Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
I’d say it’s been a long, cold winter, but the truth is, up here in Chicago our lack of winter-weather means that “Long Cold Winter” is just a Cinderella album. That doesn’t mean I’m any less ready for baseball to start back up again.
I feel like I say this at the beginning of every season, but I don’t care about Spring Training. Truly, I don’t. I love the significance of the first day pitchers and catchers report, and I enjoy the occasional drama that develops over the course of February and March, but other than that, Spring Training is just something that stands in the way of Opening Day.
The games don’t mean anything, the individual stats don’t mean anything (and are rarely indicative of what a player is going to do in the regular season), and they don’t even wear the real uniforms.
Although, the new batting practice hats are kind of nifty:
(However, I’m not a big fan of the road caps.)
I’m sure many of you disagree with my opinion of Spring Training, and that’s fine, but you can either read my thoughts on Spring Training or read my thoughts about what happened to the Reds in the 2012 NLDS. Which would you prefer?
That’s what I thought.
So, rather than dwell on the past, let’s look to the future of the Cincinnati Reds… by discussing something that happened back in December.
For years, the Reds’ offseason meant seeing news updates like:
Cincinnati Reds sign Corey Patterson…
Cincinnati Reds sign Willy Taveras…
This offseason was different, though. First of all, the Reds actually made a significant trade that addressed one of their biggest problems — the lead-off spot.
Gone is Drew Stubbs. In comes Shin Soo Choo. As is the case with any trade, you never know if it was a good move until the players take the field, but I like to think that this was a good trade for both clubs. Stubbs needed a change of scenery (well, for his sake I hope that’s all he needs to succeed) and Choo should thrive at the top of the heavy-hitting Reds’ lineup. And his, “I’ll try the best I can” approach to playing centerfield for the first time instills a sense of calm in Reds Country, too.
Scott Rolen still hasn’t decided if he wants to play baseball in 2013, and frankly, it looks like the Reds wouldn’t have room for him, anyway. My guess is that Rolen sits out the beginning of the season and hopes he can be a mid-season replacement for the Reds on the bench. I’m fine with that.
Other than that, the Reds signed the following players to assorted kinds of contracts:
- Manny Parra — In 2010, he struck out 4 St. Louis Cardinals batters in one inning, so he has that (and a career 5.00+ ERA) going for him.
- Armando Galarraga –– Had a near-perfect game in 2010. Which is like me saying that I nearly slept with Bridget Fonda in high school.
- Miguel Olivo — He hit 12 HRs in 87 games for the Mariners last year. The fact that the word “hit” is used in a sentence to describe him already makes him an upgrade over Devin Mesoraco.
- Jack Hannahan — Not to be confused with Jack Hanna.
(My apologies to the other guys I didn’t mention)
The weird thing about this 2013 team is that there really aren’t any stories to follow during Spring Training. I mean, there’s the conversion of Aroldis Chapman from closer to starter, but I wouldn’t call an increase in innings-pitched a very exciting story. Obviously, what Chapman does in those increased innings is of utmost importance, but we’re only going to see him once — maybe twice — a week. It’ll only be a story if the experiment doesn’t work.
Barring injury, it should be a pretty quiet Spring Training for the Reds. And by typing that, I’ve pretty much guaranteed a drama-filled Spring Training.