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Jose Tabata and the Pirates represent the future of the NL Central.
Here is the "future state of the NL Central" with a special guest appearance by Reds Hall of Fame radio play-by-play man Marty Brennaman. Marty will tackle his favorite team in the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs.
(Disclaimer: Obviously, these are not Brennaman’s words. They are based on his previous comments about the Chicago Cubs.)
Chicago Cubs: "The Chicago Cubs franchise is the most worthless franchise in all of baseball. Their fans have a limited knowledge of the game and are both ignorant and obnoxious. Seriously, how stupid must you be as a fan to keep coming to the ball park for a team that has no shot at ever winning a World Series title? Wrigley Field is an aging dump that leaves all in attendance wondering whether they will make out without a piece of concrete lodged in their brains. They brought in a free agent that hit .190 last season and they think he can be the savior! Who is running this operation anyways? Whoever it is, they need to package it up and throw it into Lake Michigan. It's not even worth trying to sell, because in all of my years of baseball, I haven't met one single person who would be remotely interested in being affiliated with this franchise. Now, let me turn it back over to the multi-talented and eternally gifted Matt Wells for the rest of the program."
Milwaukee Brewers: "Thanks Marty. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this Milwaukee Brewers ball club is in for a "titanic struggle" once their “Titanic”, Prince Fielder, sinks into the ever-depressing world known as free-agency. The Brewers have no money to retain their players and made it apparent to their entire fan base that they were going to go for it all in 2011. By going for it all, they emptied their already pitiful farm system and are left to stumble for the foreseeable future, while teams like the Reds, Astros, and Pirates continue to stockpile on young talent."
Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros: "Both of these franchises are making incredible strides towards being more successful in the immediate future. The Astros are developing a ton of young pitching and are starting to get consistent contributions out of guys like Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. After this past week's debacle against Pittsburgh, the Reds saw first-hand how close the Pirates are getting to becoming relevant again. They have Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutcheon, and Garrett Jones all showing promise on the offensive side of the ball. However, the question in Pittsburgh will be whether or not they can find some pitching to matchup against the rest of the league."
St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds: "The Cardinals are entering a very troublesome time period for their franchise. If they are unable to negotiate a new deal with Albert Pujols, they instantly become the third or fourth best team in the Central for 2012. On the other hand, the Reds have reached deals with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Johnny Cueto for an extended period of time. Furthermore, the Reds have many young stars coming up through the ranks and are still waiting on the development of Aroldis Chapman to come to full fruition. The one thing the Cardinals have on their side is their “stick-around” ability. It seems that no matter the team’s talent, they always hang around in the top half of the division. Despite the potential of losing Pujols, the Cardinals will always be a factor.”
Overall, this division has many teams that could be right around .500, but no teams that are going to push the high-90s mark. Expect heated, yet mediocre, competition from this division over the next three years or so. The Reds are well positioned to win several division titles if their young studs continue to develop and they find a true staff ace within the organization, or outside of it.