Wait — did they go and screw with my HardballTalk again?

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Um, yes. A little. Thanks for noticing!

No, it’s  not a major change like the one we dropped on you last summer. You know, the one that caused you to say that you’d never read us again and which made you threaten the lives of my family? Boy, I’m glad you weren’t serious about that! I’d hate it if you stopped reading.

No, this time it’s minor. At least from your end: we switched publishing platforms from Movable Type to WordPress. Bloggers among you may find that interesting. Non-bloggers, not so much. The point, however, is that changing over to WordPress makes the machinery of this jalopy work much more smoothly, and that makes Aaron, D.J., Drew, Matthew, Bob and I much less grumpy. It should also improve things for you. You may have noticed some time lags in posts and comments appearing, as well as a few other quirks. That should mostly disappear. There are other, more subtle things that you may not notice but which will make your time-wasting, er, I mean your reading experience a bit better.

The one big change, however, is comments. While registration for commenting is not new to you, your old registration on Movable Type won’t work now. You will, as that email you should have received from NBC told you, have to register with WordPress. The good news is that if you’re an avid blog commenter already you probably already have a WordPress login. If not, registration is not obtrusive as  far as these things go, and will only take a moment. We don’t, it should go without saying, use your registration information for any ulterior marketing or spying purposes or for any other sort of tomfoolery.

So that’s that. If you experience any hiccups, let me know. If you’re just a crotchety old fogey who hates change, well, yeah, me too.  But we promise that after this we won’t go messin’ with anything for a while. Coo?  Of course it’s cool.

Craig

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.