No question, Reds busy during offseason
But as spring training nears, fans always ask if they made enough moves
My offseason officially ends in just over a week. I’ll be on a jet plane headed to Phoenix and spring training.
Every offseason, I get asked about 900 times what I do in the offseason. My answer is always: “I cover the Reds.” There is no offseason in baseball. By quick count, I wrote 80 stories or so for the paper since the season ended. That doesn’t count blog items and Twitter posts.
It’s been a busy offseason because the Reds have done a lot.
But the question this and any offseason is always: Did they do enough?
We’ll see. But the Reds tried to address pitching as best they could. Their three biggest moves of the offseason all involved adding pitchers.
The biggest difference between the 2010 Reds and the 2011 Reds was starting pitching. In 2010, the starters went 57-44 with a 4.05 ERA. In 2011, the starters went 50-55 with a 4.47 ERA.
Mat Latos was brought in to shore up the rotation. The Reds gave up a ton to get Latos – first-round picks Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger – as well as Edinson Volquez.
Latos is a great, young talent. But he alone is not going to turn around the rotation. The Reds need Bronson Arroyo to be a lot closer to what he was in 2010 than what he was in 2011.
They also need Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey to stay healthy. Cueto made only 24 starts, Bailey 22.
The Reds also addressed the bullpen, adding closer Ryan Madson and left-hander Sean Marshall. The bullpen wasn’t as big an issue, but it was an issue.
The Reds didn’t do a lot to improve the offense. But the numbers say they didn’t have to. The Reds finished second in the NL in runs, although they scored 55 fewer runs than they did in 2010, when they led the league.
Can Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs pick it up after taking a step back in 2011? Can Scott Rolen stay healthy?
The answers to those questions will be key to the big question: Did the Reds do enough?
Cable money and the Reds
USA Today ran a story Friday on how the influx of money from local cable television deals is changing baseball. The Angels were able to afford Albert Pujols largely because their new deal with Fox Sports West will reportedly pay them more than $3 billion over 20 years.
The San Diego Padres have a new 20-year deal worth $75 million a year that is awaiting approval of Major League Baseball. The Padres’ old deal paid $14 million a year.
The Reds’ deal doesn’t even pay that. It’s believed to be worth $10 million a year and believed to run through 2016. The club won’t comment on it.
But if the Reds are going to have the money to be competitive, they’re going to have to get a better cable deal at some point.
Hold me to it
Here’s my predicted order of the finish in the NL Central:
1. St. Louis; 2. Reds; 3. Milwaukee; 4. Pittsburgh; 5. Chicago; 6. Houston
I’ve got the Reds making it as a wild-card team, whether there are one or two wild cards.
The Reds and Brandon Phillips’ representatives have not talked about a contract extension since the winter meetings. “We’ve been concentrating on putting the team together,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “It’s something we’ll address at spring training.”