Scout.com isn't exactly the first place I go to check up on baseball prospects. Nevertheless, they released their own proprietary Top 100 prospects list yesterday, and the Cincinnati Reds are quite well represented, albeit in a fashion a bit different than most every other list we've seen released this spring. Each of the usual suspects cracked the list, with Robert Stephenson ranked highest (25) followed by Cody Reed (48), Jose Peraza (52), Jesse Winker (83), Alex Blandino (85), and Amir Garrett (91). It's the first one of these that Blandino has actually made, and it's also clear that they're not nearly as high on Jesse Winker as Red Reporter, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, me, you, or anyone else is, which is certainly curious. Still, it's a pretty solid representation all around, one emblematic of the team's preponderance of high-floor, near-majors players.
"Tanking" hasn't been a topic this hot-button since the release of Fury, but thanks to an army of awful teams and the big mouth of Scott Boras it has found its way to the forefront of the blogosphere with the 2016 season just around the corner. We touched on that largely yesterday, but Grant Brisbee's take on it from the mothership this morning adds another viewpoint worth reading. There's one tweak I'd add to his proposal to fix this notaproblem, and it's one that's been proposed countless times independent of the tanking issue as a standalone concept: why not just let teams trade their draft positions? I mean, if having the #1 overall pick is something that's so valuable that teams are willing to tank an entire season to earn it *and* is something that's so valuable that bad teams getting it infuriates decent teams, why not let teams that want that valuable asset have an avenue to obtain it? If, say, the New York Yankees want that top pick from the Philadelphia Phillies so badly (and the allocation money that's attached to it), why not let them trade Luis Severino for it?
Here's some fun: Skip Schumaker, Brennan Boesch, Kristopher Negron, Chis Dominguez, Ryan LaMarre, and Jason Bourgeois constitute the entire list of bench bats from the 2015 Cincinnati Reds that the team cut ties with after the end of the season. Exactly none of them have a spot on any team's 40-man roster at the moment.
One move made by the Reds has somehow fallen through the cracks: they signed a corner infielder with 86 more walks in his career than strikeouts! Of course, he's also 31 years old and has never played in the big leagues. On the heels of that blockbuster, the Reds also announced the signing of Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal (with an invite to Spring Traning). Sanchez famously threw a no-hitter back in 2009 while with the San Francisco Giants and backed that up with a 2010 season where he led all of baseball in H/9 and posted a solid 3.7 bWAR season. Of course, he's never come close to replicating that since, and hasn't thrown a big league pitch since 2013. Still, he's been somewhat impressive in Caribbean League play, and it's a harmless flier.
Continuing on the transactions train: the Reds signed minor league 2B Angelo Gumbs at the end of January, according to Baseball America. Gumbs was released by the Yankees just before that, and the former 2nd round pick from the 2010 MLB Draft is still just 23 years old. Now that I've got your optimism stirred, it's probably worth noting that he hit just .176/.224/.213 in 202 PA in A ball in 2015, and that 2015 was the fourth consecutive year in which he was stuck in that level.
(As a side note, only one of these moves has been listed on the Reds official Transactions page, which is somewhat odd. There's also been zero word on whether the signing of Cuban SS Alfredo Rodriguez has been made official. Hmm...)
Finally, MLB.com team reporters caught up with various current and former GMs to ask them about trades they'd re-do given that yesterday was Groundhog Day. Mark Sheldon spoke with Walt Jocketty, and Walt brought up a deal from his days as GM of the St. Louis Cardinals that involved the Reds and current broadcast analyst Jeff Brantley. Kinda thought he'd go with the Mark Mulder trade that included him giving up a young Dan Haren, but maybe that one still burns too much to bring up.