Aug 18, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Frazier throws to first base during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. (Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports)

Looking to 2013 for the Cincinnati Reds

First, I’m not going to start this off by lamenting the way 2012 ended. Some can call it a catastrophe. Some could call it a choke job. Call it what you will.

As 2013 is ahead of the Good Guys, what exactly should we be looking for in 2013? Well, I’ve looked at the prominent offensive players over the past month and what the Bill James projections say. Not that I buy all of them, but in looking at the offense, I think things may be a little better than in 2012.

July 28, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Choo against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Twins defeated the Indians 12-5. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

The addition of Shin-Soo Choo should provide the Reds with a little more offense. In Choo you have a guy with a lifetime OBP of .381. You also have a player that will be the epitome of “one and done” as the Reds will be “using” Choo as a transition to Billy Hamilton for 2014. The biggest question will be Choo’s ability to play center field. If Choo struggles defensively, does Jay Bruce make the move?

If the Reds can get the health from the starting staff like the team received in 2012, it will honestly be a form of a miracle. Two consecutive seasons and not miss a scheduled start? That’s what we would be looking at if this happens again. In today’s baseball, it doesn’t happen. If it does, there’s something right within the universe.

The bench should produce a little more, too. With the weak bats of Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo (has any organization snagged this guy to be at least a coach?), the additions of Jack Hannahan and Jason Donald should add a little more to what was alleged to be one of the weakest benches in baseball. With the potential to having Xavier Paul for an entire season, Dusty has a little more flexibility. And we simply cannot forget Chris Heisey. I believe he will play a bigger role for the Redlegs in 2013.

The bullpen may undergo a bit of a facelift. There is the chatter of Aroldis Chapman moving to the starting rotation and Jonathan Broxton manning the closing duties. Nick Masset may have a return from missing the entire 2012 season, and if he can duplicate the Masset of 2009, you may have further improved baseball’s best bullpen.

Yes, there could be more trepidation at the end of games.

There could be in the field as well. I already touched on Choo, but here’s something else to ponder. There is an extremely good chance we will not see Scott Rolen at third. The position is Todd Frazier‘s now. I said while Frazier was a prospect that if the Reds could nail Frazier to one position, he could take off offensively. His mind would be freed up and his baseball nature would take control. While Frazier isn’t a slouch with the glove or the arm, is there anyone from this generation that is Scott Rolen defensively? If there is, I’ve missed something.

And when you mention Rolen, you also have to bring Cairo back into this portion of the conversation. They were important pieces within the Reds clubhouse. How will that dynamic be? I believe bringing back Ryan Ludwick was a key factor here.

For a team that won 97 games last season, the Reds have made a fair number of moves. Every GM will tell you that there are ways to improve your team. Walt Jocketty is no different. And I do give Walt props for making the Choo trade and keeping Tony Cingrani, Daniel Corcino and Robert Stephenson in the Reds organization.

Within the next week, we’ll look at the proposed starting pitchers.

Now, we have a couple of months to gear up for spring training.

Tags: Cincinnati Reds

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