After our collective beditmes on Friday night, the Cincinnati Reds wrapped up a Cactus League game against the Colorado Rockies in Goodyear, AZ - a tilt that they lost 5-4. Rockies’ prospect Kyle Freeland held the Reds scoreless through 3 solid innings on the mound, and that kick-started the purples to the eventual victory.
Cody Reed got the start for Cincinnati, and while his overall line wasn’t exactly what you’d hope to see from the young lefty - 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K - apparently he spent much of the start working on a new changeup grip, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon found out after the contest. With Homer Bailey’s season in concrete boots and Anthony DeSclafani not expected to be ready by Opening Day, the odds are increasingly likely that we’ll see Reed in the Reds’ starting rotation to begin the season, so the development of his new changeup over the next four weeks will be something worth watching earnestly.
Perhaps more importantly, however, was the Friday news that Devin Mesoraco will make his Cactus League debut on Sunday, when he’ll catch the spring debut of Bronson Arroyo for Cincinnati in a split-squad game against the Milwaukee Brewers. While that may seem nice and nostalgic for some of you, it’ll jog (toast) your memory that it was actually Ryan Hanigan who served as Bronson’s usual catcher when he was last with the Reds in 2013. Mesoraco’s start with Saturn Nuts as his battery mate on August 2nd, 2013 was the lone time he caught Bronson in his final 11 starts of that, his final season in Cincinnati, and also serves as the last time the two paired up as such.
(Of course, that game against the St. Louis Cardinals saw the filthy birds plate 4 runs in the first and eventually chase Bronson after 7 ER in 3.2 rough IP, so here’s to hoping Sunday’s outing goes much, much better for all parties.)
Speaking of ol’ Saturn Nuts, The Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans dug deep into the history of the nicknames in the current Cincinnati clubhouse, and it’s well worth your time to read. It’s always interesting to see the nature of the names the players you follow everyday respond to, especially when they’re obviously in the form of a nickname. As someone who has gone both publicly and privately by a nickname for his entire life, it’s something I can relate to a bit, too. I suppose the most interesting tidbit in this is finding out which guys generally embrace the nicknames they’ve been given, and which ones deal with them a bit more reluctantly.
Featured prominently in Rosecrans’ article was the recently DFA’d Jumbo Diaz, who made news again on Friday when he was claimed by the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa, always at the bottom end of the payroll charts and constantly on the lookout for new market inefficiencies to beat their bigger-spending rivals, seems like the perfect landing spot for a 33 year old pre-arb fireballer whose body type doesn’t exactly fit the classic mold of a professional athlete, all told. While I’m far from flummoxed as to why Jumbo was DFA’d in the first place (which I detailed last week), I’m still a bit confused, I guess, as to what about Christian Walker looked special enough to make Jumbo expendable in the first place. Still, the 40th man on a decent 40-man roster is last on the pecking order to begin with, so I’ll trust that there’s something we’re all overlooking that is the driving factor in this transaction triangle.
In other news, FanGraphs’ Eno Sarris continued his great look into the current Reds’ roster with a look at new reliever Drew Storen’s quite literal hammer. Not his curveball - his actual freakin’ hammer.
Finally, and also from FanGraphs, comes a look at the dead money on current MLB payrolls, as Craig Edwards explored which teams are tied up paying players who aren’t actually going to play for them this season. Of course, this became relevant for the Reds when they ate almost all of Brandon Phillips’ contract to trade him to the Atlanta Braves, which is why they sit as the team with the fourth highest percentage of team payroll currently tied up with said players.