Reflections on the Reds second half hopes

Heading into the second half of the season the Reds are sitting five games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central. Around this time last season the Reds were the best team in baseball, now they are fighting just to make it to the playoffs. Going forward there are some key points that fans must remember.

Shin-Soo Choo is not under contract next year, and will be arbitration eligible. With all the success that Choo has had this year he seems to be a good fit for the Reds going into future seasons. However, as much as the Reds would like to sign him before the season is over, there is a high probability that he will not. Remember Choo’s agent is Scott Boras and based off of other players in this same situation with Boras as their agent, it is very likely that Choo will become a free agent after this season to test the market and receive higher contract offers. Losing Choo to the highest bidder in free agency might not be the worst thing to happen because Billy Hamilton would be next in line to take the center field spot in 2014. It would allow him to get his at bats and progress on the path that the Reds have laid out for him. Losing Choo and replacing him with Hamilton is not going to ruin the outfield depth in 2014, remember Ryan Ludwick is under contract in 2014, too.

The bullpen that made last year’s Reds so good all came back this season, but injuries have made things tough in the late innings. Sean Marshall, Nick Masset, and Jonathan Broxton were all key pitchers in securing many wins last season. However, all are on the Disabled List (DL) and that leaves them without its three best late inning pitchers. Remember last season, at the deadline the Reds acquired Broxton which at the time seemed like a bad idea, but ended up working great for the Reds. With the trade deadline fast approaching, maybe they can do the same and trade for a reliever. As far as the need for one, the Reds should be first in line for trade talks surrounding relievers.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto during a ...

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto during a Spring Training workout outside Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Johnny Cueto is considered by many as the ace of the pitching staff. Well the ace has spent most of his time this season on the DL. Remember that Mike Leake has stepped up and become a much better starter than he was last season. He is on pace to finish with the most wins in one season of his career. So with Leake, Latos, and Arroyo, getting Cueto back will certainly give the Reds a boost down the stretch. Remember that Cueto is not that far off from returning to the rotation as he has made a rehab start in Dayton already.

Making it to the playoffs will not be easy if the Pirates continue to play like they have been up to this point, but stranger things have happened. The Reds have a chance to make it if Choo and Leake continue to have career years along with the return of Broxton to the pen and Cueto to the rotation.

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