By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Sun Room, gladly trying to help Nadine as much as I can (feebly) after she had her second total knee replacement surgery. After all, she has spent half her life taking care of me, a really tough assignment she accepts without a whimper.
—There is a new book on the market titled, “Astroball — The New Way to Win It All.” Something tells me the Washington Nationals did not read it.
The Nationals can put out their own book titled, “The Washington Way — Permit Your Opponents to Get Ahead, Then Break Their Hearts.”
Did I tell you that I predicted, before the season, that the Nationals would win the World Series? I did? Just checking.
BetOnline listed the Nationals before the season as 18 to 1 to win the World Series. A $100 wager would have netted me $1800, but, of course, MLB says there is no betting on baseball.
—QUOTE: From writer Terrence ‘VP Pappy’ Murphy: “A gambler never makes the same mistake twice. It is usually three or more times.” (Not true. It is usually 10 or more times.)
—I was a huge Gerrit Cole fan until the stunt he pulled after the last game of the World Series. First, the now free agent Cole asked not to be included in the post-game media interview session by saying, “Technically, I’m unemployed.”
Then, instead of wearing his Houston Astros hat after the game, he wore one bearing the logo of his agent, Scott Boras.
I always thought he had class, not crass.
QUOTE: From English Premier League soccer player Mark Draper: “I’d like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona.” (Nadine and I took an 18-day trip through Europe and even I know that Barcelona is in Spain, isn’t it?).
—The high-scoring University of Dayton football team did it again — 28 points in the first quarter at Morehead State Saturday. And the Flyers scored 49.
But the defense continues to be on the field for no apparent reason, giving up 35.
Behind an offensive line that created holes big enough for a herd of yak to run through, the Flyers rode the Chisholm trail.
Jake Chisholm carried the ball 35 times for 268 yards, second most rushing yards in school history. And Chisholm began the season as the No. 2 running back, until Sean Prophit was injured.
—One of the free agents that appears to be on the radar for the Cincinnati Reds is catcher Yasmani Grandal.
There is irony here. The Reds already had Grandal. He was their No. 1 draft pick in 2010, The Reds, though, decided to keep catcher Devon Mesoraco and traded Grandal.
Grandal was traded to San Diego, along with Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger for pitcher/problem-child Mat Latos — a dud of a deal.
Mesoraco was plagued by a full assortment of injuries and is out of baseball. Grandal has become a solid player.
—QUESTIONS FOR THE Reds to consider this winter:
What can they do to fix the 12th worst offense in the National League. What can they do to fix an unstable bullpen, especially if they plan to stick with the traditional closer’s role? A closer (Raisel Iglesias) that loses 12 games just doesn’t work.
What can they do about the outfield? None of the three spots should be considered filled. Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel can’t avoid injuries, Aristides Aquino was an August sensation and a September thud, Phillip Ervin destroys left handed pitching but who knows if he can hit right handers.
Who is going to play second base and who is going to play shortstop? Since the club picked up Freddy Galvin’s option, he’ll play one of the two positions. If they don’t re-sign free agent Jose Iglesias (it’s crazy if they don’t) then Galvin plays short. But who plays second? Jose Peraza? Nick Senzel? Josh VanMeter?
And those are just the in-house questions, not considering trades or free agent signings.
—WORST REDS TRADES (my personal opinion):
(-)Frank Robinson to Baltimore for Milt Pappas and Dick Simpson, (And we all know how that stinker turned out.)
(-)Paul O’Neil to the New York Yankees for Roberto Kelly. (O’Neill decorated nearly every finger with a World Series ring and Kelly was here and gone in a blink.)
(-)Tony Perez and Will McEnaney to Montreal for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray. (And Fryman didn’t want to be with the Reds and showed it.)
(-)Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees for Eric Jagielo, Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis and Tony Randa. (Well, at least Cotham is one of the Reds’ pitching coaches.)
(-)Yasmani Grandal, along with Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger to San Diego for Mat Latos (A four-for-one deal that should have been the Padres sending four players to the Reds that didn’t include Latos.)
(-)Pitcher Joaquin Andujar to the Houston Astros for two minor leaguers, Luis Sanchez and Carlos Alfonso. (Andujar won 127 major league games, including 21 and 20 in back-to-back seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals. Neither Sanchez nor Alfonso ever played for the Reds, although Alfonso was part of a trade with San Francisco that brought George Foster to the Reds.)
(-)Pitcher Jeff Montgomery to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Van Snider. (Montgomery saved 304 games during a long career and Snider played 19 games over two seasons for the Reds and hit .200. However, Snider, now a detective in Mayfield Heights, was part of a trade with the New York Yankees that brought Hal Morris to the Reds.)
(-)Shortstop Didi Gregorius to Arizona in a three-team multi-player deal that brought outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds. (While Choo was one-and-done with the Reds, Gregorius gets better and better. The Reds dumped him in favor of keeping Zack Cozart. Now Gregorius is a free agent and the Reds could be interested in bringing him back.)
—Somebody asked me what the Cincinnati Reds need to do to be the Washington Nationals, short of trading entire rosters.
It is hard to believe, but after 50 games last season the Reds were four games better than the Nationals. Cincinnati was 23-27 and Washington was 19-31.
From there, the difference was from the brightest day to the darkest night. The Reds went 52-60 the rest of the way. The Nationals went 74-38 the rest of the way.
So, it’s easy. The Reds need to win 74 of their last 112 games instead of only 52.
—QUOTE: From baseball writer/TV reporter Tim Kurkjian: “No one loves baseball more than I do, but numbers don’t measure everything. And in the end, I am going to trust Buck Showalter’s eyes more than a set of statistics devised by someone who never played the game.” (Way to go, Tim. That’s the way I feel about today’s ‘analytical’ game.)