You'll have to forgive us for pegging Joe Girardi for an entirely different NL Central locale during the waning months of the summer.


​Girardi was, of course, the leader in the clubhouse to take the vacated ​St. Louis Cardinals job before Mike Schildt was discovered, extended, and pre​sided over a choke.


Now, Girardi's among the candidates the Cincinnati Reds plan to speak to this week, along with Brad Ausmus of the Tigers and the recently-retired David Bell.

​​Ausmus' Tigers teams were fairly consistent disappointments, and he can't be rousing as much fervor among the fanbase.


While Jim Riggleman did a fantastic job as caretaker, you'd imagine the brass would be skewing younger with their next long-term hire. I don't want to rule out John Farrell, but I find it more likely they'd go with Girardi (essentially a younger Riggleman, a drill sergeant) or the newcomer in Bell, as is the trend these days.

With an underrated offense and just a few rotation holes to fill, this is a fascinating offseason for a team on the rise.