I hope you remember that I've been saying that the Reds are on the come for a couple of years now.
Because now it's the vogue thing to say. "The Reds are the team most likely to be this year's Tampa Bay Rays," I've heard said in various places...like my "Sporting News" Baseball Preview magazine, for instance (though the Reds sit fourth in their standings).
Well, I'm here to tell you that I think the Reds are another year away. Let's talk Cincinnati in 2010.
This year's version of last year's Tampa Bay Rays will be the Florida Marlins. I bet the Marlins ride their strong pitching to a second-place finish in the NL East...which will probably be good enough for a National League wild card berth.
We're picking a long-shot here, and this is a long shot, but they definitely have the starting pitching depth (and talent) to make a regular season run. It's also the end of their 6-year rebuilding cycle - 1997 champs, 2003 champs, and now it's 2009. (I just thought of that - it wasn't part of my argument coming in. But I really like it.)
The holes are plenty, but the Marlins are young enough that they have a lot of players who could break through this year and show they're more than capable of filling the holes.
And heaven knows they've shown October-type intensity when they've ruined the Mets' past two seasons late in the year.
This year it could very well be another team whose playoff hopes they ruin - in the playoffs.
A RESPONSE TO THE COMMENTS: Thanks to Dave in Brighton for the comment on Chris Davis. I really think Josh Hamilton has a come-back-to-earth-type year this year, so in my mind it's not a tremendous reach to think Davis will be better than Hamilton. Remember Hamilton's second half fade last year? That might have been more of a sign of things to come in 2009.