Cincinnati Reds 2013: Top 5 Notable Player Subtractions from Last Year's Club
The 2013 Cincinnati Reds don’t exactly have a plethora of new faces entering spring training.
New editions like Shin-Soo Choo will certainly help to improve the roster. However, there have been notable losses from last year's team that the the Reds might regret.
For instance, the club won’t be able to watch top prospect Didi Gregorius flourish through their system any longer. Also, Scott Rolen has decided to pass on a potential return to Cincinnati and, now, the club must look elsewhere for a new leader.
The absence of these departing players—and others—could be detrimental to the success of their 2013 season. The question is: which notable loss might the Cincinnati Reds regret the most?
Ranked from the least to the most regrettable losses, here are the top five players from last season that the Cincinnati Reds will miss the most in 2013.
5. Todd Redmond, SP
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There wasn't much time for Todd Redmond to prove his worth in the 2012 season due to a completely healthy pitching staff ahead of him in Cincinnati.
The Baltimore Orioles recently claimed the 27-year-old Redmond off waivers after the Reds designated him for assignment to clear a roster spot for Manny Parra.
Redmond was called up to the show twice and started just one game in the Reds only doubleheader last season. His 3.1 IP and four earned runs weren't pretty, to say the least.
Redmond did provide a 3.63 ERA with 136 strikeouts in 148.2 IP in Triple-A, though. His 25 minor league starts showed consistency, and Redmond was an easy call for the Reds to use as their sixth pitcher in 2012.
With Aroldis Chapman moving to the rotation this season, Mike Leake is now the probable sixth man in 2013.
Redmond’s role would now be vital if the rotation faced a surplus of injuries.
Instead, the Reds are betting on experience with the newly acquired Armando Galarraga as a "plan B" or "plan C." With Galarraga and prospect Tony Cingrani developing in Triple-A, there wouldn't be much time given to Redmond this season anyway.
Still, the club could miss Redmond if Galarraga puts up the same 6.75 ERA as he did in 2012.
4. Drew Stubbs, CF
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Most of Redleg Nation will be happy to see Drew Stubbs in an Cleveland Indians uniform.
Stubbs batting average has dropped every year, and he produced an abysmal .213/.277/.333 slash line in 2012.
The Reds are not going to miss Stubbs’ bat or pathetic bunting ability. yet they will miss his incredible speed in center field when Shin-Soo Choo takes over.
If Choo fails in center, the Reds will move Jay Bruce over from right field. For the first time in a few years, the Reds could be dealing with a defensive problem in the outfield.
The Reds might look back negatively on the trade if Choo lands on the DL again or if his defense becomes unbearable.
Still, it was a logical move to bring in Choo because the other outfield options that were available this offseason, like Michael Bourn, were too expensive and would have blocked top-prospect Billy Hamilton in 2014.
Even though the Reds will be happier overall with Choo in center field, there is no doubt that Stubb's speed and defensive ability may be missed at times.
3. Dioner Navarro, C
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One of the earliest departures of the offseason that the Reds might regret is former catcher Dioner Navarro.
Navarro’s late arrival in 2012 was crucial to the club, and his .290/.306/.449 slash line in 73 plate appearances camouflaged the under-performance of Devon Mesoraco as the backup.
The Reds will look for some sort of resurgence in Mesoraco as the backup catcher this season, and signing Miguel Olivo to a minor league contract appears to be the same type of move that they made with Navarro last year.
Navarro’s absence could be drastic if Mesoraco has another erroneous season, though, and also if the 11-year veteran Olivo doesn't thrive in Cincinnati.
2. Scott Rolen, 3B
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There’s no surprise that when Scott Rolen was able to play for over half a season (133 games in 2010 and 92 games in 2012), the Reds went to the postseason.
Rolen’s most important attribute to the young Reds team was his clubhouse leadership. Ever since he arrived in 2009, the club has played with a different swagger.
General Manager Walt Jocketty has praised the veteran ever since their time in St. Louis:
"He made a huge impact in Cincinnati with his work ethic and leadership on the field, in the clubhouse and in our community.” (h/t John Fay of Cincinnati.com)
Furthermore, Joey Votto has regularly mentioned Scott Rolen as a mentor and a great cause of his success.
Without Rolen, the young Reds will go through the season without a real distinct veteran presence in the clubhouse.
Rolen might be missed the most if Todd Frazier has a sophomore slump and if Jack Hannahan’s offensive numbers decline again. Still, third base now belongs to the well-deserving Frazier, and it would have been difficult to imagine Rolen spending the majority of the season riding the pine.
The Reds are looking for another solid year in Frazier, but Rolen's clubhouse absence will be noticeable.
1. Didi Gregorius, SS
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Cincinnati will see the most regrettable loss from 2012 in someone who has logged just 20 total at-bats in the majors.
Gregorius will likely spend the bulk of his 2013 season at the major league level.
His 2012 Triple-A slash line of .243/.288/.427 doesn't quite turn heads. But Gregorius’ stellar defense and .980 Fld% with a plus arm is something worth watching.
There was only one thing stopping him from reaching the MLB this season: Zack Cozart.
Cozart earned the starting shortstop job with the Reds last year by providing a .975 Fld% with only 14 errors in his first full season. Cozart also showed some power with 15 home runs and 33 doubles.
While the Reds have a solid shortstop in Cozart, Gregorius could turn out to be a stellar defender in the bigs. Trading him might haunt the Reds if he takes off in Arizona.
With the transition of Billy Hamilton from shortstop to center, the Reds don’t have another top-notch infield prospect in their system. So if Cozart suffers any type of injury, the Reds will then have to turn to veteran Cesar Izturis.
Letting Gregorius develop for another year in the minors would have been crucial to any emergency situation for the Reds infield, and the team could really miss this young stud in the future.