The Reds finished the 2009 season 27-13, and that is encouraging, but this club has nothing but questions. Will Joey Votto have a breakout season, Can Scott Rolen stay healthy? Will Aaron Harang perform in a contract year? Will Homer Bailey’s strong second half carry in 2010? How good is Aroldis Chapman? Of course the last question is, can the Reds shock the world and contend in the National League Central?
So what did the Reds do this off season, well not a whole lot. They did out bid big market teams for Aroldis Chapman and that is a move that is good for the long term. They dumped Willy Taveras, resigned SS Orlando Cabrera, and brought back Jonny Gomes. Given all that we have to say the Reds are better, but how much better?
The Reds play in a hitter friendly park, but we have to wonder where is their offense going to come from? Health is the real concern here. The middle of the Reds lineup is strong with Votto, Rolen, and Jay Bruce and they could all hit 25 dingers. None of these players played more that 131 games last year and that is an issue. The Red also went stretched without Ramon Hernandez, and is capable of hitting for some power as well.
The Reds are also going to have to decide when to bring Chapman to the majors. The Reds may feel some pressure to allow him to come north with them when the season starts, he did throw two scoreless innings in his Reds debut against the Kansas City Royals. He is a big time athlete and at 22 years old he may be ready for a stint with the big club.