Your 2010 Cincinnati Reds

6 04 2010

I originally meant to post this two night ago, but ran out of time.  So here’s a quicker and dirtier version of my feel for the 2010 Cincinnati Reds.

Surprises that made the team:

Logan Ondrusek:  Logan takes over the mantle as tallest Red, measuring 6’8″ on that giraffe in the doctor’s office.  He had a solid spring in which he did not allow a run and continued that yesterday pitching a scoreless inning in his major league debut.  Keeping a young pitcher who rose through the minors last year is so much smarter than allowing Kip Wells to occupy a seat in the ‘pen, especially since it’s still a rebuilding club.  And since he was a closer in the minors, perhaps if someone takes Cordero off the Reds hands they’ll have someone who can step in.

Juan Francisco:

Sure, it’s only for a few weeks, but there’s nothing better than a young guy you like coming into the game and driving the first pitch he sees into right field to drive in Drew Stubbs on Opening Day.  While renegotiating the Rolen deal allowed the Reds to sign Chapman, it also forced them to find a new place for Francisco, who’s been a 3B up until now.  He’s the most likely of suspects to go down when Mike Leake makes his debut next week.

Mike Leake:  Sure, I’m nervous, ’cause the kids never pitched a day in the minors or in a five man rotation.  And it could screw up his future for years to come.  But c’mon, man, how can you not root for a guy who makes his professional debut in the big leagues?  To be honest, I would have been just as pleased if Travis Wood had made it, but his last and somewhat shaky spring outing opened the door for the rookie Leake.  Oh, and his cards are ridicucrazy on eBay right now.  He’s going to get hit around at some point, and that’s when you should take another look.

Disapointments:

Miguel Cairo:

Yeah, I understand that the Reds need a utility infielder type of guy, and yeah, I understand the Drew Sutton was awful this spring, but Cairo wasn’t exactly blowing it up in Arizona, either.  The word is they kept Cairo for his playoff experience, which will come in handy when the Reds are battling for third place in the division.  Perhaps he can tell some stories to keep the kids entertained.  Keeping him over Sutton also means the Reds would lake a left handed bat off the bench, which means they had to keep…

Laynce NixHere’s the one that really gets me.  Nix was signed to a minor league contract this winter and wasn’t on the 40 man roster, so it would have been easy for the Reds to let him play in AAA until he was needed.  He’s a career .236 hitter, and he hit 15 HRs for the Reds in 300+ at bats.  Because he hits left handed, the Reds chose to keep the 29 year-old OF, which led to…

the waiving of Wladimir Balentien:

Last year the Reds gave up a mid level relief pitcher for the once highly touted Balentien.  He responded with a tidy .264 batting average and a handful of home runs in 100 at-bats.  This spring, Balentien hit .350 with 2 HR and his OBP was fifty points higher than Nix.  Factor in that Balentien is only 25 years old, and you can perhaps see why I’d much rather have this guy around and his potential then the known factor that is Laynce Nix.  Like I said, I understand what happened, but I’d much rather they figured out a way to keep Wladimir as well.  Here’s hoping he clears waivers and can prove he’s better than Nix in Louisville and not on someone else’s roster.

Mike Lincoln:  Ugh.  The problem is not Lincoln himself, but Dusty using him in higher pressure situations like he did yesterday.  There’s no reason that your long reliever/mop up guy should be out there for the sixth inning of a 4-2 game, and even less of a reason to have him come out for the seventh.  Everyone but Dusty must know that Mike Lincoln is a sub average pitcher and should not face Albert Pujols when the rest of the bullpen is well rested.  And the results were predictable to everyone but Dusty, too.

Predictions:  I’ll say 75-80 wins, which is about 3-8 less than I’m actually hoping for.  It’s a great team that makes a mediocre season feel like a championship, but for a team that hasn’t hit .500 since 2000, it’d be a big start.

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