Red Reposter - What's Old is New Again

Spring is a time for renewal. A time for debuts. We're likely to witness one in the fifth spot of the Reds' rotation, so I for one feel a sense of solidarity with [LEAKE, MIKE or WOOD, TRAVIS]. As junior member of the Reposter staff, I'll be responsible for generating hip, catchphrase-laden prose that should secure my place as a wise-cracking name-to-know in the Reds blogsophere. (At the very least, I'm hoping to avoid this outcome.) With Prof. Scrabbles as faculty advisor for my Masters in Reposting intensive, my wings will soon take dream!

Lest we forget, Opening Day is a mere 5 days from now. In Cincinnati, the occassion is a de facto holiday with a long and storied tradition, yet one which always manages to seem novel each year it comes back around. (Promise #1: I promise not to attempt to force-fit a flighty unifying theme into every Reposter.)

Chapman most likely headed to the minors; fifth starter competition now between Wood and Leake
This one was lit up tickers nationwide. By all accounts, it's a two-way race now, though Chapman is not quite a definitive "no." According to Uncle Walt: "The injury set him back to the point where it's going to be tough for him to be ready to start the season as one of our five starters." Anyone who did an earnest risk/reward on Chapman knew the minors were probably the best place for him to start the 2010 season, but the emergence of Leake and Wood as legitimate candidates for the OD rotation has been a pleasant surprise to all but the staunchest Matt Maloney supporters.

Enquirer quizzes readership on 1990 Team & shills for some book by John Erardi
Talking of debuts, Fay's blog gives a plug for the highly-anticipated release of “The Wire-to-Wire Reds: Sweet Lou, Nasty Boys and the Wild Run to a World Championship," which as many of you know was co-authored by our own beloved Slyde. I heard several type-setters were injured printing the title page. Slyde gets a namecheck in the post, though mention of his association with Red Reporter is conspicuously absent. No matter, I'm eagerly awaiting the book's release and excited to read the definitive account of my (and Marty's) favorite Reds team. Maybe I can get my hot hands on an advance review copy for the Reposter. If you represent the author or publisher, please send (along with a concordance) to: Red Reposter c/o Rijo Sabocasey, WKRP 123 Contrived St. Cincinnati, OH 45202

And on the heels of their excellent, Times-caliber photo gallery from the 1990 season, the Enquirer offers a 15-question trivia challenge covering that legendary '90 squad.

Harang feeling ebullient 
This spring has been rough on Harang's ERA, but he says he feels "great" on the cusp of the regular season. Taken with four earned runs, Tuesday's 6 Ks in 4.2 IP were certainly heartening. I may have a soft spot for the guy, but I'll take the rocky spring from Harang, considering he tweaked his delivery but kept up his velocity. There may be some strange voodoo at work when he isn't missing bats, but it stands to reason he'll benefit this year from having an elite defense behind him. C. Trent also reminds us that despite a more favorable outcome for the Cards, Harang's Opening Day adversary walked six in 5 IP vs. the Mets yesterday.

Fairly enjoyable facts re: Opening Day
Some faceless blogger at Bleacher Report has some tidbits about Reds Opening Day history. With his fifth straight turn on the mound, Aaron Harang will join Mario Soto as the leader in consecutive Opening Day starts. Also, I forgot that brutal 16-7 reaming by the Cubs in 2006, which was apparently the most runs given up by the Reds on Opening Day. But take comfort in the fact that the Reds have more OD wins over the Cubs than any other club.

MLB.com ArticleBot generates obligatory story on Cincinnati Reds as Dark Horse
Actually, it's Mark Sheldon. And it's not really his fault this dead horse is being flogged again - this is still the line on the Reds and the one which the team if force to keeping responding. He acknowledges the media consensus saddling the Reds with high expectations. But at some point, Perennial Sleepers become Perennial Underachievers.

OMGReds de-briefs from Goodyear
A thoughtful assessment of the fan experience at the new facility in Arizona. It sounds like things are still very new in  Goodyear and the kinks need to be ironed out. Everyone agrees it's a slick facility and OMG has a nice little photo set up. BREAKING: Apparently OMGReds is now kaput.

CNATI: Ondrusek standing out
With Micah Owings all but secure in a long-man 'pen role, there's really only one spot in question should the Reds choose to carry 7 pitchers when they break camp. That spot ostensibly belongs to Mike Lincoln, given his $2M guaranteed, but Logan, Lehr and Maloney appear to be very much in the conversation at this late date. The Reds are expected to cut several guys after tonight's game.

Fangraphs unleashes fan-projected FIP for Chapman
Didn't you read this Reposter? He ain't startin' out in the bigs! Based on a robust 504 entries by fans (though a possible selection bias for the nerd cohort), Fangraphs gives us a composite projection for Aroldis Chapman's 2010 fielding-independent pitching.

Posnanski gets the Bad Baseball HOF discussion started with Gookie Dawkins
Poz sez "Gookie Dawkins is probably the worst hitter I have ever seen in the Major Leagues," though he goes onto qualify that this is a feat  worthy of admiration: "It seems impossible to me that someone with Gookie Dawkins swing could make it to the Major Leagues." Remember that Dawkins, despite his "sledgehammer" approach and .163 lifetime MLB average, still put up respectable numbers in his early minor league career and remains in the rarefied space of baseball players worldwide who were good enough to make it to the show. Dawkins, for his part, doesn't meet Poz's criteria for sustained bad baseballing as his MLB career lasted a mere 110 PAs. I always secretly hoped a Gookie to Pokey to Casey double-play connection would emerge.

Francisco at 1B?
Sweet Sassy Mollassy. Mark down El Niño Destructor as another Reds prospect being given the tour de positions. With Votto firmly entrenched and the organization's number one hitting prospect still primarily a first baseman, there's probably not much to this, though rest assured, testing the versatility of Francisco and Alonso may have serious trade implications.

Pete Rose Dating a 28-year old former Korean airline attendant turned Playboy model
Sometimes New and Old shouldn't mix. Blog Red Machine brings to our attention another entry for the bloated "Pete Rose: Reasons He Probably Shouldn't Be Involved in a PR Campaign to Revitalize Cincinnati" file. I'm not surprised Pete is doing something less than conventional for a man of his age, but when you think of Playmates and Who They Could Be Dating, the name Charlie Hustle doesn't spring to mind. Pete's free to date who he chooses - and for all I know she's a fine young woman - but he's not exactly de-sleazing the tarnished image of a rough-hewn gambler he's still pitching for reinstatement.

Red Hot Mama thinks a Dusty Baker contract extension is fait accompli
Despite his favored status, I think whether Baker is around in 2011 will still turn on team performance this season, but his blind spots do seem to get a lot of leeway with the front office.

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