In an appearance on the podcast hosted by C. Trent Rosecrans and Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams shared some interesting thoughts on his team and possible areas for innovation. (You can find a writeup of Williams’ comments and a link to the podcast right here.) Williams spoke in particular about the notion of “breaking down the barriers between roles,” both for pitchers and position players. Especially for a small-market team, he said, it’s necessary to question traditional thinking. While it’s hardly clear that the Reds will be tinkering just for the sake of experimentation — Williams says that creative approaches will be attempted “in the context of the talent we have coming” — he did note that it’s intriguing to imagine the possibility of a staff made up mostly of multi-inning pitchers who aren’t strictly classified as starters or relievers. It’s a fun and worthwhile listen.
Here’s more from the NL Central:
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak expressed some displeasure with recent comments from second baseman Kolten Wong, as ESPN.com’s Mark Saxon writes. Wong had stated rather forcefully that he was uninterested in sharing time at second — a possibility that has been discussed (externally, at least) due both to his continued struggles at the plate this spring and the presence of Jedd Gyorko. Though Wong softened his initial statement, making clear he wants to remain in St. Louis, Mozeliak said he felt the “comments were a little tough given the fact we have other players playing well.” The veteran executive took a measured tone, but made clear where the organization stands. “Starting Sunday, we’re playing to win,” he said. “Whenever a player is trying to accomplish something in spring training, that can’t be an excuse for why things aren’t going well.”
- Righty Drew Hutchison was officially removed from the battle for the Pirates’ final rotation spot, with the team announcing that he has been optioned to Triple-A. That leaves righties Trevor Williams and Tyler Glasnow fighting for the fifth starter’s job. Both reached the majors last year after strong showings in the upper minors, though neither established himself at the game’s highest level. The young hurlers have each staked their claim in differing ways this spring, with Williams posting a 2.63 ERA with a dozen strikeouts against just two walks over 13 2/3 frames and Glasnow racking up 23 Ks — but also allowing nine runs on 19 hits and six free passes — over his 14 1/3 innings.
- The Cubs have made their final Opening Day roster decisions, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Outfielder Matt Szczur and infielder Tommy La Stella are both slated for reserve roles. Szczur, who’s out of options, had been mentioned as a possible trade candidate had he ended up missing out on the Chicago roster. Meanwhile, lefty Brian Duensing will open the season on the DL after being slowed earlier in camp due to back spasms.