Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday's Reds news and notes

+ Unlike seasons past under Dusty Baker's regime, the Reds won't be adhering to a strict catching rotation under new manager Bryan Price. According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Price says he will decide which catcher plays depending on how they match up offensively to opposing pitchers, not simply by assigning a specific catcher to a certain pitcher(s). With that said, Devin Mesoraco is slated as the starter and Brayan Pena will be the back-up.

+ After ranking 10th in the National League in stolen bases last season, Price says that he wants the team to be more aggressive on the basepaths, specifically when it comes to swiping bags. As Fay points out, Zack Cozart did not attempt a single steal in 2013 despite stealing 30 in 34 attempts at the Triple-A level in 2010. He's one of the players Price would like to see run more often. Price also referenced the 2010 club as a model for which the 2014 squad may adopt when it comes to baserunning.

“We were a really good aggressive base-running team in back 2010,” Price said. “A lot of people say, ‘Well, it’s the Scott Rolen effect.’ He was such a professional and took advantage to whatever was given to him. I think we want to get back there.”

I'm sure Billy Hamilton will give Cincinnati a huge boost in this department.

+ Speaking of Rolen, could he back with the Reds soon in some sort of role?
+'s Jerry Crasnick has more on Cincy's desire to be more aggressive when it comes to running the bases.

+ Fay was apparently on a roll Saturday because he also produced a nice piece about the resolve of team owner Bob Castellini. Will the Reds be able to keep Mike Leake, Mat Latos, and/or Johnny Cueto beyond 2015? It's not likely. But Fay says not to underestimate Castellini. In case you haven't noticed, the Reds have increased their payroll significantly over the past decade, and have added tons of fan-friendly attractions to Great American Ball Park, too. With that said, Reds fans ought to feel lucky that they have an owner willing to invest revenue back into the franchise. The same cannot be said for other owners (*cough* Jeff Loria of the Miami Marlins *cough*).

+ The Reds are hoping pitching prospect Daniel Corcino can regain the positive momentum he mustered before experiencing a disappointing 2013 campaign, writes Mark Sheldon of Corcino entered last year arguably as the club's top minor league arm, but struggled mightily at Triple-A Louisville, compiling a 7-14 record and ghastly 5.86 ERA over 28 appearances.

+ Sheldon also penned this piece about German-born outfielder Donald Lutz. The 25-year-old is working hard to make up for lost time due to injury in 2013. 

+ Legendary writer Hal McCoy has more on the story of how Reds minor league pitcher Jose "Jumbo" Diaz lost a ton of weight over the offseason. Diaz has been very disciplined with his diet and that's what he largely credits for his ability to slim down.

+ Jason Linden of Redleg Nation provides a 2014 projection for Brandon Phillips. Does Jason see a bounceback year from BP or more regression? Click on the link provided to see.

+ C. Trent Rosecrans was able to pull aside Joey Votto long enough to write an excellent feature piece about the Reds All-Star first basemen. The article is filled with a bunch of quotes from Votto and touches mainly on his newfound willingness to connect with fans.

+ In case you missed it, here are the news and notes from Saturday.

+ According to my watch, we're now 36 days away from Opening Day. Does anyone else feel like that's too far away?

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