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MLB links - Expanded AAA season, Universal DH almost certain

Thursday links!

Milwaukee Brewers v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

If you’re near me, you just dug out from under 10-15 inches of snow and woke up to temperatures as low as -4 degrees (before the wind chill) this morning. That’s what the storm that’s currently raging across the midwest did to Colorado, at least, and it seems readily apparent that it’s going to rip across the heart of Reds country with rain, snow, and ice doing devastation up and down the Ohio River valley.

Here’s to you doing your best to stay dry, safe, and with heat and power throughout. Fingers crossed it ends up milder than the projections.

In the world of Major League Baseball, there’s just about as much fun as sweating out an ice storm. The latest round of meetings between MLB execs and the MLBPA didn’t seem to get anywhere closer to ending this dumbass lockout, with MLB failing to budge in any significant fashion on the hard-held beliefs that have these two sides at odds in the first place. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich has been following the developments (and lack thereof) throughout, and is an excellent resource for when these sides do meet - even if it’s just to highlight how stubborn MLB is being.

Admittedly, it’s been hard for me to get too deep into following these meetings just yet, as MLB continues to be so damn obtuse about their stances. There is no bargaining to watch, merely one side presenting realistic economic advancements and the other just staring at their phones, scrolling through their Charles Schwab accounts. I do anticipate there being a time in this all when I get much more in-tune with the goings-on, but to date it’s been about as engaging as a middle school formal dance.

One thing that has emerged, I guess, is what MLB Network’s Jon Heyman relayed yesterday, namely that the Universal DH is all but assured to be a part of play when play gets around to playing in 2022. It’s fascinating on a number of levels, from the historic aspect of the game to the two leagues finally having similar rules, etc., but it’s of particular interest to a Cincinnati Reds roster that could really, really use a DH again. The club, as currently constructed, has a handful of aging sluggers who aren’t exactly the best defenders (or models of health), and letting them rotate through the DH spot on the daily could help maximize the roster’s ability to thump.

(Of course, all those players make more money than the Reds want to spend right now, making them prime dump candidates once transactions un-freeze, so it’s hardly worth even speculating on the topic, I guess. Christ on a cracker, what a fun franchise this is.)

If you’re a minor-league enthusiast, or a local resident of Louisville hell-bent on rooting for the team’s future, you’ll be happy to know that the AAA season is going to add more games than it ever has in recent memory. Baseball America’s JJ relayed a press release from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that details their expansion from a 144 game to 150 game schedule, something that feels at least like a minor concession after MLB nuked all rookie league ball and some 42 total MiLB affiliates just two years ago. So while you can no longer watch affiliated baseball in Lexington after the Legends got lopped off, for instance, you now have two or three more chances to drive an hour down the road and catch Bats games instead, or something.

Speaking of Baseball America, they recently ranked the Cincinnati farm system as the #7 overall system in the game, which our friends at Redleg Nation broke down in some detail. As they note, BA considers Jose Barrero still a ‘prospect’ for their rankings, which certainly gives the farm more of a boost than the ‘active roster,’ but that’s semantics that ignore that the greater farm itself boasts a good bit of talent these days. That’s before you even get to Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Vlad Gutierrez, Tony Santillan, & Co. having graduated just last year, showing just how much young talent the Reds have around at the moment. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll finally decide how to augment that with some proven talent to put them over the top in the coming years. A kid can dream...