Welcome back to the Reds Tournament of the 2000's. If you need a quick refresher on the premise we have taken every Reds team since 2000 and seeded them by win total. Between now and the end of the season Reds fans will have the opportunity to determine which team is crowned the "Reds Team of the 2000s."
Before we get to the latest match-ups let me clarify one rule. Initially the polls were going to be open for each matchup for one week. Twitter polls are the easiest way to do this, but they only stay open for twenty four hours. From here on out you'll have one day to make your vote count. And remember, if you don't vote...you can't complain about who the winner is.
Previous round 1 results:
2012 Reds (93%) defeated 2015 Reds (7%) - seriously...who voted for the 2015 Reds?
2002 Reds (63%) defeated 2014 Reds (37%)
2000 Reds (58%) defeated the 2007 Reds (42%)
2006 Reds (82%) defeated 2005 Reds (18%)
It's time to get to know the second half of the field.
2010 Reds (#2) vs. 2001 Reds (#15)
The 2010 Reds check in as one of just two teams to win the division since 2000. They're going up against a team that finished 66-96 and 27 games out of first. However, the 2010 team did leave us with the lasting memory of being no-hit in the playoffs. Maybe this will be closer than I think.
One of the primary reasons for the 2010 team's success was the offense. By Fangraphs wRC+ Cincinnati deployed the fourth best offense in baseball. Seven of the eight regulars in the starting lineup had better than average seasons at the plate (sorry Orlando Cabrera), and they were led by NL MVP Joey Votto. Can we take a minute to just breathe in the greatness of that Votto season? He hit .324/.424/.600 with 37 HR and 113 RBI.
On the mound they were aided by solid seasons from Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, and Travis Wood while Mike Leake, Aaron Harang, and Homer Bailey all had their struggles.
Not only was this team talented, but it gave Reds fans two iconic moments that are etched in our collective memories.
The 2001 Reds were led by Jim Bowden and Bob Boone. The team was coming off of back to back second place finished in the NL Central, but they ended up taking a major step back. Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the better hitters on the team, but he only played in 111 games due to injury. A 21 year old outfielder by the name of Adam Dunn did make his debut and hit 19 HR in just 66 games. Outside of Griffey and Dunn there just wan't much to get excited about regarding this teams offense.
Sadly, this was also the season we bid farewell to Deion Sanders.
Oh yeah, the starting pitching was terrible this season. The team rolled out a starting rotation of Elmer Dessens, Chris Reitsma, Lance Davis, Jose Acevedo, and Osvaldo Fernandez. Jim Brower also started ten games in 2001 though he spent most of his time in the bullpen. Cincinnati starters had a 5.47 ERA for the season (third worst in baseball).
After going 14-10 in April this squad was done in by a 6-22 record in the month of May. It's time to stop delaying the inevitable.
Which #Reds team do you pick to advance? I can't imagine this will be that close.— Eric Roseberry (@Ericdroseberry) September 1, 2016
2009 Reds (#7) vs. 2004 Reds (#10)
The 2009 season was Walt Jocketty's first full season at the helm (he transitioned to GM once Wayne Krivsky was fired early in the 2008 season). They did improve their record by four games over 2008, but this season had the lowest attendance numbers of any team since 2000. The Reds had the second worst offense in baseball (ahead of only the Giants). The crowning achievement of such an impotent offense might be the production of Willy Taveras in center field. In 102 games he accumulated an OPS+ of 48. How do you make an OPS+ of 48 happen? You hit .240/.275/.285 that's how.
However, there is one face that bursts through the dark clouds of the 2009 seasons like a shining ray of hope. 2009 is the season that brought Jonny Gomes to Cincinnati. This team should advance solely for this reason. He hit 20 bombs in 98 games, and was baseball's run away winner in the "intangibles" category.
Francisco Cordero did have a pretty solid season in the closer's role. He notched 39 saves (fifth best in baseball), and ran a 2.16 ERA (ignore the 4.05 BB/9).
Highlights from the 2009 season include Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan appearing on the Ellen Show. That's some strong work rocking the throwback jersey tucked in to jeans.
The 2004 season brought about some significant changes in the front office. Dan O'Brien was in his first season as the GM, and Dave Miley took over for Bob Boone as manager. This squad was able to improve their final record by seven games, but they finished a whopping 29 games out of first thanks to a 105 win season by the Cardinals.
Adam Dunn and Sean Casey led the charge at the plate for this crew. Dunn put together a top twenty season on offense hitting .266/.388/.569 with 46 HR, 102 RBI, and 105 R. That home run total was good enough for third in baseball behind only Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols. This was the best offensive season of Sean Casey's career, and it earned him his final trip to an All-Star game.
How was the pitching in Cincinnati for 2004? Collectively they had the worst ERA in the league (5.21) for a team that doesn't play its home games in Colorado. There was not ONE pitcher on this team who started more than 10 games and had an above average season by ERA+. That's not a recipe for success.
Danny Graves did finish top ten in saves with 41. So that's something I guess?
This team did have the honor of playing in the first game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. If you have nothing else to do today, you can treat yourself to the entire four hour broadcast below.
Our next round one matchup in the #Reds tournament of the 2000s.— Eric Roseberry (@Ericdroseberry) September 1, 2016
2013 Reds (#3) vs. 2003 Reds (#14)
The 2013 team is the only other team in the tournament to reach the playoffs. The NL Central sent three teams to the post season with the Cardinals winning the division and the Pirates and Reds playing in the wildcard game (sometimes at night when I close my eyes...I can still hear the voices). This was Dusty Baker's final season as manager of the Reds, and it was also the most recent season the team finished above .500.
This Reds team was mediocre offensively, but we all fell deeply in love with Shin-Soo Choo . In his lone season with the Reds, Choo hit .285/.423/.462 with 21 HR and 20 SB. Joey Votto was really good (surprise) and it was one of the better seasons in Jay Bruce's career.
However, this team was carried by its pitching staff. The Reds had the fourth best ERA in baseball (3.38). EVERY pitcher that started at least ten games had an ERA+ over 100, and four pitchers (Latos, Bailey, Arroyo, and Leake) started over 30 games.
But sadly...this season came down to one game. I haven't been able to watch a Francisco Liriano start since.
The 2003 Reds had almost as many managers as wins (3 to 69). This was a lost Ken Griffey Jr. season in which he only played in 53 games thanks in part to a dislocated right shoulder (at least it wasn't his hamstring?). Adam Dunn only played 116 games, Austin Kearns only played 82 games, and Barry Larkin was 39 years old.
What it did feature was a pretty productive 91 game stretch from Jose Guillen. In 349 PA Guillen hit .337/.385/.629 (that's a 1.013 OPS) with 23 HR. To the dismay of most fans Guillen was traded to Oakland at the end of July for Aaron Harang and two minor leaguers.
A brief note from the author. Since we're 1,300 words into a post about Reds teams from the past I feel like I can be a little candid at this point. I wasn't sad to see Jose Guillen leave. When my wife was in high school she had a pretty big crush on him, and once we were married I felt like I had to live up to Guillen's lofty standards. How could I possibly do that (maybe by taking HGH)? So Jose went to Oakland, and I could happily proceed with our marriage.
How was the pitching in 2003? Cincinnati's best starter (at least ten starts) was Paul Wilson who had a 4.64 ERA and an ERA+ of 89. So there's that.
Matchup 3 of 4 today in the #Reds tournament of the 2000s— Eric Roseberry (@Ericdroseberry) September 1, 2016
2011 Reds (#6) vs. 2008 Reds (#11)
The 2011 team tends to be a forgotten one. In part because it's sandwiched in between teams (2010 and 2012) which made the playoffs. This team hovered around the top ten offensively, but Cincinnati's starters finished just inside the bottom ten for ERA (4.47). Outside of a fairly dominant Johnny Cueto season (2.31 ERA in 24 starts) the rest of the rotation struggled. Bailey, Volquez, Wood, and Arroyo all finished with below average production.
Francisco Cordero did finish in the top ten in saves though (37) with a 2.45 ERA. Sometimes I forget how much I liked that guy.
Even though the 2011 season might be forgotten. We all remember where we were on Opening Day.
The 2008 team sits in the middle of a three year run when the Reds were stuck in mediocrity (72, 74, and 78 wins). However, it was the first full season of Joey Votto in a Reds uniform which should automatically earn this team 1,000 votes. I'm a sucker for bad offensive seasons, and boy did Corey Patterson have one in 2008. In 135 games he hit .205/.238/.344 with a 50 OPS+. This season also gave us the departure of Ken Griffey Jr. from Cincinnati as he took his talents to the south side (of Chicago).
It was another tough season for Reds starters, but it did give us peak Edinson Volquez as a member of the Reds. Yes, it was his first season on the team. Yes, it was all down hill from there. Volquez made his lone All-Star appearance and finished the year with a 17-6 record and 3.21 ERA.
Just how were Reds fans feeling about that Griffey trade in 2008?
Final #Reds tournament matchup of the day— Eric Roseberry (@Ericdroseberry) September 1, 2016
You've got twenty-four hours to vote before the round two match-ups are set.