Somebody read this article by Mark Sheldon and tell me what you think it means.

The components of quality player leadership seem to be at hand this season. The Reds’ front office added veterans like first baseman Jeff Conine and reliever Mike Stanton, who are expected to complement team leaders like relievers David Weathers and Eddie Guardado, infielder Juan Castro and first baseman Scott Hatteberg.

So far, so good. We had several leaders, and added a couple other good guys. Skip ahead a bit…

Last season’s club had veterans also, but the 2006 roster underwent a massive in-season reconstruction under first-year general manager Wayne Krivsky in an effort to become competitive quickly.

It worked for a while. The Reds were at or near the top of the National League Central most of the season before a steady fade from playoff contention came during the final six weeks.

Not entirely sure about this part. The team was doing well early in the year. Things went south during and after all the “massive in-season reconstruction.” And more to the point, they went in the crapper right after they acquired noted Castro and Guardado, the clubhouse leaders this article is about.  Odd…

While the players were losing, they weren’t leading. Some complained the dugout and clubhouse got too quiet when times got tough and that teammates didn’t encourage each other enough. Newcomers didn’t feel comfortable enough to speak up about team issues.

Geez. I thought those leaders were supposed to solve these problems. After all, we had Weathers, Hatteberg, Castro and Guardado in the clubhouse. Why didn’t they feel comfortable taking charge?

The early reviews of team chemistry and leadership on the 2007 Reds have been positive.

“Now I think everybody realizes we’re pretty good,” Hatteberg continued. “Regardless of how bad you’re doing at the time or losing games, if we win tomorrow, we’re not too cocky or too low.”

Hmmmmm… You mean a losing team has bad chemistry, and a team that’s a week removed from spring training is still getting along? I’m being a bit of a wise guy here, but I think this chemistry stuff is 98% nonsense. Winning teams get along; losing teams don’t enjoy their work. Unless you’re dealing with a First Class A-hole like Barry Bonds, Phil Nevin, or Jose Guillen, I really don’t think that stuff matters too much.

“Last year, I think we had something here and something there,” Freel said. “We really weren’t clicking as a team. But I think what Wayne did [a great thing by] signing Eddie Guardado when he’s hurt and bringing him back. He’s a great clubhouse guy. We brought Weathers back and got Stanton and Castro. These guys have been around. They know how chemistry is supposed to be. They’re going to keep us in check this year. It’s my fifth year, but I don’t have the years those guys do. They know what a clubhouse is supposed to be like.”

I think Freel’s just a little different. And I think he didn’t get along with someone on last year’s club, whether it was Kearns, Lopez, or someone else, I have no clue.