My turn to share my completely uninformed and totally arbitrary predictions for 2014. With all due respect to my colleagues who have already posted their predictions, and to those that will come after, I can confidently say that these are the dumbest predictions that you will read this year. You deserve nothing less.
1) Brandon Phillips will have a bounce back year.
I'm not saying he'll recreate his numbers from 2011, which was far and away his best season. But he'll be healthy and far more productive than he was for most of last year. Looking at his season numbers from 2013, it's easy to forget that he was playing very well for the first two months of the season before being hit by a pitch and attempting to play through the injury all season. In 2014, Phillips will stay healthy and in the lineup, putting up an OPS+ of about 105 and contributing at his usual level defensively.
2) There will a bench clearing brawl between the Reds and Pirates.
I hope I'm wrong on this because I absolutely hate this stuff. A Pirates pitcher will come up and in on Phillips. The next inning, a Reds pitcher will plunk Andrew McCutchen. Both benches clear. One player from each team will be suspended but there will be no serious injuries. Hopefully that will be the end of it between these two teams, but it probably won't.
3) This will be Walt Jocketty's last year as Reds general manager.
2014 is the final year of Jocketty's current contract. He'll be turning 63 this month. General managing is a young man's game. He'll decide at the end of the season that he's had enough and ride off into the sunset. He'll take a cushy job as a consultant is some other organization and the Reds search for a new GM will be the story of the early offseason next year.
4) Six members of the Reds bullpen will record multiple saves.
Aroldis Chapman will still lead the team in saves on the season, but ninth inning duty will be spread out among him, Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton, J.J. Hoover, Alfredo Simon and Sam LeCure, depending on availability and leverage. This method of bullpen management will be wildly successful and will inspire imitators, and will be the first step in the long process that will eventually lead to the closer's role as we know it now to fall out of favor.
5) The Los Angeles Dodgers will win 110 games.
Matt Kemp stays healthy. Clayton Kershaw puts up another Cy Young caliber season. Yasiel Puig lives up to his potential. They pull the trigger on a big deal at the deadline. Their division turns out to be the weakest in all of baseball. Everything lines up perfectly for the Dodgers to put together the best regular season since the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
And for the apparently obligatory sixth prediction in this Five Dumb Predictions post:
6) The Cincinnati Reds will play (at least) 162 baseball games, and we'll have fun watching them.
There will be walkoff wins (and walkoff losses, too). There will be clutch hits late in games by Reds players (and probably by the other team sometimes too). There will be sides struck out and no-doubt home runs and no hitters taken into the sixth inning and much needed double plays. There will be balks and bases loaded walks and maybe Billy Hamilton will steal home. Sometimes the Reds will look like a team of destiny and sometimes we'll wonder if they'll ever win again. Thom Brenamman will say something ridiculous and Jeff Brantley will talk about ice cream. The game threads will have trade speculation and inappropriate jokes and drunken arguments. And it will be glorious.
Since all the cool kids are doing polls these days, here's a poll.