It's still the 2015 MLB Off-Season, but most of the wheelin', dealin', whinin' and dinin' has completed. So, AJ Cassavell over at Sports on Earth and MLB.com decided it was time to wax poetic on 2016 biggest (possible) free agents. Dang. The 2015 season still seems like many miles away, can we just hold up for a second? As you'll see, the most notable member of the list is everyone's favorite ace, Johnny Cueto. This is both exciting and depressing because, "Hell yeah Johnny Cueto is number one," and "Oh no Johnny Cueto is a free agent and is going to cost a lot of money." Cassavell isn't certain that Johnny will get Max money (more on that here), but luckily for Reds fans, we've got a whole season before we have to figure that out.
In the, Yeah-I-Already-Knew-That Department, Steve Gardner over at USA Today has the Reds Organizational Report. Sludge through the puke-inducing Walt Jocketty-ing of, "need power, need leadership" drivel and the, "Marlon Byrd is a lot like Scott Rolen when we brought him in," BS to get to the position-by-position break down and some prospect love at the end. We're not breaking any new ground here, but it is interesting to see what other people have to say about our favorite team as we inch closer to the season. Even if they're all saying the same things.
I'm offended for Scott Rolen, by the way.
MLBPipeline.com continues with their prospect previewing, releasing the Top 10 outfielders in the minors. Jesse Winker gets a bit more love in this one, ranked the 4th outfielder in all of the Minors. Byron Buxton leads the list, and he has a tendency to lead a lot of lists this time of year, but the boy needs to stay healthy. Look for turnover at the top of the list next season, as Joc Pederson and Jorge Soler will almost undoubtedly be factored in as major parts of their respective Major League clubs. MLBPipeline's Top 100 will be unveiled today, and the Top 50 will be aired live on MLB Network at 9pm ET, so keep you're eye on that, prospect-junkies. (h/t to B_S for the link)
While were out prospecting, our friend Mark Sheldon from Reds.com ran into once-coveted-not-that-long-ago prospect Phil Ervin. Ervin admits that he pushed himself too hard last year, and found himself pressing much of the time. Apparently, he's gotten some valuable advice from former Red Eric Davis, and, well, that's a pretty damn good source to get advice from. This will be an interesting season for Phil. He tore up Rookie and Single A in 2013, but had off-season wrist surgery that may or may not have (but almost definitely may have) hampered him in his dreadful start to the season. He bounced back nicely toward the end, as Mark describes in the article, but it'll be imperative that the former first round pick comes out strong and starts moving through the system in 2015.
I think we've talked about this before, but I'll be damned if I can find it (SBNation search function ftw), but the former site of Crosley Field is getting spruced up, just in time for the All-Star Game this summer. City Gospel Mission (who now owns the land) in conjunction with the Reds Hall of Fame are looking to make the site a tourist attraction for All-Star festivity goers. Click on over to the FOX19 link (they're on your side) to see the plans. I think this is such a brilliant idea, and is probably a bit overdue. The work will take around $50,000, with the Reds Hall of Fame picking up the majority of the slack. Work should be completed by July 1.
In non-specifically Reds news, Grantland's Ben Lindbergh took a ride in the DeLorean to see how much impact the strike-zone is having on deflated offense. There's a lot of numbers being thrown around in this one, and graphs and charts and gifs of graphs, but it's pretty dang interesting, and I know you nerds will love it. It may be the simplest answer to the "How do we get more offense?" question, and it's by far the least dramatic.
And finally, in #TBT-plus-one-day fashion, I stumbled upon this article today from FireJoeMorgan (RIP). Basically, I entered a horrible Google-hole inspired by our commenting friend SabosGoggles Fanshot. You can take a look at that for yourself, but this particular FJM article is from 2008 and it takes to task our favorite accountable journalist for, surprise, something dumb he said. I just think it's worth reminding that, while we're all extremely tired of the "Joey-should-swing-the-bat" argument, it's been going on since HIS ROOKIE YEAR. That is
incredible really dumb. Shut up already. But, if you want a good laugh at the expense of Doc and, to a smaller extent, Dusty Baker, take a look.
Now, discuss. Or blow this article up with tGIFs. The decision is in your hands.