Regular Season Record: 80-82, third in the NL Central, 3.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals
Home Ballpark: Great American Ballpark
Tasting Cincinnati Chili
SS Alex Gonzalez (Signed from Red Sox)
RP Dustin Hermanson (Signed from White Sox)
RP Brian Meadows (Signed from Devil Rays)
RP Mike Stanton (Signed from Giants)
RP Kerry Ligtenberg (Invited to Camp)
OF Josh Hamilton (Traded from Cubs)
SP Kirk Saarloos (Traded from Athletics)
INF Jeff Keppinger (Traded from Royals)
INF Jeff Conine (Traded from Phillies)
No Longer a Red Leg
3B Rich Aurilia (Signed with Giants)
SS Royce Clayton (Signed with Blue Jays)
SP Ryan Franklin (Signed with Cardinals)
RP Scott Schoeneweis (Signed with Mets)
SP Brandon Claussen (Signed with Nationals)
The Skinny: After a very surprising and promising 2006, the Cincinnati Reds are looking for more in 2007. They received excellent production from the big two at the top of the rotation, while the offense once again powered them to victories. The team returns pretty much the same cast of characters from last year, but they have added some arms to help strengthen up a weak bullpen.
Strengths: The power bats should come out once again. This squad finished second in the National League last year in home runs, and it returns many of the same players. Adam Dunn will hit around 45 with plenty of walks and strikeouts, Ken Griffey Jr. can be counted on for 25 more, while catcher David Ross surprised the team with 21 blasts in only 247 ABs. (Read that again.)
The rotation should have earned the nickname “Arroyo and Harang, and then a bang” last season. Both Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang did excellent work, and they should be considered legitimate pitchers for this year. Harang led the National League in strikeouts -- bet you didn’t know that -- but Arroyo will probably decline a little bit this year. He still will be better than most of the guys the Reds run out there.
Weaknesses: The bang that comes after the big two in Cincinnati is the remainder of the rotation. If the season started today, Eric Milton would be the number three guy, followed by Kyle Lohse and Kirk Saarloos. While these vets have had some success in the past, they’re nothing more than guys whose ERAs will be over 4.70. Expect their bullpen to be run ragged by the middle of the hot Cincinnati summer.
(2B/SS/3B/OF Ryan Freel – he will be batting leadoff nearly everyday, where he plays depends on who’s sitting)
2B/SS Brandon Phillips
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
LF Adam Dunn
1B Scott Hatteberg
C David Ross
SS Alex Gonzalez
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Edwin Encarnacion
Keys to Success: For the Reds to be successful this upcoming season, they don’t need for a whole lot to happen. Guys like Eric Milton, Kyle Lohse, and Kirk Saarloos need to give innings, so the bullpen, which has a chance to be decent, doesn’t have to come in early into games so often. Good innings from the back of their rotation bodes success. If they don’t perform well, then the chants for Homer Bailey will begin.Prediction: The Reds will stay in the same range of wins, 79-83, due to Arroyo falling off a little bit from last season. The offense will produce, but not enough to make up for a shallow rotation and old bullpen. The rest of the division will improve, leaving the Reds stuck in fourth or fifth place once again.
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