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Red Reposter - Cueto returns, contemplates ditching turn

In this edition, we discuss the return of Johnny Cueto and the unlikely reason the Reds are hesitant to lock up Shin-Soo Choo.

Joe Robbins

This one set me back on my heels
The Fay says that the biggest hurdle to the Reds signing Shin-Soo Choo to a long-term extension is the years and not the money. Where is all this money coming from? The team's payroll is over $100 million this year for the first time ever. But it's the years that are the big hang-up? Woah.

I would absolutely love it if the Reds could get Choo locked into a long-term extension. If he keeps up his scorching hitting though, he could hit free agency as the top outfielder in his class and could command north of $100 mil. The Reds already have almost $50 million on the books in 2016 though, so I understand their reticence to tie themselves down for even more. But the idea that the money is there is mind-blowing.

This is a bit upsetting
Johnny Cueto will make his return to the bigs this evening after spending a month on the DL. That's not upsetting, though. That's actually awesome and cool. What is upsetting is that he is thinking about changing the mechanics of his wind-up.

Cueto's curl is one of my favorite things about watching Reds baseball, as his exaggerated turn shows batters the name on the back of his jersey so they always know who is jamming their mom. It seems some are concerned though that his wind-up is in some part causing the oblique problems.

I think that's absolutely ridiculous. It always frustrates me that people so hastily search for one true cause to any particular issue. Cueto has a sore oblique? It's his turn! Chapman gives up a few home runs? He's in trouble! Votto hasn't hit a jillion home runs? His knee is ruined!

Listen: baseball is complicated. Very rarely is there ever a linear cause-and-effect deal when it comes to stuff like this. The real reason Cueto has hurt his oblique recently is probably a combination of a dozen or so different factors. Number one among them is that pitching is hard. Pitching is hard. Things happen. I mean, seriously. You think that little turn he does is putting too much stress on his oblique? He's not torquing himself around like a white guy on a wedding reception dance floor. And that turn seems to be adding a nice element of deception to his delivery. I'd really hate to see it canned because of soft-headed psuedo-scientific reasoning.

C Trent has an update on Robert Stephenson's season in Dayton
The kid is throwing rocks. He is only 20 years old this season and in low-A, but I could see the Reds promoting him aggressively if he keeps this up. Most importantly, he doesn't walk a lot of hitters. "I try not to walk people. Obviously everyone tries not to walk people, but I feel like I walk too many people. There are a couple of starts in there that I probably walked more than I normally should have," Stephenson said. "I don’t want those walks to be able to come back and hurt me. In high school, I didn’t walk too many people."

Grading on the Curve looks at how the Reds' top-five prospects are doing so far this year
I'm stricken by the impressive depth they have in starting pitching. Our superhero named Tony obviously sliced up some eyeballs in the big leagues, and Bobby Lou Steves has been dominant in Dayton. Daniel Corcino has struggled in his AAA debut, but 35 bad innings is not enough to get my sugars all up.

Jon Morosi says the NL Central is the most exciting division in baseball
As an objective observer, I must agree. The Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates have the three-highest winning percentages in the National League right now. I think this is going to be a fun summer.