Beyond the Box Score examined the most recent crop of Sophomores who slumped. Included in this list is current Cincinnati Reds 3B+ Todd Frazier, who BtB feels has a pretty sizable chance to recapture some of the form that carried him to finishing 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year vote in 2012. Alex noted the rather precipitous drop in Frazier's ISO from 2012 to 2013 and how that impacted his overall wRC+, and he also details the issues Frazier had with pitches on the inner half of the plate in 2013. I wonder if he began seeing so many more outside pitches that he started being late when they came inside, but that's just me speculating. Also, if you managed to slog your way through the BABIP article from Monday, you saw how Todd's sunk from .316 in 2012 to just .269 last season, and if that rises back to somewhere in between, you'll see a pretty good rebound from the best projected RH bat in the Reds lineup as things currently stand.
Yahoo's Jeff Passan reported that the New York Yankees offered Shin-Soo Choo a 7 year, $140 million contract...that was declined. What? This, if true, means three things. First, it means that Scott Boras, Choo's agent, is a maniac for declining the offer while seeking a 7 year, $153 million contract akin to the one the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to just weeks ago. Second, it means that Choo will not have both a Cincinnati Reds uniform on his back in 2014 and have Scott Boras as his agent, because the Reds can't afford to bring him back at nearly that contract, and if Choo signs a contract the size of the one the Reds can offer him, Boras should be fired immediately for leaving the Yankees' offer on the table. Third, it shows just how good a player Choo was for the Reds last year, as Boras rarely overplays his hand like this without knowing there's another, better chance out there; the Reds are losing production to free agency that's been valued by at least one club at 7/140, and they've yet to do anything to replace it. Them's the breaks in the current market, unfortunately, as evidenced by Passan also mentioning that the Reds have interest in Nelson Cruz, which makes me want to vomit violently.
Old friend Drew Stubbs was traded to the Rockies today in exchange for Josh Outman. Stubbs, drafted 8th overall in the 2006 draft by the Reds, has struggled consistently since his then-breakout in 2010, but if there's ever a situation that fits his skills perfectly, it's in Colorado and at Coors Field. The Rockies traded away Dexter Fowler for peanuts earlier this offseason and have stated publicly that they'll try Carlos Gonzales in CF (a bad idea), but the acquisition of Stubbs gives them another option. Stubbs can still mash LHP, and his defense will fit nicely in the spacious OF in Coors, and since the guy's had issues with breaking balls for his entire career, perhaps having 81 home games where they don't break very much can do wonders for him. Buena suerta, Drew.
The Reds, though, have signed Skip Schumaker. We got this.
Brett Popplewell documented the chilling final days of Ryan Freel's life for Sportsnet Magazine. I'll warn you, this is difficult to read, not because it's not superbly written (it is), but because it's a pretty heartwrenching account of the former Red's last days before taking his own life. I've read through this twice today, and it's the kind of chronicle that will be ingrained in my mind for the rest of my life. Freel was found dead on the couch in his living room a year ago this week, and his family disclosed recently that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy at the time of his death, a head injury induced disease generally found only in boxers, football players, and other participants in "contact" sports, not in baseball players. Give yourself ten minutes and read this. Rest in peace, Farney.