It doesn't seem too terribly long ago that Homer Bailey was the young hot-shot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation, the unproven yet uber-talented big arm projected to carry the team on their next big run in the NL Central. The young Texan was a bit brash, but after early struggles and a few years in the dugout with the likes of Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, he settled in to his role near the top of the rotation. Those days are long gone, however, and the departures of Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake have left Homer as the lone veteran in a pool of starting pitchers that's as green as they come, as C. Trent Rosecrans of the Enquirer noted. Each of Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Keyvius Sampson, David Holmberg, and Jon Moscot have made starts as rookies in 2015, and they each figure to be challenged for 2016 rotation spots by prospects Robert Stephenson, Brandon Finnegan, and John Lamb, among others. That's left Homer as the man in the dugout with the most pitching knowledge to impart, and it certainly seems he's taken to that role quite well while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Homer will be 30 next season, amazingly, and while his injuries have kept him from contributing much on the field since signing his gigantic extension, at least the Reds can know he's imparting his wisdom to the up and coming members of the pitching staff. Dear lord, this Reposter went and got all Skip Schumaker-y. What the hell have I done?
Over at FanGraphs, Tony Blengino took a lengthy look at the updated minor league depth of teams that were active at last week's non-waiver trade deadline, which means the Reds got a solid look. Not surprisingly, Blengino echoed much of what the rest of the baseball world had to say about the Reds' work, which is that they got good returns for the pieces they traded, but they didn't trade enough parts to really signal a look to the future. Rebootification, if you will. That led Blengino to lump the Reds in with the Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers in his "PRESENT, FUTURE LOOKING DICEY" group, and he even went so far as to say the Milwaukee Brewers have a brighter looking future, which I think is an amazingly inaccurate stretch.
It's been mentioned before, but it's always important to note how updated TV contracts are funneling piles of money into the game of baseball these days, and the Reds are currently negotiating their next TV contract (since their current one is up after the 2016 season). Their current deal nets them roughly $30 million per season - which the team has deftly put towards expanding their payroll - but that number is expected to skyrocket once their new deal is complete. For comparison's sake, the St. Louis Cardinals just recently signed their new TV deal, and FanGraphs' Craig Edwards looked at how it's structured. The filthy Cards will get some $55 million per season when their new deal kick starts in 2018, and that number will eventually rise to $85 million before the end of the contract. When you consider that as recently as the 2012 season the Reds entire payroll was only $87 million, all of a sudden having a 1B with a .964 OPS on the season and the best OPS in baseball since the All Star break making $25 million a year shouldn't send you into an irrational uproar.
Speaking of them birdos, St. Louis comes to Cincinnati to start yet another series with the Reds tonight. MLB.com's David Cobb has a preview of tonight's contest, which will feature DeSclafani opposite John Lackey.
Finally, you may remember Mike Hessman as a journeyman former Louisville Bats basher - while others may remember him as that guy also wearing #19 at Reds spring training that freaked us all out. Hessman blasted yet another minor league dinger on Monday, this one being the 433rd of his MiLB career, which broke the all time affiliated minor league record. Congrats to the current Toledo Mud Hen for making history.