Offseason Swap Series: Cincinnati Reds

By Matthew Van Wormer

Last season for the Cincinnati Reds was very much like last season for the Cleveland Indians.  The Reds hovered around .500 all year long but just couldn’t get a push of wins to put them over the hump.  Unlike the Indians, Cincy was consistent all year long and didn’t have the benefit of a hot start to give them a cushion over the rest of the competition.  I got in touch with Steve, the Senior Editor of Blog Red Machine and asked him about the Reds and what they had in 2011 and what they can look forward to in 2012.  Here’s what he had to say.

DTTWLN? #1 – In 2011 Cincinnati was hanging right around .500 all season long.  Unfortunately, other teams in the division surged ahead of them to get into the playoffs.  What were the Reds missing in 2011 to get them over the hump?

What was missing? That extended run of W’s. The Reds never managed a winning streak over five games.

DTTWLN? #2 – The acquisition of Mat Latos in December is being viewed as a favorable move for the Reds.  Do you fear that the Reds gave up too much to get him or do you like this trade?  

Not sure who thinks the Reds got the better end of the deal. The Reds did give up a lot in order to acquire Latos. I don”t think anyone can deny that. Well, no one should because it’s true. Four for one is huge, but it doesn’t bother me. I know why the deal was done and why the individuals involved were included…except Brad Boxberger.

DTTWLN? #3 – Dusty Baker will be entering his fifth year with the Reds with 2010 being the only year he took the team to the playoffs and had an early exit.  Is Dusty on the hot seat?  

The seat’s not hot because I don’t think Baker will be back after 2012 regardless of how the Reds perform. A World Series win might save him.

DTTWLN? #4 – Where will we see Aroldis Chapman this year?  Do you think they will ever try to convert the flame thrower into a starter or is he in line to be the closer for a long time?  

Chapman is a starter, plain and simple. After last season, Walt Jocketty announced the Reds would re-insert Chapman as a starter. I have been extremely unhappy on how he’s been handled. Chapman is not a closer. He cannot work back-to-back days and maintain his velocity and control. He throws hard, but he is no candidate for closing for anyone.

DTTWLN? #5 – The Reds and Indians are very similar in a lot of ways.  The Indians feel they are close to the playoffs and just need a couple pieces to make 2012 successful.  What does 2012 hold for the Reds?

I believe the Reds have a playoff run in them provided a couple of things go their way. Luck does play a part in it all. I believe the additions of Sean Marshall and Ryan Madson are beyond huge. The bullpen was shored up nicely. The Latos trade, while costly, elevated the rotation. Another arm will need to step up. The offense wasn’t as big a concern. A lot of Reds fans were saying the Reds offense was good. It was good last season, overall, but the area of clutch performance was drastically worse in 2011 when compared to 2010. That must change in 2012. Clutch must return.

 

There it is.  Succinct and to the point.  Thanks again to Steve from Blog Red Machine for answering these questions for us.  Next week, we finish up the Offseason Swap Series with the newly named Miami Marlins as they head into 2012 in a new city and a new ballpark, complete with aquariums on the 1st and 3rd baselines.

Photo: Getty Images

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