The early baseball magazine predictions are starting to come out...
On the Reds, here are the predictions I have seen so far:
Sporting News: Reds predicted to finish in 5th place in the NL Central, rated 12th of 15 NL teams in their Power Poll. The summary: "Need more proof the Reds can't catch a break? Ken Griffey couldn't even make it to spring training this year without getting hurt. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are a nice 1-2 punch, but Kyle Lohse and Eric Milton can't prop up the rest of the rotation."
Street & Smith's Baseball Yearbook: Reds picked to finish in 5th place in the NL Central. "Last season's 46-38 record within the NL Central suggests they may be closer than thought by most. Recent history, erosion of depth among position players and the inability to land an impact hitter during the offseason allow a franchise 12 years and 6 managers removed from its last division title to remain a stealth entry."
Lindy's Baseball Preview: Reds picked to finish in 5th place in the NL Central. "Relying on a scrappy offense and a surprisingly consistent pitching staff, Narron and the Reds contended for a playoff spot and finished 3.5 games behind eventual World Champion St. Louis. A number of question marks remain: Who will be the closer? Can Griffey and Freel stay healthy? Can the organization find one more arm to complement Arroyo and Harang? If Cincinnati could find the right answers for at least two of those questions, they could battle for a postseason spot. One possibility is trading Dunn for a solid starting pitcher or solid closer. "
Athalon Sports from Sports Illustrated web site: "There's more stability now, but the Reds are still searching for an identity. Pitching had been the missing link, but once the Reds finally found some in 2006, their offense collapsed. Rather than addressing that deficiency, the Reds opted for defense in adding Gonzalez. The Reds have components of a contending team, with a couple of high-impact hitters in Dunn and Griffey, exciting young talent in Phillips and Encarnacion and workhorse starters in Arroyo and Harang. There just doesn't seem to be enough there to overcome everything the Reds lack."
It is worth noting that all these same publications picked the Reds to finish 6th last year. As usual with anyone's preseason predictions, they are interesting, but they still have to play the games....