Young faces. Same Reds enthusiasm.
Despite losing 100 games last season and trading off some its most bankable stars in the last two seasons, Lima continues to show strong support for the Cincinnati Reds as approximately 300 showed up for the annual caravan stop Saturday morning at the Apollo Career Center.
The look of this year’s panel reflected the youth movement the Reds are in heading into in 2023. In addition to Reds general manager and vice president Nick Krall and Reds Hall of Famer Chris Sabo, a member of the 1990 World Series squad, third-year player infielder Alejo Lopez and minor leaguers Cam Collier and Tyler Callihan were in attendance.
Collier was selected 18th overall by the Reds in 2022 and Callihan was taken 85th overall in the 2019 draft and spent time in Dayton last season. Lopez, who was selected in the 27th round of the 2015 draft, saw some brief action that same year and played in 81 games last year and hit one home run and drove in 10 runs with a .262 batting average.
Marty Brenneman was scheduled to appear but was unable to attend due to an illness. The announcement made by Reds broadcaster Jim Day brought an audible groan from the fans who were hoping to see the hall of fame announcer.
Following the format of past caravans, a question and answer period was followed by an autograph session and as expected several Reds fans peppered Krall about the status of the Reds and the team’s focus and direction.
The Reds posted a 62-100 record last season.
“We need to have a strong farm system,” said Krall prior to the event. “That is where our core is going to come from. We want to have a good foundation and if we have a good foundation it is going to lead to a good big league team and if you have a good big league core it is going to help you to continue to develop.
“We had some guys get to the big leagues last year and we have some starters, (Hunter) Greene, (Nick) Lodolo and Graham (Ashcraft) and you had Alexis Diaz make his debut. We are seeing that core start to come together at the big league level and we also have guys coming up who are starting to establish themselves.”
Krall pointed out that Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson were beset with injuries last season and look to build around them, when healthy, for the next several years.
Longtime Reds first baseman Joey Votto is also a component, providing leadership, of the team’s rebuilding process. Krall provided an update on the fan favorite first baseman, stating that due to the shoulder surgery it is still uncertain he will be ready for opening day.
The Reds only significant offseason signing came when they inked Will Myers, a 10-year veteran who spent the last eight seasons with the Padres. Myers has a lifetime batting average of .254 with 153 home runs.
“The building process is going to be our focal point,” Krall said. “it is going to be built through our player pipeline and our scouting and player development and that is the most important thing we can do.”
While Krall addressed the slings and arrows from a couple of Reds fans, the popular Sabo also received his fair share of questions, ranging from the toughest pitcher he faced to the highlight of career.
Brad Huston came from Huntertown, Indiana, with his son, 10 and daughter, 2, to check out the caravan which he said he as always wanted to do and admitted that he came to see Brenneman.
‘I have never gotten to one of these caravan visits before,” Huston said. “I have heard about them and wanted to check it out and they have good deals with their kids club. I actually came to see Marty so that was the biggest drawback.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468