Ask Hal: Will the Reds try to re-sign Trevor Bauer?

Right-hander has been among the best starting pitchers in baseball this season

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. Tap into that knowledge by sending an email to

Q: How many of David Bell’s coaches can you name? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.

A: With the COVID-19 rules, we can’t talk to the coaches and there are some new ones I wouldn’t know if I bumped into them in the dugout. I’ve know Freddie Benavides for years and I know Delino DeShields. I know pitching coach Derek Johnson, hitting coach Alan Zinter and Lee Tunnell because the broadcasters talk about them. But ... Jose Duarte? J.R. House? Nate Irving? Joe Mather? Christian Perez? Jeff Pickler? Rolando Valles? Who are those masked men. Remeber when Sparky Anderson’s coaches were George Scherger, Alex Grammas, Ted Kluszewski and Larry Shepard?

Q: Do you think the Reds will make an effort to re-sign pitcher Trevor Bauer, who is a free agent after the season, and what will it take to sign him? — RON, Charleston, W.Va.

A: Right now the question is whether the team tries to trade him before the Aug. 31 deadline if things don’t look up soon. If they keep him, he is probably gone after the season. It would take the Carew Tower, Fountain Square and three Skyline Chili franchises to keep him.

Q: Was it a clerical error and the Reds inadvertantly let go the wrong Iglesias last winter? — ALAN, Sugarcreek Twp.

A: If it was a clerical error, the Reds would have an excuse. It wasn’t. They let shortstop Jose Iglesias go despite his defensive brilliance and clutch hitting. Now he is ripping it up in Baltimore. They kept closer Raisel Iglesias, loser of 12 games last season and struggling this season. They brought in Freddy Galvis to play shortstop for his offensive punch. His punch is missing and his defense is far below the quality of Iglesias. Major mistakes.

Q: Would David Bell be manager of the Reds without his family’s strong ties to the team? NANCY, Springfield

A: Being the grandson of former Reds outfielder Gus Bell and the son of former Reds third baseman Buddy Bell certainly didn’t hurt. And Buddy works in the front office. They did offer the job to Joe Girardi, but he didn’t like the climate around the team and took the Philadelphia job. David worked his way up — managed the Reds’ Triple-A Louisville team, was Mike Matheny’s bench in St. Louis and was in San Francisco’s front office. His resume was good, but his DNA was better.

Q: Do you think it would wake up the Reds if they put cardboard cutouts of The Big Red Machine in the dugout? — RON, Vandalia.

A: First of all, I doubt if many of them know who played on The Big Red Machine. They were all born 10 to 20 years after the BRM. Baseball history isn’t a strong suit among today’s players. They probably believe ‘The Great Eight’ is a rock group. And cluttering the dugout with cutouts wouldn’t help. They need to wake themselves up.

Q: Do you think major league owners could recoup some of their losses by allowing players to wear advertising on their uniforms like they do in NASCAR and the PGA? — GREG, Beavercreek.

A: That was discussed before this short season, but it gained no traction. Most NASCAR patches are for corporations that sponsor that particular car and driver. The PGA guys just wear hats and shirts that carry the logos of the equipment they use. The way baseball is played these days, like slow-pitch softball, it would be apropos for a team to wear Jimmy’s Bar & Grill uniforms.

Q: Should MLB outlaw all the drastic shifts because so many ground balls and line drives up the middle that would be hits are outs? — LYNN, Springfield.

A: No, that’s the point of the shifts — take away base hits. Does the NBA have to play one defense? Does the NFL have to play one defense? Of course not. They adjust to stop the offense. It is up to the players to hit the ball the other way or drop down a few bunts and teams would quit shifting. But players are as stubborn as my Aunt Opal and won’t do it, content to hit .142.

Q: Golf has changed dramatically due to improvement in clubs and balls, so does baseball have any limitations on the type of wood in bats? — BRIAN, Bellbrook.

A: Baseball’s rules only specify limits on length and weight, nothing on types of wood. Generally, players use three types of wood, ash, maple and birch, although early this season it looked as if the Reds might be using balsa. If players want to use mahogony, teak or walnut, have at it. It is their choice. But no aluminum, not now, nor ever. Too dangerous in the hands of major league hitters.


Q: Why is pitching coach Derek Johnson considered such a guru with the Reds starting pitchers while the bullpen is one of the worst in baseball? — DALE, Carlisle.

A: Sonny Gray considers Johnson as a Father Figure since Gray was his pitching coach at Vanderbilt. Johnson was a huge factor when he was with Milwaukee. The thing is, a guy can be the best coach in the world but the pitchers have to take what he teaches to the mound. Pitching 101 is throwing quality strikes. The Reds bullpen has had trouble throwing any kind of strikes and when it does the ball gets punished.

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