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Cincinnati Reds links - Is Luis Castillo the perfect pitching prototype?

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Wednesday links!

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re not signed up to read The Athletic, I’m not sure exactly what to tell you. Frankly, I’m not sure how you can fully feel like you’re in-tune with what’s happening in the game of baseball without reading the likes of Ken Rosenthal, Jayson Stark, and C. Trent Rosecrans on the regular.

The same can be said for Eno Sarris, who doesn’t just continue to ask unique, thought provoking questions about the game, he tries to answer them with an excellent eye for statistical trends. That was on full display earlier today, when he explored the idea of building ‘the perfect pitcher.’ In essence, it’s a dive into finding the ideal combination of arm strength, pitch repertoire, command, and injury avoidance, the four most pivotal tenets of pitching success. And, as I mentioned earlier, he doesn’t just use conjecture to land on his best current candidates - he uses real, live metrics to trim his lists.

I won’t give away the final results, but I will leave you with this: it’s certainly no coincidence that Luis Castillo is the pitcher in that picture, and rather surprisingly he’s not the only Cincinnati Reds pitcher discussed. That’s obviously no harbinger of immediate 6) PROFIT!, but it’s a pretty hearty endorsement that at least a pair of the young pitchers the Reds have turned to have pretty elite foundations on which to build.

In other news, The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale highlighted the Reds focus on being ‘proactive’ in free agency for the first time in millennia as the GM Meetings officially kicked off this week. On the one hand, I’m excited as hell that The Reds Have Money And Are Talking To Someone, since that’s just not something that has been the case in forever. On the other hand, I’m distinctly nonplussed about the class of free agent pitchers relative to their expected salaries, and I’m worried the Reds are in a situation where they’re buyers in a seller’s market, so to speak. In other words, I love that they may be willing to invest $100 million into pitching, but I really don’t see pitchers in this free agent class that really strike me as being worth those astronomical amounts. Timing, man.

The Reds hired hitting coach Turner Ward away from the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday, and our friends at True Blue LA highlighted just how good the Dodgers hitters were under his tutelage. What stands out specifically in that piece is how selective LA hitters were under Ward, something that a pair of prominent Reds - Joey Votto and Jesse Winker ranked among the top 25 of 278 hitters with more than 300 PA in 2018 - already excel in doing. If that’s now an organizational philosophy that’s to be employed, I’m damn excited to see how it filters through to the rest of the roster. Scooter Gennett had the highest O-Swing % among Reds hitters last year, for what it’s worth, and those are two somewhat interesting tidbits to consider as we wait to find out exactly how much he figures into the future direction of the club.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tried to pick one free agent that was the best fit for each of MLB’s 30 teams, and if that’s what the Reds actually do, how the 2019 season plays out will be pretty damn predictable. Yes, I know what that links to. Yes, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to link to. Fine. Here’s the link to the MLB.com article.

Have you meal-prepped for the rest of the week? If not, here’s a recipe idea.

The Seattle Mariners don’t sound like they’re going to completely blow things up and rebuild, but it sure does sound like they’re willing to at least knock down that wall between the living room and kitchen for a more open concept and maybe even convert that excess closet space into a half-bath. MLB.com broke down their top trade chips should they pursue that route, including James Paxton, the University of Kentucky product who’d look quite nice in the Cincinnati rotation for the next two years.

Speaking of teams on the hunt for pitching, the Houston Astros somewhat unexpectedly lost Lance McCullers, Jr. for all of 2019 when he underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday, meaning there’s another big fish out there on the hunt for exactly what the Reds will be trying to acquire. Great.

Finally, Jamie Ramsey has some details up about upcoming Hot Stove League shows as well as Redsfest and other November dates. Check it!