Monday, August 8, 2011

What The Cincinnati Reds Must Do For 2012

With a little less than two months left, the season is over for the Cincinnati Reds. They're nine and one half games out. Unless there's a baseball miracle left for this year, it's time to look to next year.

1. What went wrong in 2011. In order to figure out what to do next year, we have to see what went wrong this year. Somethings can't be changed, others can. It's easy to see what was wrong this year. One, the team was terrible hitting with runners in scoring position. Two, starting pitiching was erratic until Johnny Cueto got back. Bronson Arroyo was simply dredful. Relief pitching was inconsistent. Lately, they've been choking in the clutch.

There were breakdowns where the Reds could least afford them. Left field was an offensive nightmare. Jonny Gomes went back to the back of his baseball card. So did shortstop Paul Janish. Both could not hit for average. Third baseman Scott Rolen was recently shut down and will have surgery to clean out his left shoulder. Centerfielder Drew Stubbs will lead the league with strikeouts. He's absolutely horrible batting in the clutch. That's four spots out of eight position players.

2. What the Reds Must Do For 2012.

a. Don't ignore trends. The Reds must not ignore trends. This occurred in 2010. Towards the end of the 2010 season, Scott Rolen began to show his age. Injuries began to slow him down. The Reds should have had somebody to share third base with him since it's clear he cannot play more than one hundred games. Jonny Gomes also began to show signs that his early part of 2010 was a career perfomance. The second half of the season wasn't all that good. Drew Stubbs played better in the second half but was never a contact hitter.

b. Bring up Devin Mesoraco and play him. When its time for the September call ups, the Reds should bring up big time catching prospect Devin Mesoraco and they should play him. The Reds should not resign Ramon Hernandez, so they can afford to sit him for a month. Let the kid learn the ropes. Mesoraco is the future catcher for the Reds.

c. Let the outfield derby begin. Left field and center field should be up for grabs. Yeah, I'm suggesting that Drew Stubbs have to earn his spot since he strikes out at an alarming pace. The challengers are Dave Sappelt (pictured) who can hit, Yonder Alonso who can also hit and Chris Heisey. My gut feeling is that next year, the outfielder should be Sappelt, Heisey and Jay Bruce.

d. End the Paul Janish at shotstop nonsense. Janish can field but can't hit. He's either a bench player or a guy you keep in the minors as a safety valve. That leaves Zack Cozart. He's hurt and by the way the Reds should send him to get surgery on his elbow now. The Reds are not going anywhere this year, so get the surgery over with. Anyway Cozart looks like he wants the job. Todd Frazier is also a possibility.

e. Scott Rolen cannot play more than 100 games. Look, Scott Rolen has been playing with a bum left shoulder. He can't play a whole lot. Plus at thirty seven next year, he's at the back end of his career. Time to groom his replacement. Todd Frazier is playing over there now. But you must find a spot for Yonder Alonso who can hit the daylights out of a baseball. Alonso played third in high school before the University of Miami moved him to first base. Come fall, Alonso should get some training to get back to third.

f. End the Joey Votto trade rumors. Joey Votto was MVP for 2010. He's signed through 2013. Votto is a premier player and is owed 17 million for 2013. If owner Bob Castellini can't afford a great player like Votto, then he should sell the team to somebody who can. Regardless, it's ludicrous to trade Votto now because you don't know what you're going to get from the kids. Yeah, I agree that Yonder Alonso could play there but could he hit like Votto? Too big a risk to lose Votto prematurely.

g. Sign a closer or make Aroldis Chapman your closer. The Reds probably are not going to shell out the money they are giving to current closer Francisco Cordero at fours years for 46 million. Cordero walks after this year. They could sign a cheaper closer. Promote the inconsistent Nick Masset. Or they could designate flamethrowing lefty Aroldis Chapman as Reds closer. Look Chapman throws over one hundred miles an hour. He's got a devastating slider. But he's basically a two pitch pitcher. You need three to be a starter. I've seen games where Chapman is unhittable. Somebody has to close games. Why not Chapman?

h. Let Edinson Volquez walk. What a terrible trade getting Edinson Volquez for Josh Hamilton was. Too late to cry over spilled milk. Anyway Volquez has not matured since he came over from Texas. No need to resign him for 2012. He's no longer worth the headaches. Besides, the Reds can roll out three quality starters in Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake.

i. Convince Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to become leaders of the team. When Scott Rolen can't play, there's no leadership on the team. The Reds two best players Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have to step up and lead.

j. Conclusion. The Reds can't stand pat like last year when they assumed everything would work out. On the other hand, the Reds do have up and coming offensive talent. It requires the team to do something whether that means playing the prospects, trading, or free agent signings. I'm still optimistic for this team in 2012. There's enough talent for the Reds to win it all next year.

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