Friday, February 15, 2013

Early spring training thoughts on the 2013 Reds

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…..and heavily thinks about BASEBALL, especially if he’s one of the millions of people who play fantasy baseball. With sincere apologies to Lord Tennyson, it’s not my intention to wax poetic, but hey, Spring Training is here!

There are a lot of unanswered questions going into Spring Training ’13. Will our beloved Reds recover from last year’s postseason meltdown? Could the Giants repeat? How will Boston do under their new field boss, John Farrell? Will the Toronto Blue Jays, who this offseason spent money like a drunken sailor on shore leave, win the A.L. East? Did you know Toronto increased their payroll this season by nearly 40 million dollars Canadian? In American currency, given the current exchange rate, that’s equal to 40 million dollars! How many New York Yankees players will start drawing Social Security this season? (I’m thinking at least 15.) Will White Sox veteran, and former Red, Adam Dunn finally live up to his potential in this, his 13th season. That’s for a friend of mine, who has a serious “man crush” on Dunn, he’s probably getting weak right now just from reading this sentence.

I haven’t been this excited about the upcoming Reds season for quite a while. The trade of Drew Stubbs for Shin-Soo Choo may be the deal that seals another division title, plus it sends a message to the rest of the league that it will be tough to advance an extra base on this outfield. Choo also give the Reds a quality leadoff hitter, something they haven’t had in sometime.

I’ve read where Johnny Cueto is fully healed. Cueto, along with Mat Latos, and Homer Bailey, all are another year older. I hope Latos starts as strongly this season as he finished last year. Bailey showed flashes of greatness last season with his no hitter at Pittsburgh, and his gritty NLDS performance in game 3. Let’s hope that continues in 2013. Bronson Arroyo is poised for another consistent season.
Will Aroldis Chapman become the fifth starter? I hope not. I don’t want to take anything away from Chapman’s ability; I strongly feel he would be an outstanding starter, possibly even a twenty game winner, better yet, a Cy Young award winner, however he brings a certain swagger out of the bullpen so reminiscent of the “Nasty Boys” of 1990. With Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, and Sean Marshall leading the way, the 2013 Reds should have the best bullpen in baseball.

Speaking of fifth starter, I’m rooting for Armando Galarraga to make the club. You remember him don’t you? He’s the former Detroit Tiger player who remained humble in the face of an obvious umpiring mistake that cost him a perfect game. His aw-shucks attitude, citing all of us make mistakes, is an example we should live by every day.

The everyday lineup looks solid; I have no idea what Jim Bowden was thinking, saying the Reds offense ranks 17th in baseball. Maybe those leather pants were cutting off the blood flow to his brain? Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Ryan Hanigan, and Zack Cozart, may not be the second coming of the Big Red Machine, but they will be potent. The possible loss of clubhouse leader Scott Rolen will definitely be difficult to replace, I just hope the nucleus of this team has learned from his quality leadership. I’m encouraged by the news that Miguel Cairo is staying with Cincinnati as a special assistant to the General Manager.

As of this post, Feb. 15, there are only 45 days until the Reds square off with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California, USA. Let’s hope that our Reds stay healthy during Spring Training and be ready to defend our division title beginning April 1.

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