This season's prediction: 3rd in NL Central
Key acquisitions: Orlando Cabrera (free agent); Miguel Cairo (free agent); Aroldis Chapman (free agent); Bryan Price (pitching coach)
Departures: Kip Wells (free agent); Willy Tavares (trade, Oakland); Adam Rosales (trade, Oakland)
There's lots of high hopes in the Queen City this season. I mean, there's high hopes every season, but fans are hoping that this is finally the year that the Reds break their pattern of starting out strong, taking the division lead sometime in late May or early June, and then forgetting how to play baseball. Last year, the Reds managed to make it until the Fourth of July before starting their annual collapse. Can they do better this time around?
I was on a website (and now I wish I could remember which one it was) that asked the question "is this the year that Brandon Phillips hits 40-40?" While personally I would love for this to happen, especially since he's the token Red on my fantasy team, I don't think it'll be the case. Still, I can't help but feel that as Phillips goes, so go the Reds. They both have a lot of pressure from outside forces on them to do well. How they live up to pre-season expectations will say a lot about any future success. I think both Phillips and the team will both do just fine.
The Bottom Line:
The Reds seem to be everyone's fashionable "surprise" pick this season. Usually, that ends up in dramatic failure and tears (hope you're playing attention, 2011 Baltimore Orioles). Management was fairly quiet in the off-season, showing faith in an established core group of players. From what I've seen in the first week, this year's edition of the Reds might just have the mental toughness necessary to be competitive. The key this year is to build on the past (not to sound like Herman Edwards). I'll settle for a winning record. The wild card can wait for 2011.