Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day In Cincinnati One Week Away

With Opening Day one week away and the fact that it is a city holiday I figured it would be a good time to give my first thoughts on the 2013 Reds.

I want to start off giving my well wishes to third base coach Mark Berry and his family as he fights cancer. I have always enjoyed sitting on the third base line watch Berry manage his runners. I hope to see him there the whole season. Cancer affects everyone, it sucks so please give your well wishes to Mark.

Now the 2013 Reds look a lot like the 2012 Reds which is a great thing for Cincinnati. All the starting pitchers are back

the bullpen is still the same. Infield has one notable change with the retirement of Scott Rolen, Todd Frazier is now the full time third baseman. Many Reds fans wanted this last year, many pulled their hair out and lost their voices yelling at Dusty Baker for not playing him full time. Frazier has a lot to prove this season, I love the Toddfather but I’m not convinced he is a full time gold glove third baseman. Other than that the rest of the infield remains the same.

The outfield looks the same except for the departure of Drew Stubbs who the club traded for new starting center fielder Shin-Soo Choo. The Reds are looking for Choo to be a better lead off hitter for the club this season. What they gave up in Stubbs speed, they gained in Choo’s hitting and baseball knowledge, something Stubbs lacking in my opinion.

The biggest controversy of spring training was will Aroldis Chapman start or return to the bullpen this season. The answer is he will be in the closer position again. While it has not been popular among Reds fans it is the right decision for the club. Chapman can alway be moved up if Leake or Bailey get shaky. Chapman took us to the postseason last year lets let him do that again this season.

Opening day is in one week, the team comes out of Arizona relatively healthy. Arroyo and Latos are day to day but nothing serious. Dusty seems to be in good health after his scare last season.

The Reds are the odds on favorite for the NL Central and the NL pennant this season. Of course it all depends on if the team stays healthy.

Prediction: Reds go 98-64 winning the NL central,Votto wins the MVP and make the Reds make their first return to the World Series in 23 years. Then anything can happen. Lets all enjoy the ride, its been awhile we’ve been this good.

Twitter: @MattNiehaus

Tags: Baseball Cincinnati Reds

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