The Cincinnati Reds are in first place

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Reds win.jpgConventional wisdom holds that one does not get too excited about anything going on in the standings before Memorial Day, and that’s still two weeks from now.  Still, how can you now get a kick out of the Cincinnati Reds sitting in first place?

Especially that first place came as the result of taking two of three from a St. Louis Cardinals team that everyone — myself included — figured would have an easier path to a division title than anyone in baseball.  Sure, I and a lot of others tabbed the Reds as their trendy little “they might surprise” pick, but we figured that a surprise from the Reds might be that they come within five games of the Cardinals. Not that they’d pass them up.

But like I said: it’s early. The current surge has had a lot to do with facing cold teams like the Pirates and a suddenly-skidding Cardinals squad. They’ve gotten great starting pitching — three complete games last week — and sparkling defense as of late that, while obviously indicative of talent, has been so good that even the most optimistic Reds backers can’t expect it to be sustainable.

But of course all good teams go through stretches like this. The key to staying in contention all year is avoiding skids, which is something the Reds — usually a respectable team on paper, but subject to swoons — haven’t been able to avoid in recent years.

But at the risk of reading too much into a good week, I’m going to say they can avoid it this year.  Defense isn’t as streaky as hitting can be and Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey —  two guys who have been beat up a bit in the early going — are starting to pitch to their potential.

The Cardinals will go back to winning soon, but I don’t see the Reds returning to losing.  There are just too many bad teams in their division to feast on, and I think the Reds will play continue to play good baseball and, at the very least, remain in the wild card hunt all season.

Dodgers sign Miguel Rojas to 1-year, $6M deal thru 2024

Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to terms with infielder Miguel Rojas on a one-year, $6 million deal that takes him through the 2024 season.

The contract includes a salary of $5 million in 2024 and a club option salary of $5 million in 2025 with a $1 million buyout and charitable contributions.

The 33-year-old Rojas was acquired last month from the Miami Marlins for minor league infielder Jacob Amaya. He returns to the Dodgers for the second time, having made 85 appearances with the club in 2014 as a rookie.

Rojas hit .236 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 140 games last season. He’s been in the majors for parts of nine seasons while playing five different defensive positions.