The Reds played their last home game of the season today, which doubled the final game of Marty Brennaman’s 46-year career calling Reds baseball. The longtime radio broadcaster was feted by the team in ceremonies both before and after the game, giving the Cincinnati fans multiple chances to celebrate the man who has been a fixture behind the microphone since the days of the Big Red Machine teams. We at MLBTR congratulate Brennaman on a wonderful career, and wish him all the best in retirement.
More from Cincy…
- 2019 has been “an awful year” for Reds cornerstone Joey Votto, who went into detail with reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon) about “the worst year of my career.” The 36-year-old has hit only .264/.360/.417 over an even 600 plate appearances, with his batting average, OBP, and wRC+ (103) all representing the lowest totals of Votto’s 13 Major League seasons. Were it not for a hot streak in August and September, Votto would have certainly been in danger of posting the first below-average (as per wRC+) season of his outstanding career. It also marks the second straight year of mediocre power numbers for Votto, who had a .578 SLG as recently as 2017. “I didn’t help the team enough this year. There were long stretches where I was a liability in important parts of the season,” Votto said. Between his performance and another losing season for the Reds, it was a frustrating enough season for Votto that he is planning to “just take as much time away from the game as possible, just kind of recharge” over the winter. This said, Votto also has some hope for a rebound, noting that he has spoken to other veteran players who have recovered from late-career “downturns and they made the adjustment and flourished at the end.”
- Remaining an everyday contributor is very important to Votto, as “I don’t think I would have fun coming out and just collecting paychecks and facing favorable matchups and taking more days off. I just don’t think that would resonate with me.” The first baseman is under contract through the 2023 season at the cost of $107MM in guaranteed money, and while he has said in the past that he was willing to retire if he was no longer enjoying the game, that time hasn’t yet come. “Yeah, I’ve had my moments where I’ve been really, really frustrated and thought a good deal about non-baseball, but you know, I don’t think I’m there yet,” Votto said.
- Sonny Gray underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow yesterday, correcting a problem that has bothered the right-hander since Spring Training, he told reporters (including Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer). In fact, Gray said that “I think we were two days away from having this [surgery] done in spring,” which would have cost him roughly a month of the regular season. “It came to a point where if I couldn’t start throwing tomorrow or the next day, it almost becomes a point where you might need to get this done now. That was definitely an option,” Gray said. Even while dealing with the discomfort of four bone chips in his elbow, Gray enjoyed an impressive season, posting a 2.87 ERA, 3.01 K/BB rate, and 10.5 K/9 over 175 1/3 innings for the Reds.
- Switch-hitter Tucker Barnhart is considering becoming a full-time left-handed batter, the catcher tells MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon. “I’m trying to see if it’s a possibility moving forward and I’ll go into the offseason, sit down and think about it again. Then I’ll head into Spring Training with a clear vision of what I want to do,” Barnhart said. Entering today’s action, Barnhart has made just 46 plate appearances from the right side of the plate this season, compared to 309 PA as a left-handed hitter (including five PA hitting as a lefty against a left-handed pitcher). Barnhart has a .259/.337/.390 career slash line over 1648 PA as a left-handed hitter against righty pitching, compared to only hitting .220/.297/.296 over 401 PA as a right-handed batter. “I just feel like I’m giving myself a better chance, left on left than right on left….I won’t say it’s hurt my left-handed swing, but I don’t think [switch-hitting] has allowed me to reach my full potential left-handed because I still have to work on hitting right-handed and that’s less swings for the left side,” Barnhart said.