Monday, January 28, 2013

Two former Reds facing career-defining seasons in 2013


There was a time when folks around the Queen City were really excited about the potential careers of both Drew Stubbs and Edinson Volquez. Each experienced flashes of brilliance during their time in Cincinnati, but both find themselves on different ball clubs entering 2013.

Volquez will be entering his second year with the San Diego Padres, while Stubbs will be joining the Cleveland Indians for the first time after being traded this winter. Obviously, teams haven't given up on these guys, but they suddenly find themselves in make it or break it situations, as ESPN's Jim Bowden calls it.

Both players wound up on the list of Bowden compiled featuring guys who are facing career-defining seasons.

Drew Stubbs | CF, Cleveland Indians

The speedy outfielder gets a fresh start with the Indians, a chance to reset and use new voices in attempting some adjustments. Over the past three seasons, Stubbs has 539 strikeouts and a precipitous decline in his OPS:

2009: .762
2010: .773
2011: .685
2012: .610

Stubbs is 28 years old and the athleticism is still there: He has 110 stolen bases in his career, and is a good outfielder. Terry Francona, the Indians' new manager, undoubtedly posed questions about Stubbs to those he knows before Cleveland traded for the outfielder, and Francona will go into spring training with an open mind. Stubbs has the chance to reverse the direction of his career.

Edinson Volquez | RHP, San Diego Padres

He was an All-Star at age 25, in a 2008 season in which he went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. Since then, he has had a whole lot of ups and downs: In 2012, he led the National League in walks, racking up 105 in 182 2/3 innings. He had a 4.14 ERA in those 32 starts really struggling on the road, with a 5.60 ERA.

He'll be eligible for free agency in the fall of 2013, so he's got a whole lot at stake.

Although the two no longer play for the Reds, I would venture to say that Reds fans will keep a curious eye on them during 2013. I think Stubbs will benefit from the change of scenery, and I think Volquez has already shown evidence that he has benefited from pitching in PETCO Park, as well.He posted the second-lowest ERA (4.14) and the second-most wins (11) of his career with the Padres in 2012.

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