Hi! My name is Cy Schourek, and I have good news! Sure, Derrick Robinson was just called up and given the Freddie Lewis shirt. But it's okay, because we still have 160 games with which to win the Central.
1. It's just Ludwick
How many of you were really expecting another season like last from Ludwick? It was very fortunate that it happened last year, but as AMS (?) said, he's the most replaceable player of the top 8. Leftfielders are usually pretty easy to get a hold of during the season in case none of the in-house replacements work. Ludwick is by all counts a great guy and a good clubhouse presence, but righty bats are easy to find.
2. Ludwick's contract was a bargain
Yes, $15M is a lot of money. I get that. But his injury history factored into that amount, and was a reason why he didn't get more money. Another reason: he took a paycut to come back to Cincinnati. I'm sure he's feeling foolish about htat now, but Reds fans have to be a bit unsentimental about it here. It's just money, and not that much of it.
3. The Reds have depth
I'll be the first to say that Robinson does not have impressive numbers. That said, everyone talks about how he was impressive in the spring, and he's at the age where he may have been able to translate into some power. At the very least, he's a LIDR and can pinch-run. X is about the same age, and he turned a few dozen decent PAs into another shot this year. Heisey can always crush fastballs, and we're going to see if he can take a walk and sit on a slider once in a while in the next few games.
The best part is that all of these fellas are defensive improvements over Ludwick. The concerns over Choo in CF are understandable, and the new alignment helps quiet those concerns. Taking Ludwick out of the lineup assuages the Reds' greatest flaw, all at the price of ~.100 SLG
4. Injuries happen
Nobody gets through a season completely healthy. The Reds can't schedule a Rolen DL trip this time around, but they know that it'll be more than Ludwick. It'll be more than Ludwick around the league also, and this gives the Reds' FO a jumpstart on trade season. Which is definitely a thing.
This is Charlie Scrabbles. Whatever.
1. Ludwick may not have been the best, but he was integral
It's true that Ludwick was probably not the most important cog in the lineup, or even the third-most important. But he was probably the horse the glue was made of that held the lineup together (bad metaphors day!). With Ludwick competently handling the clean-up duties, the rest of the lineup just made sense. Without him, Either Phillips or Frazier will be wedged into the clean-up spot and someone like Heisey or Cozart will be hitting at the top of the order. Just when we thought the lineup was Dusty-Proofed...
2. That's 15 million smackeroonis flushed down the toilet
Ludwick signed a lucrative two-year deal this past winter worth $15 million. It's much more possible now that he will never earn it. Shoulder surgeries are the most fer serious for baseball players, as guys like Scott Rolen, Austin Kearns, and Sean Casey can attest. The stated timeline for Ludwick's rehab is three months, but I'm skeptical. These things never work out as planned, and I think it's entirely too possible that he won't play for the Reds again this season. Moreover, if he does come back, it's entirely too possible that his power will be greatly diminished. That's basically the only skill the old fella has left, so without it he would have no business getting any kind of playing time.
3. The Reds have no money to get a suitable replacement (because they spent it all on Ludwick)
2013 is the first season in Reds' history in which the payroll has surpassed the $100 million mark. It's clear that Bob Castellini and the ownership group is serious about winning this year, but the man's pockets aren't that deep. The most desirable course of action here is to trade for a veteran corner outfielder. Maybe not right away, but as we approach the trade deadline there will likely be a good few options available on the market. Even if there are, it seems unlikely that the Reds have the money to take on anyone worth it. They are probably stuck hoping that Chris Heisey makes the most of his opportunity. There are worse fates, of course, but there are certainly better ones.
4. This is an omen
The Reds were just way too lucky with injuries last season. Sure, Votto was out for two months, but they were already pretty well in first place by that time. Pretty much every other important player on the team stayed healthy. Ludwick getting hurt on Opening Day is a sign that the Baseball Gods are angry and are demanding sacrifice. This means that one by one the most important players on this surefire pennant-winner will land awkwardly, swing unevenly, or land too far to their glove-side and we'll all be subjected to seeing Mark Prior on the mound for serious this time.
So what do you think? Do you think the Reds will be okay, or not?