Casey helps Reds even after trade

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sean Casey did everything he could to help the Cincinnati Reds win. He may help them even more now that he’s in Pittsburgh.

Christened “The Mayor of Great American Ball Park” because of his leadership in the Reds’ clubhouse and the love thrown at him by adoring fans, Casey was always the square peg trying to fit in the round hole.

While everyone loved him, he just didn’t fit the puzzle right. In eight seasons he was the Reds best average hitter, but at first base he generated little power and didn’t drive in enough runs that is customary of the corner men of the infield, namely first basemen and third basemen.

Email newsletter signup

Even with his good bat, Casey didn’t have much speed and wasn’t a base stealing threat. He was a good defensive player, but a lot of athletic players can handle the leather at first base.

No, Sean Casey just never fit the mold in Cincinnati, but he will be an asset in Pittsburgh, his hometown, because they need a first baseman of any kind.

Actually, they just need some hitters. Period.

By virtue of the trade last week, Casey helped the Reds fill one spot in the pitching staff as the Reds acquired David Williams in the deal. It was a perfect fit for the piching-poor Reds.

The trade also opened up first base and will allow the Reds to move power-hitting Adam Dunn from the outfield and open up a spot for Wily Mo Pena.

With a healthy Ken Griffey — maybe his switch to wearing No. 3 this season will help keep him off the disabled list —

in centerfield and Austin Kearns in right field, the Reds have four of the top hitters collectively in any lineup.

Kearns, the Reds’ best all-around player, spent time in the minor leagues last season to lose excess weight and he returned with a vengence.

Pena’s powerful bat has to be in the Reds’ lineup on a regular basis. Although his glove has some unknown horsehide repellent, his offense will more than make up for his defensive shortcomings.

Ironically, all the trade talk last season and this winter have centered around Griffey, Dunn, Kearns and Pena. Is it possible that the new Reds ownership of Robert Castellini actually prefers winning to saving on the payroll?

I always liked Sean Casey. He reminded me of what Tony Perez did for the Reds clubhouse during the Big Red Machine era. When Perez was traded to Montreal by Dick Wagner, the Reds were never the same.

The same will probably be true with the trade of Casey. The Reds will never be the same, but in this case, it should be for the better.

Thank you, Sean Casey, one last time.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.