No news on the contract fronts for BP, Coco
The Reds offered Francisco Cordero a one-year deal, which he's mulling over. Fay guesses it's for $7M. Meanwhile, the team and Brandon Phillips' agent should resume talking this month for the first time since the Winter Meetings and since the Detroit bloggerati have considered a Tigers' move for El Beeperino.
Sheldon has a mid-winter update on the state of the franchise
Among other issues, he talks about the situation in LF: The Reds still have a move to make in this area, but whoever is added, he would likely form a platoon with right-handed hitter Chris Heisey. Complicating things a little is that Heisey is actually stronger vs. right-handed pitchers (.288 lifetime) than lefties (.180). If the Reds can't get someone of note, Heisey will have a great chance to make his case to be an everyday player.
This guy thinks the Reds are the team to beat in the Central
Also, over the weekend I saw the talking heads on MLBN give lines for various teams. I think they set it at 85 wins for the Reds. I'd take the over, but it's close.
The Blog Red Machine takes a close look at Homer
One aspect about Homer Bailey that's escaped my attention is his increased strand rate. It's easy to dismiss for sample size reasons a one-year fluke, but Homer has now stranded at least 71% of runners for three straight seasons. This follows strand rates in the low 60s for his first two years. This indicates a marked improvement in pitching from the stretch and perhaps better mound presence.
If you've wondered about the Reds' cable deal in the wake of the Angels' free agency frenzy,
Fay reports here that the current deal with Fox Sports Ohio runs through 2018. The team can't disclose the dollars involved, but Fay believes it's in the neighborhood of $10M a year. That's pretty bad. As reference points, the Tigers receive four times that amount, and the Angels' new deal will pay them $150M a year. While the Reds obviously play in a small media market, they still draw good ratings (the fifth best in baseball last year according to the article, though I assume that's a percentage of the market rather than the absolute number of viewers). We frequently talk about the dangers of teams offering players long-term deals, but the Reds' current cable deal is costing them much more than any player contract ever could.
- John Erardi posts his HOF ballot
I won't keep you in suspense - he votes for Barry Larkin, Fred McGriff, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Dale Murphy, Alan Trammell and Tim Raines. I probably wouldn't vote for McGriff, and I'd have to give Edgar, Walker, and Murphy all another look. If you're wondering where Erardi stands on PEDs issue, which will be prominent next year: "I've read a lot about the ‘‘sanctimonious'' baseball writers who are trying to (at least goes the argument) turn the Hall of Fame into their own personal Camelot, i.e. only knights in shining armor allowed. I'm not a Camelot guy, but I am a Valhalla guy."
- Breaking: Bench still the best that ever was
BtB reviews the games best Catchers by weighted WAR (wWAR), which is essentially WAR with special considerations for great seasons and postseason heroics. It's an interesting tool to help weight peak and "fame" over career totals. According to this metric, Bench is still the king of this mountain. Pudge Rodriguez is close to but too old to make a serious run.
- Joe Poz revisits the MVPs, even before they were awarded
Lots of great stuff in Joe's review of prior MVP votes where the award winner OPS'd worse than 90% of the league OPS leader. On the '73 MVP won by no. 14: Rose was such a force of nature that people seemed perfectly willing to overlook his sudden, and rather shocking, decline in power. From 1965 through '71 - a time for pitchers - Rose hit double-figure homers every year and slugged a rather robust .460. Starting in 1972, though, he became a different hitter, a slasher who cut down on his strikeouts and hit a lot of ground balls and line drives.... In 1973 he led the league in hitting (.338) and punched out 230 hits. It was, unquestionably, a terrific year. But it was limited, too. It seems almost certain that Joe Morgan, who hit 21 more homers, stole 57 more bases, walked 45 more times , had a better year despite hitting only .290. But nobody was going to see that in 1973 - Joe Morgan the announcer wouldn't have voted for Joe Morgan the player ("Wait, he hit only .290?").
- Mr. Redlegs - a very special sesquicentennial
'mache has marked the 150th "birthday" of Mr. Redlegs with a long-overdue biography. It's factually suspect, I suspect.