Arroyo and Gleeman agree: Reds are confusing

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When reports surfaced last week that the Reds “need to slash payroll” and may be forced to shed high-priced veterans I wrote about the horrible planning that led to their trading three players to acquire Scott Rolen and his $12 million 2010 contract just months ago.
Cincinnati had no business taking on a salary like that if the team’s financial situation was in question and apparently one of the high-priced veterans who may be shopped as a result agrees with me. Here’s what Bronson Arroyo recently had to say about the front office’s lack of planning:

In my mind, there was no reason to get Rolen if we’re turning around and moving guys without waiting to see what happens. I think they’ll give us four months to see if we can compete in the division. If we’re not, we’ll have a big scale back. For now, they seem committed to win.

I know the budget is tight, but if you re-sign Ramon [Hernandez] for a year, why then go in the other direction? If we were saving, we could have easily had [Ryan] Hanigan catching 130 games next year.

If that last part about Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan looks familiar, it’s because I wrote basically the same thing last week when the Reds spent $3 million to re-sign the veteran catcher. In fact, my exact quote was that “the Reds could have saved $3 million and simply made Hanigan their starter behind the plate” because “a few million bucks certainly could have come in handy.”
It’s not often that a starting pitcher who “hasn’t paid any attention to it” while vacationing “on his boat sailing off of the Florida coast” and some doofus blogger can both immediately agree that the front office is doing some strange things, but the Reds’ lack of foresight is apparently obvious to everyone but them.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.