The “window of opportunity” for the Cincinnati Reds has closed. In fact, it closed when they choked and lost Game 5 of the NLDS in 2012 vs the San Francisco Giants. The team should have fired Dusty Baker after that season and gone after a solid managerial candidate such as Terry Francona. This year’s team has been horribly decimated by injury, yes that’s true, but it is also apparent this team has once again rolled over and died. I believe it is because they are hearing the same voice (via current manager Bryan Price) that they heard in the previous regime (Baker’s). Looking back at it now, it is obvious that the organization went the ‘safe route’ by elevating Price as manager instead of doing a comprehensive search for a manager who would hold his players accountable.
As far as what this organization needs to do going forward…it needs to begin an overhaul. It needs to trade valuable pieces so that they are used to rebuild a minor league system that is in shambles. Even those who have been elevated to the big league club that have had some semblance of success this season can be called into question. RP Jumbo Diaz and 2B Kris Negron have done well but are minor league ‘lifers’ who can not be counted on to continue to help. I would strongly consider trading players such as horribly overrated RF Jay Bruce who never fulfills his supposed ‘potential’, superstar closer Aroldis Chapman & starting pitchers Mat Latos and Mike Leake to make this happen.
A year ago, I would have been dead set against the trading of Chapman. I now realize how overrated the closer position is in Major League Baseball. I also realize that the Reds made a mistake in not turning such a talent into a starting pitcher. Time to try and see what value you can get in return for him before he begins eating up salary. I also get frustrated when fellow Reds fans suggest they try to deal players like Chris Heisey, Ryan Ludwick and Zack Cozart….what other MLB organization would want those players? Also, there is no hope in trading Joey Votto and/or Brandon Phillips unless the Reds want to eat a significant portion of their contracts and we all know that will not happen. The Reds need to do something to avoid becoming a team like the Philadelphia Phillies; a collection of aged, injured and past their prime players who are bleeding the organization’s payroll.
Major League Baseball Spring Training has begun and the Reds have returned to Goodyear, Arizona to get ready for it. The Queen City Redlegs began 2013 with a lot of optimism. They added Shin Soo Choo to play CF and looked forward to full, healthy seasons from perennial MVP Candidate Joey Votto and pitching staff ace Johnny Cueto. Quite frankly, 2013 was a “World Series or Bust” year for them. Unfortunately, it was a bust. Votto played a full season at 1B, but seemed to change his approach at the plate and on the field after dealing with a injured left knee in 2012. Joey hit .305, but dipped to 24 HRs and 73 RBIs, numbers that don’t warrant $25 million a year. Another blow was suffered as LF and five hole hitter Ryan Ludwick tore the labrum lining in his right shoulder on a slide Opening Day. Cueto continued to struggle as well with muscle issues. Still, the Reds remained in contention and finished with a 90-72 record even with a dismal end to the regular season that saw them totally flame out against the Mets and division rival Pittsburgh. A third place finish in the NL Central gave them a Wild Card playoff berth vs. the Pirates at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park. That game was an epic fail as the hungry Pirates and a rowdy Bucs crowd put an end to the Reds’ season.
Owner Bob Castellini decided change needed to be made at the top. Dusty Baker was great at getting the Reds to the playoffs, but just was unable to rally the team any further. Pitching Coach Bryan Price was chosen to take the helm and bring accountability to the clubhouse. Shin Soo Choo parlayed his .285, 21 HR, 54 RBI season into a huge payday with the Texas Rangers, C Ryan Hanigan became a Tampa Bay Ray and rock solid P Bronson Arroyo was not offered a new contract and moved on to the Diamondbacks. GM Walt Jocketty took a lot of criticism over the winter as he made no moves of significance to counter those losses. P Homer Bailey was resigned to a 6 year, $105 million contract; a move that caused some head shaking but needed to be made in today’s MLB salary world. To risk losing Bailey would severely impact the pitching staff in the future.
For the Reds to reach the playoffs again in 2014 and move past the first round, a lot needs to come from the current roster and a newcomer. Speedster Billy Hamilton has been tabbed to take over duties in CF and the leadoff spot. There is no doubt Billy can run. He stole 13 bases in 13 games during a late call-up to Cincy and provided energy every time he entered a game. But you can’t steal first base. Billy hit .256 at AAA Louisville last season. Joey Votto needs to quit trying to be John Olerud (google the name, kids) and return to his 2010 MVP numbers (.324, 37 HRs, 113 RBIs). RF Jay Bruce also needs to finally take the next step to stardom. Jay is a solid player, but like the team, seems unable to take the ‘next step’. And what type of season should Reds fans expect of “Dat Dude” Brandon Phillips? BP once again played stellar defense at 2B and had a decent season at the plate (.261, 18 HRs, 103 RBIs), but seems to have become a disruptive force in the clubhouse. He has questioned ownership’s truthfulness regarding finances, had a well publicized blow up on Cincinnati Enquirer sportswriter C. Trent Rosecrans and became even more disgruntled after news surfaced the Reds shopped him to the Yankees for a trade. Plus, a disturbing profile came out this winter about closer Aroldis Chapman. Will that be a distraction?
The starting pitching staff of Johnny Cueto (barring further injury), Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake should be more than solid and the Reds bullpen is also a plus. But with the lack of moves during the offseason, Joey Votto’s new approach at the plate, the almost certain drop off in production for CF/leadoff spot and change in leadership, I see an 84-78 finish which will lead to 3rd place and no playoffs for the 2014 Reds. The ‘window of opportunity’ has closed on this team.
The Reds have once again proven that the “small market” label used by many sports teams is nothing more than an excuse.
In 2012, fans were preparing for the worst, fearing that two of their stars would skip town for a long-term contract and bag o’ cash. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto were outgrowing Cincinnati and the small-town Reds. Could the Reds possibly scrape up the money to sign one of them? After Votto agreed to the biggest contract in club history, Phillips signed a six-year deal for big money.
The Reds have inked Homer Bailey to a six-year, $105 million contract. The 27-year old has developed into the pitcher that the club and fans have been waiting on. I really like this deal. Bailey has his moments, but he is a workhorse with immense talent.
This is not just the re-posting of a link. This is the personal endorsement and expression of admiration in regards to the Joey Votto Foundation. Votto wrote about his newly created foundation in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The foundation helps returning veterans and the family members deal with PTSD and related issues.
It is a tremendously worthy cause. Congratulations to Joey Votto and everyone involved.
Visit the foundation’s website at vottofoundation.org.
by Harry Yeprem Jr.
So with the Red Sox victory over the St. Louis Cardinals last night, it ends again….the Major League Baseball Season. Yes, it was a disappointing year for the Redlegs, a team picked by many to go further than they did. But there are still many great memories; Homer Bailey’s No-Hitter, Joey Votto/Brandon Phillips/Aroldis Chapman making the NL All Star Team, BP’s Gold Glove Award, the Reds drawing a GABP best attendance of nearly 2.4 Million Fans and though the team had a horrible finish they did accumulate 90 wins.
Now we have the offseason to trudge through….but all is not lost, Redsfest is just a little over a month away and the Reds Winter Caravan will be here before we know it. Plus, the ‘Hot Stove’ is about to fire up….yes, Marty and the ‘gang’ will be taking ‘epic’ phone calls about unattainable trades beginning Tuesday…but hey, you can talk Reds, Major League Baseball and your “Hot Stove” ‘recipes’ THIS FRIDAY (11/1) NIGHT beginning at 11p EST with us! The Sports Bus LIVE AND ON THE AIR!
Not the kind of Reds news we were hoping for during the month of October, but Reds news nonetheless… Reds sign five to minor-league deals
Joey Votto wants to return to his old form in 2014. Hopefully, the new manager will put him in a position where he feels comfortable doing that. In other words, it doesn’t matter how much you get on base if nobody is driving you in.
Greg Oden is cleared each day to play/practice. The trainers actually measure his knees for swelling after every practice. I give him a month.
Very sad news in Major League Baseball – Umpire Wally Bell has died at age 48
The College Football Playoff selection committee has been chosen. Condoleezza Rice?
Getting excited about a big hit is fine, but Yasiel Puig could have had an inside-the-park home run if he was running out of the box.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was pitching with a SENSE OF URGENCY. Yes, I said SENSE OF URGENCY.