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2006 Cincinnati Reds Baseball Preview

Cincinnati Reds Predictions – NL CENTRAL

OVERVIEW:

The Reds are in need of a major pitching transplant but instead received a minor transfusion with the additions of Pittsburgh’s Dave Williams and Boston’s Bronson Arroyo. The team pounded 220 homeruns in 2005, second most in the majors, but their pitching finished last in the senior circuit.

PITCHING:

The rotation is this team’s most urgent need. Aaron Harang is the Reds’ number one guy, which is frightening to everyone except opposing hitters. Last season he was 11-13 with a 3.83 ERA.

With the Dave Williams and Bronson Arroyo trades the team now has four number five starters and two number four pitchers.

The Reds do not have a closer. Will the job go to Todd Coffey (1 SV, 4.50 ERA, .344 OPP AVG), will it be a group effort, or might an unlikely deal be made?

HITTING:

Offense has not been a problem for this team. They knocked an average of 1.37 round trippers per game!

First baseman Adam Dunn stroked 40 homers, while a renewed Ken Griffey, Jr. was good for 35. Leadoff hitter Felipe Lopez knocked 23, Austin Kearns lifted 19 over the fence and Rich Aurila was good for 14 blasts.

As far as average goes, the Reds were in the middle of the pack with a team mark of .261. Griffey, Lopez and Aurila were all between .280 and .301 in 2005.

When Casey left, he took his .312 BA with him and Pena absconded with his 19 HR. It’s tough to tell who will make up for these loses, if anyone.

DEFENSE:

The Reds are in the lower of tier of defense, giving 104 errors.

In centerfield, Griffey’s legs are in poor shape and that’s affected his ability to get to balls, while at second base Aurila has lost a step or two but is still accurate with his throws.

Lopez had 17 errors at shortstop, the second most in the NL at that position.

Better play in the field could help this team, especially with its weak pitching. Going back to basics will help some players.

MANAGER AND FRONT OFFICE:

• Manager Jerry Narron has a year—this one—to show improvement.
• GM Dan O’Brien was supposed to sign some quality pitching but only traded for Dave Williams (10-11, 4.41 ERA, 25 starts) and Bronson Arroyo (14-10, 4.51 ERA, 33 starts). He gave up quality hitting too!
• Robert Castellini now owns a majority of the club—will he open the purse strings?

INTANGIBLES AND/OR OTHER STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

• No more Willie Mo Pena or Sean Casey equals less offense.
• Ken Griffey, Jr. Remember when he was healthy?
• Pitching, pitching, pitching.

CONCLUSION:

It will be tough for manager Jerry Narron to make much progress this season. He can certainly work to develop players, especially when it comes to hitting for average and reducing strikeouts. (The Reds led the majors in that category with 1,303—200 more than the nearest club!) But lack of pitching potential and aging players are problems over which he has little control.

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2006 Baseball Team Previews

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