SportsTemps home

Sunday, February 22, 2009

SeasonPreview: Cincinnati Reds

2008 Record: 74-88  .457

Run differential: -96 (12th)

2008 payroll: $74,117,695

With the 2008 hiring of Dusty Baker, the Reds essentially declared themselves in “win now” mode.  Surprising rookies Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez were thrown into the rotation and proved they are more than capable of becoming fixtures in the rotation with Volquez having Cy Young potential.  Joey Votto finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting and Adam Dunn continued to produce like clockwork. Sadly these great performances did not result in a playoff birth as Bronson Arroyo got off to a slow start, Aaron Harang had a sub par season by his standards, and the team suffered injuries early and often.

Offensively, the hiring of Dusty Baker brings quotes like “I think walks are overrated…if the guy can’t run he’s just clogging up the bases” with accusations of Adam Dunn being lazy and the benching of Joey Votto for not being “aggressive.”  This led to eventual 40 homer and NL leader 122 time base clogging machine Dunn being shipped to Arizona for likely 5th starter Micah Owings. Replacing Dunn is speedster and future NL out leader Willy Taveras. Taveras is just an average defensive player, has zero power, and has failed to get on base more than 30% of the time two out of his last three seasons in Colorado.  This swap coupled with the high injury risk accompanying Cincinnati’s young starters will most likely offset the progress made by the young hitters.  One must wonder if the hiring of Dusty Baker is compromising the futures of the young players and delaying  their ability to win now into the next decade.

Likely opening day roster:

Pos. Name Salary How Acquired
C Ramon Hernandez $9 M Acquired in trade w/ Bal 12/11/08
C Ryan Hanigan $.39 M Signed as amateur FA 2002
1b Joey Votto $.39 M Drafted 2nd rd 2002
2b Brandon Phillips $4.75 M Acquired in trade w/ Cle 4/06. Resigned 2/15/08
3b Edwin Encarnacion $2 M Drafted 9th rd 2000
SS Alex Gonzalez $5.38 M Signed as FA 11/06
LF Chris Dickerson $.39 M Drafted 15th rd 2001
CF Willy Taveras $2.25 M Signed as FA 12/27/08
RF Jay Bruce $.39 M Drafted #12 overall 2005
Inf Jeff Keppinger $.403 M Acquired in trade w/ KC 1/07
UT Jerry Hairston, Jr $2 M Signed as FA 3/3/08.  Resigned 1/7/09
Of Norris Hopper $.403 M Drafted 8th rd 1998
Of Jonny Gomes   Non-roster Invitee
SP Aaron Harang $11 M Acquired in trade w/ Oak 7/30/03. Resigned 2/07
SP Edinson Volquez $.393 M Acquired in trade w/ Tex 12/21/07
SP Bronson Arroyo $9.5 M Acquired in trade w/ Bos 3/06. Resigned 2/07
SP Johnny Cueto $.39 M Signed as amateur FA from D.R. 2004
SP Micah Owings $.402 M Acquired in trade w/ Ari 9/12/08
Cl Francisco Cordero $12 M Signed as FA 11/28/07
SU Jared Burton $.395 M Selected in '06 Rule V draft
RP Bill Bray $.391 M Drafted #13 overall 2004
RP Arthur Rhodes $2 M Signed as FA 12/12/08
RP David Weathers $3.9 M Signed as a FA 12/04.  Resigned 1/28/09
RP Ramon Ramirez $.39 M Signed as amateur FA from Venezuela
RP Mike Lincoln $1.5 M Signed as FA 2/5/08. Resigned 12/4/08

Say hello to: Arthur Rhodes, Ramon Hernández, Willy Taveras

Wave goodbye: Jeremy Affeldt, David Ross, David Patton, Ryan Freel, Corey Patterson, Javier Valentín

Rookies: Drew Stubbs, Daryl Thompson

Non-Roster Invitees to Watch: Drew Stubbs, Jonny Gomes

Potential breakout: Edwin Encarnación (again), Joey Votto

Welcome to Earth:  Willy Taveras.  He was awful last year and that was in Coors Field.

Likely to rebound: Brandon Phillips

Strenghts: Strong core of young players.  The rotation could be excellent barring injuries.

Weaknesses: Even without Dunn there is power in this lineup but without him there are some frightening low on-base percentages.  Also are very right-handed.

Payroll obligations to former players: Mike Stanton ($.5M), David Ross ($.375 M), Juan Castro ($.1 M)

Optimal batting lineup (position, name, bats, Avg/OBP/Slg, HR, SB, EqA):

LF Dickerson L .304/.413/.608  6, 5  .328

1b Votto L .297/.368/.506  24, 7  .294

2b Phillips R .261/.312/.442  21, 23  .260

RF Bruce L .254/.314/.453  21, 4  .260

3b Encarnación R .251/.340/.466  26, 1  .277

C Hernández R .257/.308/.406  15, 0  .249

SS Gonzalez R* .272/.325/.468  16, 0  .267

CF Taveras R .251/.308/.296  1, 68  .241

*Missed 2008 due to injury.  2007 statistics listed

Prediction: 4th place 

Post a Comment