The Winter Meetings are in full force in Nashville at the moment, and there's been ample action to keep baseball fans on the edge of their seats. Tuesday saw the Arizona Diamondbacks throw their entire farm system - including recent #1 overall draftee Dansby Swanson - at the Atlanta Braves for Shelby Miller, and that followed their shock signing of Zack Greinke earlier in the week. Orioles slugger Chris Davis reportedly has a $150 million deal on the table, Starlin Castro was shipped to the New York Yankees, and that's all on the heels of David Price,Jeff Samardzija, Ben Zobrist, and Hisashi Iwakuma signing for big bucks as free agents.
News from the Cincinnati Reds world has been much, much less frequent - and decidedly more troubling. A reported deal that would've sent Aroldis Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers was scuttled when news of a domestic dispute emerged, and the deal appears to be off while MLB does investigating to see whether or not a suspension is warranted under their new domestic violence policy. It's cast a disturbing cloud over the Reds closer, one that has dampened his status both among fans and MLB front offices, and it's clear that his presence as one of Cincinnati's prime trade pieces in their ongoing
reboot rebuild is currently a fraction of what it once was.
And, if that's the case, that's a promising sign, since it signals that there's little tolerance for domestic violence among baseball executives and the fans that fill baseball's coffers with billions of dollars each year. For the bottom line in the NL Central standings in 2016, 2017, and beyond, it's clearly something that has set the Reds back.
In fact, they've even admitted that it's put a serious wrench in their off-season plans, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon noted. It's pretty much ended the chance that they get anything done with at the Winter Meetings, which is exactly where Walt Jocketty traded away both Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon this time last year. Since the pitching market has seemingly developed much quicker than the position player market has, most every major free agent bat is still floating on the market, and that's likely why there hasn't been much action at all on either Todd Frazier or Jay Bruce. Of course, the team is obviously still hoping that takes form at some point this winter, but it's obviously not near any monumental motion of yet.
One thing Jocketty did mention in Sheldon's piece is that team plans on being active in Thursday's Rule 5 draft for the first time in years. For more on that, check RR's Rule 5 primer.
In former Reds news, Mike Leake's name has repeatedly come up in discussions all week, as the former Reds starter has been linked to the Diamondbacks, Nationals, Giants, and Filthy Cardinals, among others. That's quite a lot of teams interested in a guy estimated to get nearly $80 million guaranteed, and FanGraphs' Tony Blengino took an excellent look at why that may well be a serious mistake for the winning bidder.
Meanwhile, not a single word has been whispered about former Red Mat Latos. The way he left Cincinnati was grumble-worthy, and he certainly didn't have a healthy or productive 2015 season, but I hardly think he's completely done as a pitcher. It most certainly won't be the Reds, but I do think someone will be getting a large bargain when they sign him this off-season.
As for players still on the Reds (and not expected to be going anywhere yet), Zack Cozart is optimistic that he and his surgically repaired knee will be ready for the start of Spring Training, and that's refreshingly good news. It'll be braced, if ready, but it does appear that he's on track to be again in the picture for regular clock with the Reds in 2016, and how the team handles having him and Eugenio Suarez as capable shortstops will be one of the more intriguing storylines to watch over the next few months. A trade of Frazier or Brandon Phillips would certainly open things up, and while neither of those options is a guarantee, these kind of things always have a way of working themselves out.