- Bruce, Votto, Dickerson, Cueto, Volquez. All of these guys are rookies that got in allot of valuable playing time. It is nice to see a group of young talent come up and contribute like they did, and it gives hope for next year. My only fear is what happened with the Braves. They bring up the young talent and they do well that year, but then the next two years show their inexperience and their youth against seasoned pitching.
- Getting rid of Griffey and Dunn. Griffey is old and just didn't care anymore. I saw him run harder and give more effort in two games when he was traded to Chicago than he did in the last two seasons here. Dunn is a riddle wrapped in a mystery. He is a lock for 100 runs, 100 rbi and 40 home runs every year. You would think that would be enough to want to keep him in any lineup, oh yeah he walks allot too. But on the flip side he strikes out 200 + times a year, he is horrible with runners in scoring position, his batting average is frequently below the mendoza line, and his defense, if you can call it that, is like watching a fat kid who is right handed play with a left handed glove in quick sand. So, all the positives that he did actually bring were completely negated by his "other half." It really is like Dunn is two different people, part Captain Caveman, part Chunk from "Goonies."
- Bronson Arroyo. After a horrible start to the year, he had a great second half to finish the years as the pitcher that I think everyone was expecting to see. After the June 24 batting practice that he gave up to Toronto, giving up 10 earned runs in one inning, he went on kind of a tear going 12-3 to finish off the year. E.R.A. was a little high, but he was an inning eater going 200 innings and had 100 fewer walks than strikeouts.
- Brandon Phillips. Another strong year for the second basemen that Cleveland threw away. Some of his stats were down, but still a good year. He was 20/20 and his walks were up and strikeouts were down. His fielding percentage was .990 and he only had seven errors, another gold glove year that I am sure will be overlooked. The only glaring issue was the batting average took a huge hit. He went from .288 down to .261, that is a pretty big drop off. No real protection can be part of the blame, maybe we can fix that in free agency?
- Aaron Harang. Every statistical category took a hit this year. His E.R.A jumped a full point from 3.73 to 4.78, he lost 17 games, he only pitched 184 innings, and had as many walks as he did last year in 50 less innings. I know he was hurt for allot of the year, but even when he was healthy he wasn't right. I am just hoping that he can return to form and have years like 2006 and 2007.
- The Bullpen. And yes this includes Fransisco Cordero. Lets start with him since he is making the most. Saves were down, E.R.A. was up, walks were up, strikeouts were down, and hits were up. he did finish strong, but was not as consistent as he was last year, and I put him in the bad category because we are paying him 11+ million a year. If I am paying my closer that much I want more for my money. Idea for next year include; Since he is "The Matador," maybe he should come out in the little hat and red cape and do a dance with it after each strikeout, or maybe he can wear a giant Reds sombrero while pitching, I know he is not Mexican, but that would entertain me. Now as far as the rest of the bullpen, they were much worse. In a day in age when pitching wins championships the Reds should start to do their homework. I was looking for official stats to back me up, but I could not find any, needless to say it was horrible, and I am pretty sure it was just as horrible as I think it is.
- Defense. Getting rid of Dunn and Griffey will certainly help in the future, but we still have issues defensively. We need to get better at shortstop, third base and first base. Personally, I would love to just get rid of Edwin Encarnacion, more on that later. I like Keppinger, but he is not good with the glove and since Derek Jeter is hard to come by I would prefer to have a stronger defensive presence out there than offensive, i.e. see Dave Concepcion. Didn't they win two World Series with that guy?
- Catcher. We have not had a good catcher since maybe Joe Oliver. I know Joe was no Johnny Bench, but he was able to manage a pitching staff, much like Jason Varitek. Jason is way better, but Joe was still pretty good. Again, Johnny Bench is hard to come by, but I do want a catcher that can call a game. We have allot of young pitchers that could use a good veteran catcher to help guide them along, where is Crash Davis when you need him?
- Homer Bailey. This kid has been given every opportunity to succeed and he has not been able to run with it. It is starting to look like it may be time to call it quits on this kid and give him a change of scenery, it may be best for both he and the organization. 2008 stats; 0-6 7.93 E.R.A. 18 Strikeouts, 17 walks, 59 hits. Wow.
- Homer segways to my next point, the minor league pitching coaches. When was the last time the Reds developed a decent pitcher that they drafted? Tom Browning? He was drafted in 1982 by the way. Homer is a prime example of how our minor league coaches are failing; a kid with all the talent in the world and they can't seem to hone it at all.
- Office management, C+. They did get rid of Griffey and Dunn and got more than a bucket of balls in return, they let the rookies play and earn the right to play, they dealt Hamilton and got a prime pitching prospect in Volquez. However, They still have about 8 left handed bats, which is very imbalanced and they have utility players starting full time out of position, i.e. Jerry Hairiston, Ryan Freel, Jeff Keppinger. Corey Patterson, 'nuff said.
- Field management, C-. Probably gave too much of a chance to Homer to prove himself, especially since he was struggling in AAA as well. Why was Votto not starting over Hatteberg to start the season? Votto had a great spring and Hatteberg has been nothing but a serviceable first basemen his entire career. Why was Corey Patterson starting in center field? Are you really telling me that at the start of the season that Jay Bruce wasn't better than Corey Patterson? I understand having the veteran on the bench ready to go when Jay is slumping, but it was just a horrible idea to have him start, and for so long.
Some questionable moves and calls, but I have a better feeling than when I had to watch Dunn bat lead off. I think the upper management and Dusty and his crew are pretty stable and this organization needs some stability in order to grow. And now that locker room cancers are gone and well as defensive liabilities, I would like to see what they do this off season, last year proved that if they think that they really need it that they will go out and sign a big contract.
I like to tinker, I like to see what would make sense. I had this thought about a month ago when I thought that the Ray's could not possibly keep it up, kudos to them they did! But I was thinking that if they were not able to pull off this miraculous turn around could the Reds go to them with Edwin and Bruce, or Edwin and Dickerson for Evan Longoria? it is not longer in the realm of possibility, but I thought it was a win/win. The Reds get that right handed bat they need and a defensive upgrade and the Rays get a speedy outfielder with a little pop and someone to replace Longoria at third.
Also, Pat "The Bat" Burrell is a free agent. his average is not great, but he is a legit power hitter and right handed, and his defense is way better than Dunn's was.
Speaking of....Here are free agents of interest.
- Joe Crede Third base
- Milton Bradly Outfield (He is crazy though)
- Carl Crawford Outfield (Not really affordable?)
- Raul Ibanez Outfield (Age factor?)
- Scott Podsednik Outfield
- Bobby Abreu Outfield (Money factor)
- Pat Burrell Outfield
- Jon Garland Pitcher
- Jason Jennings Pitcher
- Will Ohman Relief Pitcher
- Mike Timlin Relief Pitcher
- Dennys Reyes Relief Pitcher
So, with all that said here is to next year, a famous motto of Reds fans since 1990.