Some baseball fans still think St. Louis Cardinals have the National League Central won in 2012. Even with the moves that the Cincinnati Reds have made this offseason people still believe it will not be good enough to take the Cardinals down. Even some Reds fans are saying it, which I find amazing. Let’s be honest here, when is the last time the Reds made this many great moves in one offseason? Should you not be excited about this upcoming season? There are some that say that the moves are great but they still don’t have what it takes to take first in the Central. They think the Reds have enough to beat Milwaukee Brewers and the rest of the teams in their division but will lose against St. Louis and might make the playoffs because of the wildcard. I say, have faith in what Walt is doing and just go with it. This is the most action the Reds have had in many offseasons and we should all be jumping for joy because for the first time in many years, Walt walked the walk instead of just talking the talk.
I don’t see what some of these baseball fans see. The Cardinals have just as many holes as the Reds do and I think they will go down with injuries in 2012 a lot more than the Reds will. They have a new manager and pitching coach along with Albert Pujols no longer in the batting order. In my mind they lost more than any team in the Central so how exactly are they going to take first? They are a tough team, they always have been but I don’t think they will be the number one team. Remember folks, they did not take first place last year. Sure they did great in the playoffs and went on to win the World Series but I really can’t see them doing that again in 2012.
Sure, the Reds still have question marks and if they get injured like they did in 2011 they will be lucky if they make it over .500, but they are way better this offseason then they were last offseason. They brought in top players that will help the team win many games. Top players that are within their budget. You have to give credit to Walt Jocketty for doing such a great job this offseason. He really stepped up and delivered a home run when it comes to transactions this offseason. No matter, if you think they were good or bad moves you have to admit this offseason has been the most exciting one for Reds fans for many years.
Why is Albert Pujols moving to the American League such a big deal to a Cincinnati Reds fan? He was one of the most dangerous hitters to ever face the team that is why.
Over his career playing for St. Louis Cardinals he hit 20 home runs in 266 at bats in Great American Ball Park. He has a .316 BA, .404 OBP and a .598 SLG in GABP. Of course he hit 20 or more home runs in other Central Division teams ball parks too but it took 20 or more games to do it. In Great American Ball Park he hit 20 in 68 games. Against Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field he hit 26 HR in 85 games. Against Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park he hit 24 in 91 games. Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park saw him hit 29 home runs in 89 games. The only park he did not hit 20 in was against Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park where he got 19 HR in 81 games. In his career against the Reds, Albert has hit 46 home runs in 172 games.
Now that the Machine is gone to the Angels there is another player that is on my radar this offseason and that is Prince Fielder. Of course Prince has not been around as long as Albert Pujols but having him out of the Central Division in 2012 will really help the Reds out big time.
Prince has also seen the ball very well in Great American Ball Park. In 52 games, 186 at bats he has hit 11 home runs getting a .323 BA, .422 OBP and .581 SLG. Against the Reds in his career Fielder has gotten 22 home runs in 102 games.
This of course shows just a part of the reason why I would like them both out of the National League Central but another big part is what these men do for their teams lineups on those days they are playing. Many players on their teams see a lot more pitches because of them in the game. I think Ryan Braun will not have such a great season in 2012 because of Fielder not batting in the same lineup. And of course the guys on the Cardinals will not be seeing as many good pitches as they used to when Albert was with them. These players will go on to hit well no matter what but they just won’t see the same pitches they once did when these two big boys were batting before or after them in the batting order. The Reds pitchers will have a chance to pitch a little better knowing that they don’t have to face these big bats every time they face that team.
No matter what the Reds front office does or doesn’t do this offseason having Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols go to different teams outside of the Central Division will be a huge factor in how well these teams do in the standings in 2012. Many people still believe St. Louis Cardinals will take the division and I have to disagree. There are way to many factors involved here that make their team completely different from the 2011 team. Their manager and first basemen are just two of those major factors. Will the Brewers really be able to take first without Prince? I highly doubt they will even with the guys they have they still will need that big bat to help out the rest of the lineup. Right now with what deals have been made this offseason, I give Pittsburgh Pirates a better chance of winning than St. Louis or Milwaukee. The Reds of course really need to have an injury free season for their main players in order to make a push for the division and Houston is gearing up for their move to the American League,
There is still a lot left in the offseason and some big moves can still be made to better each team but with Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson off to the Angels and of course Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle going to Miami the teams in the National League Central Division are running low on options.
As you probably have heard, Houston Astros have been sold and will be moving to the American League. — Source — The Astros have a rich history in the National League and I thought I would write about that instead of details on the sale that just got approved. I for one wish them all the best cause they will be missed. I remember many great games they had against the Reds and many times I wished they would move out of the league so then my guys could win. Now that it is happening I am pulled in a different direction. The Reds were actually beating them now and of course now they move. In all seriousness I wish they would have taken back the damn Brewers but that won’t happen now.
Since 1965 they have been called the Houston Astros but before that they were known as Houston Colt .45’s (1962 – 1964) a name that when I first heard it almost made me stop cheering for the Reds to cheer for them. Of course at the time I heard what their name used to be, Nolan Ryan (1980 – 1988) was pitching there and I loved watching him pitch. They made it to the playoffs nine times (80, 81, 86, 97, 98, 99, 01, 04 and 05) and won one pennant in 2005 where they got swept in the World Series by the Chicago White Sox.
When I think about the Astros I remember watching Craig Biggio (1988 – 2007) and Jeff Bagwell (1991 – 2005) and wishing the Reds would sign them. Of course I did not like them when they played against the Reds but they were great players. Biggio with over 3000 career hits with the team and Bagwell with over 2300 coming in second. It makes me wonder if anyone will ever pass those numbers when they move. Moises Alou (1998 – 2001) holds the record for best career batting average with .331 and of course Jeff Bagwell has it summed up for the season record with a .368 in 1994. Jeff Bagwell got 449 homeruns for Houston with 47 being the teams season high which he got in 2000. Cesar Cedeno (1970 – 1981) has the career record for stolen bases with 487 while Gerald Young (1987 – 1992) beat Eric Yelding (1989 – 1992) by one to get the single season record with 65 in 1988.
I wonder if the American League version will ever have a pitcher get more team career innings then Larry Dierker (1964 – 1976) with his 2294 innings pitched and of course Joe Niekro (1975 – 1985) with 2270 innings pitched. I don’t remember Niekro or Dierker much but I do remember watching one Houston pitcher strike guys out like crazy, Nolan Ryan. Will any pitcher on the American League Astros ever pass his 1866 strikeouts for the team in the National League? Roy Oswalt (2001 – 2010) was close with 1593 but I doubt they will ever get him back on the team. J.R. Richard (1971 – 1980) has the season high record with 313 stirkeouts in 1979. Joe Niekro holds the record for Astros wins at 144 and Roy Oswalt was one away from getting that but came up short with 143 wins. Mike Hampton (1994 – 2009) has the season high with 22 in 1999. Billy Wagner (1995 – 2003) has the lead in saves with 225 and is tied with Jose Valverde (2008 – 2009) for the season high of 44 saves. The season record for Games played by a pitcher is held by Octavio Dotel (2000 – 2004) with 83 in 2002 and of course Dave Smith (1980 – 1990) has the career record with 563.
The one thing that comes to mind now as we head into their last season in the National League is; ‘There is no tomorrow…’ I hope they go out with their boots on and give it all they got. And I hope that when they get to the American League they kick the living tar out of them all just to show ’em how tough the National League really is.
Find out what Astros fans think by checking out Dierk’s Dugout.