FAMILIAR FACES IN THE DIVISION SERIES
Although we won’t have Jay Bruce (Mets), Paul Janish (Orioles) and Drew Stubbs (Orioles) to cheer on in the 2016 Postseason, there are still several familiar faces vying for a nice shiny World Series ring.
The division series are now set in both leagues with the Blue Jays vs Rangers and Red Sox vs Indians in the AL and the Dodgers vs Nationals and Cubs vs Giants in the NL.
Need a team to root for? Perhaps your favorite former Red is on one of these eight teams. Let’s take a look…
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Edwin Encarnacion was acquired by the Reds along with Ruben Mateo in a 2001 trade with the Rangers that sent Rob Bell to Texas. In five seasons with the Reds (as a third baseman), Edwin batted .262 with 71 homers, 263 RBI, a .345 on-base pct., and a .449 slugging pct. In July of 2009, he was dealt to the Blue Jays along with pitchers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart in exchange for Scott Rolen.
Many forget that Edwin was waived by the Blue Jays in 2010, picked up by Oakland and granted free agency before re-signing with Toronto in December of that year.
Dioner Navarro appeared in 24 games as the Reds backup catcher in 2012. An avid European soccer fan, Dioner is currently with his seventh team in 13 big league seasons.
Shin-Soo Choo made quite an impression in his lone season with the Reds after Cincinnati acquired him in a 3-team deal in December of 2012. As the Reds’ center fielder in 2013, “Mr. Choo,” as Dusty used to call him, slashed a very impressive .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs in 154 games. Following that season, he signed with the Rangers as a free agent.
BOSTON RED SOX
Ryan Hanigan did not make the Red Sox ALDS roster but he could possibly still appear in an ALCS and/or World Series game if the Red Sox advance. It’s still hard to believe that this 10-year vet went undrafted in 2002 before signing with the Reds as a passed over free agent. In seven seasons, the Reds gritty backstop batted .262 in 474 games.
Although there are no former Reds on the Indians current roster, the two teams have a few things in common: they both call Ohio home, they both share a Spring Training ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona and they both had Jeff Treadway at one time.
How could I forget Terry Francona!? “Tito” appeared in 107 games for the Reds in 1987.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Johnny Cueto will start for the Giants on Friday night in the first game of their series against the Cubs. “Johnny Beisbol” is no stranger to the Postseason, as this will be his seventh playoff series. From 2008 to 2015, the Reds ace went 92-63 with a 3.21 ERA in 213 starts for Cincinnati. He was dealt to the Royals on 7/16/15 for Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. Cueto signed with the Giants on 12/16/15.
Aroldis Chapman debuted for the Reds as a 22 year-old in August of 2010. Since then, the Cuban flame-thrower has become arguably the most dominant closer in the game today. After six seasons with Cincinnati, Chapman was traded to the Yankees (12/28/15) and then to the Cubs (7/25/16). While with the Reds, he was a key figure in assuring fans free pizza for games at Great American Ball Park.
David Ross came to the Reds from the Padres in March of 2006 in exchange for pitcher Bobby Basham. Of his 15 years in the Majors, “Grandpa Rossy” spent three of them in a Reds uniform, including his best season as a big leaguer in 2007 when he hit 21 homers with a .932 OPS in 90 games.
Travis Wood nearly threw a no-hitter in Philadelphia while pitching for the Reds. Do you remember that? “Woody” was selected by the Reds in the second round of the 2005 draft and spent 2 seasons with Cincinnati before being dealt to the Cubs in 2011 along with Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes in exchange for Sean Marshall.
Jake Arrieta?! Yep, the very same Jake Arrieta who threw a no-hitter against the Reds this season at Great American Ball Park never actually played for our beloved Redlegs but he was drafted by the Reds in 2004 (did not sign).
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Yasmani Grandal was the Reds first round pick (12th overall) in 2010. He was traded on December 17, 2011 with Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez to the San Diego Padres for Mat Latos. From San Diego, Grandal went to the Dodgers in 2014 and last year celebrated his first All-Star appearance.
Josh Ravin was the Reds fifth-round pick in 2005. After nine years in the Reds system, Ravin went the Brewers and then to the Dodgers where he made his Major League debut in 2015.
Justin Turner didn’t always have that long red hair and big bushy beard! The Cal-State Fullerton product was selected by the Reds in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. After succeeding at nearly every level in the Reds system, he became part of a trade in 2008 that netted catcher Ramon Hernandez.
Matt Belisle is still considered one of the all-time biggest eaters in Reds history. The dude could put away some hard-boiled eggs like no other. Probably still can. The 36 year-old Belisle made his big league debut in 2003 as a member of the Reds staff. He spent five seasons here before he was granted free agency in 2009.
Chris Heisey will forever remain a popular member of the Reds family. The Reds 17th round draft choice in 2006, Heisey spent his first five big league seasons as a Cincinnati Red. In 2014 he was traded to the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Matt Magill.
Mat Latos pitched for the Reds from 2012-2014 and made two postseason appearances for Cincinnati during that time. The big Floridian right-hander was traded to the Marlins in December 2014 in exchange for Chad Wallach and Anthony DeSclafani.
Dusty Baker will always be one of my most favorite human beings in or out of the game of baseball. A true gentleman and a great baseball man, Dusty was the Reds skipper when the team returned to the Postseason in 2010, 2012 and 2013. In six years as the Reds manager, the team went 509-463.