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Reds Season of Destiny Ends With a Thud
Reds Collapse Complete
by Robb Hoff
October 11, 2012
As far as collapses go, the Reds demise in the 2012 National League Divisional Series against the San Francisco Giants was somewhat historic in that the Reds became the first N.L. team to blow a series after winning the first two games.
But in Reds Country, the Game 5 loss was the end of a season that seemed anointed by destiny. And the fact that the Reds lost three in a row at home just added insult to injury.
The Reds were poised to cap a memorable season with a deep playoff run if not a World Series bid after taking a 2-0 series lead. Now, the most memorable part of the season won't be the successes the Reds and individual players enjoyed during the regular season.
No. The most memorable part of the season will collectively be the word "collapse."
However, baseball springs eternal and it springs eternal a lot quicker for fans of teams who will have reasonable expectations that their teams can compete at a division-winning level.
So it shall be for the Reds, who will likely return all but three players from their primary 25-man roster.
Scott Rolen and Miguel Cairo are all but gone and with them goes about $9-million in payroll. Likewise, cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick will likely earn more on the open market than his $5-million mutual option for one year will pay, so the Reds would have to buy him out for $500K instead.
Add another $1.4-million dump for reliever Bill Bray and the $3.5-million the Reds will save by buying out the closer who never pitched Ryan Madson and the Reds will likely realize $20-million in players who will not return.
Contract extensions for Brandon Phillips and Bronson Arroyo will save another $3-million for 2013, running the reduced salary commitment to about $23-million.
Unfortunately, the bump in salary for Joey Votto will eat $7.5-million of that and payday increases for Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Ryan Hanigan, Sean Marshall Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo will add another $8-million more than this year.
That leaves about $7.5-million for the Reds to work with, and the Reds will be lucky if that amount plus another $3-million increase in funds for the front office to have at their disposal will cover the costs for arbitration-eligible players Homer Bailey, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Logan Ondrusek, Alfredo Simo and Drew Stubbs.
So the good news for Reds Country is that the funding is there to keep the team intact for another year and another run at the post-season.
But the Reds will have to figure out who their cleanup hitter will be without Ludwick in the lineup any longer.
The Reds will miss the leadership of Rolen and Cairo, but the time for Todd Frazier to take over at third may have been the clearest message to come out of the playoffs.
So with a starting lineup, rotation and bullpen all but set, the only other real issue will be whether or not manager Dusty Baker returns. In all likelihood, the Reds hitting instructor Brook Jacoby will not.
Now that the Reds are done for 2012, much of the sports attention in Cincinnati will turn to the Bengals. Hopefully, my humble predictions in February this year for the Bengals this season will come true as divined in the listed link.......but I sure won't be holding my breath!
Reds Be Gone, Here Come the Bengals
- The Morning Line, 2/13 (Football Nostradamus Edition)
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