Big city baseball team wants to win, win early, and win often.
Big city baseball team has enough money to allow them to forget how much money they actually have.
Big city baseball team has a freak injury, and a sudden need.
Small city baseball team is rebuilding.
Small city baseball team has all five eyes on a narrow, future window.
Small city baseball team hopefully, mercifully realizes that a coveted closer doesn’t mean much to a club destined for ~70 wins.
Big city baseball team’s freak injury was to its closer.
It’s a baseball tale as old as time, one that doesn’t even need the familial ties that bind. Those ties, though, exist between the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds, as brothers Edwin and Alexis Diaz have risen rapidly up the ranks of Major League relievers, with the former now sidelined for perhaps the entire season after a freak knee injury while on World Baseball Classic duty with Team Puerto Rico.
The Mets and their endless resources aren’t just shopping for luxury additions like they were with Alexis last summer, they’re in the market with a tangible need for relief help. Therefore, it’s impossible not to run into things like we read from Jon Heyman of the New York Post this morning - once again linking the Mets and Reds and what it might take for the two sides to strike a deal.
It’s not about the particulars included here, which you can read for yourself in the link. It’s about the persistent synapse being created that seemingly will not go away despite Alexis having just completed a rookie season, not even being arbitration-eligible until 2025, and having team control through 2027.
It’s Butters staring at a mirror trying to summon Biggie Smalls, just to see if it’ll actually happen.
I get the speculation. The Mets shouldn’t spend a billion bucks on signing everyone they could have ever possibly wanted and then just stop trying to acquire as many good players as possible. They certainly haven’t won in a while, they certainly have all the resources out there, and while it’s easy to see Alexis as a natural replacement for Edwin for their 2023 title push, any move to get the Reds closer would be as much about the long-run as this year. Independent of all of that, I even wondered earlier in the winter if the time was right to shop Alexis for other, non-sentimental reasons.
One thing is for sure, however - the better Alexis pitches for the Reds to start the 2023 season, the more this discussion will continue.
In other news, FanGraphs is nearing the end of their annual Positional Power Rankings, and let’s just say the Cincinnati Reds are one of the 30 Major League Baseball franchises included in the rankings. They are! They really are! Sarcasm aside, here’s where they’ve checked in at each position covered so far:
There was rightly much talk, adulation, and consternation regarding the Cincinnati Reds and their dealings over the last year and a half. The teardown that was, the stockpiling, the praise lavished on the upgrades on the farm, and the flushing away of a past rebuild that simply didn’t do enough to get the job done.
I’m excited about the future of the Cincinnati Reds. I’m excited about Elly De La Cruz. I’m excited to see where Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft can take the pitching staff. Still, it’s impossible for me to look at these sorts of projections and not acknowledge that the Reds have, once again, completely punted on an entire Major League Baseball season and its core, fundamental premise of trying to win Major League Baseball games.
I hope the Reds surprise here. I expect them to surprise in at least a couple of these areas, even if I’m in agreement with the FanGraphs projections elsewhere on the roster. A surprise, though, is outperforming these projections by a handful or, god forbid, a couple handfuls, and even that only jumps the Reds into the teens in every single one of these positions. That’s truly impossible to ignore.
Over at Reds.com, Mark Sheldon spoke with Nick Senzel, who is ‘back’ and willing to play anywhere he can squeeze into the lineup.
Charlie Goldsmith writes that the Reds are banking on more ‘experience’ in their bullpen this season for The Enquirer, though I’m having a hard time seeing that despite the availability of two functioning eyeballs. Tejay Antone is hurt. Lucas Sims is hurt. Tony Santillan is hurt. Luke Weaver is hurt. Justin Dunn is hurt. Luis Cessa has to be a starter now. They didn’t sign anyone. Are we all a year older? Yes we are all a year older. Age and experience are two very different beasts.
Finally, we’ve kickstarted our Walks Will Haunt podcast on Fans First Sports Network in collaboration with many of the other podcasts who used to call SB Nation sites their respective homes. We talked about Joey Votto’s return and how kick-ass the World Baseball Classic was, among many other topics, on this week’s episode. Follow, like, dislike, subscribe, throw your phone, tell your friends, cuss at us if you will!