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Cincinnati Reds links, 4/14/2015: Roster moves & Bullpen blues

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From a long-term perspective, the big news from yesterday in Cincinnati Reds land was the major roster reorganization that saw Daniel Corcino and Ryan Dennick designated for assignment, Raisel Iglesias and Chris Dominguez optioned to AAA Louisville, and both Kyle Skipworth and Josh Smith added to the 40-man roster and called up to the big league club.  The reasoning behind those decisions was twofold:  first and foremost, Devin Mesoraco needed an MRI to check on a hip issue that was certainly going to keep him out of the lineup on Monday and potentially longer, and the Reds wanted to carry an extra reliever until Homer Bailey returns to the rotation this weekend (and the club didn't think Iglesias would be available to be that guy for a few more days after his start on Sunday).  Couple that with the roster restrictions mentioned by MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, and it resulted in Corcino and Dennick being jettisoned just two days prior to when they - and catcher Tucker Barnhart - would have been able to be called up themselves.

Realistically, the most important news lost in that jumble is Mesoraco's hip ailment, but according to the Enquirer's John Fay, the MRI results didn't show anything serious enough to keep him out long-term.  That's a fantastic development, and one that will likely keep Skipworth's time on the 40-man quite short-lived.

Speaking of Skipworth, since he was called up from AA Pensacola, he got top billing on the Blue Wahoos' press release yesterday.  Hidden midway down that release, though, is news that Robert Stephenson - the top prospect in the Reds organization - has been placed on the temporary inactive list due to a personal matter.  No word has yet been released on said matter, but here's to hoping it's nothing serious for Robert.

From a short-term perspective, however, the big Reds news from yesterday was the continued implosion from the Cincinnati bullpen, as the Chicago Cubs came back from multiple run leads on multiple occasions to drop the Reds in the series opener.  As you can tell from the quotes Sheldon got from Bryan Price, the manager is doing his best to make sure he keeps a positive public face about the 4 blown saves just 7 games into the season, but it's clear from what Jumbo Diaz had to say that they're struggling to work through it all.  Relief pitching is as fickle as it comes - look no further than J.J. Hoover's 2013 season vs. his 2014 season - and there's a very real chance that the personnel currently in the bullpen can right the ship and get the job done, but there's an ever-shrinking time frame for them to be able to figure it out without effectively torpedoing the season.

ESPN 1530's Mo Egger weighed in with his take on last night's crumble, and he makes a very solid point about the team's continued baserunning issues.  The Reds had actually managed to avoid any serious TOOTBLANs through the season's first few games, but the two outs made at 3B late in last night's game sure as heck didn't do anything to help out the beleaguered bullpen.

★★★

Switching gears a bit, a pair of recent FanGraphs articles highlight two of the best decisions the Reds have made over the last few months.

First, Mike Petriello took a closer look at the dynamic combination of Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto hitting atop the Reds batting order, and whether there's any real truth to this newfangled reverse lineup protection.  The gist, of course, is that having Hamilton on base may chance the type of pitches seen by Votto and therefore provide the former MVP with more good pitches to crush, while at the same time the patient Votto will allow Hamilton to have more chances to steal bases.  So far this season, it has been a joy to watch the two of them succeed in this new arrangement, but the fact of the matter still remains simple:  Billy Hamilton has to get on base for any of this to have a chance to work.

(Hamilton, by the way, sat out last night's game with a sore finger, but should be back in the lineup as early as today.)

Finally, Craig Edwards broke down Raisel Iglesias' first professional start as a member of the Reds, and overall, he came away impressed with the young Cuban's repertoire on the mound.  It's a great breakdown of how Iglesias changed arm angles to alter his delivery just enough to keep hitters off balance during his second time through the order, and it's an interesting concept to wonder just how that adds to his already four-deep pitching arsenal.  Edwards acknowledges that Iglesias is certainly still a work in progress, but that's all Reds fans should have been hoping for at this early stage of his development anyway.