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2014 Outlook: Cincinnati Reds

Jan 12, 2014, 12:33 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

2013 record: 90-72, 3rd place in NL Central
Manager: Bryan Price, 1st season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $103 million
Key additions: IF Skip Schumaker, C Brayan Pena, RP Manny Parra
Key losses: OF Shin-Soo Choo, C Ryan Hanigan, OF Xavier Paul

Projected lineup
CF Billy Hamilton
SS Zack Cozart
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
LF Ryan Ludwick
3B Todd Frazier
C Devin Mesoraco

Projected rotation
RHP Johnny Cueto
RHP Mat Latos
RHP Homer Bailey
RHP Mike Leake
LHP Tony Cingrani

Top relievers
CL Aroldis Chapman
RHP J.J. Hoover
RHP Sam LeCure

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Can Billy Hamilton replace Shin-Soo Choo? The Reds let Choo walk in free agency and sign a massive deal with the Texas Rangers. At 31 and a player who relies on his speed, Choo’s contract demands presented a risk the Reds were not willing to take. In Billy Hamilton, however, they may have the perfect replacement. Hamilton became a legend as a prospect with his world class speed around the bases, posting 395 steals in 502 minor league games. He debuted with the Reds last year and hit .368 with 13 stolen bases in 13 games. That small sample suggests he is the real deal, but a full season starting in the big leagues should be a big test for the 23-year-old.

2. Can Bryan Price take them to the next level? Reds fans grew tired of Dusty Baker as their manager after six years with him at the helm. Cincinnati had been very good under Dusty with three playoff appearances, but had yet to reach the NLCS round. They wanted change and change is what they got. The only problem is, the Reds didn’t bring in anybody new, they instead promoted their pitching coach, Bryan Price. Price has also never managed before at any level. Will anything change? The Reds were already a very good team and merely need minor tweaks, we’ll see if Price has the answers.

3. How will the NL Central stack up? The Reds have been a force in their division for a few years running, usually competing with the Cardinals (or Brewers when they were good) for first place. But last year the Pirates emerged as a legitimate club, edging out the Reds down the stretch and beating them in the NL Wild Card game. Can the Pirates repeat their 2013 season? If so, this division looks a whole lot different. And with the way the Pirates played against them last season – Pittsburgh won 12 of their 20 matchups – the Reds better hope their rivals’ postseason run was a fluke. As we saw last year, traveling to Pittsburgh during a pennant race is no fun for the visitor.

  1. therealjohnc - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    It’s hard to get a read on the Reds. There is certainly a core of good players there: Votto, Latos, Cueto, Cozart, Chapman. Losing Choo will hurt, and Hamilton is much more of a throw of the dice than his brief MLB appearance would indicate (beware small sample size!). In his first season at the AAA levell he lost his plate discipline, whiffing 102 times while only walking 38 times. He hit .256, and his OBP was poor (.308). In a perfect world he would start off in AAA and get a chance to establish himself before facing big league pitching.

    Like Hamilton, the Reds could be very good; they could also stumble to around .500 and third place.

    • David Proctor - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      I think the Reds are going to have the biggest drop of any playoff team.

  2. sjm308 - Jan 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Hasn’t Riggleman moved up the ladder and now the Manager of their AAA team?
    Never thought he would recover from his move here, but he is a local guy and went to Frostburg so good luck Jim.

  3. knoxvillenat - Jan 12, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Got to see Hamilton play a couple of games at both the AA and AAA level over the past two seasons. When he hits the ball on the ground or tries to bunt for a hit he is a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for him and his team he often seems to take too big a swing and either K’s or hits a weak fly ball. When he does get on base he is fun to watch (if you are on his team or a fan thereof) as he is lightening fast.

    Will be interesting to see how he does at the ML level and how long will the Reds stay with him if he struggles coming out of the gate.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    I am excited about Hamilton’s speed. Hope he succeeds as their lead-off hitter. I want to see how many he can swipe in a full season.

    Their direction will be a bit clear once they decide what to do with Bailey who is expected to earn a hefty paycheck next off-season. A trade that can fill a hole or two might be better than an expensive extension for Homer.





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