A couple of interesting nuggets emerged from the Cincinnati Reds lode this afternoon, some albeit shinier than others.
Perhaps the most concrete move we can definitively dissect is the team's decision to outright infielder Tony Renda from the 40-man roster and send him to AAA Louisville after he cleared waivers on Monday, according to the team's Twitter feed. Renda, who came to the Reds in the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees almost a year ago, will turn 26 in January and hit just .183/.246/.217 in 67 PA with the Reds in 2016 - his first ever big league action. However, that came on the heels of a solid .311/.363/.434 line in 403 PA between AA Pensacola and AAA Louisville, numbers similar to those he'd posted in MiLB stints in the lower levels of the Washington Nationals' system and Yankees' system. He's a former 2nd round pick with a bit of pedigree that suggests he can be a decent contact hitter and potential IF utility guy, so it's probably a positive that he'll stick around in the system.
What's key in this, though, is that it opened up another spot on the 40-man roster, something Doug Gray emphasized at RedsMinorLeagues.com in reference to this week's Rule 5 Draft. Now with multiple roster spots available, it seems highly likely that the Reds will use the 2nd overall position in said draft to pluck a player from an opposing team's system, at least to see what they've got during Spring Training. Part of the recently approved new CBA included a clause that Rule 5 picks will now cost $100K instead of $50K, but that still seems like a paltry fee to roll the dice on a talented prospect left unprotected elsewhere.
In other news, it appears the Reds have been fielding calls expressing interest in not just Billy Hamilton - which we looked at earlier - but also Anthony DeSclafani, who is still a year away from arbitration eligibility and has four full years left of team control. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com relayed that news earlier today, and it's yet another example of the Reds not shopping their best players, but being proactive in listening to what other teams are willing to offer them. What's interesting in the Disco whispers is that the Texas Rangers, who are currently talking about Hamilton, were also connected to Disco back at the non-waiver trade deadline. Now, I'm not saying it's the Rangers who are still asking about Disco, but it's an odd little parallel that at least seems worth pointing out.
Look, there's a reason why the guys most of you think are the best players on the Reds are seeing their names pop up in trade rumors: other teams notice they're good, too. Just because the Reds of Dick Williams may be more willing to talk about it publicly than the Reds of Walt Jocketty doesn't necessarily imply there's more impetus to move these guys, however.
Speaking of Hamilton, FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan took a damn interesting look at how Hamilton is truly a one of a kind player, and it's absolutely worth your time. And since the baseball world often provides wonderful segues, Sullivan was the latest guest our own Eric Roseberry spoke with in his On Baseball Writing podcast, which is well worth your listening time, too.
In other news, it seems that Joey Votto will be playing in yet another World Baseball Classic, as Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith noted earlier today.
Finally, Evan Davis penned a very forthright and beautiful piece for The Hardball Times that I came across today, one deeply intertwined with baseball fandom, and I highly suggest you give it a read. He even references Nietzsche, Charlie Scrabbles.