By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, using a day off from Reds games to visit the dermatologist so he can empty his zapper gun all over my ancient body.
—INDIA-A-Go-Go: There is a strong report floating in cyberspace. It says that Cincinnati Reds general manager Nick Krall informed all MLB teams that second baseman Jonathan India is available in trade for a controllable young starting pitcher.
Yes, yes, yes, yes. And do it before the August 1 trade deadline expires. If the Reds wait until the end of the season, they might waste the unexpected bonanza they are building.
And if they ask about or want, Nick Senzel or Tyler Stephenson for a young pitcher, with no hesitation, “Just say yes.”
Because of all the young talented infielders — Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Noelvi Marte on the way — India is expendable.
Some fans believe that trading India might disrupt the clubhouse because India is an outspoken leader, team player, a hustler. But despite some big hits and big homers along the way, India has not been the productive player he was three years ago when he was Rookie of the Year.
Over my many decades of covering baseball, I’ve seen popular players, clubhouse leaders, traded. And there was grumbling in the clubhouse. But the team quickly moves on and dedicates itself to continue along the same path it traveled before the trade.
And many times the new guy is more productive, contributes more than the player they traded and he is quickly accepted in the clubhouse.
In addition to having players that might perform better, India, Stephenson and Senzel are on the doorstep of fat contracts. The Reds can do better cheaper. . .and they definitely like that.
If Krall can’t work a deal for a mid-level starter, maybe he should seek left-handed bullpen help. Alex Young is the only lefty in the Reds bullpen and he has made 46 appearances already.
Krall might give the Colorado Rockies a call and see what it would take to pry Cincinnati Moeller grad and lefty Brett Suter or southpaw Brad Hand away from them.
JOEY ON THE LOOSE: Joey Votto once said he’d like to drive a school bus and right now he is on the struggle bus at home plate. His slash line is .196/.310/.474 and he is on a 5-for-43 wild goose chase.
What to do, what to do? Does manager David Bell call him aside and tell him, for the good of the team it is time to sit down? Or does he ride with him in hopes that he snaps to it. Votto is 39 and Father Time waits for nobody.
Votto, though, has not lost his sense of humor and his love of the limeight and the TV camera. He appeared on MLB-TV’s High Heat with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo this week and put on a masterful put-in at Russo’s exepense.
First, he turned his head and gave snappishly short answers to Russo’s first few questions. Then he erupted into a well-rehearsed harangue on how Russo doesn’t respect any players or teams outside of New York, recalling some things Russo said about him and pitcher Zack Greinke..
“You are looking down at us, a couple of small market midwest ballplayers, just because we’re not big-city just like you,” said Votto. “Mr. New York City. Sirius-XM radio star, Mr. National Television star. Mr. ESPN star. . .with your Fifth Avenue tie and your crisp pocket squares, your tailored suits and your polished shoes.
“And your hair,” he continued, voice reaching a crescendo. “Your pefectly quaffed Broadway hair. Must be nice to sit above that Madison
Avenue Ivory Tower, looking down at us with those luscious locks and not everybdoy can be the next Roger Peckinpaugh, Mad Dog.”
By this time Russo realized he was being put-on. Votto eventually laughed and said how much he loves and respects Russo. It was quite the act.
—EARLY TRADE WINDS: With Tuesday’s 6 p.m. trade deadline lurking, a couple of big deals materialized Wednesday.
The shocker was that the Los Angeles Angels decided they are all-in this season, despite the fact they are seven games out of first place and four games behind for a wild card.
Owner Arte Moreno said Shohei Ohtani is not available at any price and the Angels acquired coveted starting pitcher Lucas Giolito for two top prospects. This probably means that Moreno plans to invest all his considerable marbles into re-signing Ohtani, who can become a free agent at the end of the season.
That would be extremely wise. Ohtani, the pitcher/outfielder, not only is the best player in baseball, he is a cash cow, especially with advertising from the Japanese market.
°°°The Los Angeles Dodgers, not exactly pitch-rich, have given up on pitcher Noah Syndergaard and traded him to the Cleveland Guardians for shortstop Amed Rosario.
Strangely, a few days ago the Dodgers re-acquired shortstop Kike Hernandez from the Boston Red Sox.
LA signed Syndergaard this year to a one-year $13 million deal and in his 12 starts he pitched to a 7.16 earned run average. He has been on the injured list since early June with a blister on his ring finger, a blister that must be the size of a cantaloupe to keep him out that long.
Cleveland gave up Franciso Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to get Rosario from the Mets.
So the Angels believe they are still contenders? And Cleveland believes Syndergaard can help them? Well, I believe I heard that Giolito and Syndergaard once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express..
—DANGEROUS DODGERS: After finishing their entire season’s series against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 26, losing for the 10th time in 13 games, this time by 3-0 Wednesday (their fourth shutout loss to the Brewers), the Reds have a day off Thursday.
Then they open a three-game series Friday night in Dodger Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers. . .or should we say the Los Dangerous Dodgers.
The Brewers, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Reds in the National League Central standings, haver an equally challenging task. They play a three-game weekend series at Atlanta against the Braves, against whom they lost two of three at home last weekend.
—A GRAND PLAN: Former baseball Maverick Bill Veeck owned the St. Louis Browns in the early 1950’s, an absolute abomination of a team that had squatter’s rights on last place in the American League.
After he took ownership, he said, “We’ve sold half of our ballplayers and hope to sell the rest. Our secret weapon is to get a couple of Brownies on every other team to louse up the league.”
The league and other owners took the team away from him in 1953 and in 1954 the franchise was moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles.
—QUOTE: From Bill Veeck, former owner of the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox: “Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.”
—A MOVIE SOLUTION: New York Mets manager Buck Showalter recently said he likes Hallmark movies, “Because they always have good endings.”
So maybe he should ask Hallmark to make a movie about the Mets because they are not headed for a good ending.
—WHAT’S $35 MILLON?: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers revealed that he has restructured his contract with the New York Jets and is taking a two-year $35 million pay cut.
His old contract with the Green Bay Packers called for $110 million over the next two years. He has agreed to cut that to $75 million over the next two years with the Jets.
Why? It gives the Jets more flexibility to sign better players to surround Rodgers.
Doesn’t Rodgers realize that the cost of living in New York is through the roof compared to Green Bay, Wisconsin? The guess, though, is that Rodgers and his bank won’t miss a miserly $35 million.