Friend of the blog and ZiPS overlord Dan Szymborski has had his supercomputer fired up for the last few weeks, the two working tirelessly to prepare the projections for each and every franchise for a 2022 season that hopefully will go off without a hitch. Yesterday saw the numbers for the Cincinnati Reds drop, and they frankly brought a bit of a tear to my eye.
As Dan notes in the intro, there’s...there’s actually a lot to like about what the Reds have going for them at the moment. ZiPS likes Jonathan India to more or less repeat his breakout 2021 campaign, thinks Tyler Stephenson is legit, and notes the starting rotation is stacked with a trio of 3.5-4.0 WAR arms in Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, and Sonny Gray. And the bullpen - the bullpen! - even looks as if it’s been revitalized by last year’s deals and promotions.
So Wick, why the tears?
That’s the kind of foundation any team would love, frankly. Cheap, cornerstone infield pieces, arb-level rotation rocks, and a bullpen that looks both fungible and reasonable, all with only a tad over $105 million or so on the payroll for next year. That’s the kind of roster you’re supposed to build around, gawdammit, and not tear down around. The Reds even have the prospects on the cusp that could help put things over the top as early as this year, and are just an OF bat and back of the rotation Wade Miley away from truly looking the part of a legit contender.
Instead, we’ve seen the Reds appear unwilling to do that. They also have shown zero interest in contract extensions to keep any of these pieces around for the longer haul, which means we’ve only just begun the pain of inevitable roster turnover.
Enjoy Arby’s, Reds fans. I know you’ve enjoyed it a lot for the last few years, but those seasoned curlies just don’t ever get old when paired with salty, salty tears.
In other news, it appears the Reds are still the frontrunners to sign 17 year old Venezuelan shortstop Ricardo Cabrera when the international signing period opens next month. Baseball America once again asserted such news yesterday.
BA has Cabrera ranked 3rd overall among all international prospects, a ranking that matches where MLB Pipeline rates him - with MLB Pipeline also noting that the Reds have long been the favorites to sign the bat-first yet still potential five-tool youngster.
Bobby Nightengale of The Enquirer relayed similar news earlier in the week as part of his wider look at the team’s increased focus on international scouting, something that goes hand in hand with the proposed international draft (that may or may not be part of the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement).
Speaking of that next new, shiny CBA, it appears the heavy lifting towards that end won’t take place until January, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic. While it’s easy to throw up your hands, let your beer gut poke out below your cheese-stained shirt, and scream whaaa won’t these billionaires and millionaire just sort out this kid’s game, it’s the holiday season and not even most families can get along in one room for the next two weeks. Just reset your baseball alarm clocks for about January 4th, or so, and bake in one more long, winter baseball nap for the time being. They’ll be back at each other’s throats in no time.
In other news, this jerk has now hit the lottery twice. At least he feels ‘delicious’ about it (h/t #RRSB2K12).
There were zebras just running loose across the Maryland countryside for...3 months, apparently?!
Finally, I got around to doing some writing about my backpacking treks over on Substack. Major League Baseball opting to cease to exist for the time being at the same time the Reds chose to be the cheapest bunch of cheapos in the game helped prompt it, I suppose, but it’s been on the to-do list for quite awhile. Anyway, I’ve been doing my best to add to it several times a week so far, and intend to with details of trips old and new going forward. If that’s the kind of thing that piques your interest, and if my inane drivel hasn’t bored you to death just yet, perhaps give it a shot. Heck, there are even pictures!