With all the bickering over a couple mil for an average outfielder as our only acquisition, I still feel good about this team for some reason. We didn't a power bat or anything, but I really think our rotation will be the best its been in a while.
Volquez doesn't need to be spoken for, Cueto was young and still has a lot of potential and when he's on he looks great. Harang had a career low year, and I expect him to bounce back really well. Arroyo is what he is at this point, if he can somehow cut down on the amount of implosions and be more consistent, he's a solid starter as ge was last year. And Between Owings and the waiting game with Homer Bailey, I really do think we'll get a solid #5 out of it. The bullpen is also improved, we kept basically everyone and added another veteran in James to help bolster it.
The offense, we all know, needed a big bat, and didn't get it. I think Taveras is getting too much flack for what he is. An average outfielder, with an average salary, but has some speed and if he plays better than last year in the median of what he did with the Rockies two years ago and last year, he's a solid acquisition. I think since he's the only acquisition, people are giving him completely unfair flack and Corey Patterson 2008 he is not.
The offense though, will have to improve from within, the young players. Phillips is swing away, but a solid 30-30 guy. The improvement obviously will have to come from Bruce and Votto, and if they can put up 30/30 too, thats a pretty solid offense in my opinion. Bruce still has a lot of time to learn. I think moving Encarnacion to left and putting Gonzalez at third would be a huge improvement. And despite the catcher we picked up and his past with the O's, he's a good offensive improvement over the Bako/Ross/Valentine platoon, 3 guys who should be given minor league contract or the 25th guy on the roster in most organizations. I think he'll give us a decent offensive boost, espcially compared to what we had.
So yeah, I know its doomsday to most people here, but I'm not giving up hope. I'm fairly optimistic that this year we'll at least get in the right direction with a winning record, and if everything goes right in regards to our rotation, that we'll actually CONTEND for a playoffs spot.