Saturday, June 4, 2011

What the Cincinnati Reds Must Do To Win The Central

Boy, did that hurt. The Cincinnati Reds were five runs ahead in the eighth inning when the Los Angeles Dodgers scored five runs to tie the game. The Dodgers eventually won the game 11-8. There have been worse games where I've seen the Cincinnati Reds blow big leads. Remember last year's blown eight run lead with a walk-off grand slam by the Atlanta Braves? The team is resilient so hold Reds Nation. But this is the time to go over things the Reds must do to stay competitive.

1. Read the riot act to Edinson Volquez. With Homer Bailey down and Bronson Arroyo's inconsistencies, it looks like the Reds will bring back immature Edinson Volquez. Now's the time to read this guy the riot act and tell him to straighten up. Throw strikes. Quit moping around the mound. Apologize to his teammates for the stupid line about needing to score more runs. We want the 2008 Volquez not juvenile we saw at the beginning of the year. And if he doesn't behave? Remind him it's his contract year if he wants to make the big money. Can't do that if you're in the minor leagues.

2. Rest Scott Rolen A Lot. Injuries and age have caught up with third baseman Scott Rolen. He's not driving the ball. His last home run was April 7Rest Rolen a lot, maybe even seventy games. Who would be his replacement? Bring up Juan Francisco. You can get the same production from Francisco but with more power. He's the future. Have Rolen groom him now. But if you bring up Francisco, who do you send down?

3. Designate for assignment, Jonny Gomes. He's regressing back to some of his bad years in the majors. He's never hit consistently. And right now, every pitcher is throwing to the outside corner because they know he'll try to pull it. That leads to a lot of strikeouts. Look, nobody is going to pick him up. He'll probably accept the assignment since he wants his paycheck.

4. Start Chris Heisey in left field. At one point Chris Heisey was at the top of the depth chart for outfielders outside of Jay Bruce. He's a better fielder than Gomes and can hit for power. He also makes better contact than Gomes.

5. Talk to Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo may have won the last game against the Dodgers but his previous two games he was throwing batting practice.
Mononucleosis may have weakened him. If he needs to go on the DL then do it. The Reds are better with somebody from the minors than somebody who can't last three innings.

6. Trade It's clear that shortstop Paul Janish can't hit or at least hit .250. So do you trade for a shortstop, say Jose Reyes of the New York Mets? Well, it all depends. It's too early at this time to contemplate where the Reds needs are now. I mean the Reds could use a starting pitcher down the road. Who knows? But I do know, I wouldn't give away the farm for a player like Reyes in the last year of his contract that you may not be able to sign. If the Mets want catching prospect Yasmani Grandal with Janish, then I make the deal. If they want too much, then no deal.

Reds Nation, you need to hang on. If they make changes like I have outlined this team can win the National League Central.

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