Two new lengthy articles about the Reds in the etherverse. Warning, they won’t pick up your Hot Stove spirits.

Veteran baseball writer, Richard Justice, jumps belatedly into the Joey Votto “great or amazingly great?” debate. Justice comes down on the side of amazingly great and has harsh words for anyone who suggests Votto should change his approach at the plate.

The thinking goes that if Votto swings at more pitches out of the strike zone — in other words, if he gets away from one of the things that makes him so good — he’ll get more RBIs. This advice is about as wrong-headed as it gets. Votto has 3,790 plate appearances in his seven big league seasons. He has done things one way virtually the entire time. This is who he is. He should not be changing now. He’s plenty valuable to the Reds NOT making outs. If he starts swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, he’ll hurt the Reds. Rather than going up, his RBI total might go down, although this (again) is a function of time and place.

I’d rather watch reruns of Real Housewives of Atlanta than rehash this debate for the millionth time. But the article is out there. And it will make you sad (if you agree with it) as soon as you remember that both the Reds’ general manager and field manager have talked about wanting Joey Votto to change his batting approach.

And of the two, that’s the feel-good article.

Mike Pietrello at FanGraphs just posted a detailed analysis of the Reds current outfield, with Ryan Ludwick in LF and Billy Hamilton in CF.

Now, we have the Reds left field situation as being the worst in the bigs. We have the Reds center field collection as being the worst in the bigs. And despite the fact that Bruce is still regarded as a top-ten right fielder, that makes for a pretty terrifying outfield for a team that has won at least 90 games and made the playoffs in three of the last four years, and expects to do so again in 2014. … As it currently stands, the Reds outfield has fallen from a plus group to a potential anchor in the span of a year, causing a big enough gap that it might single-handedly keep the Reds out of the playoffs in what’s suddenly a very dangerous NL Central.

In summary, the Reds seem unwilling or unable to take any steps to address the gigantic glaring problems with their offense. But they seem eager and determined to screw around with the single best part of it.

Sigh. I’m suddenly feeling an overwhelming sense of, you know it …