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Red Reposter - Homer bigger, Bruce smaller

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Homer Bailey came to camp having put on a good 15 pounds over the winter
"I wanted to be a little bit stronger and I wanted to see if it would make getting through a whole season a little easier," Bailey said. "It's something I did on my own. I met a nutritionist and got to eat a lot." The goal is to steel him against the rigors of a long summer, as more weight and strength usually correlate with a pitcher staying healthier through the season.

Homer is such an enigmatic player. Every year I'm gulled into thinking this will be his year, the season he finally breaks out and fulfills his potential. It's happened so many years now though, each one ending in disappointment, you would think I would be calloused against it. But I'm not. Dude's only 26, which is still pretty young. Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier are both 26 this season as well. It's been said every year for what seems like a decade now, but I think this is the year that Homer Bailey breaks out. Hope springs eternal.

Homer gained it, and Bruce lost it
Jay Bruce lost a good 16 pounds over the winter, and for the same reason that Homer gained his: "I thought that 15 or 16 fewer pounds on my body would help me get through the season. I have never been a speed guy but this might make me a little faster." Bruce isn't worried about losing any strength and is hopeful it will actually help him get the bat through the zone quicker. Some had quipped last year that The Next Big Thing was a bit too big, looking a bit soft and slow towards the end of the season. Check out some of the pics from Spring Training now. The kid looks tremendous.

Dusty isn't saying what his penciled-in rotation order looks like
but he did tip his hand a bit in saying that there are six contenders for the five spots. The one conspicuous absence is non-roster invitee Jeff Francis, who actually pitched more innings last year than anyone in the Reds rotation. He's one of my favorite signings of the off-season, as he is very cheap and an excellent plan B or C in case of injury. It doesn't really matter all that much whether or not he's being seriously considered for the 5th rotation spot, but regardless it's good to have him on board.

FanGraphs looks at the fantasy prospects of Aroldis Chapman's bid for the rotation
Here's the interesting bit: "If you reduce Chapman’s strikeout rate by 17%, he’d have a 29% strikeout rate — that would have been first among qualified starters last year. If he can manage a 13% walk rate with that (and retain his excellent ground ball rate), he’d be better than Jonathan Sanchez, who had a strikeout rate around 24% and a below-average ground-ball rate along with his near-13% walk rate over the past two years. He’d also be better than Gio Gonzalez, who only struck out 22.8% to go with his 10.5% walk rate and ~48% ground-ball rate. Those might not be the comps the Reds were looking at when they signed Chapman to his big deal, but they are productive pitchers."

I don't know about you, but I would be very pleased if Chapman turned into Gio Gonzalez. How would you feel if they added both Latos and Gio to the rotation this year? Of course, that's probably an optimistic projection right now, considering Chapman hasn't started a game in the majors yet and he appears to be on the outside looking in on the rotation. But yeah, it's definitely worth giving him a try.

Over at C-ing Red
andromache takes us on a stroll down memory lane, re-living Opening Days gone by and shaking fist at the curse of Jose Rijo. Rijo started Opening Day for the Reds for four straight seasons, but since his reign ended in the mid-90s the Reds have witnessed unqualified disaster from the spot. Aaron Harang shines as the lone bright spot, but there is much hope that Johnny Cueto can buck the curse.

Roy Oswalt could make his decision today
My money is on the Red Sox, but I think the Cardinals and Rangers are also on the table. I would put the Reds chances at 100/1 because I'm still not giving up hope. But yeah, probably the Red Sox.

Though this morning, Jon Heyman said it won't be the Rangers or Red Sox
So that pretty much leaves the Cardinals, right? Nerts.

(UPDATE) - Trade Rumors is reporting that the Cards are out on Oswalt now, too. So hmmm.

Nothing new on extension talks with Brandon Phillips
This whole thing is getting tough to watch. The Reds are saying all the right things, BeeP's saying all the right things, and nothing is going to get done. "I thought it would be over with by now," Phillips said. "It is what it is. The only thing I can do is go out there and play the game, do what’s best for the team. I love the moves we made to make the team better. That’s what it’s all about. We can all go out and get things done. My day will come. I’m not really worried about it. I’m letting my agent and the Reds take care that themselves."

When Fay mentioned that the Reds are planning to meet with BeeP's agents in the next few weeks, he replied, "That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true or not. (My agent) said he’s going to talk to them. Hopefully, we can get some things done. This is where I want to be. I’m not trying to break the band. I don’t want Prince Fielder money. I just want what other second baseman got. I want to be in my city."

He says he's not setting a deadline, which is also the right thing to say. I don't see it ever getting done though. Both sides are saying the right things and being very professional about it, but I think he won't be a Red at this time next year. He's just a little too old to be committing that kind of money to. And if the Reds want any shot at signing Joey Votto long-term, they are going to need that money. It sucks that the team has to decide between signing BeeP long-term and just having a shot at signing Votto long-term, but hoping for Votto is the right decision.

Leatherpants filled out his off-season report cards
and although the Padres Tebow'd the Padres, the Reds earned a solid A-. "The Reds weren’t afraid to trade away four of their top 10 prospects this offseason, but the haul from those deals at the major league club was astounding. Latos is a potential No. 1 starter; Marshall is a shutdown left-handed setup man; and Madson is an impact closer. Ludwick was a solid midlevel free-agent signing who should add some pop in the small confines of Great American Ball Park. The Reds are primed to return to the postseason this year."

FSO has all but 17 Reds games this year
and word is the Sofa King himself, Slyde, should be in the booth for most of the home games. As per usual, most of the games that are not being broadcast are the weekday afternoon tilts.