This is how you build a team. You don't sign players that are older than the game itself. Jason Marquis, Ted Lilly, Andy Petitte, Roger Clemens? That's not how you build a winning team. This is.
The Reds are building a team through their farm system and good moves for budding superstars. The Red Sox last year were led by these players. They got David Ortiz for nothing before he was the best DH in the game. Jonathan Papelbon, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester all have had their time in Pawtucket. Jacoby Ellsbury has been a Sox since his minor league days. That's how you build a winning team. The Reds are doing this as well.
We all know Johnny Cueto. The media has declared him the next Nolan Ryan after his first start. Frankly, I don't blame them. He won his first game like no other current pitcher has. In seven innings, Cueto had 10 strikeouts, and only one earned run, a Justin Upton homer. He shut down the powerful lineup of the Diamondbacks and led the Reds to victory.
Right now, Rangers fans are about to riot in Arlington. That's because a former Ranger, Edinson Volquez, is tearing up the Phillies. Through 5 and a third innings, he has threw 8 strikeouts and only allowed 1 earned run. The Reds traded Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez this offseason. Volquez and Cueto are looking like future aces. Remember the Reds already have Aaron Harang at the top of the rotation and Bronson Arroyo, who had a 4.23 ERA last season. I'd say the staff is looking good.
As I previously mentioned, the Reds traded former number one pick Josh Hamilton to the Rangers this past year. Hamilton was a fan favorite and revived his career after a battle with drug and alcohol addiction. So why would the Reds trade a player like that? Because of a left fielder in Louisville named Jay Bruce. Jay Bruce was drafted 12th in 2005, and he's making 11 teams questioned their scouts. Last year, Jay Bruce destroyed pitchers in A, AA, and AAA. He hit 26 homer runs, 89 RBI, and had a .319 batting average in 133 games in the minors. Now, he's not on the team right now. That's mostly because if he plays another month in the minors, his arbitration is held off for a year. Adam Dunn(g) is in his final year of his contract, and he isn't resigning. Bruce will take over the duties in left field maybe even this year. He was the Baseball America Minor League Baseball Player of the Year last year, and he could be winning more awards for the Reds in a few years.
Guess what (chicken butt)? This isn't it. Remember Homer Bailey? The future ace of the staff. The guy who went 4-2 in the majors last year and struck out 77 batters in 68 innings in his stay in AA. He's being overshadowed now. Think of the pitching staff next year. Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, and Edinson Volquez. All of those guys are potential 15 game winners, and Cueto and Volquez will end this year with some major media attention.
And guess what again (chicken butt again)? There are some good young batters as well. Joey Votto has taken Scott Hatteberg's spot at first base and is a blossoming power hitter. The Kansas City Royals traded Jeff Keppinger, a shortstop they designated to AAA to the Reds for pitcher Russ Haltiwanger. In 6 games so far this year, he has 2 home runs. Good trade, Royals. Russ Haltiwanger doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.
With all of these young players, this is why I think the Cincinnati Reds will be the World Series champs in 2009. Their team should look like this:
1-CF Corey Patterson
2-SS Jeff Keppinger
3-RF Ken Griffey, Jr.
4-2B Brandon Phillips
5-LF Jay Bruce
6-1B Joey Votto
7-3B Edwin Encarnacion
8-C Dave Ross
SS Alex Gonzalez
OF Norris Hopper
OF Ryan Freel
C David Ross
1B Tony Gutierrez (currently in AA)
1. Aaron Harang
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Bronson Arroyo
4. Edinson Volquez
5. Homer Bailey
I'm not overlooking this year. The Reds are 4-2 if they hold on today. They will win the NL Central easily and make it in the playoffs, where they could do some damage. However, whatever they do this year, it will be considered a down year by fans in 10 years when the next Big Red Machine takes control of the NL. The future is bright, all because they built through the organization. Are you listening, Cubbies? How about you Bombers? This is how you do it.