Hello Reds fans! We are officially 89 days away from Opening Day! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and have been able to spend time with friends and family. I haven’t blogged in a while. Actually, I haven’t posted anything since the Reds lost in the Wild Card game in Pittsburgh. I know, I didn’t want to bring it up either. However, I thought it would be good to catch up and get your opinion on this off-season.
This off-season has been very interesting. After finishing third in the division and failing to make the “real” playoffs, the Reds haven’t really done anything to make the team better. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in the off-season? Improve your team? I understand it’s tough to improve on a 90 win season, but 90 wins got us third place in our own division. If we want to be able to call teams like the Cardinals our rival, we have to be able to compete with them. It’s never a good sign when fans are asking if Reds officials missed their wake up calls at the winter meetings.
We started off with the firing of Dusty Baker and the hiring of Bryan Price. I think everyone was on the same page with letting Dusty go. It was time for a change. However, I will always give Dusty Baker all the credit in the world (Despite his questionable bunting decisions). He turned this team around and gave us all something to cheer about. I think we should all be very excited about Bryan Price. If you talk to most baseball fans, they will tell you pitching wins championships. The progress our pitching staff has made over the past couple years has been unbelievable. Bryan Price had a lot to do with all of that success. I feel very confident that Bryan Price was the right guy for the job.
Another topic of discussion was the whole Brandon Phillips situation. Wow. I don’t think I’ve seen so much uproar in Cincinnati since Bob Huggins left UC. I will give you my opinion on the whole thing. The Reds will have to pay Brandon a lot of money over the next five years. Is he worth all that money? Yes and no.
Yes Brandon Phillips is a gold glove second baseman. He makes plays in the field that we dreamed about when we were growing up. Not only does he make those plays, but he makes it look easy. I don’t want to put him in the Chad Ochocinco category, but he brings a sense of excitement to Cincinnati. He gives the Reds a “face”. As much as we all want him to be, Joey Votto will never be that guy. Everyone that follows baseball knows #4 and his big smile. He is also great with the fans. He stands down the right field wall and signs autographs before every game. I really really really wish more players did this. I absolutely love that he does this for the kids and everyone else wanting to meet the all star.
On the flip side, Phillips hit a whopping .261 last season. That’s a tough pill to swallow if he’s one of the guys you want in the top of the batting order. I realize he has 103 RBI last season, but you have to take into account that he hit behind Votto and Choo. Those guys got on base nearly every time they came up to the plate. Also, it is obvious there are disagreements between Brandon and the front office. We don’t know all the details, but that’s not something you want out of your “star” player. He also frustrated a lot of people when he decided to attend Redsfest on a last second decision. Sure this was great for the fans, but players anonymously said he only did that to “steal the show”. Whether this is true or not, we’ll never know, but I think we can all agree problems in the clubhouse aren’t good. I asked people how the felt on twitter. 7 people said TRADE Phillips and 13 said DO NOT trade him. Opinions are still welcome.
Other key points:
1. Homer Bailey trade talks. Homer Bailey is finally turning into the Homer Bailey we hoped to see 2-3 years ago. He’s a great pitcher, but I wish they would have traded him. High trade value.
2. No more Shin-Soo-CHOOOOOOOO. It was only a matter of time before another team came and scooped him up. He did so many things for this Reds team last year and he will be nearly impossible to replace. Wishing him the best of luck.
3. No more Ryan Hannigan. Its hard to dislike Hannigan. He did everything coaches and fans asked. He was a vacuum behind the plate.
4. Devin Mesoraco will finally get his chance to start. The kid deserves his chance. When Mesoraco is on, he’s on fire. We saw a lot of improvement out of him this past season. I feel very comfortable with him behind the plate.
5. Billy Hamilton looks to make the opening day roster. With an empty spot in center field, it looks like Billy will get his chance. People questioned his arm strength when he played short stop. Are we sure we want him playing center? Run Billy Run.
6. Nelson Cruz in a Reds uniform? I’m not sold on this idea at all. He is asking a lot of money and he just seems like a big question mark to me. He would give the Reds a power bat in the middle of the order though.
7. Are we saying hello or goodbye to Bronson Arroyo? He has tested free agency and it doesn’t look like many teams are interested. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Reds uniform for another year or two. Consistency!
8. ESPN’s baseball tonight has ranked the Reds pitching staff 3rd…in their own division. Yikes. That kind of seems like a stretch. Hopefully that motivates guys like Leake and Homer to come back even better next year. I’m also looking forward to seeing Cueto back to full strength.
9. Joey Votto batting leadoff? I know it might sound crazy, but the guy gets on base. Isn’t that what the leadoff hitter is supposed to do? We should want our best player getting the most opportunities to come to the plate.
10. Chapman will remain the closer. I don’t think this news surprised anyone. Chapman has been against becoming a starter since day one. He’s a great closer, but you have to question why they signed Jonathan Broxton to a big contract if Aroldis Chapman was going to continue to close games. Bryan Price has said he will use Chapman more often…thankfully.
Well, I guess that’s all I have for now. Its been a pretty quiet off-season so far, but I’m hopeful something big will happen soon.