Cincinnati is a cold place in the winter, the 2013-2014 winter has been exceptionally cold. Amongst the weather Cincinnati Reds fans have been even colder this offseason about their teams capabilities in the upcoming season. Should fans really be this cold toward the 2014 squad?
The answer is no. In 2013 the Reds won 90 games, they went to the playoffs for the second year in a row albeit a hokey one game play off. They scored the 12th most runs, they were 6th in on base percentage and yet here we are talking about the Reds future in 2014.
When it comes to the team, the actual players Cincinnati has made some changes. The losses of Shin Soo Choo and Bronson Arroyo to free agency and Ryan Hanigan to a trade is a downer. Choo was second on the team in on base percentage and played great in the field. Arroyo never went on the DL as a Red, you cannot replace that kind of production. His 32 starts and 22 quality starts tied or led the team and his 14 wins led the team as well. Hanigan maybe the smartest catcher in the game when it comes to knowing hitters, he guided Homer Bailey to two no hitters in back to back seasons, but the club viewed Devin Mesoraco as a more viable option for the future.
So does losing two key players doom your team for the upcoming season? You would certainly think so looking at the twitter verse. In reality though, no it does not. Cincinnati will do what they have done the last few seasons, develop young guys to take those places and they have. The additions of Billy Hamilton to a full time major leaguer and Tony Cingrani to a full time spot in the rotation validates the Reds farm system. Are both players going to step in a fill the shoes of the departed? No certainly not right away, over the course of the season, yes it could happen.
What most fans are upset about is the lack of off season additions to the roster. Skip Schumaker and Chein Ming Wang top the list of recognizable additions. Schumaker will be a good addition to the outfield especially in left with Heisey, they could form a formidable pair. Wang, that was a surprise that still has many people scratching their heads. In addition to those two the club added a few more additions, no one that really excited the fan base.
The other big big change for 2014 is the manager change. Dusty Baker is out and Bryan Price is in. This is what the fans should be excited about, no longer (hopefully) will fans have to fret over Baker mismanaging his pitchers, Price should take care of that.
So will the Reds be better in 2014 than 2013, that may be a stretch. They will certainly compete though and 85 wins is a reality, make some moves at the deadline and things could happen. Look at the 2013 Red Sox, no real hope going into 2013 and they won it all, maybe Cincinnati can channel that.
Until then, take a xanax Reds fans.