NL Central Fall Preview Part VI – Reds

by on November 16, 2010 · 2 comments

Reds.  How can I get past the basebrawl thing and provide an unbiased preview of the Reds?  Easy.  There are a lot of players on that team worthy of respect, and I won’t let Cueto and Phillips detract from that respect.  On to the preview…

 I expect a very slight decline from 2010 and a ceiling of around 90 wins. It may be asking a lot to expect Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Ramon Hernandez, Drew Stubbs, and Jay Bruce to duplicate the numbers they collectively put up in 2010.  That’s not a knock on the individuals responsible for the performances, but Rolen gave them Gold Glove defense at 3B along with 20 hrs and a .285 avg at age 35.  It’s asking a lot of him to hold up for another 130+ game season.  The same might be said for their regular catcher, Ramon Hernandez, who just re-signed for 1 yr at $3M after hitting .297/.364/.428 in his age 34 season. 

Given that the Reds have to give pay raises to Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto, it’s unlikely that they can add an impact player via free agency without sacrificing a significant contributor from the 2010 division winner.  After all, their free agent class includes Aaron Harang, Mike Lincoln, Arthur Rhodes, Orlando Cabrera, and Miguel Cairo.  With nearly $50M already committed to a small number of players, the Reds are likely headed just north of $70M after arbitration, and they’ll still have 4-5 holes to fill.  Even if they avoid expensive free agents, they could easily push $80M and not be quite as solid as they were in 2010.  Then again, this team has Walt Jocketty and only $8.5M committed for 2012, so there is plenty of room to maneuver. 

Overall, the Reds are relatively young and appear set to complete for several years as long as they can provide lineup protection for Votto.  That said, they really are built for success in the regular season and made the playoffs by having success within the NL Central division.  The Reds compiled a substantial number of their wins (43) by beating the Cubs (12-4), Astros (10-5), Brewers (11-3), and Pirates (10-6).  I believe that at least a few of those teams will offer a bit more resistance next year, and they’ll have to improve on their 6-12 record against the Cardinals in order to repeat as division winners.  I’m picking the Reds 2nd in 2011 with a 90-72 record.

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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camisadelgolf December 1, 2010

This is coming from a Reds fan, so take it with a grain of salt. I understand being skeptical of a lot of those players repeating their performances. However, there is one thing I want to point out. Walt Jocketty, so far, has decided to let the right players walk. Harang and Lincoln are additions by subtraction. Miguel Cairo practically had a career year, and nothing suggests that he can repeat that. Orlando Cabrera isn’t a bad guy to have on your bench, but when you factor in defense, Paul Janish is an upgrade. The only real loss is Arthur Rhodes, but when you consider that there’s a good chance Aroldis Chapman won’t crack the rotation, he won’t be too missed. Besides, who knows how Rhodes will perform as a 41-year-old in 2011 anyway? Although I’m expecting slight declines from a few players, I think the ceiling for their win total exceeds 90–not that I’m suggesting it should be 100+.

Dennis December 1, 2010

I definitely appreciate feedback from a Reds fan, and I don’t discount your opinion on account of that at all. My skepticism about the potential for repeat performances is really stemming from the same doubts that I would have about ANY group of players repeating performances like that group had. It’s not that they aren’t capable – they are. I just think that it’s likely that they’ll probably be pitched a bit differently next year, and it’s asking a lot of Rolen to hold up for a full season again physically.

I agree with a lot of what you write about Jocketty’s moves, although I think most of them were no-brainers due to FA status. With all the arbitration-eligibles, a line had to be draw in the sand pretty quickly. Janish is a defensive upgrade, but I think the Reds are already extremely solid on defense anyway. Based on what I saw of Chapman, I think it makes sense to have him at least start in the pen next year. If he can dominate for 2 innings at a time, Cincy could basically turn some games into 6 inning contests, and that’s a nice luxury to have (think Yankees – Rivera & Wetteland). I’m really interested to see what they do for rounding out the pitching staff, because they can expand payroll just a bit more than is obvious. With so little committed in 2012, Jocketty has some flexibility to get creative with a multi-year deal or two.

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