-- Nice Reds Preview:
The most exciting superstar in the game is a big dumb 6-foot-6 former quarterback prospect for the University of Texas. He strikes out all the time, he has a little bit of a beer gut and he has a hockey fan's goatee. And he once hit a ball so far out of the Great American Ballpark, it actually ended up in Kentucky. Meet Adam Dunn. He's gonna hit 60 homers someday. You watch.
The Reds are a fun team to watch, because they score a ton of runs and give up even more. Eric Milton was, by far, the worst free agent signing of the offseason, and the bullpen is terrifying. The Reds are like RBI Baseball used to be; a ton of homers, 15-12 games, always getting your money's worth. They won't be very good, but they will always be enjoyable.
So why picked to finish third? Because the NL Central is a much worse division this year than anyone realizes. And Ken Griffey will play at least 130 games. And in the future, we really will all be wearing rocket packs.
Sounds about right.
-- More evidence that Dan O'Brien knows the worth of his players, from Jayson Stark:
The Reds talked about Wily Mo Pena with a bunch of teams this spring. But it wasn't so much Pena's brutal spring that scared them off as it was the Reds' price tag.
"They want half your system," one NL executive grumbled. "They asked for three quality kids. You've gotta like the guy's power. But in the long run, what is he? I have no idea."
Good. It goes without saying, but dealing for dealing's sake is a quick way to ruin (see: Bowden, Jim). There are plenty of not so bright teams out there, one will eventually pay your price. And if they don't? Then you've still got an extremely promising young outfielder. Not a bad situation to find yourself in.
-- Another Reds preview, this one by CBS Sportsline:
Also, second baseman D'Angelo Jiminez in the leadoff spot isn't very inspiring -- he fanned 99 times last season.
Underpaid: Adam Dunn
Tied for second in NL in HR (46) last season. Reward? One-year deal for $4.6M.
Someone might want to tell Scott Miller about arbitration. Otherwise not a terribly preview, but very light reading.
-- Nice article on Edwin Encarnacion in the Louisville Courier-Journal:
The Reds love how he seems to rise to the occasion in big spots. In 2001, he hit .478 in the postseason to help lead rookie-level Billings to a championship. Last year for the Lookouts, he went 8 for 15 with two homers in a four-game playoff series loss.
Then this spring, getting his first extended look in major-league camp, Encarnacion wowed everyone by batting .389 in 17 games.
"He has a special ability to turn the knob up a little against certain competition," Cincinnati farm director Tim Naehring said. "It's just a matter of time with him. He's knocking on the door right now."
EdE is the biggest reason to look forward to 2006.