Says John Erardi:

The Reds brass can spin the new “speed and defense” theme any way they want, but it’s very difficult to conceive of a scenario in which the Reds — as presently constituted — can score sufficiently more runs than their pitching-and-defense allows, in order to contend for a postseason spot.

Indeed. Not to mention that I’m not at all convinced that the defense is going to be much better anyway.

23 Responses

  1. David

    I hate to be the only optimist here – I know it irritates Chris to no end – but twice Eradi offers “The Reds, as constructed, are about an 80-win team.”

    So what happens if the Reds are .500 in July? Do the Reds make a push to sign a RH LF? Isn’t that exactly what the Dodgers did with Manny?

    I’m not saying that the Reds will be contenders or that the Reds should/will pull off a deadline deal. What I am suggesting is that winter, more so than any other time of year, is the time to be optimistic.

  2. Matt Steele

    I don’t know if they will go all in this year. I mean a lot depends on context obviously (ie: how far out are we?) but I have to believe that unless we are surprising a lot of people out there, I don’t think we attempt a trade.

    I’ll admit though that I”m having a hard time being optimistic that we can finish anywhere higher than third and I’m not very confident about that either.

    I just don’t see where we’re getting the runs from. I hope I’m wrong and players develop and learn how to get on base, but unless we do make a splash in the trade market, our pitching is going to have to be very good.

  3. Matt B.

    USR/100 says Taveras has been a pretty bad defender the last two years, and everyone knows Gomes sucks beyond belief. Hernandez isn’t exactly great either. So yeah, the improved defense is a joke.

  4. Chris

    If the Reds are at .500 in July, it means they’re on pace to finish fourth, 15 games out of first place.

    For example, last year on 7/20 (around fish-or-cut-bait time for the trade deadline), the Reds were 48-52 (.480). They were in 4th, and were 11 games out of first. No trade makes that up, not with three better teams ahead of you who are also making trades to add talent.

    The Cubs won the division at 97-64. The Brewers won the WC at 90-72. Assuming the Reds were .500 on July 20, it means they’d have had to go 41-21 to make the playoffs.

  5. Jason

    Everyone does seem to forget that the Central was the best division in the NL last year and may well be again this year. Being just over .500 won’t even have them within shouting distance.

  6. NickP

    How they can try to push this speed/defense b.s. with Edwin Encarnacion still playing third base is beyond me.

    Why isn’t he in LF?

  7. Dan

    To be fair about Willy’s defense… is it possible that there’s just something weird about playing CF in Colorado? His defensive numbers were very good in Houston, and as soon as he went to Colorado he suddenly switched to below-average.

    I have no clue if this is true or not… just wondering.

  8. Matt B.

    Good point, Dan, but I would think that one wouldn’t take two years acclimate himself to the higher altitude. That’s the only thing I can think of, but maybe it could be something else.

  9. David

    Chris, I guess I’m confused. I thought what you wanted was a winning record. If the Reds are .500 on July 20 it is most likely the product of luck going their way. Adding a rental for Homer Bailey/Francisco doesn’t mortgage the future and breaks the losing record streak. Isn’t that what you wanted? To have a winner?

  10. Dan

    Matt, there’s not only elevation in Colorado, it’s also simply the largest outfield in the NL if not in baseball. It’s huge. That is a TON of ground to cover. There’s a lot more space for a ball to drop in for a hit (and therefore to make you look like a bad fielder, statistically).

    Again, I don’t really know if there’s anything to this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s something odd about it.

    At least, I hope!

  11. Travis G.

    I suspect that Coors Field makes outfielders look bad, particularly CF, for the reasons Dan cites. All that space, plus site-specific differences in the way batted balls behave, would do that. I don’t know enough about interpreting defensive statistics to go back and check past Colorado OF, but I suspect the numbers would bear this out.

    But I still don’t know if the Reds truly are a pitching-and-defense club. They keep using those words, but I do not think they mean what they think they mean.

  12. David

    If you want to make GABP a pitchers park, then the first few rows of seats in RF need to come out.

  13. preach

    I keep signing on here everyday hoping that I see a headline of some deal that shows that this club is not going to simply mail it in for 2009. Everyday I am disappointed. I really feel bad for our rotation. We have a good one right now and with Cordero at the end it seems like such a waste with this offense and defense (no, I don’t think it is very good). I keep imagining pitchers getting frustrated having to be pin-point accurate and overthrowing trying to throw shutouts. If Dusty isn’t careful, he’s going to earn that reputation of hurting pitchers.

  14. Y-City Jim

    How they can try to push this speed/defense b.s. with Edwin Encarnacion still playing third base is beyond me.

    Why isn’t he in LF?

    Take out that horrid month of April he had (6 errors) and Edwin’s defense is adequate.

  15. Mark T

    As Ayn Rand reminded us, it is in examination of contradictions that we achieve better understanding. After the Dunn trade, John Fay says, the club went 22-21 and outscored the opposition 194-190.

    I think you’re missing something very basic here. As Ricky would say, “Lucy ‘Splain please.”

  16. Mike

    Small ball is the offensive name of the game for 09. I doubt it will get us to 81 wins.

  17. Y-City Jim

    If you want to make GABP a pitchers park, then the first few rows of seats in RF need to come out.

    You take out the smokestacks and close in that end of the stadium to restrict air currents. Anyone have info on month by month HR totals for GABP? I think you will find the ball flies out of there when it is warm. I heard announcers refer to the GABP ‘jet stream” on several occasions.

  18. Y-City Jim

    Small ball is the offensive name of the game for 09. I doubt it will get us to 81 wins.

    Not to mention, it will be boring as heck. At least the 2005 team was exciting to watch get beat.

  19. GregD

    Preach @ 14, unfortunately it is too late for that. They lost their opportunity when they didn’t even pursue players like Furcal or Burrell. Here’s what they could have done:

    I have the team at $71M payroll for 2009.
    If they wouldn’t have traded for Hernandez ($6M) signed Taveras ($2.25), Hairston($2 or Lincoln or Rhodes, whichever you think is easiest to replace) and Weathers ($3.8 is the midpoint) yet kept Freel ($4M) and signed Zaun ($1.5M) they’d be sitting at $62.5M payroll.

    Outbid what the Rays spent on Burrell, even at $11M, the payroll is at $73.5 and the LF problem, Rh power hitter issue is resolved.
    Boost payroll to $85M by spending another $11M on Furcal and the team then would have had serious consideration for winning a playoff spot.

  20. Glenn

    Matt, I’m total agreement. Show me where the Reds have improved their defense. I think Walt going to be eating his words on that once the season starts. Encarnacion’s not the only one carrying a glove that we have to worry about.

  21. KY Chip

    Dan at #8 —

    I’m not sure I’d say Taveras’s defense was ‘great’ in Houston. In his first season, he was slightly above the MLB average fielding percentage for CFs; in his second season, he was slightly below the average. Last year in Colorado, he was well below the MLB average for CF (.976 comparedto .990).

    Taveras’s range factor has consistently been at or slightly above the league average, even in the two years he was in Colorado.

    It all adds up to one simple fact — Taveras is not a “great defensive centerfielder” as the Reds are promoting in the press. Instead, he’s got slightly above average range and slightly below average glove/arm.

  22. Matt B.

    Dan – the ballpark in Houston also has a gigantic CF, which is why I didn’t mention that.