So far, this off-season has become a ‘Winter of Discontent’ on numerous Cincinnati Reds social media fans groups’ discussions, posts, Tweets and blogs. It seems every day, there is more and more negativity about this current team, the new Manager, the old Manager, the General Manager, the Owner and even the Bat Boy (well, let’s not go that far)!
Many fans are ‘voicing’ their displeasure over the Reds’ lack of roster moves, showing lack of urgency to sign a center-fielder who was priced way out of the small-sized Cincinnati market, giving the center field job to an unproven rookie and not making a trade of one of the Reds’ keystone personnel, who by the way, seems to have a lot more fans than detractors.
Okay, so let’s breathe for a moment and think about a few things here.
From 2001-09, the Cincinnati Reds averaged 74 wins per season…never once winning more than eighty games in a season during that stretch (2006). Enter a new General Manager in 2008 – Walt Jocketty. The Reds had increased their win total in 2008 and 2009 before the current run of playoff teams.
This ball club has averaged 89.25 wins per season since 2010 (2013 – 90; 2012 – 97; 2011 – 79; 2010 – 91) and has made playoff appearances in three of those four years (2013, 2012, 2010).
Granted, each time they did not advance past the first round, but they were one of only eight/ten teams to make the playoffs in those three years, which means that there were either 20 or 22 other teams that did not make the post season during that stretch. The big-spending Yankees also made the post season three times (2010-12) and the Boston Red Sox once (2013, when they became the World Series champions). The St. Louis Cardinals made the post-season three times (2011-13), winning it all in 2012. The Cardinals have averaged 90.25 wins from 2010-13 one game more than the Reds.
Shin-Soo Choo was in a contract year. The Reds were likely not going to sign him with Scott Boras as his agent.
Choo’s apparent replacement is Billy Hamilton. There are a lot of posts and tweets being thrown about saying how he is not ready. This team has no stolen base threat. Like it or not, Reds fans will have to get used to the fact that this speedster is going to go into spring training as number 1 on the depth chart.
Interestingly, in 1984 Vince Coleman hit .257, the season before he made his major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals. I think he ended up having a pretty decent career and played in a world series or two. Hamilton hit .256 at AAA Louisville last year.
Brandon Phillips is an important part of this team. He had over 100 RBIs last season and he has batted first, second, third and clean-up in the past few years. He has decent speed, plays superb gold glove defense and many fans like him being part of the Reds Nation. His production seemed to decline mid-way through last season AFTER he was hit by a pitch in the wrist/forearm.
Walt Jocketty has had solid success at every stop he has made as a GM. He and the current Reds’ ownership have brought a winning attitude to the Reds organization. They saw fit to make a change on the field with leadership by firing Dusty Baker and promoting the sharp-minded Bryan Price, because just averaging 89 wins per season was not good enough. Cincinnati is a ‘small market’ by most standards and does not have the intention to spend money unwisely and make the kind of moves that the east coast teams do, but as I mentioned earlier, the Reds seem to be able to keep up in the standings. Patience and faith should rule here…I know I like backing a playoff team with the chance to bring home the brass ring, as opposed to the other 20-22 teams that are not in that position.
I hope that for the remainder of the winter before spring training, those disgruntled Reds fans that are out there who have been ranting and calling for heads, can take a deep breath and see what good fortunes have occurred in the past handful of years and start to get pumped about what MIGHT and CAN be in 2014.