John Fay may be stepping away from the Cincinnati Enquirer in just a few weeks, but he's not slowing down when it comes to the juiciest Cincinnati Reds topics. He spoke with manager Bryan Price about the biggest positional battle we expect to see this offseason - shortstop - and just how both Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez can both be in the lineup at the same time. Since Cozart's awful knee injury, Suarez has stepped in and hit like a regular middle of the order bat, and while Cozart's glove is far superior at SS, Suarez has shown the kind of skills that suggest he can play decent defense pretty much anywhere on the diamond. The question then becomes whether it's worth rotating Suarez around the field to keep his bat in the lineup, since that would risk stunting the 24 year old's middle infield development (since we all know a plus bat paired with solid middle infield defense is one of the most valuable things on the baseball planet). These things always seem to find a way to work themselves out, however, and I fully expect both Cozart and Suarez to find ways to be in the lineup somehow for 550+ PAs in 2016.
As if the Reds airballing on the post-season for the second straight year while the rest of the NL Central soaks it up wasn't enough to make you grumble about watching the playoffs, we found out on Tuesday morning that former Reds skipper (and all around good dude) Dusty Baker will be part of the TBS coverage of the NL playoffs. Good for Dusty, as all signs and quotes have made clear that he wants another shot in the big leagues, and this keeps him in the spotlight for other future openings. Correlation does not equal causation, but I'll forever think of one of the best runs in Reds history when I think about Dusty, as he was the smile and wristbands of a Reds renaissance that made Reds baseball fun again for the first time in a decade. I miss that.
On the diamond, Billy Hamilton left Monday's game against the San Francisco Giants with an aggravation of the shoulder injury that sent him to the DL earlier this summer, and that may have him on the shelf for the final games of the 2015 season. Billy's struggled to a .563 OPS this year (a .532 OPS vs. RHP and just a .545 OPS over the last 365 days), and rolling him out there for another 19 games with one healthy arm is no way to wrap up an already disappointing season, which makes me believe we'll see a steady diet of Jason Bourgeois and Ryan LaMarre to finish up the year. Dang.
Want some complicated advanced statistical jargon? Here's a Hardball Times article from Dave Studeman that attempts to find out who the real MVP should be based on situational analysis, and it's an interesting viewpoint. Despite being interesting, I think it does somewhat try to reinvent the wheel, but I linked to it because it pretty much says that Joey Votto is the king of the world and I thought that may brighten your Tuesday.
Finally, this one's a few days old, but it's Eric Longenhagen breaking down the upcoming Arizona Fall League rosters and prospects for ESPN, though it's behind the paywall. The gist: Phil Ervin has big tools but has had a rough development so far, and Alex Blandino is the kind of advanced bat that should feast on AFL pitching. Great link, ken.