I see a lot of ahnd wringing around here since the acquisiton of Traveras. That's understandable considering his offensive statistics. I do see improvements at shortstop (if Gonzo comes back which is debatable) and catcher. Gonzalez, though not the defensive whiz that Krivsky said he was, is OK and does have some pop on occasion. Hernandez is twice the catcher any of our guys who played last year is. That may not be much, but it is an improvement.

Will the Reds win more games than they did in 2008. That's debatable. Improved catching is a plus and stability in center field (defensively) might be a plus if that comes to pass. Defensively, this team is a mess and continues to be. In the infield you have Votto, who may or may not become a stellar fielder, Phillips, who is the best at his position, Keppinger/Gonzalez, where I hope it's Gonzalez, and Encarnacion, who is a train wreck. It's simply not championship calliber. In the outfield, Bruce has a chance to be good, Traveras is a question mark, and left is a huge black hole. On offense, the big boppers are gone and the club is moving toward small ball. That means the pitching has to improve. Seen any moves in that direction lately? Not me.

What we have is a team that is marginally improved, but not improved enought to contend--same as the last three years. I'm not wringing my hands, though. The addition of Willy Traveras was not a major factor in keping this club below .500. Remember who led off for the Reds in the last few years? Willy Traveras in disguise. Until the coffers are opened to acquire free agents (providing we have the money), this is the way it always wil be. I've decided that enjoying baseball isn't based on winning in Cincinnati, since it's never going to happen.