Is this the spirit of the season or another push to influence the Cincinnati Reds to trade for another big bat to hit behind Joey Votto? Either way, it is time to enliven a rather dead winter for the Reds and propose some New Year’s resolutions for many in the organization.
Speaking of that big bat, if one does not come soon, Walt Jocketty may not be here next year. The Reds lineup has downgraded itself since last year. Shin- Soo Choo is now in Texas. Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Zach Cozart, and Chris Heisey will continue the status quo and chase pitches off of the plate in 2014, thus cutting down their production. None learned from watching Choo’s selectivity last year so there is no reason to believe that any of them will improve off of last year’s numbers. It is up to Jocketty to bring in Giancarlo Stanton or Matt Kemp at any price or the window for Reds’ playoff success may have officially closed.
Again speaking of that big bat, here’s to plenty of patience for Reds radio announcer Marty Brennaman. He is going to need it. He thinks Joey Votto walked too much last year. Well, Choo was on base plenty in 2013 so Votto actually saw some pitches to hit. When Votto constantly bats in 2014 with nobody on base, he may blow through his walk numbers from previous years.
Devin Mesoraco already got an early Christmas present when Ryan Hanigan was traded to the Tamp Bay Rays, thus freeing up playing time for the young catcher. Mesoraco has a history of needing some time to adjust to a jump in class (to borrow a Horse Racing term). He is one of the few Reds that has not reached his plateau or is not on the decline. Here’s to him working overtime and becoming the .300 hitter that he was in the Minors. Here’s to him becoming the number two, four, or five hitter in the lineup.
Brandon Phillips possibly has an excuse for his poor 2013. He was plunked in the wrist by a pitch early in the summer and hit roughly .230 the rest of the season. To his credit, he played through the pain and never complained about it. Here’s to Phillips getting a full season of health and proving everyone- including me- wrong regarding his production decline.
Bryan Price will be much better manager than Dusty Baker ever was. Price has already made a few comments that indicate that the Reds manager will not reside in Bedrock any more. Aroldis Chapman may be used for more than one inning and may be used in high leverage situations outside of the 9th inning! Crazy! Veterans may not play if they don’t produce for two months straight! Insane!… but, it’s 2014 thinking. Here’s to him never, ever being used as a scapegoat because a can opener would be better than Baker.
For Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, how about either 1. Getting into shape or 2. Listening to your trainer and coaches who tell you the twist in your pitching motion is helping cause your lat and back problems or 3. Both. The Reds’ thin pitching corps cannot afford another lost year from Cueto.
Cueto has a teammate that also needs to listen to his coaches more. Jay Bruce, who is a very good player, could be a dominating player if he got rid of the loop in his swing. Maybe his new hitting coach, Don Long, can get through to him to lower his back elbow so he only has a slight upswing instead of the parabola he currently has.
To Homer Bailey, an impending free agent at the end of the season, here’s to a fantastic start to the season so he can bring plenty of young talent in return at the trade deadline because the Reds could be sellers.
Of the current free agents, almost none can fit into the Reds’ budget and also contribute at a high level. But there is one intriguing name that could sign with the Reds on a cheap, one- year deal and get his stock value up for free agency next year… outfielder Grady Sizemore. So Grady, lower your pride/ price tag, sign with the Reds and stay healthy. Anything close to your all- star years in Cleveland could save the Reds.
And finally, though Baker was an awful manager, he was certainly a good person. He deserves to land on his feet so here’s to Baker finding a job in broadcasting again because he certainly was good in front of the camera (except for one local press conference that was interrupted by his second baseman).