MLBits: Reds Rotation, Cease's Timeline, Reyes Working, Concussions, Signings, Ax Throwing, More

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MLBits: Reds Rotation, Cease’s Timeline, Reyes Working, Concussions, Signings, Ax Throwing, More

Chicago Cubs

In order to avoid a giant, smelly present somewhere in my house this morning, I had to brave the cold and take my dog, Henry, out to do his business. Fortunately, I tossed on some pretty serious hunting gear and it wasn’t *too* bad.

Preparing to go outside, though, felt like something between a space walk and that scene from ‘A Christmas Story.’

Here’s some news from around the league …

  • The Reds may yet add J.T. Realmuto to their lineup before Opening Day, but they’ve already added a couple players (Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp) to a potentially solid offensive core: Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, and Eugenio Suarez (each of whom finished 2018 with a wRC+ above 125). Their bullpen, meanwhile, may have lost Dylan Floro, but it remains anchored by closer Raisel Iglesias and set-up men Jared Hughes (1.94 ERA in 2018), David Hernandez (2.53 ERA), and Michael Lorenzen (3.21 ERA), among others. Perhaps the story, then, is that they’ll go only as far as their rotation can take them.
  • That said, the Reds haven’t been shy in adding to the rotation this winter, either. Even if none of Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark, or Alex Wood offer the same upside of Corey Kluber or other previously rumored trade targets, it’s still an impressive group with upside. Indeed, with those three on the roster, plus Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle and a handful of other familiar names, they might be able to surprise this summer. And if the voting at MLB Trade Rumors is any indication, most baseball fans believe that group has a chance of being good enough to keep the Reds in contention all season long. What do you think about those arms?
  • No biggy, the Giants just need AN ENTIRE OUTFIELD on January 30:

  • May I offer you one expensive, but multi-Gold-Glove winning right fielder?
  • Michael Kopech has been the White Sox pitching prospect to watch for a while now, but seeing as he’s expected to spend most of this upcoming season recovering from Tommy John surgery, attention has shifted to … former Cub Dylan Cease. Cease, 23, managed to make 10 excellent starts at Double-A last season (1.72 ERA, 2.39 FIP) and White Sox Director of Player Development Chris Getz said he’s ticketed for Triple-A to start the year, so it might not be too long before we see him in the big leagues. “At the end of the day, I’m trying to make it up as quick as I can, just like everyone else,” Cease said. “But I’m controlling what I can control. I’m trying to execute pitches, and I’m leaving it at that. And whatever happens happens.”
  • Speaking of top pitching prospects, the Cardinals’ Alex Reyes is working hard to come back for the second time in his extremely young career (elbow and shoulder injuries/surgeries ended each of his last two seasons). But if he can make it back, unfortunately for other NL Central contenders, the sky really is the limit: “There’s reason for hope. When you boil it down, he just hasn’t been healthy for two years,” Cardinals President John Mozeliak said. “The reason we’re still so excited is, when he’s healthy, he has an electric arm.” Even though he’s been limited over the last two years, I think most Cubs fans remember what he looks like when he’s on. When healthy, Reyes really could be one of the more dominant arms in baseball. We’ll see which version we get this summer, though.
  • Good news: Clint Frazier has been cleared to return to the Yankees after a chronic concussion sidelined him throughout 2018. Scary news: Frazier explains that the concussion left him with black holes in his memory and it’s not entirely clear if everything will be okay, forever:  “I felt like I wasn’t physically there, like something I couldn’t get out of. I was scared,” he said, via the New York Post. “There were times I’d be driving, like I was on auto-pilot or something. I’d look around and think, ‘How did I get here?'” Concussions are very scary, man. I wish Frazier the best.
  • Reliever Jenrry Mejia has been allowed back into baseball, despite a lifetime ban for three positive drug tests, and has signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox. The deal gave free agent reliever Peter Moylan the perfect set-up:

  • I’ve sat through some cold games at Wrigley Field, but I don’t think I’d have braved it through something like this:

  • I have done this ax throwing thing before – holy crap is it fun – but I don’t have the arm of Yasiel Puig:

  • BaSeBAlL pLaYeRS ArEn’T AtHlETEs:

  • And finally:

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami