I recently sent some Dale Murphy and Atlanta Braves cards to Steve of The Card Chop, and he responded with a package of Reds cards. Always happy to receive an envelope full of Reds, especially when I need every single one…
Let’s start with this Joey Votto/Brandon Phillips “Back to Back” card from the new 2016 Topps flagship. I like this card. A lot of people are hating on this particular insert set, and while it’s not the most fantastic card ever, I still like it. Plus, Topps was smart by using two players that were pretty much guaranteed to still be on the Reds roster when the season opens. As opposed to this guy…
…who will be sitting out the first thirty games serving a domestic violence suspension. I’m not sure how much the Reds will actually miss Aroldis Chapman this year, since he is a closer and expected to save games. The Reds probably won’t have very many games to save.
And then there is this guy, who was almost a Blue Jay last week. Jay Bruce has been the subject of trade rumors since the All-Star break last year, and I still would not be surprised to see him in another city for opening day. He has a big contract that Cincinnati would love to get rid of, despite being one of the league leaders in homers and RBI just a few years ago…
Speaking of league leaders…
…when is Billy Hamilton going to get on base enough to lead the league in stolen bases?
Keeping with the league leaders theme…
…Aaron Harang had the most strikeouts in 2006. That kinda blows my mind. He’s still looking for a job this spring, after finishing the 2015 season in Philadelphia. Another former Reds pitcher…
Steve sent over a slew of 2006 Topps Reds that I didn’t have yet.
Brandon Phillips is the only player from the 2006 Reds team that is still in Cincinnati in 2016. 2006 was before Votto and before Bruce. One of the players on that roster is now deceased. It seems like an eternity ago, when Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn still roamed the outfield at Great American Ballpark.
Steve sent several other 2006 Topps Reds, but I don’t remember half of them. I did want to show one other card in the package, going way back to 1995…
Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, punched out of a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. I loved the 90s.
Aaron Harang last pitched for the Reds in 2010, and has bounced around quite a bit since then, appearing for the Padres, Dodgers, Mariners, Mets, and Braves, and spending time with but never pitching for the Rockies and Indians. After a decent stint with Atlanta last year, Philadelphia signed Harang to a one-year, $5 million deal. The 36-year old has never made an All-Star team, though he finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 2006.
I recently sent Jim at GCRL a handful of Dodger cards, and he responded in kind with some Reds goodies. Here are a few of the cards that are now a part of my collection…
The Redlegs just signed their up-and-coming catcher Devin Mesoraco to a new 4-year deal worth $28 million. It boggles my mind that sports contracts are so much today. And we keep supporting them by shelling out big bucks to the games, at the concession stands, at the souvenir shops. I get by as cheaply as I can, and I don’t load up on souvenirs and such, but it’s still a mystery to me how they get away with it.
Sean Casey was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame a few years ago. I never really paid much attention to “The Mayor,” as his career was largely during my dark days of “baseball is for kids” days. During that time, very few players were on my radar, and Casey simply wasn’t one of them.
A few years ago, I joked that Aaron Harang always pitched when we went to a game. I couldn’t stand seeing him on the mound, but it seemed like every single time we went to the park he was the starting pitcher. Then, for the 2011 season, he signed a free agent contract with the Padres. And wouldn’t you know it, the very first Reds game we went to was against the Padres, and Harang was pitching. I saw him again late in the 2013 season when the Mets came to town. I’m willing to bet we will go to a game in 2015, and he’ll be pitching for the Phillies. I just can’t stay away from Aaron Harang.
I liked Edinson Volquez, and was upset when the Reds traded him to San Diego for Mat Latos. To me, Latos never lived up to his potential, and I was not upset when he got shipped off to Miami this year (where he will probably wind up winning the Cy Young Award). Meanwhile, Volquez signed a 2-year deal with a team option for 2017 with the Kansas City Royals. I don’t think he’ll replace James Shields, but hopefully he’ll be more like the 2008/2014 Volquez than the 2009-2013 Volquez for KC.
Thank you for the cards, Jim!
No, I’m not finished with the 2011 Reds yet. But I’m going to give the photogs a few days to get some good shots of the players I haven’t featured yet in this series. I want to try and use only 2011 photos, and have done so thus far. Why quit now?
So for the next few days I’m going to post “fun cards” of guys who wore the Red last year, but have moved on to other teams this year. First up, Mr. Aaron Harang, now pitching for the San Diego Padres. He was signed as a free agent in December after the Reds decided to give their younger arms a chance. His salary for 2011: $3,500,000. He hasn’t had a winning record or an ERA under 4.00 since 2007.
Once more: $3,500,000.
Aaron Harang signed and returned 2 of 3 cards that I sent in 28 days via the Padres Spring Training address. This is why you only send doubles…just in case they are not returned.
A non-baseball-card-blogger Astros fan contacted me about trading for some Hunter Pence and Joe Mauer cards. I happily accepted the offer and sent over a stack of ‘Stros and Joes for some 2011 Reds inserts and parallels. Among the contents of the package I received today were a Barry Larkin (60 Years back), Joey Votto black-border RBI leaders, shiny no-longer-a-Red Aaron Harang, and base Edinson Volquez.
With this trade, I no longer need any white-border Series 1 Reds…except for Johnny Bench. *hint hint*
Thanks for the cards Trey!
On eBay. Lookie lookie!
Wait a minute…Aaron Harang?
Yes, Topps decided not to waste their Photoshop skills on Mr. Harang. Why they didn’t wait to put him in Series 2 in his Padres uniform is beyond me. It was a foregone conclusion long before the season was over that Harang would not be re-signed by the Reds.
If you’re interested in purchasing the Harang card on eBay, it can be had here.
Last year, I made some “fun cards” of retired Reds on the 2009 Topps design. When football season rolled around, I went with current Bengals on the 1987 Topps template. This year, we’ll see current Redlegs on one of the most classic Topps designs: 1972.
Why did I choose 1972? No reason other than the funky awesomeness of it, really. I wasn’t born until 1975 (which was another year I considered). Cincinnati did go to the World Series in ’72, but lost; they have won three Championships since then (1975, 1976, and 1990). So there is really no logic behind my choice.
I’m starting off the posts with Aaron Harang, who may be my least favorite Reds player of all-time. I honestly cannot think of another player – either in the field or on the mound – that I care less about. After back-to-back 16-win seasons in ’06 and ’07, Harang blew chunks in ’08 and ’09. Can’t really blame a lack of offense, either, as his ERA was 4.78 and 4.21 in those seasons – which isn’t terrible, but certainly isn’t good. So far this year, Aaron has a losing record and a 5.48 ERA.
Why Harang has been the Opening Day starter for the past few seasons is beyond me.
It’s time for him to go.