John Fay reports that Reds manager Bryan Price has acknowledged that the team brought Jay Bruce back from the disabled list too quickly last year following his knee surgery. This puts Price in the same club as pretty much everybody who was watching this team last year. While it’s nice that Price admits that mistakes were made, and all he and the rest of the Reds players, coaches and front office can do is answer the questions they’re asked, I think we can all agree that any time they want to stop talking about 2014 would be just peachy. It's page-turning time, fellas.
C. Trent Rosecrans spoke with Reds starting pitching hopeful Jason Marquis, who expressed admirable confidence that he will be able to claim one of the team’s open rotation spots, stating "It’s my job to lose." Rosecrans shares the long and winding road that has led Marquis to his current position as a minor league free agent signing who is trying to crack a major league rotation, and Marquis shares some interesting insight about some of the pitching greats he’s played alongside over the years.
Sticking with the pitching staff questions, Doug Gray of Reds Minor Leagues noticed some encouraging signs buried in some of the Reds recent roster moves. The late signings of Kevin Gregg and Burke Badenhop make it far less likely that some of the Reds young minor league arms will be pressed into service in the major league bullpen. Besides being better for their development, keeping them in the minors as starters suggests that the Reds won’t fall into the same trap they were unable to extricate themselves from in the Aroldis Chapman situation. While I agree with Gray’s overall point, it’s important to remember that at this point in 2012, the signing of Ryan Madson was supposed to answer the closer question and free up Chapman to be a starter, and we all remember how that turned out.
With spring training games set to start in just a matter of days, Owen Watson of Fangraphs engaged in a fun exercise where he looked back at some interesting spring training statistical anomalies. His goals are to remind us, if anyone needed it, that spring training statistics and results are utterly meaningless once the regular season starts, as well as, in Watson’s words, "to celebrate how weird baseball can be when constrained to a small sample size." So check it out, and keep it in the back of your mind in case something like Tucker Barnhart OPSing 1.200 in Cactus League action happens this spring.
Uni-Watch’s Paul Lukas has released his MLB uniform power-rankings for the year. I can find things to disagree with all up and down this list, not least of which being the Reds ranking all the way down at 21. Lukas says the Reds would rank higher if they got rid of the black trim, which is fair enough, but some of the teams that rank ahead of them are fairly lame and uninspired. And to add insult to injury, guess who came in first?
Joel M. Beall of the Cincinnati Enquirer sat down with Reds Hall of Famer and member of Cincinnati’s 1961 National League pennant winning team Jim O’Toole for an interview. O’Toole, who will be honored at Cincinnati’s St. Patrick’s Day parade this year, is well known as a master storyteller, and shares a few real gems from his playing days with Beall. There’s some really great stuff here. Please read this article, you won’t regret it.
Finally, The Classical is launching a project they’re calling Every Game a Story, and they’re soliciting articles from the general public. They’re looking for descriptions of the most memorable baseball game you’ve ever attended in person, the idea being that every fan loves baseball for different reasons, and we all could take different things from the same game. I know we have some writing talent here, and certainly plenty of love of baseball. So check out the submission guidelines and give it a shot.