Re: Possible Silver Lining????
It's true, there have been a lot of downers this year. I still think, though, that the Reds have some bright spots worth noting:
1) A gaggle of good, young players. Despite his struggles earlier in the year, Votto continues to look like a reliable MOTO bat. Phillips continues to give the team great D and good offensive production at 2B. Bruce also plays great D has shown decent patience and make-up despite his combination of bad luck/ freak injury /offensive futility. IMO, these three should continue to be solid regulars for several years. And, with Frazier, Stubbs, Alonso and Heisey on the horizon, I think the team can count on getting a few more of those in the near future. We might even add Hanigan to the list soon, too (even though he's not really so "young" in chronological years).
2) A rapidly improving defense. IIRC, this was the feel-good story of the season until everything had to go all Chinua Achebe on us (anyone ever read Things Fall Apart? For some reason that title keep springing to mind when I think about this season). The recent addition of Rolen, the arrival of Stubbs and/or Heisey, and the acquisition (hopefully) of a competent SS in the off-season should further strengthen this part of the Reds in short order. I can honestly say that I think WJ "gets it" more than any other recent GM when it comes to the importance of catching the ball as well as hitting and pitching it.
3) The likliehood of continued competent pitching. I know the Volquez injury has us all down. I'm not saying we shouldn't be. Heck, I really had dreams that this could be an elite pitching staff this year. But let's not forget that this rotation still runs way deeper than any of the staffs in recent memory. Heck, despite their recent struggles, the healthy trio of Cueto, Arroyo and Harang by themselves upstages most other Reds rotations since the 1980s (possible exceptions include the second half of 1999 and perhaps the scant years where Rijo-Browning-Jackson were all healthy and pitching well). What's more, the 'pen looks solid enough, too--even after the departures of Roenicke and Stewart, the team has a stopper (Cordero), a stopper-in-waiting (Masset), and a bunch of useful parts (Weathers, Rhodes, Herrera, Burton). That's a vast improvement over years past as well. And given the Cards bullpens during his tenure, I think WJ knows how to build continuity in this area.
Okay, that's my best shot at optimism. 2009 may be very well be in the tank--but all, my friends, is far from lost.
"Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013