2014 NL Central: A Little Red Machine
Skippy in the Central again! Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
The good news for the St. Louis Cardinals and the rest of the National League is that the biggest addition for the Reds this offseason was Skip Schumaker.
Experienced toothpick champion Dusty Baker was fired while Shin-Soo Choo and Bronson Arroyo moved on. Now first year manager Bryan Price takes the wheel for a franchise which has only disappointed Cincinnati since Walt Jocketty started wielding his magic pen around their front office.
Will 2014 be any different for an organization that has had embarrassingly low attendance?
Replacing Choo in centerfield is ‘Blazing ‘ Billy Hamilton who has heaps of raw talent but only batted .258 in Louisville last year. The difference in production from the leadoff spot will change the Reds dramatically.Choo was not great with the glove as Cards fans recall from early April of last year (errors at Busch) but he scored 107 runs and tallied 162 hits.
Arroyo devoured innings during his years in Cincinnati averaging well over 200 per season. Filling the hole will be a ‘healthy’ and always dirty Johnny Cueto along with Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Homer Bailey and Tony Cingrani in the rotation. The Reds bullpen shows-off Aroldis Chapman and his dragon-arm who is accompanied by Jonathan Broxton, J.J. Hoover and Alfredo Simon to name a few.
As shown above, the issue for Cinci will most likely not be pitching, rather it will struggle to produce runs with an aging lineup which relies heavily on players like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick who who are all one year older.
Jul 26, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (4) reacts to striking out in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports