Spring Training Dates

The Reds announced their Spring Training dates. The date for pitchers and catchers to report is Feb. 18 (that’s 92 days away). Position players report on Feb. 23. The first of their 33-game schedule is March 1, against Cleveland. The final game in Goodyear will be March 31. The Reds will play the Pirates in an exhibition game on Saturday, April 2, at Victory Field in Indianapolis. Victory Field is home to the Indianapolis minor league club. [Update: the exhibition game on April 2 is now sold out.]

Find official Spring Training info here.

Opening Day is Monday, April 4 (138 days away).

Frazier to Cleveland? 

One possible trade destination for Todd Frazier is Cleveland. A couple writers offer their opinions at what a fair trade might look like.

Joe Sheehan makes the case that Frazier could be a fit in exchange for pitching, which Cleveland has in abundance.

“Urshela can go back as a second piece in any deal; he’s a glove man who, at 24, might become an average-minus hitter and at least replaces Frazier’s defense in the short term. Pitching-rich Cleveland will have to be willing to deal a southpaw prospect like Rob Kaminsky or Justus Sheffield to get a trade done, however. The Reds could get bold and ask for Trevor Bauer, who showed positive signs last year but still was just a below-average starter. He’s the clear #4 for Cleveland, who have enough depth to move Bauer if it means making a four-win upgrade and not adding much to the payroll.”

Rick Weiner at Bleacher Report suggests a different package for Frazier.

Cincinnati Gets: 3B Yandy Diaz, OF Tyler Naquin and RHP Danny Salazar. Cincinnati lands a controllable innings eater to slot atop its rotation in Danny Salazar, who along with Anthony DeSclafani and the returning Homer Bailey has the potential to be a potent trio of young arms to lead the Reds pitching staff for years to come. Tyler Naquin doesn’t have tremendous power, but the 24-year-old has hit at every minor league level he’s played, makes consistent contact and knows how to get on base consistently. His above-average arm and speed make him a fit anywhere in the outfield. Like Naquin, Yandy Diaz doesn’t have big power, but what he lacks in pop he makes up for with an advanced approach at the plate, drawing more walks than strikeouts over his minor league career. He gives the Reds an immediate replacement for Frazier at the hot corner.

Votto as MVP Candidate

The NL MVP will be announced this Thursday evening. The three finalists are Bryce Harper (WAS), Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) and the Reds’ Joey Votto. Harper rightly remains the prohibitive favorite, but Mark Sheldon details the case for Votto. At age 31, Votto had his best overall season in 2015.

“After the All-Star break, Votto led the Majors in hitting (.362) and on-base percentage (.535), and he also had a .617 slugging percentage. The only other players to produce a half-season like that with at least a 1.152 OPS were Ted Williams in 1941, who hit .406 in the first half with a .535 OBP and a 1.373 OPS in the second half, and Barry Bonds, who batted .365 with a .628 OBP and a 1.422 OPS in the first half of 2004.”

Of course, if you read What to expect: Joey Votto you already knew that, a month before Opening Day:

Joey Votto recently said he is completely healthy and that his legs will allow him to drive the ball as in the past. If that’s the case, Reds fans can expect Votto to put up numbers at least as he did in 2013, when he was second in the NL in offensive contribution, but with more power. Projection: Expect Votto to hit over .300 with an on-base percentage well over .400, and hit 25-30 homers and 35 doubles. In other words, one of the best hitters in the league and an MVP candidate.

Interview with Dick Williams

David Laurila at FanGraphs interviewed Dick Williams at the GM meetings. Williams talks about how he’ll approach leading the Reds front office.

On the Reds analytics department:

“None of us really know what everybody else is doing, but I would put our analytics up against anybody. Our goal is to provide as much information as our decision-makers can use. We’re constantly hiring – building our team – and we’re constantly improving the outputs we get from those different models. It’s an evolution, and it’s going to continue to be an evolution.”

On building a roster or lineup:

“I’m still formulating my philosophy on lineup construction. It’s evolved over time. It’s such a function of the players you’ve got, so I’m a little hesitant to force my philosophy before dealing with the realities of what I have. We’ve seen it: there are different ways to score runs. When Theo (Epstein) was asked about the best way to build a winning roster, he said that whoever wins the World Series, that will be the way to win a World Series until the next one. Everybody will spend their offseason trying to be like that team. I think that it’s important to stay with your beliefs, but there is no one answer to solve this riddle of putting together a successful, World Series team.”

Read the entire interview here.

How Long Will The Rebuild Take?

Also at FanGraphs, yesterday Eno Sarris analyzed how long it might take the Reds to rebuild. He presents data that suggests in the two-wild-card era, maybe turnarounds don’t take as long as they used to:

“All of this comes back to where the Reds think they are on the win curve, and how volatile they think the game is. There’s definitely some evidence that baseball is more volatile year to year now then it was last decade, and that teams are clustering closer to .500 now than they did last decade. Those two things make sense in a Wild Card era.”

Read the entire article here.