No matter which side of the fence you sit on concerning the 2016 version of the Cincinnati Reds, thoughts of warm weather, spring time, and a day at the ball park came to mind last Thursday, Jan. 29 as the annual Cincinnati Reds Caravan made its annual media stop in Maysville.
The Conference Center in downtown Maysville hosted this year’s East Tour Caravan stop which included broadcasters Marty Brennaman and Chris Welsh, catcher Tucker Barnhart, minor league pitcher Amir Garrett, former outfielder. first baseman Dmitri Young, Assistant General Manager Nick Krall, and the mascot Gapper.
Obviously, the main topic of conversation in the hour-long stay in Maysville was the off-season moves of the Reds and what fans can expect from the 2016 team. Brennaman is not one who minces words and he spoke to WFTM Radio about the direction the team is taking.
“I think the club has been very honest about it,” said the Hall of Fame broadcaster. “This is a rebuilding situation. When you lose 98 games, there is no other way to look at it and there will be new faces on this team. You never like to see a team in this rebuilding mode, that’s a dirty word in most cases. This team lost 98 games last year but on the plus side, it’s an opportunity for some young players to come out of nowhere based on their performance in spring training.
“I’m in favor of trading them all. I don’t think that when you lose 98 games you can fall in love with anybody. I know this organization was looking down the road with all the moves they made. I don’t disagree with anything this team has done because I think in three years maximum, maybe as early as 2017, there will be people who will look back and understand the reasons why the team did what they did.”
Trading away some of their established players like Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman gave the Reds an opportunity to build up a farm system that had been lacking in talent in recent years and Brennaman sees that as a promising sign.
“They’ve moved up to having the number eight farm system in the major leagues,” said Brennaman. “I think by the time the season is over it will even be better than that. Pitching wise by 2017 or 2018, this team could realistically have 10-11 guys in the rotation or the bullpen that are going to be throwing 95 miles an hour or better.”
Krall, in his first season as Assistant Manager, also is optimistic about the upcoming seasons.
“Obvious to everyone, we’re in a rebuilding process with the players we’ve gotten back in trades to develop our minor league system,” said the Assistant GM. “Our future is very bright. We have some great young pitching at all levels and it’s going to take some time to get some of these young kids up to speed, but fans are going to see some exciting young players.”
The annual Reds Caravan, split into four groups, travels over 3,300 miles in four days, with this year’s tour holding the finale on Jan. 31 at Florence Mall. The Reds’ spring training schedule begins on March 1 with a game against the Cleveland Indians and 2016 Opening Day is set for Monday, April 4 when the Reds host the Philadelphia Phillies.