* Let’s lead off with Baseball Prospectus’ Four Suggestions for the Cincinnati Reds:

1. Ryan Hanigan should be the primary catcher and hit in the two-hole.
2. Drew Stubbs should be the leadoff hitter.
3. Fred Lewis should platoon with Jonny Gomes.
4. Edgar Renteria should be nothing more than an afterthought.

None of them are earth-shattering and all have been voiced by one or more of the editors here at Redleg Nation, but it’s always good when folks as smart as those at Baseball Prospectus agree with you. Check out the article to see their reasoning for each.

* Mark Sheldon has this article on how Brandon Phillips, entering the final year of his contract, seeks to increase his value, on and off the field:

The beginning of the article is about Phillips new-found love of tweeting (which seems to be the topic of the day from various media outlets; I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to follow what anyone is doing or thinking THAT much), but then it gets interesting when they talk about the contracts signed by Votto, Bruce, Arroyo, and Cueto:

“All this money they gave Joey and Brucie and Cueto, the Reds have money,” Phillips said. “It’s all about who they want to pay. It’s a business if you think about it. People will pay who they want to pay. I signed that deal because I wanted to be here. If I didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t have signed it. I wanted to show the Reds my commitment.” …

“Seeing what the Reds are doing and passing out this money or whatever, it’s not all about the money. I just want to be treated fairly. I don’t want to be like [Alfonso] Soriano or Jayson Werth and all those guys, I want to be in the category of second base, you just put me in the middle of those guys and just pay me for what you think I should be paid between those guys, then I will be OK. I’m not trying to break the bank. I’m just happy to play the game and play for the Reds.”

These comments and others made in the article concern me. I don’t see Brandon as an “elite” player, even for a second baseman. I think he’s a better than average second baseman, but I think the Reds are already at the top of the range of what they should pay him. Do you think he could become a distraction or problem? Do you think he’s tradebait?

* And then there is Hal McCoy, catching us up on Francisco Cordero:

During the winter, Cordero shed nearly 10 pounds from what was fast becoming a Hefty Bag physique.

And whose idea was it? With a twinkle in his eye, Baker said: “You always get the advice of the team, but you have to do it on your own. The team always has an optimum weight for guys. But you are on the honor system.” …

“With extra weight it, gives you trouble with your mechanics,” said Cordero, who is on the final year of a four-year contract that pays him $12 million this season. “I worried about that last year because something was going on with my mechanics, which is why I was walking that many people (36 walks in 72 2/3 innings). I wasn’t in good shape.”

Many of us have had problems with the contract the Reds handed out to Cordero, and all of us have had problems with his results at one time or another, but he’s a stand-up guy who doesn’t make excuses and sounds like he’s working hard to improve on last year’s performance. Let’s hope it pays off.