Before I jump into some real, live, actual baseball links, I'd like to tip a cap to Red Reporter on its 10th birthday, too, since I was out of pocket for the last few days. I stumbled into RR nearly eight years ago while looking to discover more about baseball, the Cincinnati Reds, and all the crazy new stats I saw getting thrown around. While I've subsequently learned more about each of those topics than I ever could have imagined, the amount I've absorbed about life, liberty, and the pursuit of the absurd thanks to this place has trumped that infinitely. I could say that RR has fostered such a wonderful community, but in many ways it's quite the opposite; this odd and amazing community has fostered RR, really, as the Masthead is littered with those of us that came directly through the commenting ranks.
And, I suppose, that's both why I was initially hooked on this place and remain so to this day. When we hit 'publish' on a post, it's much less the end of the topic and so much more the beginning of a discussion that'll open our eyes to a hundred different viewpoints we were never smart enough to consider. I'm dang proud to get to contribute here, and I'm excited to head into another season of blabbing unaccountably about the Reds with each and every one of you.
Thanks for being awesome enough to make that happen. Happy (belated) Birthday, Red Reporter.
The Reds and Devin Mesoraco have agreed to a 4 year, $28 million extension, which will buy out his 3 arbitration-eligible deals as well as his first potential year of free agency. I will enjoy having Devin around for at least 4 more seasons with the Reds, but it's yet another move made by the front office that flies in the face of a "buy low, sell high" mentality. The overall commitment isn't something that should be another payroll stumbling block, but it still gives a glimpse into the odd way Walt Jocketty and Co. go about their signing processes. Here's to hoping Devin can hit more like April/May 2014 Devin and less like every other month of his career, and to hoping he can stay healthier than he's shown so far.
Reds manager Bryan Price spoke to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon over the weekend, and hinted that both Tony Cingrani and new Red Anthony DeSclafani may have the inside track for the final two spots in the Reds' Opening Day rotation. It's not a real surprise to hear Price's thoughts lean that way - although he clarified that nothing is at all set in stone of yet - as both have starting experience in the big leagues and pedigrees that suggest they could succeed there, but with the glut of near-majors starters in the system, it's interesting to note which ones are perceived as the closest to being ready. Sheldon mentions Dylan Axelrod, Raisel Iglesias, David Holmberg, and Jason Marquis (yuck) as contenders, too, once again overlooking Daniel Corcino. What's clear, though, is that there's going to be a clear competition in Spring Training for the back-end rotation spots, and that's a series of battles that may well take place within the organization well into the 2015 season.
Sheldon also got quotes from owner Bob Castellini, the biggest being "You'll definitely see Pete Rose at the All-Star Game this year," I'd wager. I'm utterly and completely over Pete Rose (and I said that before checking the headlines on the Enquirer Reds page, where you-know-who is talking Pete Rose), but his marketability in this kind of spotlight moment is undeniable, unfortunately. Castellini is also still convinced - publicly, at least - that the 2015 Reds are contenders and that signing Johnny Cueto is still doable, sort of.
The Enquirer's John Fay caught up with Billy Hamilton (well, only because Billy stopped, I assume) and spoke with him on his offseason routine, his strength, and what he wants to try to accomplish in his 2nd full season in the big leagues. One specific tidbit of note is that Billy has been working with new Louisville manager Delino DeShields this winter, and if you remember this interaction from a few weeks back, you probably shouldn't expect Billy's walk rate to inch back to his A+ and AA levels anytime soon. Sigh.
New MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred really wants Jay Bruce to be able to pull the ball with success again, it appears, as he went on record as questioning whether defensive shifts in baseball should be allowed. Look, Rob, I'm happy you've got your dream job and that you're willing to actively engage on topics that seem to be hot-button, but this idea can kiss my grits. Baseball is strategy, pure and simple, and anything that takes strategy out (I see you over there, DH rule) dumbs down the game. If swing hard, hit ball far is the only strategy that makes you happy, well, then I'm suddenly not happy you're in charge of the game I love anymore.