For a fan base that hoped the season would end with a World Series Parade, opposed to early October heartbreak, the month of October was a cruel time to be a Cincinnati Reds fan.
There isn’t much need to go into excessive detail about the happenings of October 1st, as we all certainly remember “CUETOOO, CUETOOO!,” being echoed on the mound by the rabid Bucs fans. For the second straight year, the Reds had put themselves in position to make a move towards not just the next round, but ultimately, a shot at the Fall Classic.
Then came the disgruntled Brandon Phillips’ rumors. For those that may have not heard, Walt Jocketty addressed those issues on MLB Network Radio when he said “it was largely created by the media,” referring to the irrational thought that the Reds would be shopping one of their franchise cornerstones. Things have died down on that front, and fans that incessantly whine about his on-base percentage can go back to loving Brandon’s defensive metrics for the time being.
On October 21st, it was announced that the Reds had a new sheriff in town. Pitching coach savant Bryan Price was named to be the Reds manager, replacing the much maligned Dusty Baker. While the trendy baseball move has been to hire former players with little to no coaching experience, it seems that the organization pushed all the right buttons as the locker room clearly seemed to be in backing of making Price the head man.
Finally, there’s the issue of whether Bronson Arroyo and Shin-Soo Choo find their way back to the club. Just yesterday, the Reds did not make Bronson a qualifying offer. There are two schools of thought as far as that goes: 1) the Reds are not interested in having him back, or 2) a new, long-term deal is to be worked out. Now, knowing how big a fan Bryan Price is of Bronson and how much Arroyo has done for this club, I’d be shocked if it was option number one.
Shin-Soo Choo on the other hand has been a relatively quiet subject, as Walt Jocketty likes it that way. Many major media outlets, such as ESPN, have listed the Houston Astros as the most viable place for Choo to land. After watching Choo play for a year and viewing his demeanor, I see him as more of a grinder who wants to win. That is after all why he came to Cincinnati. Regardless of the paycheck he might get if he lands in Houston, the prospect of winning is way down the line. Another major suitor has been rumored to be the New York Mets. Living in the New York market, I can tell you that there has been some buzz about Choo, but everyone seems to jump off his ship when they see his numbers against left-handers. The Mets contingency seems to be much more concerned with signing Jacoby Ellsbury, or trading for Rockies outfielder, Carlos Gonzalez. While I think all Reds fans can agree that they would love to have Choo back, it needs to be at a reasonable price. The initial 5-year/$75 million deal at the beginning of the season seemed steep until Hunter Pence re-signed for more, and now, that deal looks like a bargain.
The real challenge of fandom comes over the next few months when the “hot topics” will be things like salary arbitration and hot stove speculation. There is no more professional baseball to keep you tantalized, but rather fans need to pour over their scorebooks from the past year to envision memories of days gone by. Have no fear though Reds faithful, 98 days until pitchers and catchers report.