2009: 78-84, 4th NL Central
While the Reds did win 4 more games than the previous season, many in the organization would still say the season was a failure.
First off, they were still in the bottom half of the divison. Part of this could be cited to injuries, as Joey Votto and Edinson Volquez missed time with injuries. Both players are key in the Reds success. Votto left the team for personal reasons, which was really battling depression. Volquez had elbow problems, which led to Tommy John surgery.
Secondly, the Reds invested in a bad leadoff hitter. Willy Taveras was signed to be a table setter, but they found out that he can’t get on base (.275 OBP). Taveras was fine defensively, and once he got on base, he did have the speed to swipe a base. Unfortunately, he didn’t steal many bases (25).
The pitching was ok, as Johnny Cueto was able to lower his stats other than wins; this also meant he had few strike outs than the previous season. Homer Bailey finally took a step forward; the one time future ace put up his best numbers in the majors.
Gains: Orlando Cabrera, Ardolis Chapman, Aaron Miles
Losses: Darnell McDonald, Ramon Ramirez, Danny Richar, Adam Rosales, Craig Tatum, Willy Taveras
Minor League Deals: Josh Anderson, Jose Arredondo, Chris Burke, Miguel Cairo
Dealing Taveras to the Athletics was a good deal, as they picked up Aaron Miles. While Miles isn’t a good player, he’s better than running Taveras out to center everyday. Miles is a good bench player who is good for a single most of the time he’s hitting.
Orlando Cabrera is another solid addition to the team. He’s not the player he was, but shortstop was a problem for the Reds. Paul Janish and Adam Rosales didn’t set the world on fire. Cabrera won’t either, but he’s an upgrade.
The biggest move of the off season was signing Cuban import Ardolis Chapman. Chapman is seen any where from top of the rotation starter to bullpen arm. I don’t think he’ll be able to contribute this year, but he’ll be a solid addition in the future.
With the additions to the team, they do look improved on paper; at least the fielding and hitting does. The pitching will be hurt by the loss of Volquez. He’s the ace of the staff, and they didn’t sign a pitcher to replace him. They’ll need Bailey and Cueto to really step forward to absorb this loss.
Predicition: 82-82, 3rd NL Central