This is a great day to be a Cincinnati Reds fan! They have clinched first place in National League Central division and are now just adding to an already great winning season. As I watched the game I just have to say, I am very happy to see it go down like this today. Great American Ball Park with 40,000+ kept the energy very high throughout the whole game. The two home runs just added to that energy and it was a wonderful game to watch. Mat Latos pitched a gem and hopefully all of those “haters” out there are now starting to see what a lot of us saw right from the start of the season with him, lots of potential to be the number 1 / 2 pitcher for many years to come.
I am sorry I have not posted much lately. Due to my health I am not always allowed to get around like I would hope but I have been watching the games and I am still a very huge fan just like I was when I was young. Winning today reminded me of the first season I started to cheer for the Reds. It is a great feeling to watch such a young and powerful team clicking so well through out the season.
Now bring on the playoffs and the World Series!
I have seen a lot of 2012 National League Central predictions and thought I would share my predictions. Many experts still think St. Louis Cardinals will be the top team, but if you look at my predictions I won’t show them any love at all, because I really think their losses out weigh their gains this offseason. Plus, they did not finish first last season with what they had so it is not easy for me to understand how people expect them to get first in 2012. I do think the Pirates will have a good season though and they could be a tough team to beat again for the Reds this season.
Now, of course these are just my early thoughts on what the standings will look like and I have been wrong many years. I do have a feeling though that the Cardinals and Brewers are going to have a tough time repeating what they did in 2011. Not just because of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols but because of everything that has happened this offseason.
My 2012 National League Central Prediction:
1. Cincinnati Reds
2. Pittsburgh Pirates
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. St. Louis Cardinals
5. Chicago Cubs
6. Houston Astros
As I look back and wonder what made me fall in love with Cincinnati Reds close to 20 years ago, one thing always comes to mind; They have always been the underdog, the little guy. And of course as far as big market / small market teams, the Reds are and have always been in that small market group but they have always had the potential of making a big market team lose a lot of sleep at night. With the addition of Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson fans are ready for a World Series win and the fans are not the only ones excited about their chances in 2012. Players and the front office are starting to see what it is like when you give fans something to look forward to. Sure, Walt had to really work hard to get these missing pieces in order to give the fans more hope for 2012 but I think he did a great job with what he had.
Now it is up to the players and the coaching staff to step up and show us what they got. They need Scott Rolen to be healthy. They need Bronson Arroyo to be a leader in the starting rotation and show the younger guys how to pitch deep into innings and get 200+ a season. The Reds need Nick Masset, Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson to step up and become the new generation’s Nasty Boys. (The Ma-sty Boys) And most of all, the Reds need promising players like Drew Stubbs, Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman to show us they are ready to become great! To be honest, adding guys like Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson will boost Bailey and Chapman and show them what it takes to become the best in baseball.
Sure, the Reds are still not the favorite to win the National League Central. Tell, me something I don’t know. When have they ever been the favorite in everyone’s eyes? That is what I like about them, they have the potential and only a select few can see it. That is what will make them winning this season even more powerful for those that have been with them for so many years. The history of Cincinnati Reds alone is something to cheer for but I think 2012 is going to be a record-breaking season and a time for Reds fans to get ready for a whole new breed of Big Red Machine / Nasty Boys.
You can go to any other baseball blog out there and get the realistic views and comments of who is “expected” to win, or you can shy away from that thinking and look deep into the roster of the Reds and see what I see, the right combination of players that will win another championship for one of the most exciting ball clubs to ever be in the National League, the Cincinnati Reds!
On a side note, make sure you add @JayABruce on Twitter.
Prince Fielder and Francisco Cordero both found new teams today. Fielder went to Detroit Tigers in a huge deal and Cordero signed a one year deal with Toronto Blue Jays. These are big moves that will help the Reds in 2012. First off, the Reds will not have to worry about facing either one of these players in 2012. (I think the Reds will face the Tigers sometime in the season but that is only 3 games.)
Rumors are still flying high with Roy Oswalt being at the top of the list, along with Ryan Theriot and Jeff Francis. If Walt Jocketty was to sign someone like Roy Oswalt to a one year deal it would prove that they are really in it to win it this season. Most people don’t think Oswalt has much left in his tank but I think staying in the National League is a very smart move for him and it could really help both the Reds and himself for better deals in 2013. If Walt could pull off a one year deal that would not financially hurt the team he would be a lock for General Manager of the year in my books. He is already pretty close to winning it with the moves he has done this offseason.
The biggest question I have right now is, if Oswalt really wants to stay in the National League will he maybe give a discount to a team looking for another starter? And could that team be St. Louis Cardinals or another team in National League Central? I wonder if Oswalt’s agent contacted all National League teams or were the Reds the only one? I would like to think the Reds were the only ones but we all know that would not be true.
There are a lot of people who think if the Reds did sign him there would be to many starters on the Reds then. I would just like to remind those people of last season and what happened to the Reds with their starters. It is always nice to have more options just in case. I am sure that Walt is not really looking to far into getting Oswalt though but I do believe that there will be one or maybe two more pitchers signed to minor league deals before spring training comes.
After signing Ryan Ludwick and avoiding arbitration with Homer Bailey, Paul Janish and Bill Bray the question that comes to many Cincinnati Reds minds now is; are the Reds done making moves this offseason? I would love to see them get another solid hitting infielder but after reading what Homer Bailey got for one year I am not sure if they have any more money to do it. Even if they don’t make any more moves this offseason, fans have to walk away very happy with what the Reds got. They needed a top of the rotation starter and they got it with Mat Latos. They needed bullpen help and got it with Sean Marshall. They then set their sights on a closer and got a great bargain with signing Ryan Madson. Walt Jocketty then went after a right-handed LF bat and got it with Ryan Ludwick.
No matter what some fans might think about their chances this season you can not deny the team is better now then they were last offseason and their chances to take first in National League Central should be a lot better.
Kerry Wood might be leaving Chicago Cubs to sign with Philadelphia Phillies. If this happens it will go down as another move this offseason that will help the Cincinnati Reds in 2012 which they did not have to make. [Source]
Kerry Wood has a career 14-6 record against the Reds with a 2.85 ERA. With 201 strike outs while only giving up 59 walks in 161.1 IP and 47 games. He has a 4-3 record at Great American Ball Park and a 4.05 ERA with 66 strike outs and 17 walks along with only allowing 7 home runs in 53.1 innings pitched. (17 games)
If Kerry Wood does leave the Cubs this will be another move that has pushed the Reds closer to first place in the National League Central without them making any other moves. The Reds did get Sean Marshall and Mat Latos in trades earlier this offseason and are waiting to find out if they will re-sign closer Francisco Cordero but other than that they have not had to really do much more.
This has been one very interesting offseason for Reds fans. First we saw Albert Pujols along with manager Tony LaRussa leave St. Louis Cardinals. Prince Fielder is not expected to return to Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Braun is expected to get a 50 game suspension due to testing positive for PEDs. The Chicago Cubs are cleaning house and are dealing away most of their high salary players like Carlos Zambrano and there are still rumors that Matt Garza might be next. Houston Astros are in a rebuilding year and are getting ready to move to the American League. Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds are the only teams in National League Central that have not been losing lots of their key players this offseason.
John Fay reports that Cody Ross, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick and Kosuke Fukudome are some of the guys being looked at by Cincinnati Reds to help play LF in 2012. Of course this all depends with what happens with free agent closer Francisco Cordero. If he re-signs with the Reds they will have less money to go after position players and if he does not re-sign they will have more money to play with in order to get the players they need. A lot of fans are hoping it is Cody Ross. I for one would rather have one of the other three players due to the fact that they have played more in the National League Central Division. [Source]
I wanted to take a look and see how well these guys have done in Great American Ball Park before giving a guess at which one Walt Jocketty and the Reds front office will go for. Of course, money is always an issue when it comes to who they will get but I am not going to look to far into that right now and give each player a chance. I also wanted to see how well each player has done in other National League Central Division ball parks.
Cody Ross – At Great American Ball Park Ross has played 16 games, going 6 for 41 (.146 BA) with 2 home runs.
Split G AB H HR BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip CHC-Wrigley Fld 19 67 16 4 .239 .311 .463 .773 .273 CIN-GreatAmer BP 16 41 6 2 .146 .255 .293 .548 .154 HOU-MinuteMaidPk 14 45 10 0 .222 .271 .267 .537 .303 MIL-Miller Pk 9 24 3 1 .125 .154 .292 .446 .118 PIT-PNC Pk 14 51 12 2 .235 .264 .471 .735 .238 STL-Busch Stad 3 16 57 18 2 .316 .361 .474 .834 .421
Rick Ankiel – Ankiel at Great American Ball Park is similar to Ross. He has played 16 games there, getting 10 hits with 59 at bats with 3 home runs.
Split G AB H HR BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip CHC-Wrigley Fld 19 56 10 1 .179 .233 .339 .573 .243 CIN-GreatAmer BP 16 59 10 3 .169 .265 .339 .604 .171 HOU-MinuteMaidPk 21 60 18 1 .300 .364 .433 .797 .395 MIL-Miller Pk 19 57 11 1 .193 .281 .246 .527 .263 PIT-PNC Pk 17 47 13 3 .277 .346 .511 .857 .345 STL-Busch Stad 3 150 489 127 24 .260 .324 .472 .797 .286
Ryan Ludwick – Ludwick has seen more games at Great American Ball Park. In 30 games he has 29 hits in 105 at bats with 9 home runs.
Split G AB H HR BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip CHC-Wrigley Fld 32 109 38 7 .349 .408 .633 1.041 .397 CIN-GreatAmer BP 30 105 29 9 .276 .321 .600 .921 .274 HOU-MinuteMaidPk 24 84 21 2 .250 .289 .393 .682 .373 MIL-Miller Pk 31 117 27 4 .231 .318 .385 .703 .295 PIT-PNC Pk 52 171 43 6 .251 .326 .433 .759 .306 STL-Busch Stad 3 242 768 223 34 .290 .366 .505 .871 .331
Kosuke Fukudome – Fukudome has had some success in Great American Ball Park also. In 24 games he has gone 21 for 83 with 4 home runs.
Split G AB H HR BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip CHC-Wrigley Fld 264 809 226 17 .279 .388 .415 .803 .326 CIN-GreatAmer BP 24 83 21 4 .253 .340 .470 .810 .274 HOU-MinuteMaidPk 17 59 14 1 .237 .338 .356 .694 .265 MIL-Miller Pk 26 92 31 5 .337 .413 .652 1.066 .361 PIT-PNC Pk 19 74 20 1 .270 .382 .392 .774 .306 STL-Busch Stad 3 26 90 20 2 .222 .317 .356 .673 .250