Saturday, December 31, 2011

6 New Year's Resolutions for Reds in 2012




Here we are on the brink of another calendar year that has come and gone. This year wasn't as kind to the Redlegs as 2010, but it did bring us some good moments and good memories. With 2011 all but behind us now, here are 6 New Year's Resolutions for the team to strive for a fantastic 2012:

The '11 Interleague season left much
to be desired for the Redlegs

1) Win the close ones
Dusty Baker's bunch lost a staggering number of 33 games by one-run last season, which led all of Major League Baseball. Their inability to come up with a big hit or a big out in crucial situations cost them dearly in '11. If they seek a more successful 2012 campaign, they must strive to come away with more close victories.

2) Compete better in Interleague play
Only the Kansas City Royals lost more contests in Interleague play last year (13) than the Reds did (12). If you overlook the notion that they went 1-5 against intra-state rival Cleveland in the Ohio Cup, one silver lining in their lackluster record is that 9 of their 12 defeats came by just two runs or less.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Is Barry Larkin Hall of Fame Worthy? (Video)


In the video below, MLB.com discusses Barry Larkin's credentials to become a Hall of Famer in his third year on the ballot. Is he worthy of a HOF nod in your opinion? I say yes.

Here is a brief list of his accomplishments:

*12-time All-Star
*7-time recipient of Silver Slugger Award
*3-time Gold Glove Award winner
*National League MVP (1995)
*.295 career average in 19 seasons
*Member of 1990 World Series Championship team
*Recipient of Roberto Clemente Award (1993)

Olney Praises Reds' Infield and More

Buster says, "Read this!"
 Recently, Buster Olney of ESPN rated his top 10 MLB bullpens and the Reds snuck in at the bottom of that list. His most recent lists rank the Top 10 Infields and the Top 10 contracts in the major leagues, and the Reds grabbed a spot on both. They are both ESPN Insider articles, so you'll have to be a subscriber to see the entire lists. The Redlegs came in as the #2 ranked infield in the majors, behind the Texas Rangers, while Johnny Cueto's four-year/$27MM contract was 8th of 10 on that list.

The following are excerpts regarding the Reds in each of Olney's articles:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How does Reds Bullpen Rank Among MLB?

Sean Marshall adds another stopper at the backend of the Reds 'pen

Buster Olney of ESPN.com has been busy this week ranking the league's top pitching staffs for 2012. Olney thought so highly of the Redlegs 'pen that he placed them among one of the league's elite.

Dusty Baker's arsenal of bullpen arms came in at #10c on the MLB's 10 best bullpens list. (It's an ESPN Insider piece, so you'll have to subscribe or sign-up to view the entire list).

But just for our sake, here is the excerpt about the Reds:

This Day in Reds History: "Big Klu" Traded

Big Klu was famous for his propensity to cut
the sleeves off his uniform

December 28th, 1957 - After 11 seasons with the team, the Redlegs trade first basemen Ted Kluszewski to the Pirates in exchange for first basemen Dee Fondy.

Known as "Big Klu" among Reds fans, Kluszewski was the face of the franchise for much of the 1950's. In his career with Cincinnati the left-handed slugger boasted a .302 average, 251 homeruns, and 886 RBIs -- including the '54 campaign which saw him mash a league-best 49 homers and 141 RBIs. He was named an All-Star four consecutive seasons spanning from 1953-56 while finishing among the top seven or better in the MVP voting for three of those.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Highlights: Mat Latos (Video)

For a better look at how newly-acquired, right-hander Mat Latos pitched last season, check out this 3-minute video below.

2011: Year in Review (Video)

A look back on the year that was 2011 for the Redlegs...in video form.

*Video comes courtesy of the team's official website.*

Sunday, December 25, 2011

One Last #Redsmas Carol

merry christmas greetings

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you're huddled up in a warm house enjoying it with your loved ones. Just be sure to take it easy on the ham and cookies later. And if by chance Santa didn't bring you what you wanted this year, here is one last #Redsmas carol to endulge in.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney layed down "Wonderful Christmastime" in 1979. Although considered by many as one of the worst Christmas songs ever, I believe it has a nice ring to it. You can hear that version in it's entirety below. But for all Reds-related purposes, I decided to tweek it a bit and make my own rendition entitled "Wonderful Reds Game Time". Enjoy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Be Cautious in Tabbing Cueto an Ace, Yet


By now most people around baseball consider Johnny Cueto to be the ace of the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff. With his low-mid 90's fastball, tantalizing curveball and unpredictable changeup, he's a challenge to any opposing hitter that steps in the box against him. The only real threat between him and winning a Cy Young Award at this point appears to be bad chicken wings.

However, it must be noted that many of these same people once considered Edinson Volquez to be ace material as well (as recently as eight months ago). After a masterful 2008 campaign in which he was not only named an All-Star, but also finished fourth in the league's Rookie of the Year balloting, expectations were high for the promising flamethrower from the Dominican. In fact, the Reds believed in him so much that he got the nod for both game one of the NLDS in 2010 and the start on Opening Day to begin 2011.

#Redsmas Caroling on Christmas Eve


Christmas is tomorrow so I won't take up too much of your time. Enjoy the holidays and spend quality time with your family and friends. Here's just a couple more carols to help you celebrate! Merry Redsmas and a Merry Christmas to you!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reds Claim Indian Off Waivers

The newest member of the Reds

On the same day as finalizing a trade with the Cubs, the Reds made another move as well. The team claimed right-handed pitcher Josh Judy off waivers from the Indians.

Judy was designated for assignment last week to make room on Cleveland's 40-man roster for Aaron Cunningham.

The 25-year old appeared in 12 games for the Tribe last season as a rookie. He posted a rather unimpressive 7.07 ERA in those outings -- which totalled 14 innings pitched.

However, despite his lackluster but yet small major league sample size, Judy has had success pitching in the minors. In five seasons in the Indians farm system the reliever compiled a 26-8 record, 2.81 ERA, 10.4 K/9 rate, and 41 saves. This includes recording 23 saves and a 3.12 ERA in 50 appearances last year with Triple-A Columbus.

Marshall for Wood Deal Finalized (Analysis)

Sappelt is one of three players heading to Chicago

As first reported by ESPNChicago's Bruce Levine on Wednesday, the Reds agreed to send starter Travis Wood and two minor leaguers to the Cubs in exchange for reliever Sean Marshall, pending physicals.

Not only does it appear all went well with the physical results, but the identity of the two minor league players are now known. They are LF Dave Sappelt and INF Ronald Torreyes, this according to Keith Law of ESPN.

Sappelt, 24, was called up by the Reds late in the season and appeared in 38 games -- posting a .243 average, no homeruns, 5 RBIS and 8 doubles. He fared much better in 2011 at the Triple-A level where he saw action in 74 contests while posting a .313 average, .377 OBP, 7 HR, 29 RBIs and 16 doubles. He was rated as the 20th best prospect in the Reds' system by Baseball America prior to last year.

Let's Go #Redsmas Caroling: Day 5


I know you're sad that Redsmas caroling is soon coming to a close, but fear not because Opening Day will be here before you know it. I hope you've enjoyed these as much as I have, and as much as I thought you would. The Reds are poised to succeed this year, and "Deck the Halls" with some hardware. Also, David Bell's, David Bell's the new manager at AAA and some think he could be in line for the spot in Cincinnati when Dusty is no longer there. Enjoy!

These classic carols require no music to sing along with, as they are almost just as fun to belt at the top of your lungs a capella.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

4 Strange Feats from Last Season


As ESPN's Jayson Stark points out in his recent piece entitled "Strange but True Feats of the 2011 Season", some unusual occurences transpired this past MLB season.

And it just so happens the Reds were involved in at least four of those. Here are the excerpts taken from the article pertaining to Cincinnati:

Strange but truest pitching feat of the year
When the Phillies and Reds kicked off their May 25 game at Citizens Bank Park, Wilson Valdez was right where he belonged -- at second base. But by the time they finished that game, more than six hours (and 19 innings) later, "2B" wasn't the only marking next to Valdez's name in the box score. There was also this:

WP.

Yessir, if you play baseball long enough, you never know who might show up on the mound, hitting 89 on the radar gun and turning into the winning pitcher. So on this night, the Phillies' friendly neighborhood utility whiz did all this:

Let's Go #Redsmas Caroling: Day 4


Fact: 162 games is a longggg season, and that's exactly what an MLB schedule entails. During those grueling 162 contests there is bound to be some that don't go your way, there's no "ifs", "ands", or "buts" about it. So what do managers do during these frustrating bouts of defeat? I'll tell you -- they tab a sacrificial lamb, errr I mean pitcher, from the bullpen and let him go through agony on the rubber for the betterment of the team. For Dusty Baker and the Reds that guy was none other than Carlos Fisher in 2011.

For the sake of comparison, you could say Fisher was treated like a redheaded step-child last year. Not only was he called up and sent down multiple times throughout the year, but of the 17 games he pitched in for the Reds, 16 of them resulted in losses. In fact, there was only one occasion all season where he entered a game to pitch with his team leading (June 11th @ SF in 10-2 W).

So, Fisher, this one's for you man. This is not a knock on Dusty at all, as it's well-known that all clubs have this type of reliever on their roster. But without further suspense, I present to you our modified version of the timeless Christmas jingle "Let It Snow", or as we like to call it "Let Him Throw". Here's Michael Buble's version to help you sing-a-long.

Chris Heisey Deserves Shot in Left

Heisey

Yonder Alonso had been penciled in as the starting left fielder for the Reds going into 2012. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. After being dealt along with three others to San Diego for newcomer Mat Latos last weekend, the team must look elsewhere to fill the void in left. Enter fan favorite Chris Heisey.

Despite only receiving 279 at-bats in 2011, the 27-year old slugged his way to 18 homers, 50 RBIs and 9 doubles all the while sporting a modest .254 average. Now consider this, if we were to pro-rate those numbers out to 600 at-bats - which would signify Heisey playing everyday in left over the course of a season - his stats would look like this: 37 homers, 104 RBIs and roughly 20 doubles. That kind of production is worth around $10-$12 million on the open market. Heisey's salary for 2012? Try just under $500,000 -- which isn't too far off from the league minimum.

The lack of confidence placed in Heisey by the organization is absolutely puzzling in my opinion. They continue to scour the free agent market looking to A) spend money they don't have, and B) find offensive productivity that they're already paying for in Heisey! Can we honestly say that Cody Ross, Ryan Ludwick, or Pat Burrell is such a proven upgrade over Heisey, or even other internal candidates such as Dave Sappelt or Denis Phipps for that matter? Considering the money that mediocre outfielders have been reeling in this off-season (Josh Willingham, Michael Cuddyer), my answer is a resounding no.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays from the Reds

Cubs, Reds Close to Deal?

Marshall

Two division rivals may be on the verge of swapping an arm for an arm...left-handed ones at that.

Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com is reporting the Reds have a trade in place that would send lefty Travis Wood and two minor leaguers to the Cubs in exchange for reliever Sean Marshall.

The deal is pending based on physical results from all four players.

Here is the excerpt taken from Levine's report:

"Wood, who turns 25 in February, was 6-6 with 4.84 ERA in 18 starts last season with the Reds. Wood beat the Cubs in his major league debut on July 1, 2010, allowing two runs on two hits in seven innings. He finished his rookie season 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 starts.

Hump Day Afternoon Links


Today marks the first official day of winter, and the shortest day of the year as far as daylight goes. It also means we are one more day closer to baseball.

With the flurry of activity surrounding Reds camp in the past week, there's been no shortage of reading material about the team lately. So to help catch you all up on some of that, here are some links:

* Even after executing the biggest trade thus far of the off-season, neither the Reds or Padres are done dealing, according to a report by Sporting News. LINK.

* Aaron Schafer of Riverfront Times tries to make sense of the Pujols departure, the Braun suspension and the Latos trade in the following article. LINK.

* Cincinnati.com "Dames on Games" blogger Dale Pontz offers up her power rankings of seven local sporting teams in the following LINK. Click on it to see where she placed the Redlegs.

* Cincinnati is among three teams who have offered free agent closer Francisco Cordero to a contract, reports Mark Miller of Yahoo! Sports. Read who the other two clubs are by reading this report. LINK.

Reds, Cubs talking Wood for Marshall


Is Marshall coming to Cincinnati?
The latest trade story surrounding the Redlegs is that they are potentially close to trading Travis Wood and two minor leaguers to the Chicago Cubs for left-handed reliever Sean Marshall. This would be another move, as I tweeted, that would be indicative of the "win now" mentality by the Reds front offices. Marshall has been a pretty good reliever in his career. Last year he was 6-6, with a 2.26 ERA and held righties to a .249 batting average, while lefties hit just .206 against him. He only gave up one home run and just 17 walks in 75.2 innings of relief, to go along with five saves. In his six year career he is 32-40 with a 3.96 ERA and seven saves. His BAA vs. righties for his career is .263 and .227 vs. lefties. His two best years have been his last two years though, so he is in the prime of his career.

Let's Go #Redsmas Caroling: Day 3


What would Redsmas be if we didn't take a look at what's going on in the National League Central leading up to 2012 Opening Day? Reds' fans have been given much hope by the events that have occurred, including Albert Pujols leaving, Prince Fielder likely leaving Milwaukee as well, and Ryan Braun facing a potential 50 game suspension. The Cubs got a hold of Theo Epstein, but they don't figure to compete in 2012. The Pirates have made several mid-level signings and were a surprise early last year, but it IS the Pirates. Houston is hopeless, but they got a new owner and will be moving to the American League West in 2013, hardly making a whimper in the Central in 2012. I don't usually like to hate on other teams (except maybe St. Louis) but let's spread a little Redsmas cheer to our NL Central foes with a few of the following carols which poke a little fun at their offseason misfortunes. (No harm, no foul)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's Next for the Redlegs?


The acquisition of right-hander Mat Latos on Saturday ended the team's long search for a top-of-the-rotation starter -- a piece of their roster puzzle they so desperately desired. With this pressing need now off the "to-do list", what's next for GM Walt Jocketty and the Reds moving forward? Apparently, it's bullpen help and a left fielder, and in that order.

"I think we're going to look at the pitching situation. First, we'll address the bullpen a little bit. Once I get pitching done and know what we have left to spend, we'll know more about left field," said Jocketty when asked about what was in the works for future moves.

According to multiple sources close to the team, Cincinnati remains in talks with free agent closer Francisco Cordero, although no signs of a deal are close. Two other free agent closers that have been linked in talks to the Reds this off-season include 31-year old Ryan Madson and 34-year old Brad Lidge, although (like so many others) they too appear to be more than the club can afford.

Revised Reds 2012 Top 10 Prospects


2012 should be Mesoraco's last round on a prospect list.
It's no secret that the Reds paid a hefty price tag in order to bring Mat Latos to the Queen City. In doing so they gave up three of their top 10 prospects in 1B Yonder Alonso, C Yasmani Grandal, and P Brad Boxberger. If the Reds can make a deep postseason run, it will certainly ease the pain, but in any event, it's evident that the Reds' farm club has taken a major hit. Baseball Instinct has put out the first revised list of the 2012 Top 10 Prospects for Cincinnati which I've seen and from the little bit I've picked up from actually paying attention to minor league baseball for the first time last year, it seems to be a very good representation of what's left at the top for the Reds for now. Speaking on the Latos trade, Baseball Instinct said, "With all that in mind, the Reds did what they felt they must do to win.  In the process, it depleted them and left them with really only one upper level prospect."

Remember that the following list is only for 2012 and can be replenished in the coming years whether it be through the draft or a trade of which we shall not speak at this moment, but which could be inevitable in a couple of years. For the full in-depth analysis from Baseball Instinct on each player click the link above.

Let's Go #Redsmas Caroling: Day 2


For many people, Christmas is one of their favorite times of the year. For Reds fans, Opening Day is a holiday in and of itself. There's certainly going to be no shortage of excitement going into this year as the Reds are on the verge of what could be a very special season given that their two biggest threats to the crown have lost two of their best players, while the Redlegs have a young, talented nucleus including 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto coming back. Between Christmas and the anticipation of what could be for the Reds this season, one might even say of Redsmas that it's the most wonderful time of the year. At least that's what Jimmi says with his following masterful arrangement.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Ex Red to Padres


San Diego recently added one more player to their roster who spent most of the 2011 season in the Reds organization, and that player is OF Jeremy Hermida.

The Padres and Hermida agreed to terms on a minor league deal over the weekend tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The 27-year old was claimed off waivers by the Friars in August before being designated for assignment earlier this month. Apparently, the team liked what they say in his brief stint as a Padre and decided to bring the former Marlins top prospect back for another year.

Hermida appeared in just ten games for the Reds at the major league level last season, but spent majority of the season at Triple-A Louisville where he hit .319/.400/.524 with 17 HR, 55 RBI and 28 doubles.

Let's Go #Redsmas Caroling: Day 1

 


Opening Day is about 108 days away, while Christmas is a just a mere six away. We're going to try and help you get in the spirit for both during this holiday season that we are going to call #Redsmas! Thanks to Buddy the Elf, and I'm paraphrasing, everyone knows, "The best way to spread Redsmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear," so we're spreading Redsmas cheer by gracing you the readers and fellow Reds' fans with some classic Christmas tunes, but with a Redlegs twist and written by staff members here at Redlegs Review. Please note that you will have to do the actual singing yourself! Also, we're not trying to offend anyone as this is all in good fun! So without further ado, I present to you the first carol of Redsmas 2011, composed by yours truly, pertaining to the weekend's big move.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Look at Johnny Bench's HOF Career (Video)


Check out this terrific video of Johnny Bench's career put together by the team's Hall of Fame and Museum. Narrated by Reds PA announcer Joe Zerhusen, the clip chronicles Bench's ascension to the major leagues, his achievements and accolades over the years, as well as his place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. It is truly a remarkable piece on arguably the greatest catcher to ever play the game.

Cordero one of Most Undervalued Free Agents


ESPN's Jim Bowden is at it again. The opinionated Bowden churns out reading material faster than Usain Bolt in the 100 meter dash.

In his latest piece of work, the ex Reds general manager lists his top five most undervalued free agents still remaining on the market -- and one former Red made the list at #3 in Francisco Cordero.

Here is the write-up on Cordero:

"Age: 36 | 2011 stats: 2.45 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 37 saves, 69.2 IP

Why he’s undervalued: Cordero has flown under the radar a bit because the market was flooded with closers this offseason, both in free agency as well as in the trade market. The
Philadelphia Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon, the Miami Marlins signed Heath Bell, the Texas Rangers signed Joe Nathan, the San Diego Padres traded for Huston Street, the Red Sox traded for Mark Melancon, and Francisco Rodriguez accepted salary arbitration with the Milwaukee Brewers.

More Media Reaction from Trade


Okay, so we have all had a night to sleep on it. Here are some more thoughts pertaining to the trade taken directly from MLBtraderumors.com:

-Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports likes the deal for both sides and argues that it takes a quality package of talent to land a 24-year-old potential No. 1 starter. When looking at all of the pitchers available on the trade market, including Gio Gonzalez, Matt Garza, Wade Davis, and Jair Jurrjens, Latos possesses the most upside.

-If the Reds make the playoffs in 2012 and/or in '13, in a weak division, and Latos helps, this trade will have served its purpose for the club, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

-One source told Dan Hayes of the North County Times (via Twitter) that the club had "a ton" of concern about Mat Latos' maturity issues. Latos turned 24 years old last week.

-The first rival evaluator Olney (via Twitter) spoke with loved the trade for the Padres. That same evaluator raised concerns about how Latos grows mentally as a pitcher and thinks that his fastball command is the big question mark for him (Twitter link).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Putting the Latos Trade in Perspective


by: Will Hicks
Staff Writer/Contributor

I was anticipating a pretty boring day today. I was going to clean and pack my apartment as I prepare to move and watch the UofL basketball game. As part of my morning routine I checked Twitter just to see what was going on. As I read Yonder Alonso’s tweet "Time to close this book and begin another....sad but happy at the same time ..." I knew it was going to be an interesting day. This was the big trade the Reds fans had been waiting for and the organization had been promising.

I couldn’t find any trade details at this point. So I texted my go-to guy for all things Reds, Jimmi, who informed me that the Reds had received Mat Latos, a young, solid, right-handed pitcher. I had heard the name before but that’s about it. About that time Denver Post sportswriter Troy Renck tweeted that Volquez was reported to be in the deal. And later the Reds official account had given the details.

"Reds acquire SD’s Mat Latos for Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, Yasmani Grandal and Edinson Volquez."

Initial Reactions of Latos Trade


The news of a possible trade involving the Reds and Padres broke shortly after noon on Saturday. And since then there has been no shortage of opinions on the deal involving the club sending four players to San Diego in exchange for SP Mat Latos. Here are some of the (unedited) initial reactions from the Twitter world regarding the trade:

Player reactions:

@yonderalonsou (new Padres 1B Yonder Alonso)
"Time to close this book and begin another....sad but happy at the same time ..."

@mrLeCure (Reds reliever Sam LeCure)
"Wow! Awesome to have Latos on the squad. We gave up some quality dudes that could play some ball to the Padres, I wish them well. #beeasy"

@b_line45 (Reds reliever Bill Bray)
"Big time trade for the #reds. Best of luck to #Alonso, #grandal#volquez and #boxberger."

Jocketty Finally Pulls Trigger on Trade



True to his words, GM Walt Jocketty did indeed complete a deal by week's end. According to multiple sources, the executive orchestrated a deal to acquire SP Mat Latos from the San Diego Padres in exchange for top hitting prospect Yonder Alonso, SP Edinson Volquez, and minor leaguers C Yasmani Grandal and RP Brad Boxberger.

Latos, 24, just completed his third big league season (all with the Padres) where he compiled a 9-14 record and 3.47 ERA in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. Overall, the right-hander has posted a 27-29 record, 3.37 ERA, 1.154 WHIP in 72 career starts.

The 6'6", 225-pounder out of Coconut Creek, Florida is certain to assume the #2 starter role in the Reds rotation to go alongside ace Johnny Cueto.

Although he's yet to be tendered a contract for 2012 and beyond, Latos earned just $461k for his services this past year -- a relatively thrifty price for a pitcher of his caliber. The Reds will also likely have him under team control until the 2016 season, at which point in time he will be eligible for free agency.

Saturday Morning Reading Material


Happy Saturday everyone! I hope everyone has wrapped up (pun intended) their Christmas shopping for the season, and for those unfortunate souls that haven't yet, I'll say a prayer for you.

However, here's one gift you won't have to wait until December 25th to enjoy. For your viewing pleasure, I give you the gift of several Reds-related links. Enjoy.

* Former Reds hurler Dontrelle Willis is down to his last chance, writes Lew Freedman of Call to the Pen. The mercurial southpaw just signed a one-year contract with the Phillies earlier this week. LINK.

* The club is reportedly interested in a handful of players via trade. To see who those players are, follow this link to the report on Cincinnati.com. LINK.

* Anthony Witrado of Sporting News pens yet another article on the frustration felt by Walt Jocketty and the rest of Reds nation on the lack of moves made so far. Shocking, I know. LINK.

* Ex Red and 1990 World Series MVP Jose Rijo alledgedly admitted to a connection with a drug trafficing fugitive, according to this piece by the Dominican Today. LINK.

* Brady Aymond of the Pensacola News Journal recently sat down for a Q&A chat with Jocketty to discuss the new Double-A affiliate. You can read Jocketty's responses by following this LINK.

* Joey Votto and Brewers closer John Axford were announced as the 2011 Tip O'Neil Award winners on Wednesday by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. You can read all about it here. LINK.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cincinnati Reds Christmas Wish List


Christmas is only one week away now, so I hope this makes it to the North Pole on time. Nevertheless, I have compiled a wish list filled with some of the Redlegs greatest needs and wants heading into the 2012 season.

As you may notice, some of the wishes have already been taken care of, but there are still several desires yet to be fulfilled. Let's cross our fingers and hope St. Nick can work his magic and deliver this year.

2011 Cincinnati Reds Christmas Wish List

Former Reds and their New Teams


The business aspect of baseball is never more apparent than it is at this time every year. No team can seriously avoid the practice of luring, bribing and jockeying available players/coaches to help their franchise win games. We like to call this game of proverbial musical chairs around the baseball world the MLB off-season.

And from a fan's perspective, it is as much of a challenge to stay up-to-date with the latest transactions list as it is for Charlie Brown to kick a pigskin. So to help you (and myself)get up-to-speed on some of what has transpired thus far, here is a breakdown of notable players who spent the 2011 season within the Reds organization, but have latched onto a new team for 2012.

Reds (Finally) Make A Deal, Sign Reliever

Say hello to the newest Red

It's not likely to satisfy the growing discontent among Reds fans clamoring for a blockbuster trade, but at least the club made some remnant of a move this week.

According to multiple sources, the team added some bullpen depth by inking free agent RHP Kanekoa Texeira. The details of the signing are unknown at this point, however it's safe to assume the deal is good for one year and close to the league minimum.

The 25-year old hailing from Kula, Hawaii was selected in the 22nd round by the White Sox in the 2006 Draft. He spent parts of the last two seasons pitching for the Royals, where he appeared in 33 games and boasted a 4.41 ERA in 49 innings pitched.

Cincinnati is now the fifth organization Texeira has played for -- the previous four were/are members of the American League.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wake Up Links: B.J. Upton and the Reds?

 


I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, and you do have to subscribe to ESPN Insider to read it, but it is one of five trades that need to happen, according to former Reds' GM and current ESPN blogger Jim Bowden. Basically it says that the Reds should trade Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal to the Rays for Wade Davis and B.J. Upton. It's also hinged on the conditions that the Reds can work out an extension with Upton, and either he or Drew Stubbs move to left field. Can you imagine how good defensively that outfield would be?
I do want to clarify that this is an imaginary trade proposal that Bowden just completely came up with on his own. This is not a rumor and this trade as of now has never been discussed, at least not publicly.

Joey Votto and Brewers' closer John Axford will share the Tip O'Neill award for Canadian baseball player of the year, after trying among those who on the award.

The Reds along with the Florida Marlins are the only two teams in Major League history not to have a Japanese player play for them. Of course with the way the Marlins have opened their pocketbook this offseason and Yu Darvish poised to come to America, would it be any surprise if they took a shot at him, which would leave the Reds as the lone team with no Japanese players in its history.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reds have Gained by Doing Nothing


Scroll through the off-season transactions list on the MLB website and you won't likely find the Reds on there much, if at all. As a matter of fact, the team has been about as active lately as a box of lava rocks.

But despite their unwillingness to pull the trigger on any sort of deal, they still continue to win without making a single move. How so you ask? Let me give you five reasons the club has gained by doing nothing:

5) The King Cardinal has fled the nest
-Reds pitchers, along with the rest of the NL Central hurlers, can all sleep a little easier at night knowing they won't have to face Albert Pujols (much) anymore. This courtesy of the LA Angels for luring the slugger away from St. Louis for a thrifty $254 million dollars...over 10 years. Removing Pujols from the division clears a major hurdle between Cincy and a division title in 2012.

4) Hebrew Hammer out of service?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reds Afternoon Links


Much to his dismay I'm sure, John Fay tweeted that Josh Willingham is close to signing a deal, but that the Reds are not involved.

The Reds did however sign Cincinnati native and Moeller alum Andrew Brackman, who is a former first round pick of the Yankees, to a one-year deal.

Mark Sheldon writes about the fact that Zack Cozart has the inside track as the Reds' starting shortstop.

Steve Gardner, of USA Today, says that Reds' fans can be optimistic about returning to the playoffs in 2012 for one simple reason: Joey Votto.

Dontrelle Willis will return to Cincinnati next year, but it will have to be as a member of the of the Phillies, as it was reported this morning that he signed a one-year deal with them.

Former Red and 1990 World Series MVP, Jose Rijo was arrested in the Dominican Republic yesterday for failure to appear in court on subpoena.

Arbitration-Eligibles Will Stay with Reds


The Reds have six arbitration-eligible players this winter, and all six were tendered contracts before Monday night's deadline. The six were shortstop Paul Janish and pitchers Bill Bray, Edinson Volquez, Nick Masset, Homer Bailey and Jose Arredondo.

None of the pitchers is really a surprise as each one of them will be expected to contribute from their portion of the pitching staff. Bray, Masset, and/or Arredondo could be relied on at some point this season to close a ball game. The Reds still hope that Bailey or Volquez can put together a consistent season, free from injury to help bolster what was a disappointing starting rotation last year. Of course, that is if neither of them is traded. There haven't been any solid rumors around Bailey, but Volquez was a little bit of ink away from being sent to the Rockies, and may still hold some interest in Colorado. Volquez may have an outside opportunity to close ball games as well.

Janish being tendered a contract isn't a complete surprise, although many thought that the Reds could non-tender him and try to work out a minor league deal with him. Janish had a really rough year offensively, hitting just .214 with zero home runs and just 23 RBIs in 114 games. Even though, his defense was solid, he still spent time in Triple-A Louisville last year also. The Reds are looking to sign a versatile veteran infielder who can back up Zack Cozart at shortstop, so Janish will still be on the outside looking in, but will be available in the event of an emergency, or a possible offensive emergence on his part, should the Reds need someone else to play short.

So what does all of this mean? The players have from now until January 18th to sign and if there is no deal in place by that date, then the club will swap figures with each player, in order to work out a deal to avoid arbitration. Arbitration hearings will take place in the first three weeks of February for any player who has still not signed by then.

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Jay Bruce Highlights (Video)


Jay Bruce is pretty good, in case you didn't already know. And if you're still not convinced, check out the following three minute clip of some of his best plays from the 2011 campaign.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Some Sunday Evening Reds Links



* The enormous contract just given to Albert Pujols by the Angels is not good from the Reds standpoint, writes Chris Roling of BleacherReport.com. Why? Read his reasoning by following this LINK.

* Brady Aymond of the Pensacola News Journal recently sat down with a Q & A with new Double-A skipper Jim Riggleman. You can view the transcript of that session HERE.

* The lack of activity by the Redlegs this off-season has not set well with interested onlookers. Bleacherreport.com's Cliff Eastham vents his frustration with GM Walt Jocketty through this following piece. LINK.

A Look at Offseason NL Central Activity


Although there is still plenty of time left in the off-season, here is a brief recap of what each team in the National League Central has done thus far, including the Redlegs. Much to my surprise, it appears as though the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates have been very, very active.

Chicago Cubs
Addition(s):
David DeJesus OF - Signed to 2yr/$10mil deal in late-November
2011 team: Oakland A's

Resignee(s):
Ryan Dempster SP - Accepted player option for 1yr/$14mil in late-October

Pending free agent(s): (7) - Aramis Ramirez (3B), Kerry Wood (RP), Carlos Pena (1B), Rodrigo Lopez (SP), Ramon Ortiz (RP), John Grabow (RP), Reed Johnson (RF)

Management move(s):
-Former Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is named as president of baseball operations in late-October
-Mike Quade is fired after compiling a 95-104 record in parts of two seasons as manager in early-November
-Former Milwaukee hitting coach Dale Sveum is hired as skipper in mid-November

Cincinnati Reds
Addition(s):
None

Departure(s):
Ramon Hernandez C - Signed 2yr/$6.4mil deal with Colorado in late-November>

Friday, December 9, 2011

So Long Albert


Although the Reds made no major moves themselves during the Winter Meetings this week, they did however, manage to escape Dallas as winners. How's that you may ask? I'll tell you.

This is because a long-time nemesis has not only changed to a team in another division, but another league altogether. Albert Pujols' decision to sign with the Los Angeles Angels means Reds fans can breathe a little easier in 2012. In fact, the only way Cincy would run into Albert Pujols and his Angels next year would be if the two clubs met in the World Series -- which is something I bet many around the Queen City would happily accept.

So just how good has Pujols been against the Redlegs over the course of his career? Pretty darn good. Here's some of his whopping career numbers against them:

Average - .350 (2nd most among all teams with 70 or more games played)
Homeruns - 46 (3rd most among all MLB teams)
RBIs - 143 (2nd most among all MLB teams)
Doubles - 52 (3rd most among all MLB teams)
Runs - 146 (Most among all MLB teams)
OBP - .430
OPS - 1.072

All told, I think it's safe to say Dusty Baker and the rest of the Reds won't miss Prince Albert too much. With that said, I wish him the best of luck in L.A.

This is SportsCenter, This is Joey Votto

Happy Friday everyone! You're on the brink of another coveted weekend - and to help kick it off right - here's a video clip that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Links: Phillips, Winter Meetings & More


* The Reds and Brandon Phillips continue to negotiate a contract extension that will keep him in Cincinnati for a long time. In order for an accord to be struck, Phillips needs to compromise a bit more, writes Chris Roling of the Bleacher Report. LINK.

* Despite speculation the team is actively pursuing Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens, a source close to the Reds told MLB.com that's not the case. LINK.

* Mark Sheldon does his best in recapping what the Reds accomplished during the Winter Meetings in Dallas these past several days (there's not much to talk about quite frankly). LINK.

* In an article published on STLtoday.com earlier this week, columnist Rick Hummel sits down with Dusty Baker to discuss Tony La Russa's retirement announcement. LINK.

The Time Is Now for the Reds



Let me start by giving a recap of the 2011 Winter Meetings for the Reds.

...

That's about what it feels like happened in Dallas at this year's version of Major League Baseball's winter meetings. Reds' fans as well as GM Walt Jocketty are surely disappointed that no trades and signings were able to be completed in Dallas, but as Mark Sheldon points out, the groundwork was laid for potential deals to take place over the next couple of months remaining in the offseason. Walt has said however, that while there have been talks, there is nothing close yet. There were indeed plenty of rumors.

As Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer said, "The Reds win without playing," of course referring to the fact that Albert Pujols is no longer a member of the NL Central, after having signed with Danny Glover's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California the 31st State in the United States of America or whatever their team is called. This leads me into the point of my incessant rambling in this post, if you'll continue reading.

Thursday Update from Winter Meetings


For Redlegs sake, someone please trade with Walt.
Things are not going the way Reds fans had hoped they would so far at the winter meetings. That doesn't necessarily mean nothing is going to happen, as there seems that there have been plenty of talks and there's lots of offseason yet to go. It's just really frustrating when it seems like the Reds have a top trade chip in Yonder Alonso, as well as several other prospects, which could comprise a great deal for some other team. Perhaps, our organization is overvaluing these players, or it just doesn't want to give up the players that certain other clubs want.

One thing that seems certain is that Walt Jocketty is just as frustrated, if not more, than we Reds fans are, after having been engaged in many talks, but coming up empty-handed so far.

Joe Maddon of the Rays has admitted that Alonso's name has come up in talks with the Reds.

Something we learned yesterday was that the Rockies were on the verge of sending Huston Street to the Reds in exchange for Edinson Volquez, but when the Reds hesitated on the offer, Street ended up with the Padres for a player to be named later.

The fact that the Rockies acquired Kevin Slowey, and then traded Street to the Padres, did not end their interest in Volquez however as I had previously thought. Colorado is still eyeing Volquez as a pitcher who could rebound with a change of scenery.

Walt's radar seems to be honing in on two former Reds, as they may be willing to take a flyer on a slimmer Dmitri Young who is looking to make a comeback, as well as possibly offer a deal to Cody Ross. Taking on a flyer on Young is almost a no risk move that I sort of like. Ross probably wants a multi-year deal, which would make no sense to me, unless the Reds ended up moving Alonso and Chris Heisey.

Octavio Dotel is off the market after signing with the Tigers, which to me further reinforces the idea that the Reds will use someone currently residing in their bullpen to close games next season. Now that Street is in San Diego, and trading too much for Andrew Bailey seems like a bad idea , the only other thing I could see happening is no one signing Francisco Cordero and him falling back into our laps, but with there being more teams needing a closer than closers available, that is a stretch.

Follow us @Redlegs_Review, @RedlegsWriter, and @ajaggers12 on Twitter for all the latest updates.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reds Update from the Winter Meetings

So far, the Reds have done nothing more than take Jeremy Horst off the 40-man roster and become part of several trade rumors at Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Dallas. Speaking of those rumors, here is the latest update as the Reds continue their search for a legitimate top end starter, a right handed bat, and a closer.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer says that he thinks the Rays' James Shields is still at the top of the Reds' wish list with Gio Gonzalez of the A's not far behind, and Jair Jurrjens of the Braves, just a distant backup plan.

Yesterday, the first rumor that came out was that the Reds and Rockies were perhaps talking a deal that would involve Huston Street and Edinson Volquez, but many people wrote it off because Street will be owed at least $8MM and that's seems too much for the Reds to spend on a closer. Then, the rumor was all but squashed when the Rockies acquired Kevin Slowey from the Twins.

Another closer option, or at least another bullpen arm came off the board yesterday when veteran Frank Francisco signed a two year deal with the Mets. It's looking more and more like the Reds will find their closer in-house and I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Look at Veteran Shortstop Options

By: Andrew Jaggers
Staff writer/contributor

SS is Cozart's to lose
Mark Sheldon reported via his twitter that the Reds were looking to sign a “veteran SS/INF.” He also reported that the Reds had expressed interest in Ramon Santiago before he agreed to re-sign with the Tigers for a reported 2 year deal and $4 million. That gives us an idea of what the Reds are willing to spend and the caliber of player they are looking to add. Everyone agrees that the starting spot at Shortstop is Zack Cozart’s heading into Spring Training. The player to be added would be a backup first and foremost, but also an insurance policy of sorts if Cozart can not get the job done or gets injured. Almost everyone agrees too that the Edger Renteria era is done in Cincinnati. So lets take a look at some realistic options.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Who Should Close in Cincinnati?


Who will shut the door
for the Reds in 2012?
One of the big concerns that the Redlegs need to address this offseason is the role of closer. Who will shut the door in 2012? John Fay has reported that the Reds and Francisco Cordero appear to be far from any sort of an agreement, and even if they did agree, it would be something to the tune of 1yr/$7MM. The Reds probably would not prefer to do a deal like that and I agree with them. There is always the option of trading for a closer, but with the way closers seem to be overvalued these days, it would be tough to trade for one and not feel like the organization gave up too much, as we saw with the Yonder Alonso for Andrew Bailey rumors. So let's take a look at the in-house candidates, in no particular order, who could get the call. Keep in mind that Dusty Baker is opposed to a closer by committee situation saying, "The one thing we don’t want to do is have a closer by committee."

New Double-A Affiliate Tabs Manager


Former Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman is set to take over the managing reins of the Reds new Double-A affiliate, according to multiple reports. He will become the first manager in Pensacola Blue Wahoos history, who are set to kick-off their inaugural season in 2012.

Riggleman most recently served as Nats skipper from 2009 to June of this year before abruptly resigning amid contract disputes. He served as a scout for the San Francisco Giants in the final half of this past season -- a position in which the Giants left on the table for him to continue if he so desired.

But an obvious itch to get back on the field has led him to minor league baseball in the Southern League.

The 59-year old veteran last managed in the minors back in 1992 as the head man for the San Diego Padres Class AAA affiliate. Since then he's managed four different MLB clubs for parts of 12 seasons, compiling a 662-824 (.445) over that span.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Update on Phillips, Cordero & More


Here is the latest pertaining to the Reds from MLBtraderumors.com:

"It sounds like the Brandon Phillips extension will get done, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. General Manager Walt Jocketty says that it’s a “complicated contract,” which will take time to be ironed out. That leads Fay to believe that the deal likely involves deferred money.

More from Fay, as he has the impression that the Reds hold little hope of re-signing Francisco Cordero. Fay writes that the Reds might be able to get Cordero back at one-year deal in the $7MM range but would rather see the club turn to an in-house solution instead.

Fay also writes that David Bell’s promotion to Triple-A manager could be a prelude of things to come. The former major league third baseman is probably the top candidate to replace Dusty Baker if the club decides to go in a different direction.