All Things Bubba

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

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What's it going to take?

Andy Phillips, after a bit of a slow start, is raking down in Louisville. As I expected he would; he's always hit well in the minor leagues. Caja asked what it's going to take for him to get a callup. My guess: a trade or an injury. Right now, there just isn't room on the roster for Andy.

The Reds' roster is incredibly dysfunctional - perhaps because it was assembled by what amounted to two GMs (plus possibly a meddling owner and demanding manager). They have two left-handed first basemen. They have three catchers. They have a lot of left-handed power but not much from the right side of the plate. They really struggle against southpaws, and don't have a real CFer or leadoff hitter.

They aren't quite as dysfunctional as they were before; they released Juan Castro and called up Jerry Hairston, Jr., which theoretically gave them some right-handed power off the bench. Hairston was hitting extremely well for the Bats, but he hasn't played much since being called up. One of the Reds beat writers has hinted that Hairston is in Dusty's doghouse, because of something he said during spring training.

Andy was on the shelf with a sore hamstring when Hairston was called up, but I suspect Hairston and Cabrera were ahead of him anyway. They were both raking in Louisville, and they were both cut after Andy was during spring training. Probably because they are more versatile players, playing infield as well as outfield (including the demanding SS and CF positions). While Andy played some corner OFer in spring training, he's never played CF, and the Bats haven't been using him in the outfield at all.

Jay Bruce will probably be called up, perhaps in June. He can hold down CF, though he's yet another lefty. I don't think they'll ask him to bat leadoff. He hasn't been doing that in Louisville.

First baseman Scott Hatteberg is not happy on the bench behind Joey Votto, and has said he wants to be traded. He was the Reds' most productive player last season, and many expected him to be traded at the deadline. He wasn't, perhaps because he's more valuable to the Reds than to any other team. His numbers look great...but then you look at his home and away splits. He's much better at Great American Ball Park than anywhere else. So the Reds may not get what they think he is worth. If he is traded, though, that might open up a spot for Andy.

The Reds have a lot of holes. They need some right-handed power. They need a good defensive CFer. They need a leadoff hitter (patient, speedy, good OBP). Unfortunately, Andy really isn't a good match for those needs. He is a right-handed bat with some power, but his splits have always been reversed on the big league level.

His best chance might be to be traded to a team that has more need for him than the Reds do.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:37 AM


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