Reds previews are starting to trickle in, here are a couple of links and excerpts:
- From Athlon:
There's more stability now, but the Reds are still searching for an identity. Pitching had been the missing link, but once the Reds finally found some in 2006, their offense collapsed. Rather than addressing that deficiency, the Reds opted for defense in adding Gonzalez. The Reds have components of a contending team, with a couple of high-impact hitters in Dunn and Griffey, exciting young talent in Phillips and Encarnacion and workhorse starters in Arroyo and Harang. There just doesn't seem to be enough there to overcome everything the Reds lack.
- From NBC Sports:
The Reds surprised many observers with the success of their pitching and defense philosophy in 2006, and with an even greater focus on improving their team defense in 2007 they're moving in the right direction. A lot would have to go right for Cincinnati to be a real contender right now, but in what's shaping up to be a fairly wide-open NL Central there is no reason why the Reds can't again stay in the thick of wild card contention.
The general consensus seems to place the Reds fifth from what I've seen, which is actually an improvement over last year when they were picked last by virtually everyone.
I don't expect the Reds to win the Central or the Wild Card, but I'd be just as shocked if they finish fifth. They're definitely better than the Pirates, and my guess is they'll finish ahead of Houston and Chicago at the least. Not ready to make an actual prediction yet or anything, but that's my gut talking right now, and I'd rather trust that than any "facts" that people might try to present.
Kidding of course, but in all seriousness it's the Cubs and they'll find a way to screw things up. It's in their nature.