For the second consecutive season, the Cincinnati Reds carried high hopes into the postseason last October. For the second consecutive season, they were dismissed from the playoffs earlier than expected.
Editor’s Note: This “New Year, New Season” post on the Cincinnati Reds is part of a series where Baseball News Source columnist Jeff Louderback chronicles each Major League team as spring training draws nearer.
After falling in the wild card game to Pittsburgh, the Reds fired manager Dusty Baker and replaced him with Bryan Price, the club’s pitching coach who has a rotation anchored by Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey; and a lineup featuring slugging first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips and right fielder Jay Bruce, who belted 30 home runs last year.
St. Louis and Pittsburgh expect to be playoff contenders once more in the National League Central. The Milwaukee Brewers and rebuilding Chicago Cubs should be improved. The Reds will have to replace the production of Shin-Soo Choo and veteran right-handed starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo to return to the postseason.
The Reds were unable to bring back Choo, who inked a free agent deal with the Texas Rangers. Arroyo will likely pitch elsewhere in 2014, unless Cincinnati can trade Bailey, who can become a free agent next offseason. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Bailey will receive $9.3 million in the arbitration process. That could lead Reds GM Walt Jocketty to find a taker for the 27-year-old right-hander and re-sign Arroyo.
Who’s Back/Who’s New
Phillips and Bailey have been mentioned in multiple trade rumors, but they remain Reds – at least for now.
Left-hander Manny Parra was signed to bolster the bullpen while Skip Schumacher was brought in to fill the utility infielder’s role. Veteran right-hander Chien-Ming Wang agreed to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
What Could Happen Before Spring Training/Opening Day