Ok, so the general consensus is that the Reds will be below .500 for the upcoming season and we'll have to really gird up our loins to fein surprise at the poor showing in the standings. My contention is that this may be the true rebuilding season that the Reds have needed for quite a long time.
Jocketty may not be a dynamic personality and he may have made a few small head scratchers (Taveras, J. Jones, etc.) but he has not given away any of the promising youngsters that could mature relatively soon and contribute to a sustained success.
Now, I will dispense with the things that we already know (like complaints about line-up construction and bench fodder being starters) and try to focus on what will be fun about '09 instead. That is the point of this post, to try and get you all to into the spirit of spring and hope and all of that. I'll keep my intuitions brief here and hopefully everyone else will fill in what their gut (Dusty strategy) tells them will happen this year.
1) Cueto breaks out. I think he's an ace in the making. I say he puts up a sub 4.20 ERA this season and is an All-Star in '10.
2) Jay Bruce lives up to his Zips projections. I think he could fall ass backward into 37 HR rather easily and improves his plate discipline. Believing in the kid is not difficult, obviously.
3) EE hits 30 HR and only throws 5 balls over Votto's head. Defensive metrics rejoice.
4) Drew Stubbs gets to play LF by July. This is my wish.
5) Chris Valaika gets a shot at SS after the trade deadline when Seabass is dealt for a minor league relief pitcher.
6) Homer Bailey wins the 5th spot and has success early and builds the confidence he so desperately needs. I say he pitches 125-150 innings. That would be lovely but difficult from the 5 spot, I know, I know, but these are my wishful guts, damnit.
So, what else? Good things will be happening amid all of the stupid double switches, right?