Monday, January 31, 2011


A couple of things caught my attention about your Cincinnati Reds this week. And maybe they caught yours too.

They spent all this money on Aroldis Chapman, right? What was it, 30-million dollars, total? The guy throws in excess of 100-miles an hour, consistently. And though he had trouble holding base runners on during his stint in the majors last summer and even though he was a bit wild at times, 100-mph is equaled by few in big league baseball. I envisioned as a top of the rotation guy some day. I thought, this is a guy who could make up with the other guy’s ace, an invaluable piece, particularly when the Reds would arrive at playoff time. Think mature Chapman up against Roy Halladay. That kind of deal.

Turns out, my vision is through a jaundiced eye.

The second suit in command at Great American Ball Park is Bill Bavasi. He’s Walt Jocketty’s right hand man. This week, Bavasi was on the proverbial rubber chicken circuit, speaking at a gathering near Dayton when the subject of Chapman was raised. Here’s what he said….quote…

“A decision has not been made, but I think it is going to be impossible to get him out of the bullpen. You build your pitching staff from the back to the front - if we can shut you down in the eighth and ninth innings, you aren’t going to beat us.

Now I know the numbers game and I know the Reds have six guys right now for five rotation spots. But really? Bavasi made a good point: Chapman as a starter isn’t going to throw in excess of 105 an hour. But what about 98 miles and hour, with a slider that tops out around 93? Who else has that kind of stuff wearing Cincinnati Red?

I get the bullpen importance. It’s clear, they’re thinking ahead of the curve. Francisco Cordero could be gone as soon as mid season and if Chapman is the closer, it makes sense. But to use the kind of ‘stuff’ that Chapman has in a set up or mid relief role, to me, is a waste of his talents and Bob Castellini’s money.

The other thing the Reds did this week was commit a lot of money to pitcher Johnny Cueto. I believe the figure is four years, $27 million. That’s big dough to a little pitcher.

How about this stat that was sent to me by one of our faithful listeners. Since the end of World War II, 1945, only 32 right-handed pitchers under six feet tall have managed to deliver 100 or more starts in their careers. 519 right-handed pitchers over six feet tall have made 100 or more starts. Just 32 of them under six feet. For the record, Cueto stands 5-10 and has made 92 starts.

The all time leader in starts for right-handed pitchers under six feet is Camilo Pascual, who left Cuba and had 404 starts in the majors, one for the Reds when he pitched here briefly in 1969. Pedro Martinez is second on the list with 380 starts.

The point being, under sized right handed pitchers don’t last particularly long in Major League Baseball. Cueto is just eight starts away from reaching the 100 mark. But 15 of the ‘under six foot right handed starters’ never made it to 200 starts. That just a little under half of them.

So is it risky money they Reds have committed to Cueto? If he turns out to be Camilo Pascual or Pedro Martinez, obviously no. But it certainly bears watching, particularly on the back end of that four year days, when Cueto is due to make $10 million in 2014.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just posted to the front page of my web site is my latest Broo View Daily Podcast. Jim Trotter from Sports Illustrated weighs in on the Bengals

Sunday, January 23, 2011


You reap what you sow in life. And now we see more of what Mike Brown has planted. It's so bad in Bengal-dom, Carson Palmer is apparently willing to leave $50 million dollars on the table rather than continue to be the Bengals starting quarterback.

He's a modern day Elvis Grbac.

In case you missed it, ESPN's football smart guy, Chris Mortenson reported Sunday that Palmer has requested that the Bengals trade him. And if they don't, Palmer is reportedly willing to call it a career. The last Bengal to try this was Ochocinco, a couple of years back. That worked out so well, he all but crawled back to the Bengals, kissing Brown's ring upon arrival.

Palmer is a different story. He's the franchise quarterback, under achieving certainly in recent years. But he is the epitome of a good soldier. He always says the right things in public, stoic on the field and never in headlines outside of the sportscasts.

There's a temptation to say, if (and if is a very big operative word in this case) this is true, Palmer is quitting on his team mates. He's quitting on Bobbie Williams and Andrew Whitworth and the rest of the offense charged with protecting his butt and helping score touchdowns. But can you blame him?

None of this was in the brochure, when the Bengals drafted him with the number one overall pick in 2003. There was nothing in the brochure about dealing with diva wide receivers, idiot team mates who got arrested with regularity in 2006-2007. There was nothing in the brochure about an owner who stubbornly refuses to operate his team like a 20th century business. You couldn't expect in your wildest dreams it would operate as a 21st century business, now could you?

Years ago, when the Bengals were desperate for a quarterback (as they've been far too often in the last 20 years), they chased Elvis Grbac, a free agent who'd spent some notable time with the Chiefs and Ravens. Grbac was a free agent, looking for a new team. The only team that showed an interest were the Bengals. They dropped a very big offer on him, something not befitting his resume. Grbac, instead, opted to retire rather than play in Cincinnati. Now, reportedly, Palmer is at that same destination.

What he wants to remain here isn't clear. Maybe it's a new offensive coordinator, and few would blame him for wanting that. Maybe is a return to the normalcy that contending football teams operate under. You don't hear about the nonsense that goes on in Bengal-dom in any other franchise that consistently contends. Maybe he wants the Bengals to staff a front office with personnel people who can find the kind of talent that teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore can find. Maybe it's all of that or maybe he's just tired of it all.

But I do know this: if Palmer is traded, or allowed to simply quit, good luck to Mike Brown trying to resurrect this mess anytime soon. Good luck attracting quality free agent talent with your franchise quarterback walking on you. Good luck selling club seats and suites with Palmer wanting out on the heels of yet another atrocious season.

You reap what you sow. Barren is a word that's coming to mind today.

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Monday, January 17, 2011


If a $38 million dollar paycheck could be a 'win win' for both sides, then this is it. Joey Votto has most of his baseball career ahead of him, if he remains injury free. He'll earn tens of millions of dollars in addition to this latest contract he's signed with the Cincinnati Reds. He's set for life. The Reds avoid the nasty process of arbitration, surely to lose with each upcoming round to Votto. The total dollars of this deal most probably would have been for more than the $38 million they're spending now on their NL MVP first baseman.

But what does it mean to you and me?


Look, I'm happy for Votto and I think it's a wise move by the Reds. But the real game wasn't coming for three years anyway. All this deal does is cover Votto's arbitration years. In three years, he can still become a free agent. And if he continues to produce the kind of numbers he has the past two seasons, he'll simply be unaffordable in Reds-land. In St. Louis, Albert Puljos (who incidentally shares the same agent as Votto) might price himself out of that market. And if the Cardinals, who consistently draw three million fans each season, can't afford to pay Puljos (he'll probably command and get $20 million a year from some team), how can the Reds expect to pay Votto when he become eligible for free agency?

Joey Votto wasn't going anywhere for the next three years. The Reds simply made life for him, and them a little more palatable. But for you and me, this deal means nothing. Get back to around Christmas 2013.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Who Needs A Bigger Personnel Department?

Less than two weeks after Mike Brown declared that it will be business as usual for his spartan front office, I'm beginning to wonder if he's got it right. You're saying, Ken, a moment please. You spent the better part of the Fall lamenting the Bengals inability to compete front office for front office with the Ravens and Steelers (to say nothing about some of the other solid organizations in the NFL). You are correct. But...

Look at the Bengals last couple of draft classes. OK, Andre Smith is well on his way to 'bust ville' (literally, as well as figuratively). But after Smith came Rey Maualuga and Michael Johnson, two players who will be counted on heavily to produce in the coming years. In that same 2009, they got a decent cover corner in Morgan Trent, in round six. Later in that round, the Bengals drafted Bernard Scott. So after round one, not bad.

From the 2008 draft, the top five picks remain with the team and all are contributing at various levels. First rounder, Keith Rivers, has been a bit of a disappointment. He simply doesn't make enough plays. But Rivers played the majority of 2010 with a bad foot. Second round pick, Jerome Simpson, whom you could not find with a search warrant, finally blossomed in the final three games of 2010. Was it the real deal? Or is Simpson just a couple of dropped balls away from the same road to 'bust ville'? Pat Sims, Andre Caldwell and Anthony Collins are are potential starters for the Bengals in the future.

Brown has a compelling argument for continuing business his way by pointing to the success his few personnel people have had in the past two seasons. But his position takes on a lot water when you continue back in time.

2005? First round pick David Pollack lasted a season and a half before a neck injury ended his career. OK, probably couldn't have predicted that one. But second round pick, Odell Thurman was a red flag for a lot of teams that year, at least the one's who had enough front office people to do a thorough background check on him. Same thing was true, with the late Chris Henry. The ONLY player from that draft who's had any kind of career to speak of is the player the Bengals took in the seventh round, Jonathan Fanene. 2005 came as close to a complete whiff as any team has ever had.

2006 was better with Jonathan Joseph, Andrew Whitworth, Frostee Rucker and Domata Peko taken with the first four picks. But the number of draft busts the Bengals have had make up a not so impressive list. Quarterback David Klingler in 1992, linebacker Reinard Wilson in 1997, quarterback Akili Smith in 1999 just to name first round flame outs. Along the way, there are plenty of examples of later picks that never panned out. Who can forget the chain smoking tight end from San Jose State the Bengals took in round 3 of the 2001 draft, Sean Brewer?

Has every team whiffed badly in the NFL draft? Yep, even the great Patriots, even the great Steelers. But those teams have won Super Bowls. And the Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1991.

Recent history may suggest things are getting better. Maybe they are. But when you look at the total picture, you gotta wonder.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011


The great guessing game in Cincinnati these days is which, if any, of the Bengals assistant coaches are going away. The early line says, none. Don't kid yourself, Marvin Lewis would love to shake up his staff. He. like every Bengals coach since Paul Brown, has been forced to inherit assistant coaches from previous regimes. Lewis was forced to do that in 2003 for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was he was a rookie head coach desperate for a head coach's position.

Lewis wanted to make changes several times since taking the top job in Cincinnati. He got his wish on the defensive side of the ball, going through three coordinators in his eight seasons. Reportedly, two years ago, he wanted offensive coordinator, Bob Bratkowski out. Owner Mike Brown would let Lewis do that. Brown reportedly has a soft spot in his heart for the son of a former coaching legend, perhaps finding a little common ground with Son Of Zeke.

On the final day of the 2010 season, when all signs pointed to Lewis skating from the Bengals, he hinted that he wanted more say in a lot of things in Bengal-dom, including who was on his staff. Quickly, his tune changed. The offers he thought would be coming his way didn't. And by all indications, Lewis went back to Brown, hat in hand, trying to keep his job.

The bigger issue here isn't whether or not Lewis will get to make changes on his staff (he should, every NFL head coach should be able to hire and fire the people who will help determine his success.). The bigger issue is how will the Bengals organization sell a new season of hope to a fan base, which now has to be on the brink of complete disillusion. Hope and belief that better days are close at hand only works if you've given someone a clear indication that there may be some truth in the statement. Seen any of that around here lately?

So it should be no surprise to anyone if the Bengals way of doing business changes little this winter. Mike Brown has never been someone who's offered sacrificial lambs to his now dwindling fan base. And Marvin Lewis may have over played his hand.

Bengals fever catch it.

I'm happy the Reds addressed their left field shortcomings by signing a major league veteran like Fred Lewis. But I still believe Scott Podsednik would have been a better option. But neither are long term answers to that position. Nor is Jonny Gomes. The Reds must find out this summer if either Todd Frazier or Chris Heisey can answer that challenge.

I'm thinking Juan Francisco plays more than a few games at third base this season. Over/under I've got at 40. What are you taking?

We can talk all we want about which team did what this off season. Zach Greinke to the Brewers, Lance Berkman to the Cardinals, Matt Garza to the Cubs, etc. You and I both know the key element to a team winning a division title is health. If the Brewers lose Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder for any appreciable amount of time, they're toast. The Reds stayed relatively healthy in 2010 and won.

I'll take the Steelers over the Ravens this Saturday and the Patriots over the Jets on Sunday in the AFC playoffs. But I feel a lot stronger about the Pats than the Steelers...

NFC? I'm going with the Bears and Packers.

Lebron needs to let it go. He defeated Dan Gilbert last summer.

OJ Mayo gets into a fight with a teammate in a card game on the Memphis Grizzlies charter? Really? Trouble has been hounding him since high school.

I'm enough of a cynic to admit that I believe the soft schedule UC played leading up to their Big East Conference schedule will do as much harm and good come NCAA Tournament selection time. But you've got to give it to Mick Cronin for this: it built confidence for a team that was desperate for it.

But UC better win at least 10 regular season conference games if it wants to get in.

The paper had an article this week from some recruiting guru who thinks Butch Jones will have the best 2011 recruiting class in the Big East. He better. Broad-based interest in UC football is so fragile, it'll sink into the abyss again with another season like this past one.

UK wide receiver and utility man, Randall Cobb declared for the NFL draft today. He says he's been told that he'll go anywhere from rounds two through four. Whoever drafts him is getting a steal. I think his Sunday afternoons will be busy for a long time.

Among my guests this Sunday on 700 WLW will be none other than Sprint Cup driver, Joey Logano. He's won the Nationwide Series race at the Kentucky Speedway each of the last three years. You think he might be the favorite for the first-ever Cup race at Kentucky this July? You think?

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time For A Quickie Divorce?

Ochocinco, It was nice knowing you. Now here's a version of the 'home game'. It's time. You need to move on and the team needs to move on without you. What you both want in life don't intersect anymore. You've grown apart. You're not the same people who 'married' all those years ago.

It's time.

Look, the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson will forever be remembered here. And some day down the road, maybe sooner than later, he'll be remembered fondly. Ochocinco is not only the Bengals all time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He's also a player who never once did anything to bring harm to the franchise. Ever. In the winter of 2006 and 2007, when Bengals were being arrested on a nightly basis, Ochocinco was a model Bengal-citizen. He could infuriate us with his bizarre and narcissistic behavior. Who could forget his insipid ramblings along radio row at the Super Bowl a few years back, demanding a trade. He could confound us with what seemed to be warped priorities, Dancing With The Stars while the rest of his teammates were busy preparing for a football season. But he could also disarm us with his crazy comments, silly stunts that he pulled on the opposing team, with his end zone celebrations.

Ochocinco is a character, with strong character. He'll always be a Bengal. But it's time for him to go.

The Bengals, by all account, have sufficient talent to continue without Chad and his off field priorities. Jordan Shipley, Andrew Caldwell, Jerome Simpson and Jermaine Gresham form an adequate receiving corp. Maybe Quan Cosby needs to finally get a chance. Maybe there's a wide receiver in this next draft that can give the Bengals that deep, down field threat they've been missing. Remember, the Steelers found Mike Wallace in the third round of the 2009 draft.

The last thing the Bengals need, as they try to rebuild this mess of an offense that is of their own creation, is a wide receiver whose interests have moved onto the internet, cable TV shows and tweeting. It's just going to get in the way, like signing another narcissist, Terrell Owens got in the way this season.

Ochocinco is due $6 million this season. That's a lot of money to pay someone who might be, at best, the third best wide receiver on the team. $6 million will probably buy you an impact player on the free agent market, or at least provide a pretty good down payment on one. Face it: Ochocinco isn't an impact player anymore. It's been awhile since he has been.

Does that mean he's finished in the NFL? Hardly. In the right circumstance, with the right team poised to contend for a Super Bowl title, Ochocinco could be the right fit. In a big market, with lots of media, Ochocinco could be a big hit. Maybe he's outgrown Cincinnati. Maybe the Bengals are at a point where to grow, they need to do it without him.

For all of that, it's probably time to say goodbye. Divorces are never easy. But sometime, it's the right thing to do. Often times, both parties move onto better lives.

It's time for the Bengals and Ochocinco to declare irreconcilable differences. It was fun while it lasted. But it's time to move on.

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Monday, January 10, 2011


The temptation is there, isn't it? The Bengals sit with the 4th pick in this year's draft and they know, or at least have to know, that Carson Palmer's days as their quarterback are numbered. Maybe not after this next season, or the one after that. But soon, they'll have to replace him. He's 31 now, has a major knee surgery on his resume and probably should have had a major elbow surgery as well.

The temptation is there to use that 4th overall pick on a quarterback of the future. Andrew Luck will sit this draft out. But Arkansas' Ryan Mallett will be there. So will Auburn's Cam Newton.

The Bengals would be fools to draft either one of them.

Since 1995, 22 quarterbacks have been among the top 10 picks in their respective drafts. The investments made by the teams that selected them has had mixed results. For every Peyton Manning, there's an Alex Smith, or worse.

The Tennessee Titans (then the Houston Oilers) drafted Steve McNair with the number three overall pick in 1995. Two picks later, the Carolina Panthers took Kerry Collins. While Collins was in the league as late as this past season, McNair had significantly more success.

Three of those 16 draft classes produced no quarterbacks taken among the top ten picks. You want the Bengals to take a quarterback with their 4th overall pick this year? You must've forgotten the 1999 draft. Tim Couch, number one overall to Cleveland. Donovan McNabb, number two overall to Philly. Akili Smith, you need a refresher course in that?

The year the Bengals took Carson Palmer with the number one overall, 2003, the Jaguars took Byron Leftwich with the seventh overall pick. How'd that work out? They're still gagging in Houston over the Texans taking David Carr number one overall in 2002. Same year, the Lions took Joey Harrington with the third pick. Joey Lawrence would have been a better selection.

And we won't even get into the Raiders and Jemarcus Russell in 2007.

Of the eight teams who played this past weekend in the NFL playoffs only two, Manning and Michael Vick, were number one, overall, picks.

When you watch the Patriots play the Jets this Sunday, remember that Tom Brady was drafted 199th overall, a 6th round pick. Remember that Bart Starr was selected 199th, in the 17th round of the 1956 draft. Remember that Starr is in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame and Brady will be there shortly. So will Jemarcus Russell, if he buys a ticket for the tour.

The liste of quarterbacks who weren't first round picks who won Super Bowls includes six Hall Of Famers, and a lot more who are destined to get there. Johnny Unitas wasn't drafted until the 9th round and was cut by the Steelers before winding up in Baltimore. Cincinnati's own, Roger Staubach was a 10th round pick.

The point of all of this is that the Bengals are in trouble. They have talent at a lot of positions, sure. But at critical positions, right tackle, left guard, safety, defensive end, they have critical needs. Taking a quarterback with a #4 overall pick addresses none of that. And addressing none of that will continue the abyss they find themselves in now.

For better or worse, Carson Palmer should be the quarterback here next season and for the next few beyond. His replacement has to be found. But not this year. And now with the 4th overall pick.

For the latest Broo View Podcast, visit my web site And, you can always follow me on twitter: @kenbroo

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Just posted to the front page of my web site is the latest Broo View Daily Podcast. Today, we're talking about whether or not the Bengals should bring Carson Palmer back in 2011. He's due $11.5 million next season. Pete Prisco from offers a comment.
The Marvin Watch Day #1

If Mike Brown decides to give Marvin Lewis what he wants, a beefed up personnel department, inflatable bubble over a practice field, the ability to hire his own coaches and not accept hand me downs, is Brown admitting that the way he's conducted business over the last 20 years is wrong?

Mike Brown doesn't need Marvin Lewis to tell him that. All Brown has to look at is the won-loss record since he took the control of the franchise in 1991. But Marvin calling out Mike publicly makes it less likely that Lewis will get what he wants to stay here. Mike Brown hates, let me re iterate this HATES to have his negotiating aired publicly. He also seldom, if ever, loses a negotiation, public or private. So my guess is, Brown doesn't budge on any of this and Marvin leaves. Maybe the next guy in will get some of these things that Lewis wants. But when Marvin's agenda began leaking to the national media over the weekend, that might have been the final straw for Brown.

Factor in a fragile economy, suites and club seats that must be sold and the uncertainty of a collective bargaining negotiation the NFL is conducting with it's players union, and the economic landscape for Mike Brown doesn't look so good. He has to re-invigorate his fan base. And Marvin Lewis my have unwittingly played into Brown's hands. Now, Mike can let Marvin go, citing irreconcilable differences. He can then begin selling 2011 as a fresh start with a new head coach and a new direction. He might be able to convince that new head coach (particularly if the guy has never had that lofty a gig before) to take some of the assistant coaches who've been passed on from regime to regime over the last 25 years. Brown would view that as a win-win for himself. He wins by not caving into Lewis, who's made this fight public. And he wins by being able to say "See, Marvin didn't really want to stay here. But look at this new guy. Wait 'til you see what he's going to do."

As for Lewis, leaving Bengal-dom isn't all that bad. He's made his millions here. He can either contend for some of the other NFL jobs that have and will open up, or park himself in a TV studio until the right deal comes along.

The more I think about this, the more I see it playing out this way. I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. But I think I'm right.

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