PlayoffsHistory/Hall of FameRed ReposterCincinnati Reds links - Luis Castillo shines on Opening DayNew ,37commentsFriday links!EDTShareTweetShareShareCincinnati Reds links - Luis Castillo shines on Opening DayAaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsA FIP of 1.24, a K/9 of 12.7, and a shiny 303 ERA+. Those are stats that fill the columns for Luis Castillo and his 2019 season after yesterday’s stellar Opening Day performance, ones that kick the awful ones he’d posted in spring training to the the curb. That’s one part a knock on the irregularities that skew things in Cactus League play - and perhaps why ‘he outplayed so and so in spring camp’ is such a tired way of looking at roster decisions - but it’s also an endorsement of what Castillo is capable of producing against the best, when it counts, on the big stage. That’s exactly what David Bell and the new-look Cincinnati Reds received yesterday, a new-look performance from their young pitcher despite him being one of the older faces on the roster this year.The Enquirer’s Adam Baum caught up with Castillo, Bell, and catcher Tucker Barnhart to discuss a bit of yesterday’s performance, and it’s clear that there’s a pervasive hope among the Reds that this was all just the first ‘step’ of Castillo taking the next step towards being a legitimate staff ace. If that happens - and Castillo gets flanked by a bounce-back from Sonny Gray and continued veteran cromulence from Tanner Roark - the Reds might well have themselves a starting rotation they can lean on for the first time in a half-decade.Jeff Zimmerman looked closer at all of yesterday’s starters over at RotoGraphs, detailing how their stuff matched up yesterday compared to their 2018 averages. It shows that Castillo’s fastball velocity averaged just about a half-mph slower yesterday than last year - that’s to be expected in game one when he’s still ramping things up - but what’s of more pertinent note is that he reduces his fastball use by over 10%. That wasn’t something exclusive to Castillo, as Zimmerman noted, which prompted him to wonder if a) that was also just an early-season anomaly or b) whether Opening Day starters - read: team aces - are trending towards using fewer fastballs and more breaking balls as a way of revamping their arsenals. Interesting Brad Boxberger Jersey , and we’ll certainly have an eye on that going forward.In a note potentially related to that, Eno Sarris had a pretty interesting reaction to Castillo’s first start of 2019 - and how it might continue to get better:In other lightly-related Reds news, Sheryl Ring breaks down the breakdown in contract talks between the New York Mets and former Red Devin Mesoraco for FanGraphs, one that might well end up in Mesoraco’s eventual retirement. It’s a pretty sad tale on the surface, of course, what with Mes’s absurdly unfortunate injury history, but it’s also another feather in the cap of people who want to side with players over ownership on the topic of collective bargaining.Speaking of collective bargaining, The Athletic’s Marc Carig fired out a doozy this morning, noting that there is actually a belt - as in, a wrestling-style belt - that is annually given to the team’s front office who does the best job of ‘winning’ their arbitration negotiations. In other words, since it’s impossible fundamentally in the arbitration system for a team to offer more than a player and there to still be an impasse that leads to a hearing, inherently it’s the teams that have offered less that end up in a hearing against their players looking for the lower of the two salaries for that given season. And MLB doles out a belt for the club that does the best job of keeping player salaries down, which is a pretty awful look when paired with the obvious player/management strife we’ve seen play out in free agency the last two winters.Also from The Athletic comes old friend Grant Brisbee and his take on which team that finished last in 2018 has the best chance to make the playoffs in 2019 Daniel Descalso Jersey , and we all know one team that sure as hell finished last in their division in 2018. Finally, oh look, it’s the Reds ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in the division. Big name free agents are starting to find new homes around MLB. Meanwhile, the Orioles have a lot of work to do before they start building up their roster."Good morning, Camden Chatters.At some point, MLB’s hot stove season was bound to start heating up, and yesterday brought a little bit of news — mostly from Atlanta. Not only did the Braves bring back catcher Brian McCann on a $2 million deal, but they landed the first big-name free agent of the offseason by inking former MVP Josh Donaldson to a lucrative one-year contract worth $23 million.That’s an interesting deal for both sides. Donaldson will try to restore his value after an injury-ravaged 2018 season and re-enter the free agent market next year, while the Braves added a potential impact player in their attempt to defend their NL East crown.The Orioles, who were a frequent victim of Donaldson’s lethal bat during his three-plus years with the rival Blue Jays, won’t be sorry to see him leave the AL. He tagged O’s pitching for an .888 OPS, 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 67 career games.With Donaldson off the board, who’s the next domino to fall? The winter meetings start in less than two weeks Ketel Marte Jersey , and there’s usually a flurry of activity leading up to and during the event. Don’t expect the Orioles to be heavily involved in whatever player activity goes on, though. They’ve still got plenty of more urgent tasks on their plate, such as finding a new manager.LinksReading between the lines of Mike Elias’ message to Oriole fans - BaltimoreBaseball.comRich Dubroff searches for clues about Mike Elias’s plan in the e-mail he sent to season ticket holders. I wouldn’t expect Elias to divulge any organizational secrets in a form letter to fans, but it was a nice gesture all the same.Orioles need to make current roster changes to help jumpstart the rebuild – The AthleticJonathan Bernhardt looks at which non-tendered or on-the-outs players might be a fit for the Orioles, and suggests Derek Dietrich, Avisail Garcia, and Yangervis Solarte. Get excited!Baltimore Orioles: Five potential Rule 5 draft targets - BirdsWatcherSpeaking of getting excited, we’re just a couple weeks away from the Rule 5 draft, in which the Orioles hold the first pick. Tim Smart offers five options for the Birds.What should the Orioles look for in a new manager? - Steve MelewskiThey should look for someone who can handle a lot of losing. Like, a whole lot. Just so, so much losing.Some leftovers from the Adam Jones tailgate - School of RochIn today's “Adam Jones is awesome” story, Jones plans to send some Cabernet to Buck and Angela Showalter in Texas. Can I change my answer to that question about the next O’s manager? Can it just be Adam Jones, please?Orioles birthdays and historyIs today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have five Orioles birthday buddies , including 1989-92 first baseman Randy Milligan (57), improbable T-shirt-day-honoree and 2009-12 righty Jason Berken (35), brief 1997 catcher Tim Laker (49), lefty Bill Short (81) of the ‘62 and ‘66 Orioles, and late lefty Johnny Schmitz, who ended his career with the Birds in 1956. Schmitz, who died in 2011, would have been 98 today.On this day in 1963, the Orioles traded slugger Jim Gentile, who co-led the AL with 141 RBIs in 1961, to the Kansas City Athletics for fellow first baseman Norm Siebern, who was an All-Star in the first of his two years with the O’s.