“The fire sale is in full swing” for the Cincinnati Reds

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Cincinnati is still feeling some positive vibes from a highly successful week of All-Star festivities, but big business is underway in the executive offices at Great American Ball Park. This comes from John Fay’s latest in the Cincinnati Enquirer

The fire sale is in full swing. The Reds have put all the players they [are] willing to part with on the shelf. Owner Bob Castellini has given go-ahead to trade as needed.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has stated that Home Run Derby hero Todd Frazier will not be traded, and we can probably rule out Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Homer Bailey because of their contracts (and other factors). But it seems plausible that Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce, Marlon Byrd, Skip Schumaker, and Brayan Pena could all be on the move ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Cueto and Leake definitely because of their status as big-ticket impending free agents.

Fay notes that Jocketty’s approval rating has “eroded” in Cincy, so this is going to be an important couple of weeks for him personally. It’s also an important couple of weeks for the organization, which has been in bad need of a rebuild. The club’s record as of Sunday morning was 40-48. And the farm system isn’t great.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.