Ask Hal: What would be your plan if you were the Reds general manager?

Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias fields a ball against the Braves on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
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Reds shortstop Jose Iglesias fields a ball against the Braves on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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: When was the last time we heard about a Reds manager ruining a pitcher’s arm? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.

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A: Never. A manager doesn’t ruin a pitcher’s arm. A pitcher ruins it himself with poor mechanics, overthrowing, bad workout habits and pitching in pain and not telling anybody. The last time I heard a manager accused of ruining a pitcher’s arm when Lou Piniella managed the Chicago Cubs and everybody accused him of ruining Kerry Wood’s arm from overuse. Wood, though, came to Sweet Lou’s rescue and said Piniella had nothing to do with his arm problems. Piniella certainly didn’t ruin any arms belonging to the Nasty Boys — Rob Dibble, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton.

Q: What would be your strategy/plan if you were the Reds general manager as to change on the current Reds? — ANGELO, Orlando, Fla.

A: No more throwback uniforms, OK? Pick one and wear it. No. 1 priority would be to fix the broken bullpen. No. 2 would be to find one more solid starting pitcher. No. 3 would be to re-sign shortstop Jose Iglesias, if he isn’t asking for the sun and the moon, with the stars as a signing bonus. I’m assuming CEO Bob Castellini is giving me carte blanche to spend cash, right? Oh, bad assumption. I quit.

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Q: The Reds have one Iglesias I wish they could get signed for the next few years and another I wish they didn’t have signed for the next few years so is there any chance Jose can get signed and Raisel can get dumped? — DENNIS, Huber Heights.

A: You are in trouble with both categories. Jose Iglesias is a free agent after the season and with the year he is having he most likely will command big bucks. His agent is Scott Boras, so what does that tell you? He’ll hold out for the top dollar, probably too much for the Reds. Raisel Iglesias (they are not related) has a contract guaranteeing him for $18.125 million for the next two seasons. Unless the Reds can trade him, he stays.

Q: My wife and I wonder why the ‘C’ on Tucker Barnhart’s batting helmet is gold and all the others are white? — JERRY/BOBBI, Fairborn.

A: If anybody on the Reds should wear gold on the batting helmet, it should be Aristides Aquino and it should be a gold star. It really isn’t gold on Barnhart’s helmet. The ‘C’ is slightly discolored because Barnhart puts a dark, sticky jell on his helmet. That’s so he can touch it with his hands while he bats to give him a firm grip on his bat.

Q:Why is it that when Aristides Aquino hits a home run the third base coach walks away and does not acknowledge the home run at all when he acknowledges the other players with knuckle bumps, high fives or a pat on the back? — MIKE, New Carlisle.

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A: No, Aquino doesn’t need stronger deodorant. Aquino and third base coach J.R. House are playing a little mind game mixed in with superstition. House doesn’t mess with Aquino’s home run mojo and Aquino keeps hitting them. Aquino quietly congratulates himself with a little muscle flexing as he rounds the bases. Have you seen how large Aquino is? Who is going to tell him to fist bump or intertwine thumbs with the third base coach? Not me.

Q: Can you remind me who said several years ago, “We’re just not going to lose any more.”? — TIM, Xenia.

A: That sentence was uttered by Reds CEO Bob Castellini and it was the answer to my question. It came after he fired general manager Wayne Krivsky early in the 2008 season. At the media conference I asked Castellini, “When is this organization going to have some continuity?” His answer, belligerently said: “We’re just not going to lose any more.” Unfortunately, they’ve lost even more. And Castellini has never forgiven me for asking the question.

Q:What is your favorite baseball team other than the Reds? — MIKE, Hermosa Beach, Calif.

A: A little bird — not an Oriole or a Cardinal or a Blue Jay — told me your favorite team is the Boston Red Sox. You’re in trouble, pal. But so is my team, the Cleveland Indians. I grew up 35 miles from old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the Mistake on the Lake, and grew up living and mostly dying with the Tribe. I was a first baseman and my favorite player was Tito Francona, a first baseman for the Indians and the father of Tribe manager Terry Francona. I once told Terry that his dad was my favorite player and he was touched. Bought me a drink at a Phoenix restaurant during spring training and I didn’t even know he was there.

Q: Have you ever seen a bigger comeback than the one the Washington Nationals pulled on the New York Mets recently? — SARAH, Fairfax, Va.

A: You mean the one where the Mets scored five in the top of the ninth to take a 10-4 lead, only to have the Nats scored seven in the bottom of the ninth for an 11-10 lead. That was incredible. But I witnessed a worse one. On May 20, 2010, the Reds held a 9-3 lead over Atlanta entering the bottom of the ninth. The Braves scored seven runs, including a walk-off grand slam home run by Brooks Conrad for a 10-9 win. It was hit off Reds closer Coco Cordero, who was about as popular then as Raisel Iglesias was for the Reds in St. Louis.

Q: With all the players getting suspended for using drugs and PEDs and then are welcomed back, when are we going to see Pete Rose re-instated? — FORREST, Clayton.

A: As Johnny Mathis might say it, “The 12th of Never.” MLB has rules for a certain number of games suspended for using PEDs. A third offense is permanent banishment. MLB’s rules for betting on baseball is permanent banishment. The PEDers didn’t bet on baseball. Rose would have been better off taking PEDs than betting on baseball. You are trying to compare parsnips to pomegranate. Doesn’t compute.

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