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Sports Today: Matt Harvey, Scooter Gennett give Reds interesting options

The Cincinnati Reds beat the Pirates last night with a pair of unlikely heroes who might be unlikely to be Reds when the summer comes to a close. 

Matt Harvey allowed one earned run on three hits in six innings, leaving the bases loaded in the first but retiring the side in order in the third, fifth and sixth innings.

Meanwhile, Scooter Gennett hit a grand slam while driving in six runs. 

Shrewd pickups last season and this season, respectively, Harvey and Gennett could become fan favorites (everyone loves an underdog story, right?), but it is more likely they will offer management a couple of mulligans after botching most of the trades that were part of dismantling the last Reds machine from 2015-16. 

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But should Cincinnati think seriously about keeping them instead? 

Of course, Harvey will be a free agent so he has all the options in the world, but obviously every team needs reliable veteran pitchers to build on so he would look good in a Reds uniform for years to come. 

The question then becomes if they can afford him, and that is not an easy one to answer (unless you want to assume it’s, “No.”). He’s talented and experienced, but his struggles still being pretty recent could depress his value at least a bit and keep the Reds in it. 

Gennett has been a crucial piece of the offense since early last year, and he is still a year away from free agency. 

His being a Cincinnati native adds a potential layer of awesome to the story, but that can’t blind the team to doing what it needs to in building for the future — especially since the team’s top prospect also plays his current position

While Harvey is, or at least has been, the type of front-line starter you want to take into the postseason wars, Gennett might be best suited as a frequently-used utility guy on a postseason team. 

That means both might be more valuable to other teams, especially in the short term, but then again it offers the Reds an opportunity to send the restless fanbase a message about wanting to win. 

If they are going to start spending money at the major-league level again at some point soon (as team president Dick Williams promised before the season), here are a couple of places to start. 

Unless they cost too much or the prospects being offered in return between now and/or the trade deadline are too good to pass up, which is probably what will happen… 

The Bengals kicked off OTAs on Tuesday, and for once the story most likely to be interesting actually was interesting. 

That would be John Ross. 

The Bengals’ 2017 first-round pick looked sharp, getting in and out of breaks cleanly and earning praise from the coaches and some encouragement from Andy Dalton. 

Ross was the intended receiver on an interception by Dre Kirkpatrick, prompting coach Marvin Lewis to scold him for not going after the ball as Kirkpatrick jumped a short out route, but the youngster came back a few minutes later and made a nice play on a deep ball. 

“He had a bunch of good plays today, and he had a couple of stupid plays, so that’s what is going to happen,” said Bob Bicknell, who is in his first year as Bengals wide receivers coach. “I’m glad he does. I’d be upset if we weren’t doing some stupid things right now so you go in and coach it up.”

Of course, days like Tuesday (no pads) are set up for Ross to succeed since his greatest assets are his speed and quickness, but almost literally anything is better than last year. 

›› No longer playing catch up, John Ross impressive at first OTA practice

As Lewis reminded us after practice, Ross couldn’t even do weight training for much of last year as he recovered from shoulder surgery, so this really was a new guy we were seeing...  

The Ohio riverfront was again the site of football Monday when the Bengals began 2018 OTAs outside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

College football recruiting has so many twists and turns, this might be outdated before I hit “publish,” but let’s give it a try anyway. 

Land of 10 reports Ohio State and Dayton Dunbar prospect Jonathan Allen have mutual interest in each other. 

That doesn’t mean the offensive tackle is a sure-thing to be a Buckeye, of course. 

Both sides are still doing their due diligence. 

“I think everyone expects him to be a Buckeye,” Dunbar coach Darran Powell said. “I don’t honestly know, but I think they may be in front. He’s visited there two or three times. Coach (Greg Studrawa), Coach (Kevin) Wilson and Coach (Urban) Meyer all do a great job. Wherever he goes, it’ll be a great look for our school. I’m just going to support him on whatever he decides to do.”

Allen named a top five of Ohio State, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville and Pittsburgh. He wants to make his commitment before the end of the summer, but he figures to make a slew of visits between now and then with summer camp season right around the corner. 

Ohio State is the hometown team, as he put it, but everyone has to find the best fit for them, after all. 

“Like I tell every coach, I want to see who develops me the best. I don’t want to go anywhere where you just throw me in the fire with no help to get no better,” Allen said. “I want to develop and get better, maybe even redshirt for a year to develop and work out hard in the offseason to get ready to play.”

If Allen eventually ends up picking Ohio State, he would be the first Dayton City League scholarship player to be a Buckeye since Colonel White running back Terry Pogue in 2000. 

The last Dunbar player to sign with OSU was Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson in 1991, but Powell has already been doing a good job of producing Division I talent, including receiver Joseph Scates (Iowa State) and running back Tavion Thomas (Cincinnati) last year… 

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