Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rally Caps Offseason Outlook - Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have been on the cusp of making a legitimate World Series run for the past few years but have continued to fall just short of their goal. This season, they bring back a team that, on paper, looks again to be ready to compete. What do they need to get the job done this time around?

Pos Player Salary

C Ryan Hanigan $2,150,000
2008 $74,117,695
1B Joey Votto $19,000,000
2009 $73,558,500
2B Brandon Phillips $10,000,000
2010 $76,151,500
3B Todd Frazier $500,000
2011 $80,826,667
SS Zack Cozart $500,000
2012 $87,826,167
LF Chris Heisey $1,300,000
Average $78,496,106
CF Drew Stubbs $2,900,000
2013 $94,700,000
RF Jay Bruce $7,541,667
Budget -$16,203,894

C Devin Mesoraco $500,000

IF Henry Rodriguez $500,000

OF Xavier Paul $500,000

OF Denis Phipps $500,000

Util Emmanuel Burriss $500,000

SP Johnny Cueto $7,400,000

SP Mat Latos $4,600,000

SP Bronson Arroyo $11,500,000

SP Homer Bailey $5,100,000

SP Aroldis Chapman $4,708,333

CP Jonathan Broxton $4,000,000

SU Sean Marshall $4,500,000

SU Jose Arredondo $1,200,000

MRP Logan Ondrusek $900,000

MRP Nick Masset $3,100,000

MRP Alfredo Simon $800,000

LRP Sam LeCure $500,000

The Reds don't really have a lot of holes to fill as they enter the 2013 season. That's not to say the team listed above is the one that will be listed on the Opening Day roster. There are definitely moves to be made as the team lacks a true leadoff hitter and could really use some work on the bench.

The catching situation is fine. Ryan Hanigan is entering the last season of his contract so we will probably see Devin Mesoraco ease more into the starting role. Last season, Hanigan started in 98 games while Mesoraco started 48. I see that split getting closer this season with the possibility of being completely flipped. Hanigan still puts up good enough numbers to be considered a fringe starter, so I don't see him being interested in a timeshare with the Reds in 2014. Mesoraco didn't show much ability at the plate last season, but did show more pop than the incumbent. With more playing time, he could get more comfortable at the plate.

The Reds infield is completely locked up. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips signed extensions that will keep them in Cincinnati for quite a while. The team also trusted Zack Cosart enough to make 131 starts last season, so will obviously be willing to give him the reins again this season. The team lost Scott Rolen to free agency and possible retirement, but Todd Frazier should slot right into the starting role. Things get somewhat interesting, though, as the team's top three offensive prospects, Didi Gregorious, Billy Hamilton, and Henry Rodriguez play shortstop (Gregorious and Hamilton) and third (Rodriguez). The team has started to get creative already by moving Hamilton to center field with an eye towards having him ready to make the team midway through 2013 or the beginning of 2014. The other two could create competition for Cosart and Frazier going forward.

In the outfield, the only true lock is Jay Bruce. Bruce has a power bat that earned him a Silver Slugger award last season. He will continue to serve as the cleanup hitter behind Joey Votto. The team lost Ryan Ludwick to free agency, though, and may not have the money to bring him back unless they raise payroll a bit. The team doesn't have the resources to bring in one of the top names like Josh Hamilton or Michael Bourn, but will need to get creative and bring in some kind of outfield solution to help with their present situation. Drew Stubbs will get the bulk of the starts in center field but his bat is anemic against right-handed pitchers. He gives the team a great speed and decent pop for the position, but something has to be done to combat a .41 OPS against fair-handed hurlers. A similar situation exists with Chris Heisey. Heisey has the tools to be the teams primary left fielder, but possesses a .680 OPS against righties, hence the reason to have Ludwick on the roster. In Xavier Paul, the team has a player who can play left field against righties, as his .867 OPS against them last year showed. The team will need to bring someone aboard who can play center field against right-handed pitchers, though. The team could dip into its crop of prospects and try to make a stopgap trade to fill the position until Hamilton is ready. Matching up with Oakland for Coco Crisp is a possibility, as he became somewhat superfluous after the trade for Chris Young.

The bench is pretty set right now, as Mesoraco, Rodriguez, Paul, and Burriss's jobs are secure. If theteam brings a center field option aboard, Dennis Phipps could be sent down.

The team had one of the best rotations last season, as its five starters made nearly all of the team's starts for the season. Obviously, they can't count on that to happen again, but they have the depth to account for an injury. Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, and Homer Bailey are locks for their spots. The team brought back Jonathan Broxton, which gives them the flexibility to try the dominant Aroldis Chapman in the rotation. I'm not the biggest fan of the move, as Chapman experienced a bit of dead arm at the end of last season. With Mike Leake and prospects Tony Cingrani and Daniel Corcino, the Reds have the depth to deal with an injury.

The Reds had the third best bullpen in the National League and return the unit mostly intact. The bullpen obviously takes a huge blow if Chapman is moved into the rotation, but with Broxton and Marshall in tow, they have the depth to stay strong despite the move. If the Reds are nervous about their unit, they could look into a reclamation signing of the recently non-tendered Brian Wilson. Ultimately, though, the team can probably get positive results even with a slight step down from last season's production.

American League
East Central West
Baltimore Orioles Chicago White Sox Houston Astros
Boston Red Sox Cleveland Indians Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees Detroit Tigers Oakland Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays Kansas City Royals Seattle Mariners
Toronto Blue Jays Minnesota Twins Texas Rangers

National League
East Central West
Atlanta Braves Chicago Cubs Arizona Diamondbacks
Miami Marlins Cincinnati Reds Colorado Rockies
New York Mets Milwaukee Brewers Los Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres
Washington Nationals St Louis Cardinals San Francisco Giants

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