Lots and lots and lots of news out of Redsland today. We’re going to have some interesting posts for you over the next several days, especially once we hear the particulars of the Votto deal.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like everything we’ve heard from the Reds over the last few days signals a change in direction that we can all be very happy with. Consider the following items:

1. Juan Francisco is traded, seemingly upgrading Todd Frazier to Rolen’s caddy and heir-apparent.

2. The Reds decide to carry only 11 pitchers.

3. Aroldis Chapman will start the season in the bullpen, but even Baker’s comments indicate that this is a temporary measure while Bray gets ready.

4. Joey Votto has a long term contract extension almost complete.

The Reds were always too high on Francisco, but this year, they seemed finally willing to acknowledge that he doesn’t have a place on the team. Frazier will get his at bats and there is now a much smaller risk that third turns into a disaster position for the Reds.

In recent years, the 12th pitcher has almost never been used. However, there have been a number of times when they could have used another man off the bench.

The organization also seems to fully realize that Chapman’s future should be as a starter. This is the only item of the four where there might be some debate, but given Baker’s quotes about Chapman starting and the recent bullpen damage, I am going to choose to believe them and predict that Chapman will start games for the Reds at some point this year.

And then there’s Votto. This contract, however it is structured, indicates that the Reds want more than a two year window. The Reds now have Votto, Cueto, Bruce, Leake, Marshall, Cozart, Mesoraco, and Latos under control until at least 2015. That’s a pretty solid core right there even if the two rookies don’t perform.

I have been following the Reds my entire life and I haven’t been this happy with the organization since I was kid. We’ll see if they continue to make the right decisions, but I find myself very optimistic.