A look at the competition: The Cincinnati Reds
2007 record: 72-90, fifth place in the nl central
OUT:eric milton, kirk saarloos, jorge cantu, eddie guardado
IN: francisco cordero, edinson volquez, jeremy affeldt
this team did nothing but improve this offseason. one of the many problems that the reds had over the years was the lack of a solid closer. first it was graves; he blew up after a season or so. then, weathers; that did not work out either. so, this offseason, the reds overpaid for a solid closer in cordero. he is greatly improve their chances of winning games. I also really like the trade of hamilton. they did what good stock brokers do; buy low and sell high. hamilton’s stock rose pretty high after the really good season he had last season, even though he got injured at the end and missed like the last month or so. they have outfielders to spare including the best hitting prospect in the minors, jay bruce. by the way, they sent him down to AAA, guess he needs more time to develop. volquez is a young flamethrower that by all accounts was worth the trade. I really like the reds this season, think they will surprise some people. heck, if everything goes right for them, the can win this division; I wouldn’t mind it because I’ve always had an unexplainable admiration toward them.
that rotation looks like its going to be devestating. they arguably have the best top three starters in the central; maybe even the league. harang is a underrated stud that does not get enough media coverage. he eats up innings, strikes people out and gets ground balls; the guy does not even throw that hard! arroyo had a down year last season, I expect him to bounce back this season. bailey looks like he has the best “stuff” of the three, he just needs to put it all together and if he does and all of them get going…then watch out! so the rotation should look something like this: harang, arroyo, bailey, belisle, affeldt.
man is there offense going to be good. their lineup should look something like this: freel, votto/hatteberg, phillips, griffey, encarnacion, dunn, ross, gonzalez and pitcher. that lineup looks like its going to be very formidable and should hit a lot of homers and score a lot of runs. these days, they don’t strike out as much as they used to which is always a good thing. we all know dunn is going to collect his share of k’s; probably the most on the team.
overall, I got nothing but good things to say about the reds. only one thing worries me; dusty baker is the manager. don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he is a bad manager, I just think at times he tends to destroy starting pitchers’ arms by not taking them out after 110 pitches or so. this occurs all season; everyone saw it here in the central when he was with the cubs. I also gotta note that everywhere dusty has been, he has gotten his team to the playoffs during his first season as manager (if I remember correctly. projected 2008 record: 85-77, 3rd place in the nl central.