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Cincinnati Reds links for February 1, 2016

Yo, it's February, ya'll. I haven't even stopped writing "2015" on my checks, yet.

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

We've flipped to calendar to February, which means that we can officially say, "Baseball begins this month." Go ahead. Say it out loud. It'll help. You can also bookmark this link and make it your homepage for a quick reminder just how many days you have to go on living before there are baseballs being baseballed in your life again.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get back to a familiar topic that's dominated the latter part of the Reds offseason: Brandon Phillips. Late last week, while Walt and The Boys were out caravaning Reds Country, they dropped in for a radio visit with Bill Cunningham of WLW. They spent the first minute or so talking about politics, for some reason, and Thom Brennaman admitted to being a supporter of Rick Santorum, which is probably the least surprising thing ever. But later on they actually talked about baseball.

Luckily (for you), I listened so you don't have to. I'm sure you can find the podcast on WLW's website. I couldn't, because their website is garbage, but I'm sure you can.

There's some niceties exchanged, some public ownership slurping of Pete Rose, and then Walt gets into the actual ball club. Jocketty reinforces that they're trying to build a strong young core to carry them into the future, and says that they're well on their way to achieving that goal, mentioning the strong young pitching that they have acquired and are set to unleash.

Cunningham asks him who's going to be in left field and Jocketty name drops all of the usual suspects that we've suspected will be vying for the spot in the month of March: Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler, Yorman Rodriguez, etc. And then, Cunningham asks about Brandon.

Bill Cunningham: And as far as the second baseman Brandon Phillips, hes a fan favorite. Probably the most popular player since Jose Rijo, yet you tried to trade him and it didn't go through. How does Brandon Phillips begin the year, thinking, "You know, I'm with a club that didn't want me. And I didn't go to a club that really, on paper, is going to be better than the Reds." Do you have a sit down with BP and say, "Hey man. Bygones are bygones. Let's have a great season."

Walt Jocketty: Yeah, he has to- he chose not to accept trades to two clubs that we had deals with that were, uh, I would consider contending clubs...

BC: Who were the other clubs? Other than Washington?

WJ: We had a deal with Arizona and with Washington.

BC: And he said no to both?

WJ: Yes he did.

BC: You know why? He wanted more money?

WJ: That was a big part of it.

BC: Because he wanted more money?

WJ: Yeah.

BC: Which, is unfortunate, because he's still makin' like 60 million dollars or something. That ain't bad!

WJ: (mumbled laughter) Yeah, that's not bad. I'd take it. I think you'd take it.

BC: Yeah! Yeah I'd take that.

WJ: I think the main thing is that since Brandon has chosen to stay, that he has to be apart of what we're doing. We've got a club that we're developing a young nucleus for the future and, he has to be apart of that.

So, that's Walt Jocketty saying, on Cincinnati radio, that BP turned down not one, but two trades to teams that will be better than the Reds, due to not receiving a big enough raise to do so. Whether or not you believe that was the right thing to do for the player himself (and Lord knows we all have quite a lot to say about that), this is the President of team confirming (during the Fan Caravan that the biggest fan favorite is not apart of) on live radio that BP didn't accept a move to help the team due to monetary reasons. The underlying tone of what Jocketty's saying here (and the tone that is being set before pitchers and catchers even report to spring training) is concerning.

When we couple that with Bryan Price's quotes to the Enquirer, the water gets muddied further. Talking to C. Trent this weekend at the Caravan finale in Florence, the Reds manager noted that if Phillip is with the Reds, he envisions him as the starting second baseman.

"It looks like Brandon is with us. Brandon, for me, is a second baseman of tremendous value and talent, it's hard to just assign someone else that job," Price said. "If Brandon's with us, I expect him to be playing second base." The Reds skipper added: "I just don't, at this point in time, see him as a bench player."

The Reds also want to see what Jose Peraza can offer the team. Walt admitted on Thursday, after his radio comments, in Columbus: "I think going into spring training, Brandon Phillips is the veteran second baseman, but there will be a lot of competition. But if we deem Peraza is better, then he'll get an opportunity to play," Jocketty said.

There is a disconnect there. And maybe Price's role in the BP vs. Management saga is to have his player's back so that BP doesn't burn the clubhouse down. I really have no idea, but it sounds like Walt legitimately expects there to be a competition at second base in the coming month, while Bryan Price, well, doesn't. What's most worrisome here, then, is how long it takes for them to realize what the strategy with Jose Peraza is going to be.

Knowing this club and how they tend to treat roster decisions, my main worry that the casualty in all of this will be Peraza's development and service time, as he wastes away on the end of the Reds bench while the 35 year old veterans gets penciled in day after day. How many weeks will it take for this to sort itself out?

Other links:

A young Reds fan challenged Billy Hamilton to a race at the Reds Caravan finale in Florence. She subsequently beat him in aforementioned foot race, and the Reds CF rewarded her with the jersey straight off his back (after signing it, of course). In related news: the Reds have traded Jay Bruce for said Reds fan, who projects to be a speedy, light hitting middle infielder.

Here's a pretty cool thought experiment hosted by our friends at Beyond the Box Score: Baseball Game Theory. Essentially, the idea is that there's a league-wide redraft, where each team gets to pick 5 players. The catch is that if any player is picked by more than one GM, that player stays with his current team. Thus, there's some strategizing involved, including trying to figure out if the player you want will also be picked by someone else, thus negating the pick all together. The results were interesting. I think BK picked for our Cincinnati Reds, and I'm pretty sure Wick was involved in one way or the other with another team.

Over at Fangraphs, Chris Mitchell tries to project the prospects based on his KATOH projection system, which I don't fully understand, but attempts to forecast minor league prospects first several seasons in the majors. He had just done a top 100 list in November, but now he's back, with a more refined approach. And would you look at that? Jose Peraza ranks as his projected #2 prospect. Let's cross our fingers.