who can and who can’t. However, the Reds have yet to ask my opinion on anything so I won’t be shocked if they make a couple of deadline trades to acquire even more youthful suspects/prospects. At some point soon, this Rebuild Mode has to stop and the team has to move forward with a stable roster.

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Q: The Reds already are finished with all their home games against the Cubs but have not played in Chicago and have to go there three times after the Fourth of July, so does anybody at MLB give these schedules the smell test? — KEITH, Brookville.

A: One does wonder why the Reds couldn’t have visited Chicago once before the All-Star break and subtract one of those two visits the Cubs made to Cincinnati before the break? I’m told the schedule is done by computer, but a computer has to be fed the information. I’m sure they didn’t use HAL 9000, the computer in the movie ‘2001:A Space Odyssey,” because it would have gotten it right.

Q: Did it seem like the Reds played with a lot of emotion during their four-game sweep of the Cubs? — JOHN, Oxford.

A: The Reds have been beaten and battered by the Cubs for the last four years, so when they have the success they had last weekend, the positive emotions show up. And when you score six or more runs in all four games the smiles get wider, the confidence expands and the positive vibes are worn on their sleeves.

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Q: How much has interim manger Jim Riggleman changed the attitudes of the players because they seem to play differently for him rather than fired manger Bryan Price? — JAY, Englewood.

A: Before taking over the Reds, Riggleman managed in San Diego, Seattle, Chicago (Cubs) and Washington. He has seen it all and handled it all. He is a great communicator, a master of putting together lineups and a good strategist. Price’s problem was a 3-15 start and both Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall were hurt. The Reds turnaround is more due to improved starting pitching (lately) and some heavy hitting. But I give Riggleman huge credit and he deserves to have the interim removed from his title and be given the job.

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Q: This may be a stupid question, but when a player is intentionally walked, do the four pitches count on the hitter’s and the pitcher’s pitch count. — BILL, Reynoldsburg.

A: My philosophy is that no question is stupid if you don’t know the answer. First of all, beginning this year there are no pitches thrown on an intentional walk. The batter is just told, “Take first base.” But back when the pitcher had to throw four wide ones for an intentional walk, those pitches did count. But pickoff throws to any base are not included in a pitch count. Nor is it a pitch when the pitcher throws the ball to his catcher to give to the umpire for a new ball.

Q: Do the Reds have a realistic chance for a playoff berth? — RICHARD, Tipp City.

A: This year? Next year? The year after? Not only do they not have a chance realistically, they don’t have a chance unrealistically. Fans got excited over the seven-game winning streak, as they should, but don’t lose sight of the fact they are still in last place, still four games behind the fourth-place Pirates and 13 ½ games out of first place, as of this writing. Their realistic goal is to catch the Pirates and finish out of the last place for the first time in four years. That is achievable.

Q: Is there any chance the Reds could DFA Homer Bailey because his only value now is not taking away starts from a younger pitcher? — TOM, Miamisburg.

A: About as much chance as me starting at first base tomorrow. DFA means designated for assignment. If they do that and no other team claims him and the Reds release him, they would still owe him about $40 million. That’s a lot of celery to eat. For now you don’t have to worry about him taking a start for the Reds. In a recent rehab start for Louisville he gave up seven runs and 10 hits in six innings. He missed a rehab start with a knee injury. Manager Jim Riggleman recently said Bailey’s rehab assignment would last for a considerable length of time. Bailey is another in a long list of teams foolishly giving pitchers long-term high-dollar contracts because with pitchers their next pitch could be their last.


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: Am I right in that almost no Reds player is eligible for free agency after this season and how will that affect the makeup of the 2019 roster? — JEREMY, Kettering.

A: The only prospective free agent is pitcher Matt Harvey, if he is still with the Reds at the end of the season. That, though, won’t have much affect on the 2019 team. Trades can and will be made at the trade deadline and in the offseason. Some prospects might make the team next year. However, the nucleus of this team will be back if they aren’t traded (Scooter Gennett, Adam Duvall, Raisel Iglesias). Free agency will have zero affect on this team, but trades might.

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