Author Archive

3 Keys to Cincinnati Reds’ Cueto & Starting Staff Staying Healthy This Season

Last season the Cincinnati Reds starting five made 161 of 162 regular season starts. The only exception being the back end of a doubleheader that saw Todd Redmond take the mound for 3.1 innings. This remarkable stretch of health is far-and-away the exception to the rule in baseballa task that will most likely not be duplicated by them again.

Four of the five starters racked up over 200 innings-pitched and 12 wins apiece. Mike Leake was the only exception, though he did still make 30 starts and accumulate 179 innings pitched from the fifth starting spot.

With Johnny Cueto recovering from his postseason oblique strain, Reds starters have a daunting task aheadstaying healthy, yet again. They may not go 161 of 162 again, but 150 of 162 is well within range.

Lets take a look at five keys to the 2013 staff remaining healthy throughout the entire season

Begin Slideshow

5 Biggest Weaknesses the Cincinnati Reds Must Overcome Next Season

The Cincinnati Reds have made strides this offseason to ensure their chances for yet another NL Central title. Though those strides may have filled some holes, such as that at leadoff, some of them have also weakened the team in other areas.

These may not be considered major deficiencies in the Reds’ lineup, but they will still create challenges that the team must overcome during the 2013 season.

Let’s take a look at some of these newly developed “weaknesses” as well as some that may hang around from the 2012 season.

Begin Slideshow

Cincinnati Reds Make Three-Way Deal and Land Shin-Soo Choo

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Reds have officially acquired Shin-Soo Choo. The deal looks to have involved the Reds, Diamondbacks and Indians:

It seems as though the Diamondbacks really liked Reds prospect Didi Gregorius, as opposed to the Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera:

The trade seems to make complete sense for the Reds, who have been in search of a leadoff hitter since the last pitch of their season was thrown. Leadoff was an obvious issue for the Reds during their 2012 NL Central title run.

Despite a team .254 on-base percentage, the Reds were able to produce enough runs to win 97 games. They can thank their team ERA of 3.34 for that. Choo brings a career .289 batting average and .381 on-base percentage to the top of the Reds order. This is undoubtedly an improvement over the team numbers from 2012.

In the process, the Reds lose a major asset on defense. Drew Stubbs may not have produced much at the plate, but Reds pitchers were often grateful that he was manning center field.

Keep a look out for more details as they come in:

There seems to be much more to follow.

Update: The official deal is as follows, according to Zack Meisel of

“…the Tribe traded the right fielder to the Reds in a three-team, nine-player exchange that sent outfielder Drew Stubbs and pitcher Trevor Bauer to Cleveland and shortstop Didi Gregorius to Arizona.

“The Indians also receive relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from the D-backs. Cleveland sent Choo, infielder Jason Donald and cash to the Reds and southpaw reliever Tony Sipp and first baseman Lars Anderson to Arizona.”

Be sure to chime in with your thoughts on the deal. Does this solve the Reds’ problems at the top of the batting order? 

Read more MLB news on

MLB Trade Rumors: Reds in Serious Talks with Indians to Aquire Shin-Soo Choo

If the rumors hold any truth to them, the Cincinnati Reds seem to be on the verge of acquiring Shin-Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians. Such an acquisition would finally fill the major void that has been the leadoff spot in Cincinnati’s lineup.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports sent out this tweet earlier today referencing an article that he wrote regarding the trade details:

The proposition includes Cincinnati sending outfielder Drew Stubbs and shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius to Cleveland in exchange for Choo and a to-be-determined player. Gregorius seems to be a key player in the trade as Knobler references possible trade talks between Cleveland and Arizona that would include the Indians sending a shortstop to the Diamondbacks in exchange for pitching.

The Twitter universe has been blowing up around the Reds community with regards to the article. Cincinnati Enquirer and Reds beat writer, John Fay, had this to say about Choo‘s production compared to Reds leadoff hitters:

Talk about an offensive cure. Choo has the ability to bring a dynamic spark to the leadoff role. That’s a plus-45 in the run production category. 

Cincinnati Reds and 700 WLW radio personality, Lance McAlister, couldn’t wait to get his Sports Talk show rolling following the news of a possible deal:

With all of the excitement of a possible trade, let’s take a look at what Choo would bring to the Reds. His .283 BA and .373 OBP in 2012 would replace the .213 BA and .277 OBP that Stubbs was able to produce. Choo also cracked 43 doubles and 16 home runs. He is no slouch on the base paths either, swiping 21 bases in 28 attempts.

The stats seem to speak for themselves. The Reds would be achieving what Walt Jocketty and crew had set out to achieve as soon as the offseason began—find a way to get runners on base in front of Joey Votto.

Be sure to chime in with your thoughts and opinions below.


Read more MLB news on

MLB Trade Rumors: Reds, Rays, and Rockies Have Three-Way Deal Brewing

Even the breaking news of Ryan Ludwick reportedly signing a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds can’t slow down the trade rumors (via the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay). Ludwick still doesn’t fix the void at leadoff, but CBS Sports senior baseball writer Danny Knobler seems to think that the Reds have a plan brewing that can solve that very issue.

Check out this tweet from Knobler:


Wow. According to this, it seems as though Cincinnati would be willing to part with catching prospect Devin Mesoraco if the deal could eventually net the Reds a leadoff man.

According to a report by Jason A. Churchill on, the third team involved could be the Colorado Rockies. As Churchill explains in his report, the Reds need a leadoff guy (presumably Dexter Fowler), the Rockies need pitching (presumably one of the young Rays arms), and the Rays need a catcher (presumably Devin Meoraco).

Essentially, this means that Cincinnati would give up Mesoraco for Fowler after all was said and done. But is Fowler really worth such a trade? On one hand, he is a young player who fills a huge hole. On the other hand, however, the Reds could play this better by getting an arm like Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields and keeping him for themselves.

The 2013 Reds’ Opening Day rotation would suddenly contain Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, possibly Shields or Hellickson, Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo. Notice one big omission?

That’s right, no Aroldis Chapman. Many may be very happy to see him moved back to the closer’s role. Talk about domination. Such a pitching staff would undoubtedly end up as one of the best in baseball.

No, this does not solve the issue at leadoff. But that could be addressed through other means, like the trade of other assets or the signing of Michael Bourn.

It’s all an interesting twist to these reports. What are your thoughts?

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds: Why the Reds Should Trade Some Talent for a Reliever

The recent signing of Jonathan Broxton seems to have shed some light on the Reds‘ intentions for the 2013 season. Not only does it look as though Broxton will be taking over the closer’s role, but all signs point to Aroldis Chapman joining the starting rotation.

With Chapman assuming a new role outside of the bullpen, Cincinnati is left with a gaping hole in its relief corps. It’s a hole that the Reds must fill before next season.

So why should the Reds trade for a reliever rather than sign one from the field of free agents?

Simple. Why overpay when you have the assets to acquire the help you need via trade. The best free-agent reliever still available is Rafael Soriano, who already opted out of a huge payday with the Yankees in order to test the market.

Kyuji Fujikawa will be testing the U.S. market after a long career in Japan. The 32-year-old has potential. But, can that potential and his 1.32 ERA (for the Hanshin Tigers in 2012) translate to Major League Baseball?

Then there is Joakim Soria. He is another free agent that is closer material. But, the fact that he sat out all of 2012 injured could hamper his ability to gain a closer role. He may have to settle for a setup role. Soria will probably request a similar contract to that which Ryan Madson just signed. With the signing of Broxton to such a large deal, the Reds can’t afford that large of a risk with no guarantees.

The point I am making here is that free-agent help is not going to be cost effective to fill this need. So why not look to trade? They have the bodies to do so.

Who would be potential trade candidates that could bring solid relief help in return? 

Lets start with Mike Leake. He is going to be the odd-man out. If the Reds believe that Tony Cingrani is the real deal then he becomes Bronson Arroyo’s replacement once his contract is up. Cingrani also becomes your sixth starter in 2013.

Leake actually holds some very good value. Don’t forget about his 2011 performance (12-9 with 3.86 ERA and 1.17 WHIP), the fact that he is only 25 years old and is a former first-round draft pick.

Everybody’s favorite man, Drew Stubbs, will most likely find himself on the trade block this offseason. Will it be for outfield help or for relief help? Look at it this way. Stubbs is only going to bring you someone of equal value in the outfield unless you pair him with significant other talent. But, his “potential” talent could net you a top-of-the-line reliever.

Chris Heisey. Yes, I said it. Many readers will balk at the thought, but the truth is that Heisey and Stubbs are very similar. Don’t believe me? Check out the stats.

Bet you didn’t know that Drew Stubbs’ -0.2 WAR in 2012 was actually better than Chris Heisey, who produced a -0.3 WAR. Both maintain the same 0.25 BB/K ratio. It’s time to move on, and someone will throw in a pretty good reliever for Heisey and a minor leaguer.

So I guess you’re probably asking who the Reds should go after in a trade? Well, lets leave that up to Walt Jocketty (or the fans to speculate). 

I would recommend some potential trading partners, though. There are teams out there that could benefit from players like Leake, Subbs and Heisey. The Oakland A’s (Ryan Cook and/or Grant Balfour) come to mind, as do the Kansas City Royals (Tim Collins and/or Greg Holland). Both teams are full of young and talented relievers and could be a great swap for Mike Leake and/or an outfielder that can cover a lot of ground.

What about Seattle or even Cleveland? Those two teams are a little thin in the outfield. 

The teams with needs are there. Now it’s up to the scouts and brain trust to find the talent on those teams that can benefit the Reds.


You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter @JRamCincy

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds Rumor Mill: Leadoff Hitter Options Dwindling Quickly for Reds

The offseason is still young, but the available options to fill the Cincinnati Reds‘ outfield, leadoff hitter and relief pitching needs have dwindled quickly. The question remains as to how, and even if, Walt Jocketty will address these needs.


News and Notes

The Reds have previously been rumored as a potential suitor for Denard Span. But, as Keith Law of ESPN reports, it’s the Washington Nationals that put the talent on the board that tickled the fancy of the Minnesota Twins.

Mark Sheldon of seems to think that Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino will all be out of Cincy‘s price range. You have to agree, though, there is no need for the Reds to lock themselves into an overpriced long-term contract. These players could be worth an over-priced one to two year contract though.

Many Reds fans felt that Drew Stubbs clone, B.J. Upton, could be a fit in Cincy—luckily the Reds didn’t make the same mistake that Atlanta did when they locked Upton up for 5 years, $75 million. It was this deal that Jason A. Churchill of believes has set the market for the remaining free-agent outfielders.

The Reds may have locked down their new closer in Jonathan Broxton when they signed him to a 3-year, $21 million deal. Broxton hasn’t officially been named the closer, but it is already being assumed as this article by Reds beat writer John Fay displays. Agree with the signing or not, we need to move forward because the deal is done.

The Reds may have passed on their best closer option, though, when they let Ryan Madson walk and sign with the L.A. Angels, as Jerry Crasnick of reported. Madson‘s one-year contract would have been the better choice.

With the Winter Meetings on the horizon, Reds fans need to be hoping that Jocketty and crew can work some magic—things are getting tougher in a hurry.


You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter @JRamCincy

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds: Like a Fine Wine, Cincinnati’s Youth Getting Better with Age

The Cincinnati Reds are full of youth and homegrown talent. Many may forget that budding stars Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey are but 25 and 26 years old (respectively), though it seems as though they have been around since the turn of the century.

Then there is Johnny Cueto—yep, he is only 26. Aroldis Chapman is only 24 years old. Mat Latos is but 24 as well. We also shouldn’t forget MVP Joey Votto. He may not be as young as the others, but as you will see, he is still progressing with age.

Not only do the Cincinnati Reds have talent, but if development trends continue, they may be overflowing with flat-out scary talent in the next couple of years.

Lets take a look at these trends, starting with Jay Bruce.

The 25-year-old Bruce just completed his fifth year in the big leagues (2008-12). Throughout this time his home-run totals have increased each year: 21, 22, 25, 32 and 34 respectively. His RBI totals, well, they have followed suit: 52, 58, 70, 97 and 99. Total extra-base hits: 39, 39, 53, 61 and 74. There are stats that have not followed the same trend, though, such as his BA: .254, .223, .281, .256 and .252. With more consistency (which, believe it or not, Bruce showed this year), he could surprise us all in the near future.

So what’s the conclusion on Bruce? If trends continue, Jay Bruce is actually due for a breakout year—and a breakout year on top of what he has already posted could be absolutely monstrous.

Next, we visit the trends of one of the most frustrating prospects in Reds history—Homer Bailey.

The 26-year-old Bailey has been strutting his stuff around GABP since 2007. Take a look at these ERA/WHIP splits since then:

5.46/1.57, 7.93/2.09, 4.53/1.47, 4.46/1.37, 4.43/1.28 and 3.68/1.24—impressive.

Homer Bailey’s trends have lead him to become Cincinnati’s key breakout player in 2013. As you will see, Johnny Cueto had similar trends before break(ingon though to the other side (as Jim Morrison would have said).

Bailey closed out the year with the ace stuff that we all expected of him six years ago. He threw 55.2 innings through September and October (including the postseason). During that time he gave up only 28 hits and 10 walks while striking out 58 and giving up only 11 runs. That equates to a 1.78 ERA folks. Look for this ace-like material to continue in 2013.

Mr. Johnny Cueto is 26 years old himself. In five years his ERA/WHIP combos look like this:

4.81/1.41, 4.41/1.36, 3.64/1.28, 2.31/1.09, 2.78/1.17—can you say bona fide ace?

Though his ERA and WHIP totals increased slightly from 2011 to 2012, what was very impressive was how his K/9 improved from 6.00 to 7.05 and his K/BB ratio went from 2.21 to 3.47. Plus, you can’t expect a 2.31 ERA every year out of anyone.

So should you expect improvements from Johnny Cueto next season? Yes, expect more innings, an improved WHIP and more strikeouts—this is where Cueto is now trending.

Oh, Aroldis Chapman. To start or not to start, this is the question. Let’s clear that up now—he will start. Chapman made obvious strides in 2012 when he posted a 1.51 ERA with a 0.81 WHIP. His 15.32 K/9 is simply off the wall. But, what many forget is that Chapman posted a 2.12 ERA in four spring starts with a WHIP of 1.12.

He can do it folks, and he will. Chapman mastered his one major flaw in 2012—locating the strike zone. That is one improvement that can not go understated.

This brings us to the other two players that I first mentioned, Mat Latos and Joey Votto. On the surface, these two may not seem to have improved.

After all, Latos‘ ERA has gone from 2.92, to 3.47, to 3.48 the last three seasons. But, let’s not forget that Latos went from playing in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in Petco Park to playing in the GABP, one of the most hitter-friendly parks. Maintaining his numbers during such a drastic change should not go understated. 

Last but not least, we have Joey Votto. Folks, he led the league with a .474 OBP. Aside from admitted and convicted PED users Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds, only Edgar Martinez (.479 OBP in 1995) and Wade Boggs (.476 OBP in 1988) have recorded higher on-base percentages since Norm Cash cashed in with a .487 OBP in 1961. 

Votto may have only produced 14 home runs in 2012, but much of that was due to his knee injury. Despite playing in 50 fewer games than in 2011, he produced a career high in doubles with 44 and a 5.6 WAR compared to a 6.2 WAR in 2011. He also set career highs with a .337 BA, that .474 OBP and 1.041 OPS.

To keep a long story short, the young talent that fills Cincinnati’s roster is impressive already, but the trends and signs should lead us to believe that the best is still yet to be seen.

What are your thoughts? Be sure to chime in with them and leave your comments below.

You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter: @JRamCincy

Read more MLB news on

MLB Trade Rumors: Could David Wright Pack His Bags for Cincinnati?

The title of this article says it all—Could David Wright pack his bags and take over third base for the Cincinnati Reds? Well, it just may be possible. 

Assuming that the New York Mets are unable to re-sign (or just decide not to re-sign) David Wright, a trade could be in the foreseeable future. A recent article by Mark Simon on suggests that the Cincinnati Reds could be one of five possible suitors for Wright if such a circumstance arises. 

Not only does the article suggest a possible trade, but it also suggests that Cincy may have the means to sign Wright to an extended contract. If you still don’t believe the Cincinnati Reds are suddenly into the money, you need to think again.

Cincinnati committed $250 million to Joey Votto and also gave Brandon Phillips (aka @DatDudeBP) a six-year, $72.5 million contract before the start of the 2012 season. Not only are the Reds convinced they have the ability to spend, but it seems as though the national media is beginning to believe as well—Mr. Simon’s article states just as much.

The Reds reworked their radio deal in recent years and are due to receive a lucrative new TV deal in the very near future. The Reds maintained the top radio listener-ship and were in the top two in TV ratings among all MLB teams in 2012—both equal money.

But back to David Wright.

Where does he fit, you ask? Well, at third base of course. What does that mean for Todd Frazier? Left field, my friends. He has proven that he is much more than a body in the field. He played very well at first base, third base, and yes, left field in 2012.

David Wright is a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman. He is also a .301 career hitter—he hit .306 with 21 home runs and 93 RBI in 2012. Wright did all of this in a pitcher’s ball park. Just imagine what he could do at GABP.

Simon’s article suggests using Mike Leake and/or Drew Stubbs in such a trade. I am sure that this appeals to many. It also suggests that the Reds may need to use catching prospect Devin Mesoraco—a much more realistic option.

Just think for a minute, though, a lineup that consists of Joey Votto, David Wright and Jay Bruce? Now that is appealing. Very appealing.


You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter @JRamCincy

Read more MLB news on

Cincinnati Reds: Moving Forward, Why Reds Fans Need Not Dwell on 2012

The 2012 Major League Baseball season came, and has now gone. Gone with it is another disappointing Cincinnati Reds postseason appearance. But remember Reds fans, dwelling on the past is what losers do. Winners move forward.

Though it may not yet feel like it yet, the 2013 season looks very bright for the Cincinnati Reds. Why is that you may ask? Let’s review a few key facts about the season past.

The Cincinnati Reds had the second best record in baseball this season. They finished 2012 with a 97-65 record.

It takes a culmination of things going right for any team to win 97 games. It flat out takes talent to win 97 games despite a few major things going very wrong wrong. In order to find out what went right, let’s take look at what went wrong.

The leadoff position was well, horrid to say the least. Reds leadoff hitters compiled a measly .208 BA with an even more palatable .254 OBP. But, in spite of coming in last (by a long shot) with these two stats, the Reds still managed to finish at least 21 of 30 in runs scored. Maybe not impressive, but more than adequate given those numbers, wouldn’t you say? When your table setters aren’t setting the table you can only do so much.

Let’s also not forget that Cincinnati lost Joey Votto in the midst of an MVP campaign. Yet they still scored enough (key word here is “enough”) runs to manage an even better record without Votto in the lineup. They went 38-16 in his absence vs. 59-49 with him in the lineup.

So what are we getting at here? Simple, espite major offensive handicaps, the Cincinnati Reds were one run and three outs away from a sweep of the eventual Word Series Champions and a chance to take their place in the NLCS.

How did the Reds manage to win with such handicaps? Pitching and defense, that’s how.

Returning to the team, intact, will be a defense that has produced six Gold Glove finalists (Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce, and Bronson Arroyo) along with a pitching staff that allowed the fewest runs in the NL while producing the seond-best team ERA at 3.34.

I must remind you, Reds pitchers did this while pitching in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

Let’s tie what we have so far, all of this together. It’s like a domino-effect. The Reds play brilliant defense. That brilliant defense backs up a pitching staff that is above average and who often pitches to contact. Such pitching staffs thrive off of strong defense.

It is this combination that allows for some inadequacies in the Cincinnati offense. When your team is allowing opponents to score the fewest runs in the league, being 21st of 30 teams in offensive runs scored isn’t quite as bad as it could be otherwise.

All six of the Gold Glove finalists are due to return in 2013. Todd Frazier, who arguably played as good a third-base as Scott Rolen did, will be taking over at third. The only true unknown is in left field. Let’s just say that the club seems to have learned their lesson with Adam Dunn and the Yonder Alonso experiments. Defense does matter.

What about the pitching staff in 2013? The Reds will return Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, a strong and formidable one-two punch, to the top of their rotation. 2013 will be the year that Homer Bailey doubters disappear. Look for Homer to take over the third spot in the rotation.

The reenergized Bronson Arroyo will hold down the fourth spot while Mike Leake and newcomer Tony Cingrani will battle it out for the fifth rotation spot.

All of this leaves Aroldis Chapman to anchor the best bullpen in all of baseball.

So, let’s review again, what all we have covered means? It means, that for the first time in a long time, the Cincinnati Reds really have only one need – help at the top of their batting lineup.

They can fill this need with a slick hitting left fielder, or center fielder, or both. The Cincinnati Reds are that close to becoming the best team in baseball.

The best thing for Cincinnati Reds fans is that they have a GM and an owner that understand this need and will fix it. Folks, Bob Castellini has already put his money where his mouth is. He did that after getting a taste of championship baseball that was foiled by standing pat in 2011.

In 2012 he invested heavily, then was given a glass of fine whiskey that was yanked from him just after he had taken a few sips. Do you think he is going to let 2011 repeat itself? I think not.

The 2013 season looks bright my friends and it will only get brighter as pitchers and catchers prepare to report. Do not dwell fellow fans, do not dwell.

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress