As soon as the news broke a friend of mine, a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, texted me an ominous statement; “It’s time to find out what the Reds are made of.”
With superstar Joey Votto recently announcing he needed knee surgery, and would be out for a month, that statement couldn’t be truer. Votto is in the midst of another MVP level season and his loss could be a huge blow for the first place Red’s.
Even though they still have a plethora of talent, you cannot replace someone of Votto’s caliber easily. Todd Frazier will attempt to fill in, but cannot give the Red’s the power or consistency with the bat that they have become accustomed to. It will mostly fall to Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce to fill the void left behind by this injury.
Phillips and Bruce have been fantastic for the Red’s this season, but have been at best second options. With Votto now out, one of these guys needs to turn into the major hitter that can carry the team through this month.
But this doesn’t have to be all negative for Cincinnati.
Hopefully management will be motivated to fill the hole left by Votto, and to do so in the trade market. Most of the rumors coming from the front office have revolved around the idea of picking up Padre’s outfielder Carlos Quentin. If the management can complete this deal it should provide not only a boost to the Red’s for this month, but that final piece that could put them in the World Series.
Even if they can’t acquire Quentin or another big name before the deadline, the record without Votto may not be as bad as some people think. With a schedule that includes only 2 series against teams with winning records, the Pirates and the Mets, the Red’s may be ok and remain at least in contention for the division.
Overall this hurts, Cincinnati loses one of the league’s premier players and their superstar, but it could have been much worse. If the Reds can get through this month with minimal damage they are going to be that much stronger heading into the last month of the season with Votto back in the lineup.
Let’s see what the Reds are made of.