All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Andy's Chances

So, what are Andy Phillips' chances of making the roster in beautiful Ohio? At first blush, it doesn't seem like a very good fit. The Reds are well-stocked in the infield. Let's take a look...

3B: Edwin Elpidio Encarnacion. A young player with plenty of upside. He'll start, unless he's traded. Which doesn't seem likely, because the Reds need righty bats.

2B: Brandon Phillips. Another young player with a bright future ahead of him. He's rumored to be disliked in the clubhouse, but as long as he produces, they'll put up with him.

1B: Lefty Scott Hatteberg was the Reds' most productive player last year. Joey Votto, the Reds' best hitting prospect not named Jay Bruce, is also a lefty, and he is ready for the big leagues. If he doesn't start the season in Cincinnati, he'll probably be called up in June.

SS: Alex Gonzalez, formerly of the Red Sox. The Reds seem to really like him, and he produced last year, so I don't think he's going anywhere.

Reserves: The Reds have a wealth of reserve infielders. The slick-fielding Juan Castro, "Manos de oro," is getting up there and is no longer quite so slick-fielding. And he can't hit a lick. However, he's got a big contract, and he can play SS, so the Reds will probably keep him. Jeff Keppinger played very well last season, and has become a fan favorite. Many want to see him start. He can also play corner OF, so he's versatile. Ryan Freel, super-sub, can play infield as well as outfield. Paul Janish (like Bubba, a Rice alum) will be ready for the big leagues soon, if he isn't already. Not sure if the Reds would use him as a backup; they may be planning for him to be A-Gon's successor at SS.

It's possible one or more of these players will be traded. But as it stands...if there's a spot for Andy, it's probably at first base, as a platoon partner for Hatteberg. Last year, Jeff Conine had that role. After he was traded, they got Jorge Cantu to replace him. They wanted to keep Cantu, but Cantu asked for more money than they were willing to give him. (He signed for a very modest amount with the Marlins, so I guess either he over-estimated his value, or he really didn't want to stay in Cincinnati. I could understand that; he could be a starter for the Fish. There's no way he'd start for the Reds.)

So, my guess is that Andy is competing to be the next Conine/Cantu. The right-handed half of a first base platoon.

The only problem with that is that Andy's splits are reversed. At least in the majors. He's hit lefties better than righties throughout his minor league career. But in the big leagues, it's the other way around.

The first year, I thought it was a fluke. But he was DFA'd, cleared waivers, and ended up on Scranton. Where he smoked the southpaws. Then he was called up again, and once again, his splits reversed.

Maybe the Reds haven't noticed. Maybe they think it's a fluke (and perhaps it is). Anyways, if Andy wants to make the Reds' roster, he'll have to prove that he can hit lefties. That is what the Reds are looking for. They have plenty of guys who can hit righties.


posted by BubbaFan, 12:57 PM


First, thanks for the kind words, and she does have good taste..tee hee.

Ok, back to work. I got a chance to see Andy play quite a bit early in the season w/ Triple-A Scranton, and he spent the majority of his playing time at first and second base.

Andy could manage to play third, and I think he's a better backup than Castro, but he'll really have to impress in ST to win a spot on the big league club.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, January 05, 2008 2:18 PM  
Andy destroyed Triple-A pitching last year. And he everyone knows he plays good d'. He's not a minor leaguer.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, January 05, 2008 4:46 PM  
If Andy had signed with the Dodgers, he starts for sure.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, January 05, 2008 10:46 PM  
Good luck to Andy! Also, I can't believe no one's picked up Bronson Kiheimahanaomauiakeo Sardinha yet.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, January 06, 2008 6:01 PM  
It sounds like the Yankees are working on signing Sardinha to a minor league deal.

Dunno what the holdup is. Money? Or is Sardinha stalling, hoping to get an offer from a team where he has more of an opportunity?

In any case, I think it's likely we'll see Sardinha back with SWB this season.
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, January 06, 2008 6:28 PM  

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