It was on this day in 1932 that the Reds made one of the best trades in franchise history, acquiring future Hall-of-Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi as part of a seven-player trade with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Lombardi was coming off a solid rookie season, but since Brooklyn already had Al Lopez behind the plate, Lombardi became an expendable trade chip. The Reds reaped the benefits as Lombardi rose to stardom over 10 seasons in Cincinnati, hitting .311/.359/.469 with 120 homers over 4288 plate appearances in a Reds uniform. His tenure in Cincy included the 1938 NL MVP Award, five All-Star appearances, and a starring role in the Reds’ World Series victory in 1940.
Some items from the modern game…
- Players will once again be able to access in-game video clips this season, with the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier writing that Major League Baseball’s central office will be controlling the video footage available to teams. Players and coaches will be able to access footage of a past at-bat or pitching sequence during a game, via dugout iPads, with the league editing the footage to ensure that teams can’t use video for underhanded purposes — like stealing signals, for instance. Prior to 2020, it had become common practice for a hitter to visit a clubhouse computer terminal to review footage from his previous plate appearance, but clubhouse terminals were banned due to COVID-19 concerns last year. This certainly played a role in some hitters suddenly struggling at the plate, since they had gotten to used to making video-aided adjustments.
- Willie Calhoun has been bothered by a groin injury during Spring Training, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) believes the Rangers could be cautious and place Calhoun on the injured list to begin the year. An IL stint certainly wouldn’t be welcome for Calhoun considering his injury-shortened and unproductive 2020 campaign, though it might be necessary to ensure that the young slugger is both fully healthy and fully prepared for the season. A former top-100 prospect, Calhoun seemed to taking a step forward with a solid .269/.323/.524 slash line over 337 PA in 2019.
- Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has already said that the team will use Alex Reyes out of the bullpen this season, but with Miles Mikolas and Kwang Hyun Kim both facing injury problems, Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the team should reverse course and install Reyes into the rotation. While it makes sense that the Cards want to carefully manage Reyes’ workload given his own lengthy injury history, Frederickson argues that the most optimal usage of Reyes’ projected 80-100 innings would be to use him as a starter until the rotation gets healthy, and then shift him to the pen.