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Thread: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

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    10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    So as a disappointing 2011 draws towards it's close, what will we be talking about when April comes along next year?

    1) Sink or swim time for this year's Louisville Bats. We're looking at a lot of position players competing for spots on this Reds club. Will Mesoraco and Cozart be handed the catching and shortstop jobs, or will they split time with Hanigan/Janish/new signings? Will Alonso find a position he can play competently enough to justify being on the roster? Has Sappelt shown enough promise to fill the LF and leadoff holes, or even make the 25-man out of spring training this time? Can Francisco leave his K/BB issues behind and become the power bat that the club needs? Do Valaika and Frazier have important roles, or are they cheap replacement parts, shuffled between AAA and the majors? Can any of these 3B prospects replace Rolen if the need arises? The season hinges on how well these guys can come through.

    2) The time for the Aroldis decision has come. Does Chapman embrace the role of closer, or will he return to Louisville to train for the starting role? He's already tried it once, and after his test run in the MLB this season, it's time to make a final decision and never look back, lest he never find a true role. As a starter, he could either be a Justin Verlander hammer, a Homer Bailey portrait of unfulfilled potential, or an Edinson Volquez crash and burn. As a closer, he would likely be a dominant force, but his utter breakdown earlier this season suggests that he may not be as consistent as the elite.

    3) Trades and transactions may play a crucial role. After the failure of making no moves in the offseason or at the trade deadline, can we expect Walt to be an active mover and shaker? We have the pieces to be either a buyer or seller: Alonso, Bailey, Grandal, and Hamilton will all have teams drooling and willing to trade a major piece, while dangling Votto or Stubbs will demand a massive return.

    4) Bruce, Stubbs, and Bailey need their breakout seasons. Each saw a regression in 2012: Bruce in consistency at the plate and defensive value, Stubbs in strikeout rate and plate discipline, and Bailey in failure to progress and injury once again. Can they be what we needed them to be last season? 2011 hinged on him living up to their potential; 2012 may determine if they ever will.

    5) The health and consistency of the rotation will be tested once again in 2012, and there will be immense pressure on each one to perform. Cueto now carries the role of TOR starter; can he prove his astounding performance this year was no fluke? Has Volquez finally figured it out in Louisville, or is he once again fool's gold? Can Bailey stay healthy and improve? Is Wood capable of figuring it out and returning to the rotation, or does he have a place with the Reds at all? Is Chapman in the long-term picture? And most importantly, will Arroyo give us hope that his contract isn't on the verge of becoming an albatross? Everybody has something to prove next season, and nothing is set in stone.

    6) Phillips and Votto's roles in our long-term plans will see some resolution next year. Part of the Phillips question will be answered in the offseason, depending on if we accept or decline the option. We don't have any reliable 2B prospects above low-A at this point; should we offer a LTC if he gives us a discount, or let him walk and concentrate on extending Votto? He will be much harder to keep; most of his recent quotes point towards him leaving Cincinnati after his contract is up, and he will fetch a Fielder-esque return in free agency. We also have multiple 1B prospects in the system capable of assuming the mantle once our MVP has left town. Is he still worth pursuing?

    7) The closer is a big question mark for 2012. Cordero's option is outlandish and certain to be declined, but without him, we lose our best 9th inning option and our most reliable bullpen arm from last season. Should he be resigned for less? Do we have anybody in-house worth taking a risk on (including Chapman)? Or should a trade or offseason signing be in the cards? It's a crapshoot at this point.

    8) Our farm system will be vastly transformed. Between graduating multiple prospects, watching a number of raw international signings develop, and a promising draft class, we'll see a shakeup of talent. With Mesoraco, Chapman, and likely Alonso graduated, who will top the prospect list? Will we develop any true mid-level pitching prospects? Who will assert themselves in the low minors? Who's a trade piece, and who's untouchable? Also: watch as our new AA affiliate, Pensacola, opens its doors!

    9) As much attention as they get here in Sun Deck, it goes without saying that the manager/GM situation isn't fully. Does the end of Jocketty's contract means that he is no guarantee for the long-term? Could Baker be on the hot seat if the Reds fail to perform again? After his failure in Chicago and this season, he could be on a shorter leash than we realize.

    10) Some have said that 2012-2013 is our window for the Joey Votto era. Is next season our time to reclaim the division with the talent we've amassed? Will the Brewers and Cardinals retain their key players, or will we see guys like Fielder, Pujols, Carpenter, and Berkman hit the road? Are we the team to beat, or are we on the outside looking in?

    Stay tuned, Reds fans! There's a lot to get excited about for next year.

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    I think the Reds should go young. Let Francisco get the most starts at 3B sharing time with Rolen. The Reds offense can look for some help with Cozart at SS, and Mesoraco at C. Although realistically the Hernandez/Hannigan combo puts up good numbers so it will be hard to improve much on their production. LF is the big ? with Sappelt, Heisey and frazier all in the running with the chance of a FA signing.

    The starting rotation is also full of ???'s Only Cueto and Leake seem like sure things. Willis would need to be signed, and a lot of people are still sunsure about him. I think Lecure could be a #5 starter if needed.

    The closer spot is also up for grabs, Hard to tell what they will do there.

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    For me the, single biggest question for 2012 is who the closer is going to be, I never thought I would say it, but I am open to bringing Coco back. If not Coco, Chapman would be our best in house candidate. Left field is also a question mark, personally I would go with Sappelt, Zo playing 3rd.

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    I can't remember going into an offseason, while being a potential contending team next season, with so many unanswered questions.

    Should be interesting.
    "I can't take this homerism anymore." - 10xWSChamps, August 11, 2010. A Cardinals fan having a problem with all the homerism on Redszone. Classic.

    "Man do I miss the days where were didn't need a calculator and an encyclopedia of baseball metrics to enjoy a baseball game ... - MikeS21" - 8/2/12 game thread

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    Since this team has limited resources, I would love to see all of their efforts going to improving the pitching staff. If the Reds get the same level of pitching next season it won't matter much who the starting eight will be. The pitching numbers simply have to improve.

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by texasdave View Post
    Since this team has limited resources, I would love to see all of their efforts going to improving the pitching staff. If the Reds get the same level of pitching next season it won't matter much who the starting eight will be. The pitching numbers simply have to improve.
    I'm pretty much out of the loop lately on the Reds as work has kept me real busy. Can you elaborate on limited resources. My general point of view, though my dedication this year has taken a step back, is that we have a lot of resources to dangle, but perhaps our minors has started to become depleted?
    Hey Homer! If you can put it together, you'll put the Reds over the top....think about it.

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by texasdave View Post
    Since this team has limited resources, I would love to see all of their efforts going to improving the pitching staff. If the Reds get the same level of pitching next season it won't matter much who the starting eight will be. The pitching numbers simply have to improve.
    I think the Reds need to focus on ground ball pitchers. In GABP regular fly balls wind up being HR's. The best pitching otions are guys who keep the ball on the ground and don't wall a lot of batters. If you force hitters to put the ball in play the small park works to your advantage since the gaps are all smaller.

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by jfleur87 View Post
    I'm pretty much out of the loop lately on the Reds as work has kept me real busy. Can you elaborate on limited resources. My general point of view, though my dedication this year has taken a step back, is that we have a lot of resources to dangle, but perhaps our minors has started to become depleted?
    I didn't mean as far as prospects. I meant payroll limitations.

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    Reds had their highest payroll ever this year at around $80M.

    I believe with Cordero, Renteria, Gomes, Hernandez, and a few others gone.......they save roughly $19M. But they have increases with other guys signed longer term. Might even eat up the savings.

    They could opt to trade Brandon to save $12M.
    "I can't take this homerism anymore." - 10xWSChamps, August 11, 2010. A Cardinals fan having a problem with all the homerism on Redszone. Classic.

    "Man do I miss the days where were didn't need a calculator and an encyclopedia of baseball metrics to enjoy a baseball game ... - MikeS21" - 8/2/12 game thread

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    Re: 10 Anticipated Storylines for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Vottomatic View Post
    Reds had their highest payroll ever this year at around $80M.

    I believe with Cordero, Renteria, Gomes, Hernandez, and a few others gone.......they save roughly $19M. But they have increases with other guys signed longer term. Might even eat up the savings.

    They could opt to trade Brandon to save $12M.
    I doubt they go that route. We don't have anyone else on the team or in the system that's capable of putting up starter-level production at 2B anytime soon, so anyone else would have to come from free agency. Failing to resign Brandon tells me that we're not making a division push next year, which would be foolish with the important pieces that St. Louis and Milwaukee will be losing.


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