When the Cincinnati Reds swung the massive deal that sent what’s left of Homer Bailey to the Los Angeles Dodgers with a pair of prospects, they landed a lot more than just Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, seven million bucks, Kyle Farmer, and Yasiel Puig. While the on-field output should see a massive upgrade thanks to that trade, the life, the energy, and the enthusiasm about the Reds has already seen a massive uptick, and there hasn’t really been a bigger driver of that than Puig himself.
Despite the frigid January temperature, Puig was in Cincinnati yesterday, shopping around for a place to live for 2019, meeting the mayor, and hanging at the the Reds Urban Youth Academy, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon detailed. Puig spoke about his great relationship with then-Dodgers and now-Reds hitting coach Turner Ward, how the move to GABP shouldn’t impact how he tries to smack lasers all over the ballpark in a sell-out for hitting homers, even about Tony Perez and the Big Red Machine, and it was once again a chance for some long-suffering Cincinnati sports fans to feel their cold hearts beat once again.
If anything, Puig couldn’t have timed his visit better, as the dude might well be the only person vibrant enough to thaw everyone out. Perhaps RR’s own UncleWeez described him best:
The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans had much more on Puig’s visit to Reds country, including how quickly he won the hearts of the kids at the Reds Urban Youth Academy. Y’know, if the Reds want to go ahead and announce an Eugenio Suarez-sized extension for Puig at any point, that’d be juuuuust fine with me.
If you’re specifically interested in what the Dodgers might look like on the field after the big ol’ trade, friend of the blog Dan Szymborski - hi Dan! - released his ZiPS projections for them and their revamped outfield earlier today. The Reds’ ZiPS haven’t yet come out, but with over half of the MLB teams having already had theirs filed, my best guess is that you’ll see them at some point next week, so stay tuned.
In other news, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro noted earlier today that the long, drawn-out J.T. Realmuto trade saga has reached ‘advanced stages.’ That might just be some hyped-code for ‘baseball season starts pretty soon and some of these blustered-about transactions will have to take place at some point,’ I think, but I do suppose it’s still worth keeping on the front of your brains that the Reds are actively engaged in trade talks surrounding the best catcher in baseball, which is something that would’ve blown the walls of your house off if we’d been able to discuss at any point in the previous five offseasons.
(Speaking of which, pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks!)
Earlier in the week when we looked closer at how lefty Brandon Finnegan might fit in on the Reds roster just a year removed from being considered a rotation lock, we made note that there hadn’t exactly been a ton of established lefty-relief support brought in this offseason. That changed a bit when the Reds announced the signing of veteran lefty Ian Krol earlier this week, who will head to Goodyear on a minor league deal. He’ll get a shot at being a lefty in the bullpen, as in spring training he’ll likely compete with the likes of Finny, Cody Reed, Wandy Peralta, and Amir Garrett as the roster takes shape. Our friends at Redleg Nation took a closer look at the Krol signing.
SB Nation dot com slash MLB has been going through a massive overhaul of late, one that included a significant series of layoffs during the most recent holiday season. /MLB lead keytarist Grant Brisbee stuck around through that turmoil, but with yesterday’s news that he’s leaving SBN to again cover the San Francisco Giants - this time for The Athletic - the way our overlords cover the game we follow religiously just lost its most talented, established voice. Frankly, I’m not exactly sure where /MLB will go from here, but it’s awesome to see Brisbee back on the team-beat he navigates so damn well, especially that he now gets to cover them while they’re godawfully bad. Best of luck at the new gig, Brisbee, and if you’d like any tips about covering a team daily that’s destined for 95 losses, well, just ask Charlie Scrabbles.
Baseball America has been releasing their lists of the Top 20 minor league prospects at each position, and today saw their 3B rankings drop. As C. Trent noted, the Reds have a pair that cracked the Top 5. I wonder if Taylor Sparks is one of them...
Finally, ESPN’s Keith Law has been releasing his Top 100 prospect list this week, and yesterday saw him reveal numbers 50-1. A trio of Reds prospects cracked the top 16 on his list, each of whom received some pretty high praise from a prospect guru who hasn’t exactly loved Reds prospects in previous years. Hey! That sounds like a rather rosey future, no?