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Red Reposter - Franchise Bests, Aoki, & Arbitration Avoidance

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A few Friday links to help you kill time before the weekend.

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Over at CBSSports.com, Matt Snyder has been combing through the histories of each team in baseball to come up with complete franchise bests/worsts lists, and after sifting through the Cincinnati Reds' books, he posted his choices for their's yesterday.  It's pretty hard to argue with most any of his conclusions, really, with the abrupt end to the promising 1994 season the only real awful screwjob that could potentially be a pick over the 1981 fiasco.  I'm sure there will be a few differing opinions on the "Best Player" designation, too, but arguing for anyone other than Johnny Bench is more of a positive sign of the franchise's wealth of history than it is a concrete rebuttal.  Rose, Robinson, Morgan, and Larkin each deserve consideration, but the best catcher in the history of the game stakes a pretty solid claim to the honor.

The San Francisco Giants signed oft-rumored Reds OF target Nori Aoki today, inking him to a 1 year contract and a guaranteed $4.7 million (with a $5.5 million club option tacked on).  That's basically what the Reds are paying Marlon Byrd to play LF for them instead for 2015, a much cheaper and less volatile potential obligation for what the team could be on the hook for in 2015, and it didn't cost Ben Lively to make it happen.  But, it has been reported that Aoki simply wanted to play for a good team and in California, so keep that in mind before you freak out and yell about why he's not a Red for that price instead.  He's roughly the OBP yin to Byrd's SLG yang, and while that's nice to dream about, it's simply not the kind of move the Reds make, unfortunately.  Swing free, mash dingers, and play good defense is the team's apparent M.O., and that's not Aoki's game.

Zack Cozart and the Reds avoided an awkward "you were the worst offensive player in the league" arbitration hearing today, as the two agreed to a 1 year contract.  At that price, he's still a relative bargain, but man I hope he goes back to his 2012 swinging ways instead of what he suffered through last season.  Cozy's bat was far from the only - or biggest - issue the team's offense faced in 2014, but for every hole in the lineup there must be someone who can help cover for it, and injuries sapped the Reds ability to do that last season.  Joey Votto still should have driven Cozart in from the bench about eleventy-nine more times than he did though, since he's making the big bucks [yawn].

In late-breaking (in Reposter hours) news, Mike Leake and the Reds also avoided arbitration today, settling on a 1 year contract.  There had been some hustle and bustle about the Reds exploring an extension with Leake, but that appears to have been tabled for the time being.  It's Leake's last season of team control, of course.

If you're a Baseball America subscriber, you can check out what C. Trent Rosecrans had to say there about new Reds pickup Keyvious Sampson, should you choose.  I'm not a member there, but I assume it's got some pretty interesting info that roughly states "he's a lot like Daniel Corcino."

Todd Frazier got a Keurig.  That pretty much makes him & BK best friends now, I believe.  Todd's now just one rice cooker away from being a Red Reporter regular.

In the latest edition of whatever that FanGraphs/Fox crossover is (technically, it's Just a Bit Outside), Jeff Sullivan looks into the risks and rewards the Philadelphia Phillies are looking at in regards to their decision on whether to keep, or trade, star pitcher Cole Hamels.  This has nothing to do with the Reds, of course, but you can casually insert "Johnny Cueto" into most every sentence mentioning Hamels and it does become a pretty relevant look into the decision the Reds have apparently made to keep their ace.