Do you remember the good old days? When the Cincinnati Reds were the best team in baseball and were a true unstoppable force? Don't be surprised if they are back to that system in 2009 only better.
Now that the contracts of Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. are out of the way could they add another hitter to the already potent team? The only option I see open is at short stop but there aren't any decent short stops available.
If they were to go via trade for a short stop the best that's on the trading block is J.J. Hardy but inner division trades are incredibly rare.
As for power the Reds are set with just about every position capable of hitting in 15-20 home runs per season. That would be excluding Willy Taveras but if he can steal 68 bases again I think the Reds can ignore that fact.
As for average only one regular starter hit .295 and that was Joey Votto. But if Jerry Hairston Jr. gets a starting job anywhere he can hit around .320 so he shouldn't be overlooked.
Pitching is another strength for this young Cincinnati Reds team. Edinson Volquez had a Cy Young worthy season as star Aaron Harang went from one of the best pitchers in the league to stats hovering around the likes of Jarrod Washburn. If Harang can return to form the Reds will find themselves with one of the best 1-2 punches in the MLB.
Bronson Arroyo had a decent season and his 3.47 ERA after the all star break shows signs of a strong comeback season to mix in with Harang and Volquez. Johhny Cueto was fairly inconsistent throughout the season and if he can be more consistent in 2009 he can be a formidable top of the rotation starter but on the Reds team he will find himself at the number four spot.
The last spot is a contest between two young rising stars, Homer Bailey and Micah Owings. Bailey is a top prospect and may do better under a more experienced catcher (Ramon Hernandez).
The bullpen and closer are set and may be ending plenty of more winning games than last season.
The one bad thing going for the Reds is the division they play in. With all the teams looking to be serious competitors this season in the National League Central in 2009 the Reds are in no way the favorite, but they are also in no way heading to the basement.
Here is my division prediction, speculate what you want.
St. Louis Cardinals- 93-69
Cincinnati Reds- 86-76
Chicago Cubs- 84-78
Milwaukee Brewers- 79-83
Pittsburgh Pirates- 78-84
Houston Astros- 67-95
As you can see I believe that the Astros are going to get slaughtered. In all honesty I almost set the Astros at 63-99.
Go Cincinnati Reds!