Man, where’s the time gone? I haven’t written since December and it’s already March!?
First off, let me apologize for the lack of updating. The holidays have been busy for me and I’m just glad to have an opportunity to write this final portion of the roster breakdown. Also, let me wish everyone a happy new year and I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year’s Eve.
Anyways, on with the breakdown.
This is going to be one long post. I’m gonna start with the starters and then move on to the bullpen and go from there.
*All the numbers I use are just there as placeholders. I have no idea what the starting rotation is going to be, but I’m just going with what I expect it to be.*
Also, these are all based off Dusty going with 13 position players and 12 pitchers. I’ll do the five starters, 6 in the ‘pen, and the closer role.
I. The Starting Rotation
The biggest thing everyone mentions about the Reds starters is that we had no true ace. No one really had shutdown stuff to begin last season, and yet, we still made the playoffs. This team showed that you don’t need one dominant starter when every single one of them is pulling their weight.
1. Bronson Arroyo – Last season, Arroyo was offered to pitch Opening Day and he deferred it to Aaron Harang. With Harang being a Padre in 2011, I think everyone will see Arroyo and his high leg kick on the mound, come Opening Day. Since 2005, Arroyo has pitched 1,292 and 2/3 innings. He has been one of the most durable and consistent pitchers in Major League Baseball in his last season as a Red Sox and in all of his seasons in Cincinnati. In 2010, Arroyo posted a career high in wins with 17 and even received some voting in the NL Cy Young race. His strikeouts continue to decrease every year, but he still manages to get outs. Sure, he has games where he just gets lit up, but he always seems to be in low run games. Oh yeah, and he can even swing the bat a little!
2. Johnny Cueto – Cueto had a great year last season and I don’t see why he will not continue to improve. Everyone talks about how Cueto and Homer Bailey are just going to constantly get better and I can’t wait to see the two of them reach their full potential. Every single on of Cueto’s stats for 2010, except for hits and strikeouts, were career lows for him. When I say career lows, I mean that they were all exceptionally better than his previous two years. Cueto is still young and will only be 25 by the time that Opening Day rolls around. He has a live arm and continues to show improvement in all of his pitches and has found a way to cut down on all of his walks. He seems to get on a miniature roll of sorts and I just hope he can continue to do that in the years to come. Also, would it really surprise anyone to see this kid win 20 games? I could see it happening and happening soon. The only thing that makes me nervous about Johnny is that he wears his emotions on his sleeve on the mound. If he can keep all those in check, he’ll be solid for years to come.
3. Edinson Volquez – Remember 2008? When the Reds traded away future MVP winner and All Star center fielder Josh Hamilton to the Texas Rangers for two pitchers? Volquez was one of the two of those guys in that deal, with the other being Daniel Ray Herrera. The only reason this deal was even struck was because the Redlegs were desperate for pitching and saw Volquez to be a decent starter. What Volquez did in 2008 was mind-blowing for all fans. He came in and looked like the ace the Reds needed. Injuries hampered him in ’09 and he was required to get Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm and missed all the way until after the All Star Break in 2010. #36 showed flashes of his brilliance in his 12 starts last season, but never returned to form 100%. There is no reason to think that he can’t find that greatness he mustered two years ago and show it again. Volquez has a good fastball and a great changeup and the curveball he started throwing is coming in to its own as well. He’ll be able to strengthen his arm more for the upcoming year and could really be the ace of this staff for many years. For his sake, I hope the injuries are behind him and he’s ready to go come March and April.
4. Travis Wood – Easy enough. The Reds need a lefty starter to help balance the rotation. Now, I know some people will see this and go, “Why not Chapman?” Dusty and Jocketty have both hinted that Aroldis will probably start 2011 in the bullpen, unless they see something else happen. The thing I really like about Wood, besides the fact we share a birthday, is that he showed no fear out on the mound in his rookie campaign. His win-loss numbers could be better, but those really are not the biggest concern for pitchers these days. His strikeouts were good for only pitching 17 games and his batting average against was great too. He held batters to a .222 average which is fantastic for a rookie lefty. The other options are Bailey and Leake, but I feel that Wood is definitely going to have a spot in the rotation for 2011. Should something happen in the spring where he seems more suited for the ‘pen, then expect Bailey or Leake to easily fill his spot.
5. Mike Leake – This one was kind of tough to figure out. Yeah, Leake got lit up when he pitched out of the bullpen, but he was great as a starter. Homer Bailey could have easily filled this spot, and he very well may, but I think Leake will get it. A kid who completely skipped the minors to pitch in the bigs will probably not start the year in Louisville, unless Bailey blows him out of the water in the spring and everyone vying for a bullpen spot looks better than he does. I’ve seen Leake be compared to Arroyo and I completely agree with that statement. He’s real good at using different arm slots and fooling batters and he’s always going to be the kind of contact pitcher that Arroyo is. I know Leake’s innings were being watched so expect those to go up a little more next season, but still expect to see a higher innings cap on him. Walks also seemed to be a bit of an issue at times, but they were not overwhelming. For a rookie season, he didn’t look too bad. Mark my words, this kid is gonna hit a home run sometime in the near future as well.
I am aware there are more guys than I am listing for this section, these are just the guys I see most likely making the team.
1. Homer Bailey – I know it’s a big risk for me to say that Bailey, a guy who’s started all 56 games he’s played in the regular season, to say he’ll be in the bullpen in 2011. He was always a touted prospect for us and people just said he couldn’t seem to put it all together. In 2009, he showed great stuff and looked like he had finally figured it all out. Shoulder fatigue last season slowed him down and he didn’t look as good as he could of, minus the complete game shutout against the Pirates. He could easily slot into the long-relief and spot-starter role and it may take some of the pressure off of him, as well. I would be happy to just see Homer have a good, injury-free year and maybe the bullpen is the answer for his future. Only time will tell.
2. Logan Ondrusek – The 6’8″ product of McLennan Community College was a nice and welcome surprise for the Cincinnati Reds. He got off to a rough start and was sent down to AAA, but when he returned, he looked like a different pitcher. In 60 games, Logan posted a 5-0 record to go along with a 3.68 ERA. If he could cut down on the walks and increase the strikeouts, he could be a good set-up man in his career or could have the potential of being a closer somewhere.
3. Jose Arredondo – Most people reading that name may have to take a double-take and ask themselves “Who?” Arredondo was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels and missed all of 2010 due to Tommy John surgery. In 2008, out of the ‘pen, he posted a 10-2 record with a 1.62 ERA and a .190 BAA. This kid was lights out as a rookie, b
ut had some struggles in ’09. He only went 2-3 two years ago with an earned run average of 6.00. Jose has just as good a shot as anyone to make the team, but look for him to have a strong spring in order to earn his spot. If he continues to show signs of his struggle from ’09, he may get optioned and see someone else take his spot.
4. Nick Masset – Like our closer, people were calling for his head early on last season. Nick’s season was not as strong as 2009, but he rode out a rough patch and posted solid numbers, yet again. If he can start off strong, he’ll have a year just like he did in 2008, if he comes out slow, we all know he has the ability to to bounce back from it.
*Honorable Mentions: Sam LeCure, Carlos Fisher, and Jordan Smith.*
1. Aroldis Chapman – Watching clips of his MLB debut still gives me chills and I know those chills are going to run down my spine in 2011, as well. In 13 and 1/3 innings pitched, he struck out 19 batters. His fastball reached 105 MPH and his slider made hitters look silly. We all anticipated his arrival and he lived up to it. I just hope we see him in a starting role eventually. Just because people have seen him, I still think Chapman is going to blow hitters away. No matter how many clips other teams watch and how they attempt to strategize, this kid is going to have a great year. With Arthur Rhodes now pitching in Texas, I think Chapman will be the primary left-handed set-up man.
2. Bill Bray – Ever since he returned in 2010, he looked okay. He has a great arm, but I’m not sure how well he’s going to continue as a Redleg. With Matt Maloney waiting in the wings, we may see not see Bray next year and could end up seeing Matt, instead. This one’s kind of a challenge for me because both could be viable options, but I just can’t decided between either of them.
*Honorable Mentions: Daniel Ray Herrera – His screwball is something that can’t be overlooked and he was decent last season, too. Dusty mainly used him as a situational lefty and he had tendencies to walk those batters instead of just get them out.
1. Francisco Cordero – Before anyone else exclaims that Coco’s gotta go, just remember that he saved 40 games last season. Sure, he blew eight of ’em, but that doesn’t mean he won’t bounce back next year. Except Coco to cut down on the walks and regain his old form again.
Whew. Sorry for the delay, folks. I hope everything is up to snuff and like always, comments are appreciated.
Happy New Year!
I planned on getting this up sooner, but I’ve been busy studying for finals all weekend and I’m just hoping on hammering this out before I resume studying.
I’m going to go ahead and break down the three outfield spots in this post and I thought about doing our bench, but I’m not going to. I figured it’s still kind of up in the air bench-wise until we get through the spring, so I’ll just leave that for everyone’s own discussions.
I’ve been super excited to do this one because I really like what we’ve got in store in the outfield for 2011. I know we’ve all heard rumors of Jocketty trying to potentially get a left fielder who can lead off, but whatever happens is okay with me.
I. Left Field – Jonny Gomes – Go, Jonny, go. From the time I watched the 2008 playoffs, following Tampa Bay, I’ve loved Gomes. I know he showed shaky plate discipline all year, but I had fun watching him. He’s got insane amounts of energy and I know if something happens and he’s relegated to the bench in 2011, he’ll be 100% okay with it. Ever since I learned about all of the hardships he went through, he’s become a huge favorite with me. Jonny refused to let anything drag him down and he showed that tremendously last season. He received a lot more playing time than expected and put up career highs in runs batted in, games played, at bats, and hits. The only thing that made me nervous was that he kind of fell off after the All Star Break. Opposing pitchers would start throwing curves in the dirt knowing he’d chase, and sure enough, he did. If #31 is back as the starter in left next season, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I just hope to see Gomes cut down on all the strikeouts, quit swinging wildly, and improve on defense as well. If it comes down to a platoon situation, it might be more beneficial for the Reds.
II. Center Field –Drew Stubbs – Where to begin with Stubbs? His speed is incredible, he plays solid defense in center, and has even shown to have quite the pop in his bat. The one thing everyone talked about was his strikeout numbers. I know he struck out a lot, but I don’t really see any reason to be concerned yet. Stubbs is coming off his first full season as a major leaguer and there’s no reason for him not to improve on his swing. I read an article over on http://www.cincinnati.com a few weeks ago about where they would like to see Drew bat next year. If he could cut down on the K’s, he’d be a solid leadoff hitter for Cincinnati, but I think Stubbs would be more beneficial batting lower in the order, around the 6th or 7th spot. I liked him a lot when he came up in ’09 and I think he can be better in 2011. Those 22 homers and 77 RBIs were great for a guy who didn’t have a full season under his belt and I could see him hitting 25-30 homers a year and driving in 80-90 runs. Of course those are just predictions, but the way he’s played up here it would not surprise me. Also, I’d love to see him bring back the high socks.
III. Right Field – Jay Bruce – Bruuuuuuuuuce. Every game I went to, I loved hearing that. This kid is going to be part of the heart of soul of the Cincinnati Reds for a long time. Watching Jay have that marvelous catch in the right field corner to rob Adam Laroche of a home run and preserver a win for us was incredible. Of course, his walk off blast to propel us into the playoffs for the first time in 15 years was unbelievable. If Bruce had made the team out of Spring Training in ’08 and hadn’t missed time in ’09 with his broken wrist, he might be even close to 100 homers than he is. After three seasons, he stands with 68 home runs, 180 runs knocked in, and a .257 career average. The only number that really sticks out in a bad way is the average. He showed great signs of improvement this year batting .281 and I think that could stay around that mark and even get close to, or break, .300 sometime in his career. He had a few weak months last season, but he really picked it up in August and everyone quickly forgot about those months. Defensively, he’s one of, if not, the best right fielder in the National League and I would even go as far as to say he might be the best in baseball. His arm is phenomenal and I would be stunned to not see him win a gold glove next season on in 2012. At 23 years old, the sky is the limit for our Texan right fielder.
I tried to work on this one as much as possible, but finals are getting the best of me. Once I’m home next week, I’ll do the final part of the breakdown.
ON DECK: The Pitching Staff! Boy, oh boy, this one’s going to be a doozy.
Thanks for reading!
So, I’ve decided to go ahead and quit doing the Hot Stove Updates. I’ve been real busy lately and with the Winter Meetings upon us, the free agency signings and trades are going to increases by a lot. If you’re still interested in them, they are always up at mlb.mlblogs.com.
On to the breakdown!
Since my last post, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the infield and what I see with it next year. Same thing with catchers, I’m gonna go position by position and break them all down.
I. First Base – Joey Votto – National League MVP, need I say more? Since posting solid numbers his rookie season and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting to winning a MVP title in his third full year, Votto has been one of the most consistent players for the Reds. He missed time in 2009 coping with the loss of his father and missed a week this year with a stiff neck. Imagine if he hadn’t and his numbers would have easily skyrocketed. Joey was 2nd in the NL in batting average, 6th in hits, 3rd in long balls, 3rd in RBIs, 1st in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and in OPS, and was third in runs. Does that scream MVP to you? He finished in the top 10 of every offensive category in the National League and I still think there’s room for improvement. His career-high for games play is 151 and I think he could easily play 155 or 160 next year. I know he needs time off every now and then, but I still think he’ll get those extra 5 or 10 games. He’s a great hitter, he gets better every year in the field, and I’m hoping that he manages to stay in Cincinnati for as long as he can.
II. Second Base – Brandon Phillips – Diving to his left, his right, jumping in the air to snag a liner, fielding pop-ups and turning slick double plays is just something we Reds fans see on a daily basis from #4. Brandon Phillips has made a name for himself as one, if not, the best defensive second basemen in the National League. Offensively, it’s been quite interesting. He came over in 2006 and put great numbers for a guy who hadn’t played everyday in the bigs since ’03. He batted clean-up most of the time and put that to use in 2007 and 2009 when he had 30 bombs and 94 knocked in and 20 homers and 98 knocked in, respectively. He bounced around in 2010 from the four hole to batting second to leading off to being bumped down to the seven spot. Had his hand not been hurting, his numbers might have gone up a little more. I’m not real sure where I see BP fit next year in the lineup. If we can score a good leadoff man, then maybe see him in the number two spot. However, I could see him batting leadoff if need be or even batting lower in the order. I know Phillips has stated he wants to finish his career here and I hope it happens. It’s going to be a sad day when we can’t be spoiled by his flashy leather over at the keystone.
III. Third Base – Scott Rolen – Just four days after Opening Day 2011, Rolen’s going to be 36 years young. Scroll back up and read that first sentence I posted for Phillips and change the number to a #27. Rolen plays phenomenal defense at the Hot Corner and I’m excited that the Redlegs have two Gold Glovers in the mix for next year. Everyone questioned Rolen’s production coming into this year and he just made everyone look at him in awe with the way he had a nice comeback year. Like everyone has heard or said, Rolen will get even more days off next year to give him some rest and just let the other guys play. Scotty only played in 133 games next year, and I could really see him playing in about 120 in 2011. Nothing against him, it’s just that he’s getting older and if we want him to produce like he did in the first half of last year, we’ll sit him more often. We’ve got him under contract until 2012, so I’m not really too worried about our infield defense. I would love to see Rolen retire as Red, as well. The numbers he put up were amazing in the first half, but then it looked like the toil of the season got to him after the All Star Break and he kind of faded out. Also, I’m not too sure if batting him behind Votto is our best bet. If Jay Bruce is going to hit home runs the way he has, maybe he could get bumped up to the clean-up spot. Anyways, that will be discussed more in the next portion of the breakdown.
IV. Shortstop – Paul Janish – I love the way Janish plays and I honestly think if he gets to take over as the starting shortstop next year, we may have yet another Gold Glove infielder. I know I made a post earlier about Jose Reyes, but Janish may have more than proven himself in 2010. Paul hardly got any playing time in the first half, but got a lot more once Orlando Cabrera went down with his strained oblique. I still remember that game where Janish was put in because Votto got ejected and went a perfect 4-4 with a homer and three runs knocked in. I know it was just one game, but he looks like a different hitter this year. He’s never been know to have a lot of power, but I don’t really think it’s that bothersome. In 82 games, he .260 with 5 home runs and 25 RBIs, not that impressive, but solid numbers for a guy who’s sat the bench most of his career. Once Opening Day rolls around and if Janish is at short, I have no problem with it. If the Reds go out and grab a shortstop who can leadoff or feel that Zack Cozart’s ready, I’ll be okay too.
Sorry it’s not a whole lot, just my thoughts on it. I’ve been stressed out with school and finals and just worrying about getting home next week.
ON DECK: The Outfield! I’m real excited to do this one.
As usual, all comments are greatly appreciated. I’d love to hear some other people’s take on this.
This has been something I’ve been trying to do for a while and I figured the offseason would be fittting.
Imagine that all the boring time without baseball is over. It’s finally Opening Day. Who do you see on the Reds 25-man roster? I’m gonna go position by position and give you all my thoughts on it.
*NOTE* The numbers have nothing to do with significance or who I think is better. It’s just to differentiate between the positions where we have more than one player.
1. Ramon Hernandez – At 34 years old, I don’t see Hernandez being the everyday catcher for us. Getting 313 AB’s last season, he batted a career-high .297 and it’s kind of difficult to predict what he would have batted if he had more at bats. Ramon’s had upwards of 400 AB’s six times in his career and posted solid numbers, but at his age, I could see him tailing off. Look for Hernandez to be as solid as he has been the past two years, but I think 2011 is Hanigan’s time to shine.
2. Ryan Hanigan – Speaking of Hanigan, he had one of the most clutch bats for the Reds in 2010. It’s kind of funny how changing your batting stance just a little bit can make a world of difference. The only downside I can think of is that he started to tail off towards the stretch, but he still was incredible. Think about this, Hanigan had 251 AB’s in 2009 and posted a then career high 11 runs batted in. That was in 90, I’ll repeat that 90 games. Now, fast foward to our Central Division champ year and look at his stats again. It’s almost like a completely different player. In 2010, Ryan played in only 70 games and only got 203 at bats. Now, I know he was on the DL for some time with a broken thumb, but in that short amount of time, he still posted career-highs in doubles (11), home runs (5), and RBI’s (40). If he hadn’t missed time with his injury, he could have easily demolished those. I honestly think Hanigan will see most of the playing time in 2011 and Hernandez will be there to spell him and catch certain pitchers.
However, there is a wild card within the backstops and his name is Devin Mesoraco. The Reds first round pick in ’07, Mesoraco struggled to put it all together in his first three years. However, in 2010, he advanced through all three levels of the minor league organization. Everyone has speculated that Devin will make his MLB debut sometime in 2011 and I do not doubt it. In his first game after being called up to the Louisville Bats, he hit a grand slam. Not just any grand slam, a WALK off grand slam. Then, in his second game with the bats, he hammered another grand slam. He’s showing he has major league power, but his defense has come into question at times. I hope to see him at Great American Ball Park next season, but at the expense of another catcher, that may wait until a September call up.
On Deck: The Infield!
Now, on to the Hot Stove Report:
– Blake Hawksworth was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Ryan Theriot. Theriot will probably play middle infield for the Redbirds, more than likely shortstop.
– In other Cardinals news, free agent lefty Brian Tallet agreed to a contract with the Cards. After having a down year with Toronto, Tallet is looking for a huge bounceback with St. Louis.
– In the NL West, Miguel Tejada has decided to remain in the Bay Area by signing a deal with the World Champion reigning San Francisco Giants. At his age, the Giants could use someone else within the organization to spell him at shortstop or maybe move him to play more third base if the Kung Fu Panda struggles.
– Hisanori Takahashi, a lefty coming off a nice year with the Mets is reportedly close to signing a multi-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Takahashi, who the Reds tried to sign but failed to get a contract going, would compliment the Angels bullpen nicely. The Angels are very right-handed loaded and the Japan native seems to fit in nicely with them.
– Adam Dunn has agreed to a deal with Chicago White Sox, pending a physical. Dunn, who’s power bat has been looked at by several different teams goes to a White Sox team where his options abound. Dunn sought somewhere he could still play first base and it looks like the White Sox would let him play there, unless Paul Konerko resigns with them.
Last, but certainly not least, in Reds news:
– All six players who were eligible for arbitration had contracts tendered. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Bill Bray, and Jared Burton will all receive pay upgrades, however some come at a surprise. Bray makes sense, in case Sir Arthur doesn’t resign with us, but Burton was kind of odd. That was until I read this: “It’s tough to find quality arms,” general manager Walt Jocketty said.
“Burton was healthy at the end of the year. It’s not that much of a
financial burden. It made sense to tender him.”
Sorry it was such a long post, but I’ve been working on this one for quite some time. Stay tuned for more of the roster breakdown and remember all comments are appreciated!
The title says it all.
Jose Reyes is quite the dynamic player and I would absolutely love nothing more than seeing him in a Cincinnati uniform next year.
Reyes could come at a bargain considering his injury-plagued / down year in 2010 and the Reds could easily acquire him. He would fit nicely at the top of the lineup and could be our leadoff man or bat in the two hole. Now, I know Reyes isn’t a huge OBP kind of guy, but he never has been. I still feel he’d be a better fit up there than anyone else we’ve had recently. I know Brandon Phillips had a pretty decent year batting leadoff for us, but he’s not the long-term solution. Not to knock Paul Janish, but I think Reyes could really help us more than Janish could for the time being.
As I was saying, we could easily acquire him. I know all the reports out there say the Mets are shopping him and will listen, but it would be strange to see them move him at such a low value.
I can honestly think of two or three names that could help sweep the Mets off their feet. I know they have Ike Davis and David Wright, but I feel like trading Juan Francisco, Yonder Alonso, and maybe a pitcher to add to their rotation would go nicely for Reyes. Francisco and Alonso could also be trade chips from them along the road, or they could end up using one if they trade any of their corner infielders.
Jocketty has always had some kind of nice trade come along and I think Reyes would fit nicely in the ‘Nati. We all know Reyes’ name is going to be thrown around in the Winter Meetings next week and I have a feeling Reyes could be on the Reds radar.
On with the Hot Stove Recap:
– Javier Vazquez moved from pinstripes to sunny Miami, agreeing to a deal with Florida Marlins. The veteran had a real down year in 2010, but I expect to see him have a nice bounce back and be able to show he’s capable of being an inning-eater for them again.
– In L.A., the boys in blue have swung deals for both Jon Garland and Juan Uribe. Garland returns to the Dodgers for his second time, while Uribe is expected to bring his clutch bat with him from San Francisco.
– The AL Champion Texas Rangers signed catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a two year deal and fills the huge void at catcher for them. I still don’t think Taylor Teagarden is the right guy for them, so maybe see the Rangers pick someone else up or resign Matt Treanor.
My name’s Chris and, well, this is my first post. (Obviously)
Basically, I’m here to inform everyone of everything Cincinnati Reds related and during the offseason, keep you all up to date on everything else!
To start things off, I’d like to leave some ground rules. PLEASE, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM CURSING in any comments. I understand some of you talk like that, but here is not the place for that.
Anyways, on with the news:
– Joey Votto was named the NL MVP last Monday and former Red Josh Hamilton was named AL MVP on Tuesday.
– Dontrelle Willis recently signed a minor leage contract, which I look at in a good light, but it makes me nervous. If he returns to his old form we might have a solid lefty out of the ‘pen. However, that is a huge IF.
– Last, but certainly not least, we have the Hot Stove recap. I understand it’s easy to find, but I figured I’d go ahead and throw it in here. Victor Martinez is officially a Detroit Tiger, Zach Duke is an Arizona Diamondback, and Derek Jeter is still trying to get even more money from the Yankees than I’ll ever have.
Once I get this going, it’ll become more fluid.
Thanks for stopping by!
More updates soon.