Sports scene

You have to give the Cincinnati Reds General Manager Wayne Krivsky credit.

In his first year at the helm as the Reds GM, Krivsky traded for two gems that played an integral part in the 2006 season.

Trading Wily Mo Pena, a raw, unproven talent to the Boston Red Sox for Bronson Arroyo made Krivsky look brilliant. Arroyo won 14 games despite going 12 consecutive starts without winning a game during a stretch in the summer.

Krivsky was still hard at trying to build the Reds after the season started. After acquiring Brandon Phillips from the Cleveland Indians for minor league pitcher Jeff Stevens, made the Reds GM look like the best in baseball. If you can remember, Phillips went on an absolute tear and drove in 18 runs in one week in April. He is now the Reds future of the middle infield.

Poor Pitching Can’t Make Up for Solid Offense.

It’s no secret that the Reds have the offensive power to be competitive. Adam Dunn, Phillips, David Ross (acquired from San Diego Padres by Krivsky) and Ken Griffey Jr. (when 100 percent, which has been rare since 2000) provide the Reds with one of the most potent offenses in the National League.

However, like in any other sport, a great offense cannot make up for poor pitching and mediocre defense. Being second to last in pitching and near the bottom in team fielding percentage has become a common theme. Dunn’s 40-plus home runs cannot make up for the pitching staff’s (most notably the bullpen’s, a usual Cincy stronghold) inflated ERA.

Solution? Bring up Homer Bailey, Wayne. It’s time. It can only help. The NL Central was the weakest division in baseball last year, and with Arroyo and Aaron Harang signing for the long haul, the Reds can have a trio of quality starting pitching and maybe, just maybe, go to the postseason for the first time since 1995.

Krivsky ignored fans and sports talk show hosts, pleas to bring up the 20-year-old phenom last year.

Bailey throws the heat. In fact, that’s all he knows how to do. He was hitting 99 mph on the radar last year in Double A Chattanooga, where his ERA was 1.59. Krivsky didn’t bring Bailey up because he has yet to develop a curveball or off-speed pitch. His power-style pitching would complement the finesse of Harang and Arroyo.

Reds Chief Operating Officer Bob Castellini and Krivsky are moving the Reds in the right direction. They claim they are “playing for now.” In the weak NL Central, despite producing the World Series Champion Cardinals, the Reds have a chance. But as we’ve seen in the past several years, the Reds have hot Aprils and Mays only to cool off during the dog days in the summer. The 2007 Major League Baseball season starts on Opening Day, Apr. 2 against the Chicago Cubs.