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2016 MLB roster outlook: Cincinnati Reds


2016 MLB roster outlook: Cincinnati Reds

2015 record: 64-98, 5th place in NL Central

Manager: Bryan Price, 3rd season

Estimated 2016 payroll: $92 million

Key additions: LF Scott Schebler, RP Blake Wood, RP Caleb Cotham

Key losses: CL Aroldis Chapman, 3B Todd Frazier, C Brayan Pena, LF Skip Schumaker

Projected lineup

SS Zack Cosart
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
RF Jay Bruce
C Devin Mesoraco
LF Scott Schebler
3B Eugenio Suarez
CF Billy Hamilton

Projected rotation
RHP Anthony DeSclafani
RHP Raisel Iglesias
LHP Brandon Finnegan
RHP Michael Lorenzen
LHP John Lamb

Top relievers
CL Jumbo Diaz
RHP J.J. Hoover
RHP Blake Wood

Biggest questions entering 2016
1. Can their young pitchers take the next step? The Reds have a decent wave of young pitchers developing both on their major league roster and in their farm system. The big names to watch in 2016 will be Brandon Finnegan, Michael Lorenzen, John Lamb and Robert Stephenson. Finnegan and Lamb came over from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade. Fans may know Finnegan from his performance in the 2014 playoffs. He was a first round pick of Kansas City's in 2014. Lamb used to be one of the top prospects in baseball, but has slipped over the past few years. He did, however, hold a 2.67 ERA in 20 minor league appearances last season and finally made his MLB debut. Lorenzen was a first round pick of the Reds' in 2013. He also debuted last season and struggled through his first 27 MLB outings. Stephenson is considered a top 30 MLB prospect and reached Triple-A last year. He could make an impact with the Reds in 2016.

2. Who else gets traded? Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier were traded this offseason and both Cueto and Mike Leake were traded last summer. Who's next? Brandon Phillips was nearly dealt this winter before he nixed a trade to the Nationals. Will he waive his 10/5 rights and accept a deal this summer, perhaps to a contender if the Reds are losing? Joey Votto is another of their remaining stars, but it's unusual to see players traded with contracts as big as his. He signed a 10-year deal back in 2012 that will earn him at least $20 million through 2023 with a team option for 2024. Billy Hamilton is just coming into his own and would see like a building block the Reds would want to keep. That all might make Jay Bruce - who is owed $12.5 million in 2016 with a team option for 2017 - the most likely candidate. Expect his name to pop up in trade rumors this season.

3. Can they make strides in any area? The Cincinnati Reds are in the middle of a rebuilding phase and have the potential to be even worse in 2016 than they were last season. In 2015 they went 64-98 and this offseason they let go of Chapman and Frazier through trades. That was coupled with them not adding much of anything to their roster. Last season the Reds were bad in all areas, ranking 26th in the majors in both runs scored and team ERA. This year they are very unlikely to compete for anything consequential, but some progress would be nice to see as they look to the future.

[Roster info via]

[RELATED: First pictures of Doug Fister in Astros uniform]

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.