The home of the Big Blue was converted into a sea of red on Sunday as hundreds of Cincinnati Reds fans gathered at the Civic Center for the Lexington stop of the club's annual Winter Caravan. The event featured three time Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips, former Reds great Lee May, and up and coming catcher Tucker Barnhart.
Fans also got off-season scouting reports from TV analyst Chris Welsh, and Hall of Fame radio play by play man Marty Brennaman.
While the rival Cardinals and Brewers lost the services of their respective first basemen, (Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder), Brennaman says their departures present a real opportunity for the Reds to rule the National League Central; provided they can sign most valuable player Joey Votto to a long-term contract.
"If there is a window of opportunity it's this year and next year when he's still going to be wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform; hopefully a long time after that, but nobody really knows. So, they've gone all out this winter to do everything they can to put themselves in a position of not only winning, but getting into the post-season."
While Votto remains under contract for two more seasons, Phillips' contract expires after this year. He says his preference would be to sign a deal that keeps him in Cincinnati for the rest of his career.
"I'm going to have my day. I really believe in myself and I believe my agent will really get things done. But you know, it's up to the Reds. I mean I want to be here for the rest of my career and hopefully, they'll get it done because I want to bleed red for the rest of my life."
The Reds added starting pitcher Matt Latos, closer Ryan Madson, infielder Wilson Valdez and outfielder Ryan Ludwick to a team that finished the season in third place in the N.L. Central.
Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than a month.