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Red Reposter - No closer to answering the closer question

The Fay takes off his reporter chapeau and dons his GM kippah
He says the breakdown of negotiations with Francisco Cordero could end up being a good thing for the Reds, as the money that was originally offered to him could be offered to Josh Willingham. Ham Bone hit pretty well last year for the A's, posting a .246/.332/.477 slash but playing below-average defense. To be honest, I'm relatively confident that Chris Heisey can be just as valuable next year, as he plays superior defense but doesn't get on base as well. Oh, and he'll only make the league minimum. Pass on Ham Bone.

Next, Fay proposes swapping Yonder Alonso and Edinson Volquez for James Shields. If the Rays would do that deal (they wouldn't), I would walk 1000 miles just to be the man to fall down at Andrew Friedman's door.

 As for the closer opening, Fay suggests handing the reigns to rookie Brad Boxberger. This won't happen, and probably shouldn't happen. Boxy has impressed to be sure, but I doubt he's ready. Fay anticipates this and suggests a Cardinals-style closer by committee staffed by the likes of Bill Bray, Logan Ondrusek, Jose Arredondo, and Sam LeCure. I'm okay with this, but I'm pretty sure Dusty Baker isn't. Dusty has shown an affinity over the years for strict bullpen roles. He's definitely no Tony LaRussa, so I doubt he would go for it.

 If I were to wrap myself in my own GM Forever Lazy, I would try Edinson Volquez or Homer Bailey in the closer role (or failing that, attempt to sign Jonathan Broxton), trade Yonder and Yasmani Grandal for Shields, and let Chris Heisey play LF. handed out their team awards
Joey Votto is your Reds' "Performer of the Year", which holds every bit the same esteem and gravitas as MVP. Johnny Cueto is your Pitcher of the Year (no surprise), and Chris Heisey was named the team's Breakout Player of the Year.

Perhaps taking his cues from the colorful comments section here on this lil' ol' blog
Mark Sheldon profiles future superstar catcher, MVP, Hall of Famer, and US Senator Devin Mesoraco. The Golem says his first month in the big leagues was an invaluable experience and he's ready to build on it come next spring. "He's a good kid, that's where it starts," Baker said. "You could tell he came from a good upbringing. He's very respectful. He listens. You know he's quiet, but he's paying attention. As a manager or a coach, you're not really crazy about that know-it-all guy. That's not him."  

HardballTalk lists their top 50 free agents of the off-season
Personally, I think it's worth taking a look at a few of them, like Jonathan Broxton or David DeJesus. As always, there isn't a ton of money to throw around this winter, so it might be a good idea to place a bet on buy-low candidates like these two.

The Space-Time continuum has been irreparably damaged
In a desperate but successful attempt to generate new and interesting content in early November, FanGraphs ranks the three best bunts of the 2011 season. And as exactly no one expected, the winner is that paragon of bunting excellence, Ryan Hanigan. His game-tying bunt on May 17th against the Cubs registered the highest WPA for a bunt all season. Of course, it's worth mentioning that the bunt wasn't a very good one and only turned out positive for the Reds and Hanigan because Kerry Wood threw it into the 3rd base dugout. Regardless, right on Ryan. Perhaps Drew Stubbs should spend a month or so with him this winter and learn a thing or two, right?

Over at C-ing Red, andromache argues that Brandon Phillips has already earned his ticket into the Reds Hall of Fame
BeePers compares favorably to other heralded Reds second-sackers, and his three Gold Glovers, a Silver Slugger, and five consecutive Opening Day starts make him one of the top two or three 2Bs in the NL over his career. And with at least one more season as a Red, I think he will fairly easily breeze his way into the inner circle. He won't ever get a statue on Crosley Terrace, but he's still one of the best the Reds have ever had at the position.

Doug Gray has some Pitch F/X info from the Arizona Fall League
I'm particularly impressed with Brad Boxberger's change up, which is reportedly not his best pitch. It has good run in on right-handed hitters to go along with impressive sink and a significant velocity difference from the fastball (about 12.5 mph). His fastball has topped out at 95 and he's thrown a few sliders as well. Of course, it's worth mentioning that this is all divined from scant data, as he's only thrown a few innings out in AZ. 

Should MLB push the player's union for a franchise tag?
Baseball's collective bargaining talks are going much, much smoother than their NFL and NBA counterparts have gone recently, but Mike Silva thinks MLB should rustle some feathers and push hard for an NFL-style franchise tag system. Here are his bullet points:

1) A team can franchise one player per season
2) This player must have started his major league career with his current organization, and not acquired via a major league trade or as a free agent
3) The franchised player cannot be 30 years of age or older (ex: Albert Pujols)
4) If a player signs a contract extension during the "team control" term of the first six seasons, which buys out two or more free agent seasons, then the player can be franchised once if the player is under age 30. (ex: Jose Reyes)
5) If a player does not sign a contract extension during the team controlled first six seasons, then the player can be franchised up to two times, assuming he is still under age 30. (ex: Prince Fielder).
6) The salary for the first year franchised player would be equal to the highest salary in the game at that position or 150% of his prior seasons salary, whichever is greater
7) If a player is eligible for the franchise tag for a second season, then the players salary is only equal to the current highest salary at that position or 120% of his prior years salary, whichever is greater.

Basically, he's saying that the fact that Prince Fielder is likely to leave the Brewers for a big payday is bad for baseball in general and small-market Brewers' fans in particular. This franchise tag could be wielded to keep Prince in a Brewer uniform even beyond the first six seasons of control the team gets already. Here's my problem with this idea: everything about the NFL sucks and I think baseball should do everything the opposite.