Manager: Dusty Baker (4th season).
Projected Lineup: CF Drew Stubbs (.255, 22, 77, 30 SBs in 36 tries), 2B Brandon Phillips (.275, 18, 59), 1B Joey Votto (.324, 37, 113), 3B Scott Rolen (.285, 20, 83), RF Jay Bruce (.281, 25, 70), LF Jonny Gomes (.268, 18, 86), SS Paul Janish (.260, 5, 25 in 82 games), C Ramon Hernandez (.297, 7, 48).
Rotation: RH Edinson Volquez (4-3, 4.31 ERA in 12 games back from elbow surgery), RH Homer Bailey (4-3, 4.46, 19 games), RH Bronson Arroyo (17-10, 3.88, 33 games), LH Travis Wood (5-4, 3.51, 17 games), RH Mike Leake (8-4, 4.23, 24 games).
Key Relievers: RH Francisco Cordero (6-5, 3.84 ERA, 40 saves in 48 chances), LH Aroldis Chapman (2-2, 2.03, 15 games), RH Nick Masset (4-4, 3.40, 82 games), LH Dontrelle Willis (1-2, 4.98 in 9 games with Detroit, 1-1, 6.85 in six games with Arizona), RH Logan Ondrusek (5-0, 3.68, 60 games).
Hot Spots: SS, top of rotation, late relief. Janish is expected to get the majority of playing time at shortstop, but World Series MVP Edgar Renteria signed in the offseason and could play a lot if Janish struggles. Volquez got a late start in spring training because of visa problems. RH Johnny Cueto will start the season on the DL with a sore shoulder, giving Bailey a bigger role at the outset. Chapman and his 105-mph fastball will be in the bullpen from the outset, with the Reds hoping he can help fill Rhodes‘ setup role.
Outlook: The defending NL Central champions brought their roster back virtually intact and spent more than $150 million in the offseason to lock up their young players long-term. If they continue to develop and they stay reasonably healthy, the Reds ought to be in contention in a division that was the NL’s weakest last year. Bruce and Stubbs struggled early in the season, then became key components in the Reds‘ closing run to their first playoff berth in 15 years. Baker thinks the experience of winning the division title and reaching the playoffs, where they were swept by Philadelphia, should give them the confidence to try for another.
2010: 86-76, second place.
Manager: Tony La Russa (16th season).
He’s Outta There: SS Brendan Ryan, RHP Brad Penny, LHP Dennys Reyes, RHP Jeff Suppan, RHP Blake Hawksworth, Util Felipe Lopez, C Jason LaRue, 3B Pedro Feliz, Util Joe Mather, INF Aaron Miles, C Matt Pagnozzi, OF Randy Winn, RHP Mike MacDougal.
Projected Lineup: 2B Skip Schumaker (.265, 5, 42, 16 SBs), CF Colby Rasmus (.276, 23, 66, 12 SBs), 1B Albert Pujols (.312, 42, 118, 39 doubles, 115 runs, 103 BB), LF Matt Holliday (.312, 28, 103, 45 doubles), RF Lance Berkman (.248, 14, 58 with Astros, Yankees), C Yadier Molina (.262, 6, 62), 3B David Freese (.296 in 240 ABs, 4, 36), SS Ryan Theriot (.270, 2, 29, 20 SBs with Cubs, Dodgers).
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