Cincinnati Reds Team Preview 2017

Don’t blame Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto for the team’s equally disappointing last place finishes these last two years. While the Reds have posted consecutive seasons of 98 and 94 losses in 2015 and 2106 respectively Votto has continued to play like a future Hall of Famer, knocking 29 home runs with 97 RBI and .326 batting average last year and leading the National League in on-base percentage (.434) for the fifth time in the last seven years. His 10-year career OBP of .425 is nearly 25 percent higher than Mike Trout’s .401, the next highest active player. Votto’s career .961 OPS (on base + slugging percentage) ranks fourth among active players.

All of this has not kept Votto and his 10-year $225 million contract from drawing the ire of Cincinnati Reds long time broadcaster Marty Brennaman who unleashed a verbal tirade on a caller to the Reds Hot Stove radio program this past January. Brennan expressed his opinion that Votto’s contract, which the Reds still owe $172 million on for the next seven years, has prevented the team from making any impactful deals during the offseason.

“I’m going to tell you this: If I were an owner of a baseball team I would say to him if I could trade him, I’d trade him yesterday. And I would say, hell I can lose 94 games without you just as easily as I could lose 94 games with you. I don’t care about the OPS. I don’t care about none of that. This team made a bad deal when they signed Joey Votto to a 10-year contract. And he’s gonna make $22M and either next year or the following year he’s going to make $25M. There’s no sanity on God’s Earth that justifies this being a good contract,” said Brenneman.

A four time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP, Votto has been the Reds most consistent hitter during his 10 years with the team. Of current Reds players only second baseman Brandon Phillips, who is in the final year of his contract, has been with the team longer than Votto.

With nowhere to go but up the Reds have continued a dismantling and rebuilding process that began last year with the departures of pitchers Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Champan and third baseman Todd Frazier prior to the beginning of last season and continued with the trade of outfielder Jay Bruce to the New York Mets at the trading deadline last year. Right handed pitcher Dan Strailey, who was selected off waivers by the Reds just prior to Opening Day last year and led the staff with 14 wins, was traded to the Miami M arlins for pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfielder Isiah White.

Cincinnati Reds Prospects to Watch

Third baseman Nick Senzel hit .329 with seven home runs with 36 RBI in 58 games at single-A Dayton in 2016.

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