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Game 88 Open Thread: July 13, 2006

marquis billingsley
11-6, 5.55 0-2, 5.27

trey hearne fans, rejoice. after reading our interview with hearne (which ran three days ago), quad cities broadcaster ben chiswick e-mailed me to clarify the pitcher's status. he's staying in the rotation; his next start will be saturday night. trey's relief appearance on monday was by design, as mark mccormick (that night's starter) was on a strict pitch-count limit and only figured to get through 3 innings. with an off-day on tuesday, quad cities had a bit of a logjam in the rotation anyway, so it made sense to assign two starters to the monday-night game. moving forward, both mccormick and hearne will be starting games.

good news for trey; he's earned it.

big trade in the division today -- the reds sent felipe lopez, austin kearns, and ryan wagner to washington for a bunch of relief pitchers. one of them, bill bray, is lighting things up at triple a; another is pitching in short-season a ball; and the 3d is gary majewski, who's your basic middle-innings guy.

oh yeah, the reds also got an uninspiring everyday player at short, ie royce clayton, and a backup infielder.

trade seems to make no sense on its face; reds fans are skeptical, to say the least. but check out chris dial's position-by-position defensive rankings, posted just today. felipe lopez ranks dead last among nl shortstops; the reds must have had internal data showing much the same thing re felipe's glovework. now check out his batting splits (these are from last year, but they're representative) -- he can't hit left-handers, and he's not such a great hitter away from GAB. so he's not nearly as great a loss as it might appear on the face of things. kearns is a genuinely good hitter, but the reds can replace him with chris denorfia, who is batting .350 at triple a and has already been recalled. . . . .

let's add it all up: the reds traded from their surplus (offense / home run power) to improve their two major weaknesses, defense and relief pitching. they also got rid of two guys who are heading into their arb-eligible years and likely to tie up more payroll than they are worth. that's a sensible rationale for a deal. it might not work out, and for obvious reasons i hope it doesn't. but if the reds weren't in the cardinals' division, i'd be rooting hard for krivsky to come out ahead on this trade.

more discussion in this diary.

also, for a preview of the stl-la series, head on over to the cardinal curmudgeon.