Well, today’s the last game of the 2005 regular season, and what a season it’s been. Lots of highs, many more lows, and plenty of items to discuss.
John Fay turns an eye to next year in today’s Enquirer. He comes to the obvious conclusion:
You don’t need to be a baseball genius to figure what changes must be made for the Reds to return to respectability.
Even if you don’t know OPS from UPS, you can look at the stats and figure it out.
The Reds need better pitching.
Solving that problem is exceedingly more difficult than identifying it.
“It’s not a surprise to anyone that our No. 1 priority is to improve the pitching,” said general manager Dan O’Brien.
The Reds are first in the National League in runs, doubles, home runs and slugging percentage.
But all that good stuff on offense was negated by a pitching staff that is second-to-last in the National League – ahead of only the altitude-challenged Colorado Rockies.
I’m going to make a bold statement: the Reds only need one pitcher to be a contender next year. Eric Milton was awful, but you have to think he’s going to bounce back closer to his career average next year. If he’s average, and Harang and Claussen are slightly above average, you can plug in Belisle or someone like Justin Germano at the back of the rotation. Put a good pitcher at the front of the rotation — and I don’t know who that might be — but that would be enough to put the Reds in contention.
Heck, if all the Reds’ pitchers had just performed to their career averages, the Reds would have been in the playoff hunt this year. Unfortunately, they — Milton, Hudson, Ortiz — were historically bad. That can’t happen again (can it?). When they pitched average, the Reds played above .500 baseball.
Use this as a game thread, and let us hear what you think the Reds need to do to be competitive next year.