Over at USA Today, Bob Nightengale actually has a reasonably in-depth roundup of the Reds organization, under the title “Young pitchers hold key to Reds’ NL Central fortunes.” It’s a better article than you’d ever expect out of a national publication, so I urge you to take a look.

It starts with some optimism:

Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty isn’t making any promises, but he says if everything falls into place, there’s no reason his team can’t be a sleeper next season.

“We’re coming,” Jocketty says. “We just have to build around the young nucleus that we got. And if things come together, good things can happen.”

The Reds finished their 2008 season with a 74-88 record, two games better than their 2007 mark, but it was hardly the year they envisioned. They had their eighth consecutive losing season.

“We’re getting better,” manager Dusty Baker says. “I think you’re going to hear from us soon. We have a great group of core players, and other players around the league are telling me that we’re not that far away. I believe it. I feel the same way.

“We have a couple of things we have to add.”

The rest of the piece is a comprehensive look at the Reds 2009 projected lineup, the minor league system, and the salary situation. Good stuff.

17 Responses

  1. David

    I actually got excited about this team reading that article. We have terrific prospects at nearly every position.

    One thing that struck me was Jocketty’s comment that he doesn’t want to trade young pitching. It would seem then that Arroyo and Harang are on the block?

    In my opinion, the team needs two All-Star caliber players to really compete. I’ve said all along that to me that is a young RH OF and leadoff SS. Furcal and a Kemp, Rios, etc. fit that mold. It would be great to find a young OF to team with Bruce for years, while the SS – with our prospects – would be ready to depart in two years or so.

  2. Travis G.

    Does Alex Rios play a competent CF? I’m not familiar enough with fielding stats to tell. But I’ll bet he’d be very costly to acquire. The Jays seem to think they’re contenders.

  3. Phill

    I believe Alex Rios is usually playing in a corner outfield spot but can fill in at CF. Sort of like Bruce can play center but is best in right.

  4. GregD

    Pitching will be key next year. Unfortunately something like this won’t happen because (a) Jocketty said earlier this week that there has been no talk of moving Encarnacion to LF and (b) they seem content with Gonzalez playing SS next year and finding an inexpensive replacement for him if he can’t go.

    However, I like what if’s…what if they made 1 trade and 1 free agent acquisition that could make the lineup look like this:

    CF – Freel/Dickerson
    SS – Furcal
    1B – Votto
    3B – Beltre
    RF – Bruce
    LF – Encarnacion
    2B – Phillips
    C – Hanigan/Clement

  5. David

    Check out another 2009 article by Larry Dobrow entitled “Save This Franchise: Reds not that far from redemption.” Great stuff including the idea of adding Rios, Mags, or Dye.

    http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/story/11150048/1

    There are a handful of players that I would consider in the OF. To me the leading trade candidates should be Matt Kemp, Alex Rios, and Carlos Lee (assuming the Astros would pick up some of that salary). I’d hate to see a year of Dye or Mags for Homer Bailey. I’d much rather part ways with Bailey if I know that Alex Rios is coming back in that deal.

    Rios’ contract is cheaper than what his talent could command. Here’s a look at his contract: Rios gets $5.9 million in 2009, $9.7 million in 2010, $12 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $12.5 million apiece in 2013 and 2014. The contract includes a $13.5 million team option for 2015 with a $1 million buyout.

    I will preach my Dickerson/Stubbs platoon in CF for the next year so you guys should get used to that. Which means, in my mind, Rios plays LF.

    He plays a very good RF and defensively would be an extremely good LF.

  6. David

    Reds re-signed Mike Lincoln to a 2 year $4 million deal.

  7. Travis G.

    But who would they trade for Beltre (to say nothing of Clement), if not Encarnacion? The Mariners’ current personnel seems more suited to ML-ready players than prospects.

    Frazier, Valaika and players of that caliber won’t be ready until Ichiro is two years older and King Felix is very expensive.

  8. GregD

    Whoever was pissed about the quiet Reds offseason moves can rejoice in the rumor that Lincoln was signed today to a 2-yr deal. A guy who’s never played full MLB seasons back-to-back is being paid to do it three years in a row.

  9. GregD

    I’m not completely familiar with the Mariners needs, but I would use Bailey as a centerpiece for that sort of deal rather than moving him to Chicago for Dye. Clement comes into play because I wouldn’t move Bailey for 1 year of Beltre, and obviously the Reds would have to kick in at least 2 other players. Perhaps someone like Juan Francisco as a 3B prospect?

    That’s also not a bad lineup if you plug in Dye instead of Beltre, though that deal would be much better for the Reds if the rumors of Maloney or Roenicke instead of Bailey were true.

    I like the dynamic of Furcal as the switch-hitting SS at the top of the order. Vs. RHP, the Reds would have 3 LH hitters to start the game and 5 LH bats in the lineup. Vs LHP the Reds would have 6 RH bats in the lineup.

    It was also why I like the idea of signing Hudson to play 2B and bat 2nd, (either sliding Phillips to SS or trading him.)

  10. Sabo'sGoggles

    #1,

    That OF to pair with Bruce is Votto when he’s moved to LF to make room for Alonso.

    If Furcal’s back is healthy, I would love to see him in the leadoff spot and have his cannon arm at SS. I would also kick the tires on Robinson Cano and see what the Yankees would want in return…and add inquiring about Delmon Young as well.

  11. Sabo'sGoggles

    #1,

    That OF to pair with Bruce is Votto when he’s moved to LF to make room for Alonso.

    If Furcal’s back is healthy, I would love to see him in the leadoff spot and have his cannon arm at SS. I would also kick the tires on Robinson Cano and see what the Yankees would want in return…and add inquiring about Delmon Young as well. Rocco Baldelli might also be worth a gamble to platoon in CF with Dickerson. I’m over Freel.

  12. David

    GregD – I have been advocating Furcal as well. The Reds would feature one of the best defensive combos at SS and 2B. At the same time, Furcal is a legit leadoff hitter.

  13. nick in va

    The thing that scares me the most about next year is Dusty Baker, but I’m still sticking with my 86 win prediction.

  14. Dave from Louisville

    I like this signing. He’s pretty unhittable against lefties, and probably has the best curve in baseball.

    Its rumored that we barely outbid the Twins, that says something about hsi stuff and Jocketty’s ability to judge a players value. I love hearing that kind of stuff.

  15. mhopp

    Nick, I agree…remember that Jocketty had a great manager behind him that knows how to do his job in Tony Larussa. Dusty Baker may be the biggest liability right now, I’m not expecting anything great until he’s gone…hopefully replaced by Tony Larussa

  16. mhopp

    and here’s a quote from the above mentioned article to support my concern…”Then there’s the manager. In a refreshing departure from protocol, Dusty ruined a veteran pitcher — Harang, who fell apart after throwing four relief innings between starts in a meaningless May game against San Diego — rather than a young one. If you’re a parent of a talented 19-year-old pitcher, what worries you more: Having your kid drafted by the military or by a team that employs Baker? Tough call.”