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6 Cincinnati Reds

March 26, 2007
March 26, 2007

Table of Contents
March 26, 2007

2007 Baseball Preview
SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
2007 NCAA Tournament
2007 NCAA Tournament
Pro Basketball
PRO FOOTBALL

6 Cincinnati Reds

MANAGER JERRYNARRON third season with Reds

This is an article from the March 26, 2007 issue Original Layout

A YEAR later thetrade from baseball-mad Boston to Cincinnati still stings, but at least BronsonArroyo had a little fun this winter with the man who had dealt him away.Singing with his band at The Roxy in Boston one night, Arroyo invited Red Soxgeneral manager Theo Epstein onstage. But before they could belt out Rockin' inthe Free World together, Arroyo and Epstein were serenaded by the sold-outcrowd with "Bring back Bronson! Bring back Bronson!"

"I thinkit'd be easier if you just traded me to Cincinatti," Epstein told thecrowd.

He's right. TheReds won't be giving up Arroyo, whom they acquired for outfielder Wily Mo Peña,anytime soon. In February the 30-year-old righthander signed a contractextension that pays him $33 million through 2010; that's the kind of money henever would have earned as a fifth starter with the Red Sox. For better orworse, the free-spirited Arroyo is already a fixture in Cincinnati and perhapsthe biggest factor in whether the club even gets out of the bottom half of thedivision. Arroyo, the major league leader with 240 2/3 innings pitched lastyear, and fellow workhorse Aaron Harang (234 1/3 innings) combined for 70starts, 400 strikeouts, a 30--22 record and a 3.53 ERA. "Most baseballpeople agree that Bronson and Aaron make the top of our rotation as strong asany in baseball," Reds CEO Bob Castellini said, after signing both pitchersto deals that should keep them in Cincinnati for the next four years.

That statementmight sound a bit over the top, but it's rare for a team to be able to pencilin two pitchers for about 35 starts apiece--and rarer still for both to exceed230 innings. The Reds were expecting a strong year from 28-year-old fireballerHarang, but they were somewhat surprised when Arroyo gave them more than afourth starter's typical output. He went 14--11 with a 3.29 ERA, twice pitchingon three days' rest in crucial series down the stretch. "No matter how muchI throw, my arm doesn't hurt," he says. "I'd love to be in a four-manrotation. That extra day of rest really doesn't do me any good. I think I couldpitch 300 innings a year without hurting myself."

And Cincinnatiwould love to be able to say it has four good starters, if not five.Righthander Kyle Lohse and lefthander Eric Milton will open the season as theNo. 3 and No. 4 men in the rotation, respectively, but with a combined 5.51 ERAlast year they're more apt to be keeping the seats warm for a couple of youngpitchers, most notably the Reds' top pick from the 2004 draft, 20-year-oldHomer Bailey, a 6'4" string bean who throws 97 mph (page 70). Also biddingfor a rotation spot is 24-year-old Bobby Livingston, a former Mariners farmhandwhose poise--he threw three shutout innings against the Yankees' regulars inearly March--might get him one.

But Cincy won'thave any chance whatsoever without a big year from Arroyo, who got over hisbitterness about the trade and earned a spot on the NL All-Star Game rosterlast summer. "Even if Wily Mo hits 40 [homers], I still don't understandgiving up a consistent 200-inning pitcher in that division," he says."It was tough to take, like your boss yanking you off the best job you'veever had. But I grew to really like Cincinnati, and I like the guys on thisteam or I wouldn't have signed here."

Arroyo does missthe charged atmosphere in Boston, though. (The Reds played to 63% capacity lastseason while the Red Sox have sold out nearly every game since May 2003.)"I enjoy everything about pitching in Cincinnati, [but there's nothinglike] the vibe of Fenway Park on game days," Arroyo says. "We've got toearn that kind of support in Cincinnati."

CONSIDERTHIS

a modestproposal ...

Ken Griffey Jr.might not like the idea, but the decision to move him out of centerfield islong overdue. In his last four seasons in Seattle, from 1996 through '99, hemade 2.56 putouts per game and won the last four of his 10 consecutive GoldGloves. By comparison, in his last four seasons in Cincinnati, Griffey (left)has made 2.26 putouts per game--which translates into almost 50 balls a seasonthat he no longer had the wheels to catch up to. Not surprising for a playerwho turned 37 in November and hasn't stolen a base in his last 310 games. TheReds have plenty of options to replace him. The most likely scenario hasGriffey swapping positions with speedy outfielder Ryan Freel until prospectChris Denorfia, the Reds' 2005 minor league player of the year, is ready toclaim the every-day job in center.

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

THE LINEUP
PROJECTED ROSTER WITH 2006 STATISTICS

RYAN FREELCF    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
R88.27182737
BRANDON PHILLIPS2B    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
R40.276177525
KEN GRIFFEY JR.RF    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
L164.25227720
ADAM DUNNLF    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
L-R69.23440927
EDWIN ENCARNACION3B    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
R123.27615726
SCOTT HATTEBERG1B    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
L-R221.28913512
ALEX GONZALEZ*SS    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
R247.2559501
DAVID ROSSC    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
R109.25521520

 

BENCH     
JOSH HAMILTON (R)*

Class Astats

OF    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
L236.260050
JEFF CONINE*1B-OF    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
R251.26810663
JAVIER VALENTINC    
B-TPVRBAHRRBISB
S-R246.2698270

 

ROTATION       
PITCHER PVRWLKWHIPERA
RHAaron Harang1116112161.273.76
RHBronson Arroyo4514111841.193.29
RHKyle Lohse219510971.415.83
LHEric Milton11888901.345.19
RHMike Belisle20120261.553.60

 

BULLPEN       
PITCHER PVRWLSVWHIPERA
RHDavid Weathers11344121.293.54
LHMike Stanton1677781.433.99
RHDustin Hermanson*1150001.054.05


* New acquisition
(R) Rookie
B-T: Bats-throws
WHIP: Walks plus hits per inning pitched
PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 77)

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THE NUMBERS

LIE

2

League rankingfor the Reds in home runs (217) last season. Cincinnati was also second inbases on balls (614) but finished ninth in runs scored (749). So, why couldn'tthey score more? A lack of contact. The Reds' 1,192 strikeouts, including AdamDunn's NL--leading 194, contributed to a .257 team batting average, thesecond-lowest in the league behind the Astros.

PHOTOSIMON BRUTYKICKBACK The payoff for Arroyo in his trade from Boston to Cincy is the No. 2 spot in the rotation and a new three-year, $33 million contract.PHOTOTONY DEJAK/AP (GRIFFEY)PHOTOELSA/GETTY IMAGES (DUNN) Dunn