Well, it’s that time of year, where every basement-dwelling internet geek gets to throw his or her 2 cents in on the state of the baseball team.
The Reds in 2009 finished about where I assumed they would, within spitting distance of .500. In a roundabout way, they got there about the way I thought – better than average pitching, worse than average hitting. The particulars didn’t match up (Bruce, EdE, and Harang disappointed; Votto and the bullpen exceeded expectations), but they never do.
I wrote a short piece during the All-Star break, giving my assessment of the team at that point; unfortunately, not much changed in the 2nd half:
- Shockingly, Willy Taveras was actually worse in the 2nd half than the 1st, and by a whopping 100 points of OPS. No major leaguer with more than 275 PA had as low of an OPS as our Willy, and he had 437 PA. What do they say about insanity being when you do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result?
- After the trades of AGon and Hairston, Paul Janish became the everyday SS. Is it a good sign when 39% of your hits are doubles, or a bad sign that 39% of your hits are doubles and you still slug .305? His defense, though, was still stupid good (sort by UZR/150).
- Gomes cooled down a bit, but still hit well enough to start; Nyx, not so much. However, McDonald continued to get playing time for no good reason.
- Hernandez go hurt, Hanigan played hurt. One of those things was better for the team than the other.
- Dusty Baker was still Dusty Baker. And still employed by the Reds.
- Bruce went on the DL the day before the ASG; he missed 57 games, then hit the cover off the ball the last 3 weeks. EdE was traded to
BaltimoreToronto and hit a little better, but still not as well as anyone expected; combined with still-atrocious defense, he was below replacement-level in ’09.
- Harang made only 7 more starts, pitching about as well as he did in the 1st half; he then went on the DL for the rest of the year. Putridroyo turned into Awsomeroyo. Volquez will likely miss all of 2010, also.
- I would bear Joey Votto’s children. There, I said it.
- The relievers continued to do their part.
- Homer struggled at times, but finished very strong.
- Dickerson didn’t get to play much in the 2nd half, but guess what his OBP was? Hint: the same as the 1st half.
Where does that leave the team? Hard to tell. I think the following things need to be done:
- The team needs Dusty-proofed, which means DFAing Taveras. The guy is absolutely worthless as a MLB player, and will get too much playing time as long as Baker is the manager.
- For whatever reason, Baker doesn’t seem to believe in Hanigan; no matter if it’s Hernandez, Miller, or someone else, I’m afraid the wrong catcher will get the majority of playing time.
- A big RH bat is needed, if only because Baker doesn’t think two lefties can hit in a row. Where that bat is going to come from is a good question, if the payroll is in fact going to drop as Fay suggests.
- The team is going to be living on the edge starter-wise, I’m afraid. They have to hope two of Harang/Cueto/Bailey pitch like top of the rotation guys to contend, because we all know Arroyo is not the pitcher he pretended to be in the 2nd half.
- I’m not convinced the bullpen will be as good next year; it seems everyone except Burton pitched over his head. Also, I’m guessing if a big contract gets traded it’ll be Cordero – while he isn’t as good as he pitched this year, he’s still the best reliever on the team.
Early prediction? No major moves, Taveras shipped out, two of El Nino/Frasier/Heisey make the team, and…another season close to .500 ball.