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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thoughts on the Reds & Chase Field

Chase Field was my local ballpark for seven years.
Photo Credit: Not That Bob James
In my series preview today of the Reds and Diamondbacks, I posted some doomy and gloomy thoughts on the current state of affairs:
So.  At the time that I write this (prior to end of the last Dodgers game), the Reds are in the midst of a 4-game losing streak.  They're 7.5 games behind the Brewers.  And thanks to a modest surge by the Pirates, the Reds now sit in 4th place in the NL Central.  Finally, the Reds' playoff odds, according to both FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus, have dropped below 10% for the first time this season.  It's a tough time.  The offense has been very poor, and the bullpen has been even worse.  Despite the strong performances by the starting pitching, the Reds have been a sub-0.500 team, in terms of both real wins and PythagenPat record. 
Is there hope?  Sure.  Latos and Votto could return, Bruce could catch fire, Frazier & Mesoraco & Cueto and the rest could keep on keepin' on, and the Reds could go on a tear.  But they're at the point that they will need to go on a heck of a run to get back into contention.
John Fay and C. Trent Rosecrans are already starting to talk about the Reds' potential trade chips.  Cueto's at the top of the list, of course.  He's cheap for his value, and there's not a team in baseball that wouldn't love to have him.  None of us are privvy to the Reds' true financial situation, but they are facing what could be a major escalation in payroll next year.  First-time eligible arbitration players Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco, and Zack Cozart are in line for big raises.  And other salaries are going up, while very little salary is scheduled to go off the books.  It could be that the Reds are set up to absorb that hike in payroll, which could allow them to field much the same team next year as they did this year (hopefully in good health!).  But it just seems like a lot of money.  I'm not sure what the coming few months will bring, but if the Reds don't rebound, I think we could be looking at some significant roster changes.  Of course, maybe that's what this team needs...
But, I also took some spent a moment to reminisce about Chase Field, which was fun:
The Reds return to my old haunts.  I spent 7 years in Phoenix (hence the AZ in my username), and for a lot of that I lived only about 10 minutes away from the ballpark in South Phoenix.  As a result, I've probably seen more games there than any park other than Riverfront.  It's a really nice place to take in a game.  I never thought I'd like indoor baseball.  But when the heat is blazing outside, it was an incredibly comfortable, pleasant place to kick back and enjoy a ballgame.  It's the place where my oldest "saw" her first ballgame as a two-month old (the night of Carlos Quintin's debut, when he hit his first major league home run), and where I got to watch live games in the first World Baseball Classic.  I also got to see a 2007 playoff game there (Cubs v. Dbacks), which was the only playoff game I've ever attended in person (go ahead, make fun of me).  I have pretty great memories of that ballpark.