Reds looking to improve in offseason

Its World Series time and there is no better time to reflect on our hometown team, the Cincinnati Reds. Tack on another year to the playoff drought and World Series drought. What needs to be done to this team so that it can compete in 2006?

The obvious problem to everyone who follows the Reds is why can’t they get good pitching? Injuries and lack of talent have been the problem for years with the Reds pitching staff. Paul Wilson went down with an injury this year ending his season abruptly. Eric Milton gave out hard hats for the people sitting in the outfield seats at Great American Ballpark.

Bright spots in the rotation this year was Aaron Harang, Brandon Claussen, and free agent pickup Ramon Ortiz. The question now becomes how do you keep these players in the rotation and healthy? So if the Reds don’t pick up anyone else this year from the free agent market, your rotation is setting up like this, Wilson, Harang, Milton, Ortiz, and Claussen.

It doesn’t sound too bad, but health is a problem. Developing young talent inside the organization has been the other. It’s been a while since the Reds have developed a pitcher in their own organization. The Cubs and Pirates have been prolific at developing talent.

Another problem is the crowded outfield the Reds have. It is nice to have options, but there isn’t enough playing time to go around for these guys. A trade will be in order this off season, most likely resulting in either Wily Mo Pena or Austin Kearns being dealt. There is a small chance that both will be dealt to give Chris Denorfia a chance in right.

If that occurs, the outfield would look like Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., and Chris Denorfia or Kearns and Pena. There has also been rumor that first baseman Sean Casey may get dealt and Dunn would move to first base. This would be a mistake and a shame because Casey brings leadership to the team and he had the highest batting average on the team.

Last season, the Reds used a tandem of Jason LaRue and Javier Valentine to handle the catching duties. It worked out well, but the Reds may cut ties with one of them.

The Reds also have until the end of the World Series to determine if they will pick up the option on utility man Rich Aurilia. The decision the Reds have to make is will Aurilia be an everyday second baseman because he will most likely not want to return to the Reds.

He feels that he can play consistently day in and day out. If the Reds pick up Aurilia, Ryan Freel will be a utility player off the bench because the organization is grooming Felipe Lopez at shortstop and Edwin Encarnacion at third base.

The Cincinnati Reds most likely will not add too much additional payroll this coming season, so what you see is what you get.

Unless the team gets excellent pitching from its starters and bullpen, it’s not looking good for next year either.

The Reds have a tremendous amount of offense, ranking among the league leaders in home runs hit and runs scored.

Unfortunately, the Reds were among the league leaders in home runs allowed and the team E.R.A was high too.

The Reds won’t be in a hurry to sell many playoff tickets in 2006, but they usually play the first couple months tough before the injury bug settles in.

Baseball fans enjoy the hot stove action and spring training. The Reds look forward to seeing you at Great American Ballpark April 3rd against the Chicago Cubs.