Miller discusses state of Reds with fans
Assistant GM fields questions before start of spring
Miller: Hi Fans! Thanks for joining the chat today. We have a lot of questions so I'm going to start a little early.
gibberish: What do you think Willy Taveras will bring to the team?
Miller: Speed, excellent play in center field. Hopefully he combines his last two years (.367 OBP in '07 and 68 SB in '08).
ranman1963: Do you feel that the Reds' pitching and defense has improved to the point that the Reds will compete for a postseason spot this year, even though they are not as strong on offense as years past?
Miller: I think so. If Gonzo comes back at full strength I think we'll be very strong up the middle. Our rotation should also be very good, as well as the bullpen.
codysgrandpa: Do you think the Reds will go to arbitration with Edwin Encarnacion?
Miller: Hopefully we'll get something done by this weekend.
gonzo34: Who is the Reds' projected starting left fielder?
Miller: Hairston, Dickerson, and Gomes should all factor in.
bengalpride: Do you think Alex Gonzalez will be ready for Opening Day?
Miller: We hope so. He's ready to go at 100 percent for Spring Training.
bpallstar: With Valentin, Ross, and Bako gone -- who will be the backup catcher this season -- Ryan Hanigan or Humberto Cota? Devin Mesoraco?
Miller: Hanigan looked very good at AAA last year and had a good September as well. He has to be the favorite at this point.
jonjon: For the first time in a long time, the Reds Minor League system seems to be stocked with good, young players. Who can we anticipate seeing in the near future?
Miller: Valaika, Frazier, Alonso, Jordan Smith, Roenicke, and Francisco.
reds44564: What role will Jeff Keppinger play in 2009?
Miller: If Gonzo is healthy, he should fit in nicely as a super utility player and a great bat off the bench.
pixiedixie: Who do you think will make the cut as starting pitcher on Opening Day?
Miller: Dusty indicated at Redsfest that Harang was his No. 1 pitcher.
ranman1963: How does Homer Bailey fit into the Reds' future plans with his name being mentioned this past winter at trade talks?
Miller: This is a big Spring Training for Homer. Hopefully he makes the most of his situation and battles for a starting pitching role. He's only 22 and deserves some patience from us.
pixiedixie: What is the current outlook on the five-man rotation?
Miller: Harang, Volquez, Arroyo, Cueto and then one of Owings, Bailey, Maloney, Ramirez, Thompson and Masset.
owsley33: Why, with the young talent that we have right now, aren't we trying to get rid of Homer Bailey to obtain that last bat that we need? We have a lot of great top-tier, young talent already, but as evidenced last year we need a little power.
Miller: We will never give up a player unless we think we are getting equal value for him. This applies to any player.
vansmith: What's your opinion about how the current economic situation will affect the baseball season?
Miller: Almost 100 free agents are still out there. I think the economic times have hurt most teams, including us.
zachary822: What do Walt Jocketty and yourself feel the Reds' style of play should be for success? For example, we are trying to get away from the long ball look, how would you describe "the look" you are going for?
Miller: Pitching, defense, more athleticism. A mixture of veterans and young players, with a strong farm system ready to step in when needed.
xavier273: You've been through a couple of GMs with the Reds -- what is it about Walt Jocketty that you think will most significantly impact the Reds in 2009?
Miller: His experience and past history of success.
pixiedixie: What do you think about the Reds' chances to win the World Series this year?
Miller: Better than they have been in recent history.
josh_frost: How do you think arbitration has changed baseball since it's been instituted?
Miller: It's such a great system that no other sports league has chosen to adapt it. That tells you something right there.
pixiedixie: There have been talks about adding free agents to the outfield and first base. Where does that stand?
Miller: We are close to signing a few more veterans to Minor League deals. There goes my cell phone. It's [beat writers] Mark Sheldon and John Fay calling to figure out who ...
pixiedixie: With all the talk about steroids as recently as yesterday, what kind of strategies are taking place within the organization to make sure that the players coming up, as well as the veterans, aren't cheating the system?
Miller: The Minor League drug program has been in full force nearly a decade. It has helped a lot.
josh_frost: How will the World Baseball Classic affect the Reds this year?
Miller: Don't know yet because the final rosters have not been set. If we lose Cueto and Volquez to it, it'll give more innings to the young guys battling for the No. 5 spot. It won't affect position players as much.
mrush1: I like the moves so far through free agency. But are you done pursuing free agents or is there the possibility that you will add another, and at what position do you feel we need it at?
Miller: We are always looking to get better either by signings or trades.
stantheman: When you head to Sarasota next week for Spring Training which player are you most excited to see return?
Miller: I always like seeing the young guys, especially at their first Major League Spring Training.
cinred1977: It seems all the potential fifth starters are right-handed. Are there any lefties coming to camp to compete for the fifth starter spot?
Miller: Matt Maloney, who we got when we traded Lohse to the Phils in '07.
gasomr: Are the Reds in the "win now" mode or "build for the future" mode?
gasomr: How would you rate working with the Reds as compared to the other teams you've worked for?
Miller: I went from the newest team in the game (D-backs) to the oldest team in the game. The tradition here is tremendous.
pixiedixie: If the asking price from their agents is low, is there a good chance to get Dunn and Griffey back?
Miller: Probably not.
angelbravo: Congrats on the Duran signing, Bob -- nice work there. Will both Yorman Rodriguez and Juan Duran play in the States this summer -- GCL, I assume -- and, if so, do you expect them to be able to succeed and move up within a year?
Miller: They should play in the GCL. They are only going to be 16 and 17 years old, so we'll play it by ear. They both have tremendous tools and physical ability.
jbowens18: Do you think Volquez and Cueto have settled their pitch count so they can go deeper into games?
Miller: I think they will probably always have higher pitch counts than some other types of pitchers, because hitters don't put the ball in play early in counts with either of them. They both have nasty stuff and are tough to hit, so they go to lots of deep counts.
perryjm: I heard a rumor that the Reds might try and pick up "Gonzo" for the bench - is this true?
Miller: We've talked to lots of agents about many players. Nothing is imminent with him.
abbott12: Is there any chance the Reds will make Manny Ramirez an offer to replace the power we have lost in our lineup?
Miller: No. $25 mill is a little out of our price range.
fowler13: I see 90 wins with us leading the Majors in stolen bases and a Wild Card spot. What are your expectations?
Miller: A winning record, a younger, more exciting team. With Taveras, Hairston, Dickerson and Phillips, we could easily get 150 steals from them.
ingulund: Do you feel confident we don't need another RH hitter, or is the organization still looking for more help in that department at the right price?
Miller: We are always looking to improve.
cromerman: What is the realistic potential of this team this year?
Miller: I believe we improved the most in our division.
d-backsman: As someone who is familiar with Adam Dunn, do you have any opinion on why he is still unsigned?
Miller: Easy. He hasn't received an offer that he wants to accept yet.
abbott12: Are we thinking about keeping Alex Gonzalez on the bench for now?
Miller: No, if he is healthy, he'll be our main shortstop.
dixiebird: How long will it take for Yonder, the new first baseman, to be ready?
Miller: He only has a few at-bats in the pros. We'll see. Hopefully by 2011, at the latest.
pdriz: Do you ever play fantasy baseball and, if so, do you end up drafting a lot of Reds players?
Miller: No, we all work about 12-14 hours a day during the season and I am married and plan to stay that way!!!!
zachary822: Once the season starts what is your daily role with the club?
Miller: You name it. Watching the Major League team play, watching the Minors, discussing trades, putting out fires, managing the roster and budgets, etc.
lonepine12: Would't Melky Cabrera be a good fit to the Reds' outfield (at a low cost)?
Miller: There are lots of players that fit that category, but the other team has to want to trade them to you, and for what you think is a good deal.
perryjm: What position do you think Hairston Jr. will play this year, after he had a big impact in the lineup last year?
Miller: Some left field and shortstop would be my guess at the positions he'll play the most, in that order.
tomnamazon: Are you the same Bob Miller that played on the 1962 Reds?
Miller: Nope, born in '63!
dixiebird: Do you think Pete Rose will ever make it to the Hall of Fame?
Miller: Some day.
illnired: Are you concerned about Harang coming off a bad season last year?
Miller: Nope. I think he'll have a great year. He finished the year strong.
shaknb8k: Were you involved in looking at Rodriguez and Duran and if so, what did you see in them that stood out from the other international top signers?
Miller: Size, athleticism, strength.
vondiesel: It seems like you're pretty stocked on the pitching front for the 2009 season. What about offense? Who are you counting on to step up big?
Miller: Phillips, Edwin, Bruce, Votto, Hernandez and Gonzo all have the ability to hit at least 20 HRs.
mrush1: Who do you think will have the biggest impact in the rotation this year - Bronson, Aaron or Micah?
Miller: Our fifth starters struggled last year, so I will say Owings and Harang rebounding will help us a lot.
perryjm: If the asking price is low, is there any chance you might be able to sign Bobby Abreu?
Miller: If the price is right, anything goes.
houdini11: Would Owings be a possible Rick Ankiel for the Reds?
Miller: No, he's a pitcher who can hit.
owsley33: Mr. Miller, how did you get started in the baseball industry? It has always been a dream of mine to get involved.
Miller: The Commissioner's Office for Minor League Baseball just happened to be in my hometown of St. Pete, Fla. Lucked into it.
VanDusen: There has been quite a bit of turnover in the front office over the past 10 years or so. Do you foresee a lot more stability in the years to come?
Miller: Yes. For my sake, I hope!!!
mrush1: Where do you see the Reds standings by the All-Star break -- around .500 or better?
Miller: Right in the hunt for the Division or Wild Card.
cromerman: Is this improvement something I will see in Spring Training or further down the road?
zachary822: Who are the team captains this year or has that not been determined?
Miller: We did not have one last year, and one has not been named for this year either.
asmith7000: How do you convince fans that the team can score runs this year, when we couldn't last year with a better offensive roster?
Miller: There are two ways to get better. Score more runs and give up less. A few years ago we lead the league in runs scored and finished under .500. I think our run differential will be much improved this year.
mrush1: I love what you have done so far with this organization and thank you. I hope everything pays off and we can have a parade in Cincinnati again!
Miller: We all do too. Thanks!
asmith7000: Other than Maloney, is there a player who was in the Minors last year who could step up and be a regular this year?
Miller: Valaika, Maloney, Roenicke.
mrush1: If we are in the hunt for a playoff spot do you see any big trades to take us over the hump? And is the Jermaine Dye trade out of the question?
Miller: If we are in the hunt, we will explore every option to win.
rivercityredleg: What are the chances, percentage-wise, we see a big trade before Opening Day? Or are the odds on this being our roster?
Miller: Low, but you never know. Later in spring, after teams figure out what they need and injuries have taken place raises the chances.
santos2: How does the Reds' Minor League system stack up against other teams in the Division?
Miller: We graduated a lot of players to the Majors last year, so some national publications lowered us, but we are still in the top half and everyone loves our depth.
rox08: What do you like best about your job?
Miller: Watching young players improve and become great players.
tomnamazon: How many frequent flyer miles do you rack up in a season?
Miller: I am a medallion with Delta. Thanks for the free upgrades Delta Airlines!
asmith7000: Is keeping Gonzo, Hairston and Dickerson healthy the key to this season?
Miller: That would certainly be a huge help but we'll need to stay healthy across the board.
Miller: Thanks for all the great questions. It was nice chatting with everyone. Nine days until Spring Training report date. Go Reds!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.