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Thread: Progress in 2007?

  1. #1
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    Progress in 2007?

    Reds are about 10 games further below .500 than last year. To my eyes, sports teams are basically short-term enterprises, teams change a lot, you don't give credit to a team for a bad year.

    Still, the Reds did make progress in some respects. I'm not talking about some draftee in A-ball who may be good in 5 years. I mean the Reds, and guys close to being Reds.

    At the major league level, there was a lot of progress with the starting 8 guys. Big improvement from EE, Dunn advanced as a hitter, Griffey was healthy (trade value up), Phillips emerged, Hamilton a big addition.

    Starting pitchers, Harang is great, but little progress otherwise. In the pen, Burton has emerged as a good late innings guy, Weathers still tough, but all others still question marks. Can't say Reds made progress in major league pitching department.

    Bench strength at major league level much improved. Keppinger, Hopper, Cantu now look like they can add solid depth for next year.

    4 emerging stars in high minors. Prospects always are question marks, but Bruce, Bailey, Cueto and Votto all advanced this year (with Bailey then, perhaps, taking a step back).

    So, when you parse it, the team improved in many ways. But the pitching right now is Harang, Arroyo (probably), Burton, Weathers (whatever is left in the tank), and a bunch of question marks. Some progress, but not improved in the critical pitching department.

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  3. #2
    Red's fan mbgrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Progress in 2007?

    I generally agree with your analysis.

    I am a little more optimisitc about the pitching than you are. I see next years rotation as:

    1. Harang.
    2. Arroyo
    3. Belisle (He is 27: I see room for improvement; before this year, Belisle had only started 7 MLB games)
    4. Bailey....we will see how he develops. He may do better breaking camp with the Reds next year, and staying injury free.
    5. Cueto, Maloney, Shearn, or Livingston. See who impresses next spring and bring him up to Cincinnati. All had some minor league success, and played some at AAA.

    The bullpen worries me. Burton is strong, and made real progress. Weathers is nearing the end of his usefullness. Bray, Salmon, McBeth and Majewski may be salvegable. Coffey and Stanton may not be worth keeping. Eddie Guardado could be useful if he gains some speed back on his fastball...his last outing looked good.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Progress in 2007?

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    I generally agree with your analysis.

    I am a little more optimisitc about the pitching than you are. I see next years rotation as:

    1. Harang.
    2. Arroyo
    3. Belisle (He is 27: I see room for improvement; before this year, Belisle had only started 7 MLB games)
    4. Bailey....we will see how he develops. He may do better breaking camp with the Reds next year, and staying injury free.
    5. Cueto, Maloney, Shearn, or Livingston. See who impresses next spring and bring him up to Cincinnati. All had some minor league success, and played some at AAA.

    The bullpen worries me. Burton is strong, and made real progress. Weathers is nearing the end of his usefullness. Bray, Salmon, McBeth and Majewski may be salvegable. Coffey and Stanton may not be worth keeping. Eddie Guardado could be useful if he gains some speed back on his fastball...his last outing looked good.
    I think the pitching staff you posit is probably a disaster. Belisle, Bailey, Cueto, Maloney, Shearn, Livingston at this point should all be fifth starter candidates. Possibly fourth. But if they are in the 1-3 starter class, the Reds are in serious trouble. There must be at least one proven starter beyond Harang/Arroyo. Some would say more than one.

    The bullpen has a lot of candidates, but most have not exited the "tryout" phase. Again, if the bullpen listed in your post were to be it for next year, we're talking a repeat of 2007.

    The "back-end" of the pen (7th through 9th inning) must have 3 or 4 guys. Weathers/Burton are two. You might get another from Bray, or Guardado if healthy, but they are high risk and a proven reliever from the outside should be added. As for the middle innings, plenty of candidates but somebody actually has to be effective or you have 2007 all over again. I like Salmon for a spot, he seems more effective than most of the others.

  5. #4
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Progress in 2007?

    Though we've been hearing it for years, I think we have more reason to be optimistic than at any point since perhaps 2000. Adam Dunn is the real wild card, but we have a lot more going for us in the coming years than we could say in the past.

    2008 is the year that we really need to start seeing returns.

    Can Hamilton maintain this production over 600+ PA? Votto?
    Is Bruce ready to replace Griffey?
    Is Homer ready to step in to the rotation as an above replacement starter, if not better? Is Cueto?
    Is Burton for real? Bray?
    Can somebody from the right handed supposed ground ball machine crew (Salmon, Coffey, Majewski) become a reliable 6th/7th inning escape artist?
    Can EE build on his .280/.343/.472 2nd half?

    What's great about that list of questions is that a solid case can be made for a 'yes' answer for each of them. We're no longer relying on the smoke and mirrors of career years or rental players like Joe Randa. We've got guys on the upside of their careers who can be expected to improve in most cases. There are no horrible contracts on the scale of Milton's. The bench could be a real strength next year, particularly if we take Hatteberg's option. Keppinger, Freel, Hatteberg, Hopper, Cantu, Valentin gives you solid bats from both sides, a little pop, and lots of defensive flexibility.

    All in all, while there's definitely room to grow, I like our chances to be in the thick of it next year. That might mean playing .500 ball, but unlike last year's mirage, I think it will be a legitimate .500 with room to grow.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  6. #5
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    Re: Progress in 2007?

    One of the tasks for the off-season is sifting through all the relief pitchers and decided who stays and who doesn't. The Reds have a lot of quantity, less quality, in the bullpen. There's Weathers, Burton, Majewski, Guardado, Coutlangus, Stanton, Coffey, Bray, Salmon, McBeth, Gosling -- 11 candidates from the current roster. Saarloos, if kept, would be 12.

    Then, among the less experienced set, there are Pelland, Viola, Roenicke, Guevera -- any one of whom could be ready to go next year.

    And, hopefully, there will be additions.

    Depth is important, but hopefully the Reds are ready to make some decisions on these guys. This year, it seemed like a rotation system between the AAA team and the Reds for many of them.

  7. #6
    Member Stormy's Avatar
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    Re: Progress in 2007?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    2008 is the year that we really need to start seeing returns.

    Can Hamilton maintain this production over 600+ PA? Votto?
    Is Bruce ready to replace Griffey?
    Is Homer ready to step in to the rotation as an above replacement starter, if not better? Is Cueto?
    Is Burton for real? Bray?
    Can somebody from the right handed supposed ground ball machine crew (Salmon, Coffey, Majewski) become a reliable 6th/7th inning escape artist?
    Can EE build on his .280/.343/.472 2nd half?

    What's great about that list of questions is that a solid case can be made for a 'yes' answer for each of them. We're no longer relying on the smoke and mirrors of career years or rental players like Joe Randa. We've got guys on the upside of their careers who can be expected to improve in most cases. There are no horrible contracts on the scale of Milton's. The bench could be a real strength next year, particularly if we take Hatteberg's option. Keppinger, Freel, Hatteberg, Hopper, Cantu, Valentin gives you solid bats from both sides, a little pop, and lots of defensive flexibility.

    All in all, while there's definitely room to grow, I like our chances to be in the thick of it next year. That might mean playing .500 ball, but unlike last year's mirage, I think it will be a legitimate .500 with room to grow.
    Great post, Rick. That's pretty much my take on where we are, and where we're headed as well. Though, I definitely think we'll need to add some quality support in the form of another #2B-3 type above league average starter, and with a hammer setup man or closer to the bullpen. Other than that, it should simply be a matter of handling Dunn's status, and of making the right choices with the playing time and placement of the key young pieces Hamilton, Votto, Bruce, EdE. I like our direction, assuming Wayne doesn't mistakenly identify needs, move key players, or acquire veteran driftwood to take away PT from young talent that's ready to shine.

  8. #7
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Progress in 2007?

    I agree nice strides have been made in 2007 despite the overall record. There's no reason the Reds can't make a leap next year like the Cubs did this year. Offensively we're set. We're good enough to contend. No FAs or losses offensively for 2008. We can hang onto everyone is we want.

    Pitching is the key. As it stands right now I'm fine with starting a bullpen with Weathers, Burton, Bray and Salmon (I like him. I think he can contribute in 2008). Coutlangus can be your LOOGY. Ideally it'd be great to pickup a closer to go in front of all these guys. If not then one more would fill out the pen. Shouldn't be too much to ask for in one off season. Maybe trade Freel for a decent reliever?

    The rotation needs a contribution from Bailey and if he stays healthy I think he will contribute. I think Belisle can be a #5 starter and I'd like to think he can get a little more consistent. So that leaves one more spot. I'd like to see them bring in one more veteran starter,maybe a rehabbing one, like we once did with Pete Harnisch or Paul Wilson. That leaves the AA and AAA pitchers as depth and can contribute when they're ready. Maybe WK can find another diamond in the rule 5?

    Bottomline is this team can contend next year with one more starter, one more reliever and one decent manager of course.

  9. #8
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    Re: Progress in 2007?

    I think the main stride made this year is health.

    I mean, could you imagine what this team's record would look like if even ONE of the team's important players spent large amounts of time on the DL?

    I think all things considered this team's record reflects its talent. This a mediocre/bad team in an awful division.

    That's what's staring the team down this offseason. Get to work.


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