Frankly, I had forgotten that Baseball America had such an award. The Reds' current ownership and management deserve the recognition for turning a moribund franchise around in a pretty short period of time. When Bob Castellini bought the team in January of 2006, the Red were coming off a 73-89 season and their fifth losing season in a row. Since then, Cincinnati has won two division championships with a core predominately made up of homegrown talent. Sure, Joey Votto and others were drafted by previous regimes, but the current Reds management deserve credit for developing these players. In addition, Cincinnati has had the wisdom to preserve the nucleus of talent that has driven the Reds' recent success. The team continues to draft and develop well. Honestly, this type of organization is what I was dreaming of six years ago. Sure, we joke about the Reds having no money and being passive during the winter, but baseball is good in the Queen City right now. Congratulations, Reds management, and thank you for making Cincinnati baseball fun again.
Fangraphs' Mike Newman has been ranking the top 2012 prospects by position over the past weeks. Today he unveiled his list of top left-handed pitching prospects. Seattle's Danny Hultzen headlines the list. Reds prospect Tony Cingrani comes in at ninth place. Newman is concerned that Cingrani's limited pitching repertoire might force a move to the bullpen for the lefty.
Congratulations to Joey Votto on his third Tip O'Neill Award. The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame presents the award annually to baseball's most outstanding Canadian player. Votto also won the award in 2010 and shared the award with Milwaukee's John Axford in 2011. Previous winners include Larry Walker (nine times), Eric Gagne (twice), and Jason Bay (thrice).
It's a matter of cause and effect. If you let Ryan Ludwick walk, you are essentially handing the clean-up role to Brandon Phillips, the guy that most Reds fans were begging to hit lead-off while Dusty Baker was running Drew Stubbs out to snag that elusive first out. The ramifications of not signing Ludwick are crystal - without Ryan Ludwick, Brandon Phillips is the only clean-up hitter this team has.
If you confine yourself to "Reds players that have hit clean-up for the Reds", then Phillips is the only other option. However, there are other solutions if you are willing to look around the roster. Todd Frazier could handle the clean-up role against lefties. Jay Bruce could bat fourth against righties.
Rumors from the Winter Meetings:
The Reds continue to near a deal with Ryan Ludwick though no further details have been released. Jocketty also noted that the team is continuing its search for a leadoff hitter, but no longer has interest in Colorado's Dexter Fowler. Cincinnati is also interested in former Indian Jack Hannahan as a possible utility infielder for the Reds in 2013.
This is an early contender for misleading headline of the day. The author, "dclark" (what the hell, Cincinnati.com?), quotes Buster Olney and Jon Heyman as saying that the Red Sox are willing to deal Jacoby Ellsbury. Olney even mentions the Reds as a possible match. However, John Fay has said a couple of times on Twitter that the Reds probably cannot afford Ellsbury's nine million dollar salary. So no, the Reds are almost certainly not going to trade for Ellsbury.