Jerry Crasnick discusses the risks of moving Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation. While he acknowledges that Chapman could become one of the game's best left-handers, Crasnick also cites the skepticism of Reds players and an AL scout. Fortunately, Walt Jocketty and Bryan Price remain committed to keeping the team's long-term options open. When the Reds used Chapman as the closer last year after the injury to Ryan Madson, one could have maintained a justified pessimism about ever seeing the lefty pitch in the major league rotation. However, Jocketty has managed to craft a plan for the long run while maintaining flexibility in the short run.
John Fay reports that the front office still believes that Scott Rolen may return for one final year. However, Fay points out that there are both payroll and playing time concerns that may prevent Rolen from playing. The Reds' payroll will probably push $100M while Todd Frazier has locked up the starting job at third base.
For players with a minimum of 150 plate appearances in a season, Valdez's OPS+ (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, adjusted for ballpark and league played in) of ‘‘24'' is the third-worst in Reds history. To make matters worse, Valdez had 37 more plate appearances than either of the guys in front of him (Bill Fox, 1901, OPS+ of 20 in 171 plate appearances, and Paul Blair, 1979, OPS+ of 21 in 155 plate appearances).
Bill Bergen's 1901 season may have been even worse, given that he had 326 plate appearances in his OPS+ of 29. (We bring this up because Cairo also had an OPS+ last year of 29.)
You probably noticed that Bergen-Fox (1901) committed their malfeasance together, as did Valdez-Cairo (2012). At least the latter were obscured (until we came along, anyway) by their team's 97-65 finish. Bergen and Fox ‘‘led'' the Reds' way to a 52-87 finish in 1901. That's hard to obscure when you're in last place, 38 games off the pace. And, yes, it could have been even worse. The 1901 Reds should have been 46-93, given that they allowed 260 more runs than they scored.
Terence Moore's article is rife with a blatant homerism of the worst sort. He admits that he grew up living in Cincinnati and rooting for the Reds before launching into an impassioned plea to play the All-Star Game in Cincinnati every five years. His supporting example is that the NCAA basketball tournament is frequently held in Indianapolis, the home court of hoops in his opinion. Why? Well, as it turns out, Moore lived in Indiana before moving to Cincinnati so he has a soft spot for the Hoosier State as well.
Moore also swallows the myth of the Cincinnati Reds being the first professional baseball team. Once someone informs Moore that the Red Stockings moved to Boston and became the Braves*, will he change his mind, saying that the All-Star Game should be held in Atlanta every five years? When are we going to dispel the fallacy that the current Cincinnati Reds and the original Red Stockings are one and the same?
*Note: As ams78 correctly points out in the comments, this was an overreach on my part. The original Red Stockings folded, and a number of the players joined a new team in Boston that became what we now know as the Braves. I should have said that the current Braves have a stronger link to the Red Stockings than the current Reds do. I apologize for the error and the exaggeration.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer continue to improve Chicago's baseball operations department with the hire of Tango Tiger. The interview is a pretty good introduction to Tango for those unfamiliar with his work.
Scott Bomboy criticizes the Nationals' selection of William Howard Taft as the fifth racing president. Racing Teddy Roosevelt picked Taft as the event's fifth contestant, but the two men disliked one another and had a fierce political rivalry in real life.