Baseball recommences baseballing this evening, as Game 1 of the 2014 World Series takes center stage at 8 PM ET between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. [Hooray, baseball!] The Royals will play host to their National League competitors, which means that a Giants club that was built without the unnecessary need for a DH suddenly gets to fabricate one out of their own spare parts for the biggest game they've had to play all year. [Boo, DH and stupid DH rules!] Fortunately for them, they'll get to run a semi-injured Mike Morse out to the batter's box a time or three, which may actually be better than what the Royals serve up with Country Breakfast. [But the bunts! And the sacrifices!] Anyway, the fine folks at /mlb have plenty going to cover things, but check out Marc Normandin's rationale behind why the Royals will win and cross-check that with Grant Brisbee's reasoning behind why the Giants will win. I'm calling Giants in 6. [Bunts reader over to next paragraph.]
Having the Royals in the World Series is the perfect excuse to recommend you read up on most everything Joe Posnanski has ever written. Seriously, peruse at will through here and you'll find plenty of things worth reading about much, much more than just the Royals. If you want just a minor bit of direction, the top story on his blog is a repost from 2006 where Joe looks at Kansas City's hiring of Dayton Moore as their GM. At the time, Posnanski was still a columnist with the Kansas City Star, and he was as plugged in to the Royals beat as any man on the planet. If you're a tweeter, you should absolutely follow Joe while the Royals ride this generational wave, as he's the perfect longboard to carry you to shore.
As for the plight of our beloved Cincinnati Reds, they got some much needed positive news by the performance of their most recent large investment, Raisel Iglesias. As Spencer Fordlin notes for mlb.com, Iglesias tossed a perfect inning of relief for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League yesterday in the first of his two scheduled appearances their before heading to Puerto Rico for their Winter season. How much talent and polish Iglesias shows this winter is yet another wild card the Reds must face, as they're already dealing with Tony Cingrani's shoulder issues, Homer Bailey's forearm issues, Alfredo Simon's gargantuan innings increase, and the series of injuries and velocity drop from Mat Latos. A bevy of options is a good problem to have, but it's going to take a lot of crackerjack timing to sort out what to do with whom, and the way the respective contracts line up means those decisions will be the crux of the entire offseason.
Speaking of the AFL, the Saguaros kept on mashing again yesterday, topping Mesa 6-5. Jesse Winker went 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored, and Kyle Waldrop went 2 for 5 with an RBI. Winker's now hitting .393/.486/.571 through 28 AB, with a dinger, 10 ribbies, and a 6/7 BB/K ratio. I think it's about time we started seriously believing that Winker's going to be a Red soon and, more importantly, be hitting the snot out of big league pitching as a Red soon. Soon.
Also from mlb.com, Mark Sheldon caught up with Pedro Villareal about his transition from starter to reliever and how that move has helped him progress to the brink of being a full-time big leaguer. Villareal showed some decent stuff out of the 'pen last season (though, to be frank, his peers didn't exactly do a lot to trump him), and he'll have a shot to make the team in Spring Training thanks to the lackluster performance in 2014 of many of those he'll be competing with.
It finally appears that the Dominican Winter League has their complete rosters out, which means you can peruse through them to see which Reds and former Reds are plying their trade there in hopes of reaching the Caribbean Series later this winter. My unofficial perursal finds former Reds Enerio Del Rosario and Ryan Rowland-Smith as teammates on the Estrellas de Oriente; current farmies Scott Diamond and Juan Silverio joining Manny Burriss on the Gigantes del Cibao; Coco Cordero, Jerry Gil, Wilkin Castillo, and Denis Phipps as teammates on Leones del Escogido; D'Angelo Jimenez and Wilson Valdez partnering fof an ancient left side of the IF for Tigres del Licey; and both Dylan Axelrod and Fabio Castillo getting to pitch to Yasmani Grandal for the Toros del Este.
Finally, Nick Kirby makes the case for the Reds pursuing Yoenis Cespedes of the Boston Red Sox should he be made available (which it seems he may be). While Cespedes is an intriguing name, he's not super high on my list of potential LF targets. He's not an OBP guy (which would absolutely be my priority), he's not cheap, and he's in the last year under contract in 2015. If I'm shopping one of the starting pitchers only under contract through 2015 (which I would be if I were Walt Jocketty), I'm aiming for a return that's young, cheap, and under contract for much, much longer than a single season. Cespedes and his mammoth dingers wouldn't have been enough to turn around the 2014 club's injury-riddled season, and the club is obviously banking on the healthy return of both Joey Votto and Jay Bruce for the 2015 season to be worth a dang anyway; their healthy returns coupled with the offensive maturation of Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco provides plenty of opportunity for bopping dingers on next year's club, so Cespedes - to me, at least - becomes a luxury among an existing strength. I'd prefer to target a more prolific OBP guy, since I'm of the belief that a leadoff-type that allows Hamilton to hit 7th is a much bigger need than another 5-hole type.