Five Burning Questions for the Cincinnati Reds in 2016

Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

Barring some herculean performances from myriad unheralded players, the Reds and their fans know their place in 2016: Near and maybe at the bottom. Now seemingly forever ago, Cincinnati had won at least 90 games three times in a four-year span, topping out at 97 wins and a first-place finish in 2012, but the Reds have finally conceded their time has passed. Winning just 64 games in 2015, their lowest win total since the 61-101 1982 season, change in Cincinnati was inevitable. Trades of top-two starters Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake midseason last year were the first signs of concession, but new general manager Dick Williams stayed the course with a trade of all-star closer Aroldis Chapman (to the Yankees), a trade of HR-derby champ and All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier (to the White Sox) and an attempt to trade Brandon Phillips.

This has left Reds faithful searching for reasons to tune in, wondering ‘what the Reds are doing’ and ultimately disgusted with the organization. But once you cool down, snap back to reality and understand the state the Reds are in you will have plenty to look forward to in 2016. You just have to peek in the appropriate places.

Lucky for you, the purpose of this piece is to highlight the Reds’ five biggest questions in the 2016 season. Let’s take a look.

2 Responses

  1. Carl Insco

    Nice article Brandon. I find it amusing that you said of Suarez when describing his experience: “with a paltry .242 AVG”. Given the fact that it looks like the Reds will have Hamilton, Cozart and Bruce (1/3 of the lineup) as starters, a .242 average looks awesome. Let’s face the facts: Hamilton cannot and probably will never be able to hit and will never or should never be a lead off hitter, Bruce has lost his mojo and should have already been traded giving someone valuable experience and Cozart has never been a high average hitter and even though he started off last season hot he was beginning to tumble like a rock right before his injury. It is sad when 1/3 of your lineup everyday can’t hit their weight. Sure it is nice to have the gold glove type defense of Hamilton and Cozart or the speed of Hamilton or the HR power of a Bruce, but man they have to get on base more and cut down on the SO. Hey I’m all for the rebuild, but they need to trade Cozart and Bruce to add to the rebuild. I would give Hamilton one more year and if he doesn’t improve then either trade him or send him to the bench as a defensive replacement/pinch runner. As far as Bailey goes….well they screwed up giving him the big contract instead of Cueto! He is nothing more than a .500 pitcher with injury concerns. Sure the 2 no hitters were exciting, but I’d rather have a healthy pitcher with an above .500 average.

    • Brandon Shrider

      I couldn’t agree more, Carl. Cozart has never been an offense-first player, and despite a nice start last season, I don’t expect that to change. I’ve never been a fan of Bruce, but he did have a nice run from 2010-13 hitting 30+ HR in three of those four years. Always seemed to be too inconsistent and unreliable to get the big hit. Hamilton, possibly switching back to RH-only could prove beneficial. I doubt he ever hits .300, but I think he can improve enough not to be a liability, and his OBP will prove crucial — maybe he’ll improve on taking walks.
      And definitely agree on the Homer deal. I said that from the time they signed him. The Reds are paying him like an ace, but hasn’t proven to be much more than a No. 3 starter who can’t stay healthy. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of this rebuild goes, with Bruce, Votto and Phillips all possibly on their way out if the Reds can find any takers … and the players waive their NTC’s which I think Phillips and Votto both have.


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