Could this be the year the stars align just right for the Reds? Could this be the year Cincinnati celebrates its first World Series title since 1990?
The Reds have been stockpiling talent for a decade now in preparation to contend for a championship. Their ability to scout, draft, and develop players has led to the franchise's recent success, which includes a division crown in 2010, and another in 2012. However, the Reds have yet to break through to the World Series, let alone an appearance in the NLDS.
But the 2013 campaign may be different.
Cincinnati seems to have all the pieces to make a push to the title. They boast a dominating bullpen, a formidable offense, a sharp defense, and an above-average starting rotation. Oh, and they also have Joey Votto.
When asked by Big League Stew how important winning a World Series is to him, this is what the former MVP had to say.
"At this point for me, it's the most important thing in my career. In the past, as a young player, you want to earn a contract, you want some individual achievements. You don't know why you want to win. As you play a bit more, it's very common for players as they age — and I'm certainly not in that category — but players as they age, the one thing that's missing is winning and being on a World Series championship team."
At 29-years-old, Votto still has the bulk of his playing career ahead of him, at least the Reds hope he does. The "small market" organization is so confident in Votto's long-term productivity that they inked him to a massive 10-year, $225 million contract extension around this time in 2012. Although Votto plans to be around for awhile, Cincy would like to cash in on a championship (or two) while their superstar is still on the younger side.
Votto is an extremely intelligent guy. He understands the window of opportunity teams face in the ultra-competitive MLB landscape. He also knows that the team has a plethora of players who are either entering, or are currently, in the prime of their careers.
"The players that came up through the Reds organization or that we traded for," Votto says, "are starting to move toward the prime of their careers. Hopefully we get to take advantage of that prime."
For the record, oddsmakers tab the Reds as the sixth favorite to win it all in '13. I'm sure Votto has a thing or two to say about that.