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A look at the competition: the cincinnati reds

February 26, 2007

the redlegs 

2006 record: 80-82 (3rd place in nl central)

additions: alex gonzalez (ss), jeff conine (1b/of), mike stanton (lhrp), kirk saarloos (rhp)

subtractions: rich aurilia, brandon claussen

the reds did good during the offseason but not great. they added some much needed lefty relief with stanton (although the guy is really old) and the veteran utility man jeff conine. conine can give scott hatteburg a breather here and there and if he stops hitting against lefties (since he is a lefty hitter), conine can platoon with him in a pinch. conine can also play the corner outfield spots so thats a plus.

edwin encarnacion, the reds 3rd baseman, really came into his own last season. the guy really bloomed and showed what he has offensively. I think he is going to be a very good hitter in the majors. I dont know why, but the reds always have great hitters, its the pitchers that they dont have.

the obviously improved their bullpen, but I think their offense took a big dip that they will not be able to rebound from this season. by big dip I mean that they cannot go back to what they were doing when they had kearns and lopez. those guys were pretty good and I think bowden basically gave those two offensive weapons away for no name pitchers.

the bullpen is alright, but the closer spot is still a revolving door. this has been a major issue for several years now. I’m assuming that dave weathers is the closer but what happens if he blows a couple of saves in a row?

will eddie guarardo (lefty closer) come back and close for them sometime midseason after he recovers from tommy john surgery? or will it be closer by committee which is never good in cincinnati.

the reds have a pretty good 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with harang and arroyo. harang took a big step forward last season showing the reds what he really can do and so did arroyo. if either is going to regress, its going to be arroyo. why? well, because last season he came from the redsox in a trade and no one has seen him pitch before. many hitters in this division had not faced him before; this season, hitters have seen him for a whole season and know what he can do. so he will still be good, but not as effective/good, if you know what I mean.

the offense will still be a very good offense, with lefty powerhitters griffey and dunn in there. the reds also have, in my mind, one of the best offensive catchers in the league, david ross (at least powerwise). alex gonzalez is a downgrade from rich aurilia offensively but he is a wiz with the glove.

2007 projected lineup: ryan freel, scott hatteburg, ken griffey jr., edwin encarnacion, adam dunn, brandon phillips, david ross, alex gonzalez

2007 projected rotation: aaron harang, bronson arroyo, kyle lohse, eric milton, kirk saarloos

2007 outlook: last season, the reds go lucky by winning games in their last at bats with walkoff shots. I don’t think that is going to happen this season. also, the are bound to regress because they improved by winning a lot more games in 2006 then they did in 2005 and they are just not that good.

2007 predicted record: 76-86 (5th in nl central)

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