Q: If the Cincinnati Reds do trade Jonathan India, what kind of return should they expect to get? — NICK, Dayton.
A: That depends upon what general manager Nick Krall seeks. Does he want more prospects for the future or does he want immediate pitching help for next season? India should have several suitors and certainly is worth at least two good prospects or a solid starter or relief pitcher. Trading India is just my speculation and I have no insight as to if the Reds want to deal him.
Q: Have you noticed that batters seem to foul pitches off their legs and feet more often than in the past? — JIM, Fairfield.
A: That has always happened, even to me way, way back when. I fouled a ball off my in-step during a PONY League game and couldn’t walk for two days. I saw it happen often to The Big Red Machinists. Nowadays they armor up, cover the shins with padding. But even still they foul ‘em off their toes or knees and do the baseball hop in the batter’s box.
Q: With three of the four playoff survivors wild card teams, isn’t that making the regular season pennant race meaningless? — TIM, Xenia.
A: There is no regular season pennant race. The regular season is merely jockeying for position. The pennant goes to the winner of the League Championship Series, after they’ve won the Wild Card and League Division Series. They keep adding teams to the postseason becomes it means more TV m-o-n-e-y, and that is what it is all about, following the NBA, NHL and NFL. This year’s postseason began with 12 of 30 MLB teams qualifying. Since 1997, seven wild card teams have won the World Series and the Marlins did it twice (1997, 2003). The last to do it was the Washington Nationals in 2019. How long before MLB just lets all 30 teams play in the postseason?
Q: How many innings did Homer Bailey pitch for the Reds after he signed his big contract? — DAVID, Dayton.
A: Bailey signed a six-year $105 million contract during spring training in 2014. From 2014 through 2018 he made 69 starts and pitched 379 1/3 innings, then was traded to Los Angeles. In 2015 and 2016 he made only eight starts and pitched 34 1/3 innings due to Tommy John surgery. The trade with the Dodgers was Bailey and two minor leaguers for Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and cash. Farmer and the cash helped the Reds, the other were here and gone in a flash.
Q: What catchers do the Reds go with next season? — DICK, Hendersonville, TN.
A: Let’s hope they don’t burden the roster with three catchers the way they did in 2023. Of the three, they’ll keep Tyler Stephenson and Luke Maile, who impressed me. Curt Casali is probably gone after finishing last season on the injured list. And maybe they’ll take a good look at 28-year-old Chuckie Robinson. He had a brief stop in Cincinnati in 2022, but played the entire 2023 season at Class AAA Louisville where he hit .290 with 13 homers and 74 RBI in 413 plate appearances. He says he’ll bring his own chest protector and shin guards and if Reds keep him.
Q: What, if anything, can be done to correct Hall of Fame injustices? — BRIAN, Atlanta.
A: That has been a long and unrealized debate. The Veterans committees were former ostensibly to correct any perceived error perpetrated by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. That hasn’t worked, either. Guys like Al Oliver, Dave Concepcion, Dave Parker, Dick Alllen, Lou Whitaker and many other worthy players still have to pay to get into Cooperstown. Wish I could solve the dilemma, but the probem lingers.
Q: Not considering managers, who were your favorite Reds coaches? ¸— STEVE, Owensboro, KY.
A: That’s a tough one for a guy who has covered the Reds for 50 years. My all-time favorite? Pitching coach Don Gullett, one of the best there was and never got much credit. Going way back, I loved hitting coach Ted “Big Klu” Kluszewski. His approach was so simple even I understood his instructions when I watched by the batting cages. Also spent a lot of time with manager Lou Piniella’s pitching coach and running partner Stan “Steamer” Williams. Piniella quit smoking, but it was Steamer’s job to produce a cigarette when Piniella asked for one, usually after a loss.
Q: Being the fashion guru you are, what has been your most favorite uniform to ever take the field? — GREG, Beavercreek.
A: First of all, my haberdashery is always selected with the approval, or disapproval, of Nadine. Uniforms? I am not a fan of any City Connect uniforms. Most are hideous and straight out of a beer softball league. As an old school traditionalist, I love the creamy white uniforms of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even though I’m not a New York Yankees fan, the pin-striped uniforms are a favorite. Mostly I like baseball caps and own about 20 of the 30 teams.