Reds send down Edinson Volquez after he calls out teammates

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez reacts after giving up a run to the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning in Game 1 of the MLB National League Division Series baseball playoffs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

If you’re going to call out your teammates, you better a) have some stature in your respective league or on your respective team and b) be playing well yourself.

That does not describe Reds starter Edinson Volquez, who was sent down to Class AAA Louisville on Monday after he called out his teammates on Sunday following a loss to the Indians.

“Everybody has to step up, start to score some runs,” Volquez said. “In the last five games, how many runs have we scored? Like 13? That’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.”

This is coming from the same guy who gave up seven runs in only 2.2 innings of work and is now the proud owner of a 6.35 ERA.

Volquez is right: the Reds are better than what they’ve showed over their last six games (all losses). But they’re still second in runs scored in the National League behind the Cardinals, so obviously they’re just in a funk right now. It’s a long season – it happens.

Besides, the main point is that Volquez shouldn’t be the one calling his teammates out. If Joey Votto (who has a MVP to his name) or Brandon Phillips wanted to say something similar to what Volquez said, fine – no problem. But your words don’t carry much weight when you’ve contributed to the problem.

Hopefully for the Reds’ sake, Volquez will iron out his issues in the minors and when he returns, he’ll be ready to help the club in a more productive manner.

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Reds’ Volquez suspended 50 games for PED use’s Jon Heyman reports that Reds’ starter Edinson Volquez has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

It is believed Volquez failed the test during spring training. Major League Baseball confirmed the suspension in a press release and said the suspension will take effect April 21.

Volquez was an NL All-Star in 2008, his first year with Cincinnati, and was off to a 4-2 start with a 4.35 ERA for the Reds in 2009 before being shut down with elbow problems. He didn’t pitch after June 1 and underwent Tommy John surgery last August. He is still rehabbing and has not pitched yet this season.

Volquez was placed on the 60-day disabled list on February 22 and apparently he can start serving his suspension while he’s on the DL, which is crap in my opinion. If he broke a rule, he shouldn’t be allowed to start crossing suspended games off his punishment checklist when he wasn’t even going to be playing in them anyway. The suspension should start the moment he’s activated from the DL.

But I digress. I’m speculating here, but chances are Volquez took the PEDs in order to speed up the recovery time after undergoing Tommy John surgery. It’s incredibly disappointing that players still believe that they can get away with taking performance enhancers, but at least MLB caught and punished him for it.

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Five Deep Sleeper Teams for the ’09 MLB Season

I know this guy (I’ll stop short of calling him a friend but wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone if he called) that at the start of all the major sporting seasons will throw out his list of “sleeper teams” to watch out for.

What’s funny about this guy is that he knows if he’s wrong he’ll never be called out because hey, they were just sleeper teams anyways right? But if he’s right, well hell, he’ll look like some kind of sports sleeper team Nostradamus.

This is the same guy that’ll pick a No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 every year in the March Madness Tournament, so on the rare chance it happens he’ll have the opportunity to say that he called the upset of a lifetime. The funny thing is that he would have been wrong the previous 34 years of predicting 16’s over 1’s, but that would be beside the point.

Anyway, this piece is dedicated to him – the “Sleeper Team Guy.” For fans, there’s nothing like predicting a perennial loser (i.e. the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays) to rise from the ashes and make a postseason run no matter what sport it is. And with Opening Day right around the corner, I think it’s a perfect time to hand out some potential sleeper candidates of my own.

Below are five deep sleepers to make a postseason run this year in baseball. Most pundits assume that none of the five will finish better than third in their respective divisions, which is why I can get away with calling these teams “deep sleepers.” If any of them make the playoffs, I’ll wax poetically about it in my sleeper teams piece next year. If none even sniff a postseason berth, then in honor of “Sleeper Team Guy” don’t expect me to admit I was wrong. Yeah, that’s right – accountability is for losers.

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2009 MLB Preview: #20 Cincinnati Reds

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Offseason Movement: The Reds signed a true leadoff hitter in Willy Taveras and added catcher Ramon Hernandez in a trade with the Orioles. The club also signed free agents Jacque Jones, Arthur Rhodes, Jonny Gomes and Daryle Ward.

Top Prospect: Yonder Alonso, 1B
Alonso is quickly becoming a polished hitter and has displayed a good combination of average and power. Thus far, he’s tore up the Hawaii Leagues, hitting .323 with three dingers in 93 at bats. If all goes well, he should spend this year in Double-A, work his way up through the minors and possibly get an opportunity to crack the big league roster in 2010.

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Bargain hunting for starting pitchers

Josh Beckett

All 2009 Fantasy Articles | 2009 Position Rankings

As someone who loyally subscribes to the “wait for pitching” strategy on draft day, I’m always on the lookout for value starters. Experience has shown me that there are plenty of nice starting pitching bargains in the middle and late rounds every year, and if I’m diligent enough, I can also add pitching via the waiver wire during the season. All of which allows me to load up on as much hitting as I can in the early rounds, understanding that the more offensive firepower I have on my roster, the easier it will be to trade for a top-line starter should I find myself in need of reinforcements for the stretch run.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I ignore pitching on draft day. Far from it. Those SP bargains I mentioned above are available each year, if you know what to look for. Sure, it’s nice to have a reliable horse like Johan Santana or Brandon Webb anchoring your pitching staff, but the cost of adding someone like that is usually a little too steep for my tastes. So instead, my goal is to take five to seven solid starters who can deliver quality ratios while racking up strikeouts. Ideally, I also look for guys who pitch for successful teams, hoping that will translate to wins for my team.

The guys I target tend to fall into one of four categories: Young Guns, Rebound Vets, Undervalued Arms and Late Steals. As I’ve admitted in previous posts, I’m a sucker for upside but that doesn’t mean I’ll fall for any promising youngster with a lively arm. I’m also a sucker for a good revival story so I’m always looking for veterans with a solid track record whose stock has fallen because of an off year, while guys in the undervalued category tend to fly under the radar despite their consistent production. Finally, I try to wrap up every draft with one or two late-round picks that could pay off big in the long run.

Below, I’ve listed several pitchers I’ve got my eye on in each of these four categories, using the Average Draft Position (ADP) from ESPN’s draft kit as a guide. I’ve included the ADP as well as the SP rank (SP13, for example) for each of the 16 starters below. These aren’t, of course, the only guys who would qualify in these categories, just the ones at the top of my list. If you’re thinking about stockpiling bats early in your draft, maybe they should be at the top of your list too.

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