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Cincinnati Reds links - Reds favorites to sign OF Shogo Akiyama?

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Japan v MLB All Stars - Game 4 Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

It has been common knowledge around these parts for years that if Red Reporter had actually been in charge of the Cincinnati Reds, we, too, could have challenged for 5th place in the National League Central. Maybe even challenged for it for five years running. So, it’s always refreshing to see the big league club making the same kinds of inclinations and moves that we, too, have long espoused.

Twice so far this offseason, our own Fred Regorter has highlighted how the team could improve greatly for the 2020 season with the addition of Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama, who would be the first Japanese player in Cincinnati Reds history if signed. Fred-O doubled down on his Shogo love earlier in December when detailing the series of moves he would make as GM-O, mentioning that Shogo’s OBP skills and ability to play all over the OF would make for the perfect four-OF mix for the 2020 Reds.

This morning, it was revealed that the Reds don’t just still have interest in Shogo - they spoke with him earlier in December at the Winter Meetings - they might well be the front-runners to sign him. That’s the rub from Japanese outlet Nikkan Sports, at least. Given that Shogo is not expected to command nearly the kind of financial outlay as, say, Marcell Ozuna or Nick Castellanos as OF options, adding Shogo could well end up both a bargain play and one that would allow the Reds to devote more of their newfound spending cash on bullpen arms. It would also add a lefty-swinger who hit .301/.376/.454 in NPB play last year to the mix of Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, and Phil Ervin, which certainly would appear to give manager David Bell a wealth of platooning options against pretty much any matchup, creative bullpen opposition or not.

For more on Shogo, check out Eno Sarris’ breakdown of his potential from back in November.

In other news, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans submitted his Hall of Fame ballot, and as you’d expect, it’s pretty much perfect:

Over at whatever is left of Sports Illustrated, they chose a handful of potential breakout stars for the 2020 MLB season, and the Reds own Eugenio Suarez made the cut. Of course, why he made the cut here is a bit straight out of 1950s MVP voting - he’ll be a star because his team actually wins this year! - but either way, it’s cool to see more and more folks take notice of Geno’s star power.

At MLB Pipeline, Jonathan Mayo did some Q & A with folks who were interested in the specifics on some of the prospects listed in hypothetical trades for Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arenado that were kicked about before the holidays, in which the Reds were heavily mentioned. There are a few positive remarks about both Tony Santillan and Nick Lodolo, although Mayo echoes my own sentiments that if the Dodgers want either, they’re the ones who can offer the best packages, hands down.

Speaking of which, MLB Trade Rumors updated their list of the top 25 trade candidates left this winter, including Lindor and a host of other players that would look quite nice as Reds beginning in 2020.

Finally, here is a cat in a bowl. Happy Holidays.