Yesterday marked both the first tangible big league trade rumor of the year for the Cincinnati Reds - that the Kansas City Royals have their eyes on Jay Bruce - and it also saw the Reds strike their first trade of any kind of the 2016 season. Cincinnati sent Dayton Dragons pitcher Franderlin Romero to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for a pair of international bonus pool slots. No, that does not mean the Reds now own two new posh lounge chairs by the faux waterfall on a rooftop in Dubai. The Enquirer's Zach Buchanan has a solid breakdown of what the Reds received in exchange for Romero, and it's essentially the ability to sign additional international free agents in the coming weeks with less likelihood of being penalized for going over their spending threshold.
Romero, 23, is a somewhat intriguing arm, one that flirted with a no-hitter in A-ball back at the end of April. He's also 23 and still in two levels from AA, and since he signed at 17 years old, he's on the verge of reaching MiLB free agency, meaning the Reds may have simply cashed in. I'm assuming the Orioles are both intrigued by fast-tracking him as a reliever and had no further interest in any unsigned international free agents in this class, since otherwise the deal doesn't seem to have much of a purpose on their end. We'll see.
I mentioned that the Royals are watching Bruce as a potential acquisition. Our friends at D Rays Bay explored whether Tampa will be a buyer this year, and Bruce was one of the names that surfaced in their discussion, too. I think we're in for a steady diet of Bruce rumors for the coming two months (provided that he continues to hit the ball well).
Ken Rosenthal dropped his latest wide-ranging column for FoxSports.com, and in it is an interesting look at Zack Cozart as a trade target. It's certainly an interesting concept to explore holding on to Cozart until the offseason, since that's precisely the mantra the Reds believed in prior to trading both Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman, both of whom saw their values decrease immensely in the time between the July 31st deadline and the end of the 2015 season. The positional need obviously helps determine the timing, as as Rosenthal notes, it may not be the most ideal time to trade Cozart when so few teams need immediate help at SS. There, I didn't call him Bowtie McFunnypants once. OK, just once.
Reliever Ross Ohlendorf won his appeal against MLB yesterday, so the 3-game suspension he had originally been handed went kaput. If you ignore almost every column of the Reds' pitching ledger and specifically pinpoint ones that make your argument look good, you'll find that Ohlendorf leads all Reds pitchers in WHIP (1.016), K/9 (9.6), BB/9 (2.2), and K/BB (4.40), and his 3.98 FIP ranks 3rd behind Raisel Iglesias and Blake Wood, so getting him back in the regular bullpen rotation sans-suspension is actually a decent development. C'mon, regression, hit the 'pen and Joey Votto's BABIP like a rock soon, would ya?
Finally, Daniel Wright will make his unlikely MLB debut tonight for the Reds, as he'll get the starting nod against the Los Angeles Dodgers despite opening the season as a reliever with AA Pensacola. Buchanan spoke with the former 10th round draft pick, who is obviously excited for the opportunity and doesn't intend to treat it as mere novelty. Wright isn't yet on either the 40-man or 25-man rosters, which means someone will have to get booted from both prior to tonight's game. So, stay tuned for that.