In spring training news that will shock the world, Bryan Price has strongly hinted that Johnny Cueto will be the opening day starter. Knock on wood, but 2015 would be Cueto's fourth consecutive Opening Day start, tying him with Jose Rijo in franchise history, one behind Aaron Harang, Mario Soto, and Pete Donahue, who lead with five consecutive. Price is optimistic about 2015, though he understands why the Reds aren't expected to do well this season, which is about the only thing a manager in his position can say. He also said that the current favorites for the last two spots in the rotation are Tony Cingrani and Anthony DeSclafani.
Reds Low-A Affiliate Dayton noted that 25 former Dragons will be at the Reds' Spring Training Camp this year - 17 players on the 40-man roster, and 8 non-roster invitees. It's not a huge deal, but it's an interesting data point on player development. I wonder how that number would compare across teams.
For those of us who live outside the broadcast range of FSN Ohio but also have MLB Network, 12 Reds Spring Training games will be broadcast, including the April 4 exhibition game against the Blue Jays in Montreal's Olympic Stadium.
Offseason acquisition Jonathon Crawford spoke to his hometown paper, for a profile that yielded some interesting tidbits. Crawford was already in Goodyear for spring training as of last Friday, and said that he spoke to the Reds director of minor league operations, who for now, wants to keep him as a starter. Apparently, the Reds are interested in his ability to not give up home runs, which is something that I personally, do like to see in a pitcher. As for his spring training aspirations, Crawford thinks he'll get into a few major league spring training games, and hopes to make the Pensacola AA team to start out in 2015.
Way, way north on I-75, Barry Larkin was inducted to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame as a University of Michigan alumnus (Required: Booooo, Michigan. Go Green. In related news, Tom Izzo was also inducted this week). Speaking at the ceremony, Larkin reflected a bit on his decision to play baseball instead of football, and UM football coach Bo Schembechler's comments on that decision, such as " Nobody comes to the University of Michigan to play baseball," and "Larkin! You sissy, come hit a man that can hit you back instead of that baseball." Classic.
Former Reds reliever Bill Bray is not a fan of the pitch clock, and instead favors a proposal to require that pitchers face a minimum of three batters. In addition to the time benefits, Bray just didn't like being a LOOGY - he wishes he had the chance to finish innings and work out of his own jams. He makes some pretty good points, and I don't necessarily disagree with him, but I mean....requiring pitchers to face three batters will sometimes mean that former LOOGYs will get to face more right-handed hitters, but it will also sometimes mean that teams aren't going to carry former LOOGYs. But also, the money is this quote here:
Why hasn’t there been more talk about eliminating the designated hitter? Pitching to David Ortiz four times a game takes a heck of a lot longer than pitching to a starter who hasn’t got a hit since last season.
There's not really anything I can add to that. Happy Lunar New Year, everyone, and if you're in my neck of the woods (you aren't), you can come over for rice cake soup if you want (you don't).