Siberian Baseball

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cincinnati Reds (73-89, .451, 5th in NL Central)

The outfield logjam in Cincinnati seems to have been broken for now following the trade of Wily Mo Pena (my favorite name in baseball right now) for Bronson Arroyo. This marks the first time in years that the Reds will begin the season without a minor controversy swirling around the team.

Ken Griffey Jr., Ryan Freel and Austin Kearns will work the outfield for the Reds, at least until Griffey is hurt in June or July.

Ken Griffey Jr. began his career as one of the top young players in baseball and lived up to that billing in the years in Seattle. Then, his body started to fall apart to the point where he's rarely mentioned as an impact player in the majors anymore.

Despite a strong showing at the World Baseball Classic, Griffey's health is a major concern for the Reds, which makes me wonder why they dealt their insurance policy for a mid-level starter.

A few other moderate sluggers round out the lineup, placing the Reds in their usual position as a spoiler team that jumps up and bites other NL Central teams in the ass. For instance, say you're the Cardinals, you need to take two of three from the Reds in August to keep your lead and the Reds haven't done anything all season to show signs of life.

That's exactly when the Reds will reel off a quick four- or five-game win streak. And that's just about all you can expect from them this season as well.

Cincinnati Reds
C: LaRue; Valentin; Sardinha; Perez
1B: Dunn; Hatteberg
2B: Womack; Aurilia; Freel
SS: Felipe Lopez; Aurilia; Olmedo; Womack
3B: Encarnacion; Aurilia; Freel
LF: Freel; Denorfia; Womack
CF: Griffey; Freel; Denorfia
RF: Kearns; Denorfia

SP: Harang; Dave Williams; Milton; Arroyo; Claussen; Paul Wilson
CP: ?
RP: Standridge; Simpson; Burns; Gosling; White; Mercker; Weathers; Hammond; Wagner; Coffey; Belisle; Balfour; Shackelford



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