On Sunday, it was Amir Garrett. On Wednesday, it was Rookie Davis. Who's next to point their car south on I-71 and head to Louisville? And why?
I'm a bit of a cynic. I've battled it all of my life and it's probably one of the compelling reasons I do what I do. I don't take things at face value. Some might see that as distrustful. But I think a trait that all of us share as human beings is a desire to spin situations that make things look best for us.
So when the Reds announced Sunday that they were sending Garrett down to the minors to conserve the number of innings he will pitch this season and when they sent Davis down without explanation (although five runs allowed in just over four innings against the Yankees Monday night might be as good an explanation as any), the cynic in me wondered what else might be up.
Let me say this -- the Reds have a plan. That's something I don't think you could have said about them as recently as a year ago. And a plan usually involves a number of things.
As a wise man once said, the answer to all of your questions in life is money.
While I don't doubt that there is some concern about the amount of innings Garrett was on pace for this season (he hasn't pitched 145 innings in one season since his pro debut in 2012), by sending him down to the minors now, the Reds stall his Major League "clock." At the heart of that is Major League service time. And that controls everything from arbitration eligibility to free agency.
One hundred and seventy-two days constitutes a year of service time. A Major League season is about 183 days, counting scheduled off days. If Garrett -- and Davis or any first year player -- spends two weeks in the minors and then is recalled by the Reds, he would not log a full year of service time in 2017. That would "buy" the Reds an extra year before Garrett is eligible for free agency.
It has a lot to do with when a player is eligible for arbitration and so called "Super Two" arbitration. After three years of full service time, a player is eligible for arbitration, which is usually more financially devastating to a team than losing a player in free agency. A player can't be taken off the 40 man roster without his consent if he has a full three years of service time logged. A player can't be optioned to the team's minor league system unless he says OK if he has five years in the Majors.
Was it money, or saving potential arm wear that's at work here? My guess is, it's saving wear on Garrett's -- and Davis' -- arms. But the dollars side of this maneuver shows you that the Reds do have a plan. They know, despite having a terrific opening month, they're not contending for a a playoff berth this season.
Eventually, having starting pitching not consistently taking games into the seventh inning, taxing a bullpen that revolves around three pitchers and a shuttling between Cincinnati and Louisville and the eventual awakening of the Cubs and Cardinals will all conspire to keep the Reds from contending this season. It's OK. It wasn't supposed to be any other way this year. The Reds are a big surprise around baseball. But their real payoff will come in a year or two. That's why, as much as anything, they want Garrett around. Physically and financially.
Now, some random thoughts on this random Thursday...
One of the reasons the Reds are playing so well this season -- they don't give runs away (e.g. errors, passed balls, fielders choice with no outs). The Reds are the best at this, to this point, allowing just 31 defensive giveaways. The worst: the Tampa Bay Rays with 62. Shout out to @InsideEdgeScout for that...
My father just celebrated his 93rd birthday. So long as I've been around, he's never embarrassed me like Lonzo Ball must be embarrassed by his father. This is sheer nonsense and can do nothing but makes Lonzo Ball's life more difficult.
Another piece of lunacy is the outrage over this. My guess is, any fan base outside of the Patriots would love to have Mike Tomlin as its head coach...
FC Cincinnati's players that I've talked to say there is no sophomore slump happening. But eight games into the season, FCC is 2-3-3. The team has nine total goals, with six of those have been scored by Djiby Fall. And he hasn't played in the last two matches, sitting out a six-game suspension. So Wednesday, the team pulled off what's being described as a major trade.
Newcomer Danni Konig hasn't scored this season. He scored just five goals last year, but he's two years removed from a 21-goal season with his now former club, OKC Energy FC. FCC says it believes that Konig just needs the proverbial "change of scenery." We'll see.
Despite Djiby's team-leading six goals, four of those came in one game. The local side gave up Andrew Craven, who took just one shot so far this season and is currently sitting out three more games in a four-game suspension...
Got this stat from the New York Yankees play-by-play guy, Michael Kay. Until Monday night, Billy Hamilton hadn't hit into a double play in his Major League career. Monday night, Hamilton grounded into a double play, twice...
And since Marvin Lewis squashed the idea of a Hamilton vs John Ross 100-yard dash, saying Ross was not a "circus act" (Really? So you're calling Chad Johnson a "circus act"? He raced a horse), it may be a while before we know who is faster.
Ross ran a 4.22 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February and Hamilton swiped a base against the Cubs two seasons ago and hit 21.2 miles an hour -- covering 90 feet! That's the fastest stolen base ever recorded. If it ever happens, Hamilton vs Ross, I'll take Hamilton...
I first met ESPN's Chris Berman was in 1983. We had a mutual acquaintance in Tampa, where I was working at the time. Berman, one of ESPN's originals, was visiting the area and our acquaintance asked us both to lunch. We hit it off. We were the same age, trying to make it in a very volatile business, he at a cable outlet few gave a chance to survive and me at the local ABC affiliate in a very laid back sports town.
Through the years, we kept in touch and would have good visits at World Series, Super Bowls and at the occasional appearances the Bengals made on Monday Night Football. We had a lot in common. And now, sadly, we have something else in common. Chris lost his wife Tuesday, killed in a car accident in Connecticut. Kathy Berman was 67.
I have a pretty good idea what he's going through right now.
Berman has taken accolades and suffered the "slings and arrows" that go with being a prominent on-air personality. On the air, he was larger than life, bombastic and loud. Off the air, like most in the television business, Berman was quite the opposite. We last talked, at length, in the Reds dugout at the 2015 All-Star Game here in Cincinnati. I think I need to get ahold of him, soon...
Now, let's wish a Happy Birthday to the lead singer of this group, The Animals...
The Animals didn't do this song originally. It was first done by Nina Simone in late 1964. The Animals released their version in early 1965, a much more up-tempo version than Simone's. Keyboardist Alan Price was always a star in the early stages of the group, on this song and the iconic "The House Of The Rising Sun."
Eric Burdon fronted The Animals, then went on to do the same thing with War and had a modestly successful solo career.
A few years ago, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked its 100 Greatest Singers Of All Time. Burdon was 57th on the list. This is what the magazine said about him:
"Of all the British Invasion singers, Eric Burdon had the most physically imposing voice. When he burst onto the scene in 1964, his voice was "big and dark," says Steve Van Zandt. "He invented the genre of the white guy singing low."
Nor was the depth of Burdon's pitch lost on Steven Tyler when he first heard Burdon sing "The House of the Rising Sun": "I thought, 'A ha! You start off the song an octave lower so you can flamb? the tail end of it an octave higher.' "
After his run of hits with the Animals ("It's My Life," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood") ended, Burdon showed he could handle Seventies funk during his stint in War, recording the torrid "Spill the Wine" and a souled-out version of "Tobacco Road."..."
Eric Victor Burdon, born 76 years ago today in Newcastle, England.