53 Free Agents have signed for more than $5 million guaranteed this offseason, none of whom have signed since Masahiro Tanaka was officially posted on Christmas.* That's an alarmingly long period of inactivity in a market that still features teamless names like Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Nelson Cruz, Bronson Arroyo, and DocRam, and it's obvious that the Tanaka situation has bogged down both the free agent bazaar and any potential trades featuring starting pitching. While this isn't directly impacting the offseason of the Cincinnati Reds, the trickle-down effect of minor moves certainly is, hence the inactivity and collective woe. *If you read MLBTradeRumors religiously over the past handful of years, then you'll surely remember Ben Nicholson-Smith, who was formerly a Senior Editor before taking the role of baseball editor for sportsnet.ca.
Speaking of Tanaka, he got the collective sugars of baseball up this morning with a seemingly innocuous tweet. It appears a simple request for his twitter followers to help him choose his new avatar got both mistranslated and misinterpreted, leading many to think that he had made a decision regarding his future. Unfortunately, that means his decision is still on hold, meaning the Reds can't trade Home for Panda quite yet. File this in the "Twitter SNAFU" folder next to this.
Fake Teams profiled Reds' catcher Devin Mesoraco. I agree with barely any of this, but whatever.
Mark Sheldon weighed in on Robert Stephenson following the young righthander's appearance on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP prospect list. There's some solid information in here courtesy of Jeff Graupe, Reds player development director, regarding some of the changes the Reds' top pitching prospect has made since being drafted straight out of high school. There's nothing in here that won't make you drool.
Over at the Enquirer, C. Trent's BAR today has a few interesting tidbits. Included are his brief thoughts about a potential addition of Grady Sizemore, and also a link to a complete list of those players signed to minor league contracts by the Reds this offseason. Included in this list is a Jumbo, Mike Costanzo, possibly the ninth Reineke to be a part of the Reds organization, and Ray Chang.
John Sickels teased a Reds Farm System breakdown - again. It looks like John will get his complete breakdown posted at some point in the near future (possibly tonight), but he's at least given the current grade distribution. (There was also a thread a few days ago with the complete list of players he would be evaluating.) He notes it as "top-heavy," which I think is hard to dispute, but he does give several promising grades to a few prospects the Reds will be depending upon in the near future. Also, there's a sweet picture of the flowing locks of Curtis Partch, which, in itself, is worth a page click. Maybe two.