Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Latest News, Notes & Links



Happy Saturday everyone. I hope you're keeping nice and toasty wherever you may be. Here's the latest news, notes and links coming out of Reds camp -- and believe me there's a lot of it:

**The Reds attempted to add more bullpen depth today with the announced signings of lefties Ron Mahay and Clay Zavada. Both players were inked to minor league contracts with an invitation to Spring Training.

Here are the two excerpts taken from MLBtraderumors.com on the two relievers:

"Mahay, 40, last pitched in the Majors for the Twins in 2010 and was signed and released by the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cardinals in 2011. Despite these setbacks, Mahay said last week that he wanted to continue pitching. Mahay has a career 3.83 ERA and 7.4 K/9 in 568 innings and has pitched for eight other teams in his 14-year career. He is your classic left-handed specialist, holding left-handed batters to a .689 OPS over his lengthy career (including a .520 OPS in 2010).

Zavada posted a 3.35 ERA and struck out 52 batters in 51 innnings for the D'Backs in 2009, but hasn't pitched in the Majors since that solid rookie season. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and appeared in 44 games for Arizona's Double-A affiliate (posting a 3.43 ERA and a 2.19 K/BB rate). Pitching aside, Zavada is perhaps best known for his awesome, Rollie Fingers-esque mustache."
Zavada and his handle-bar 'stache in
all its glory

**From the Reds official site:

"Mark Riggins has been named the Reds’ minor league pitching coordinator to replace Mack Jenkins, who earlier this month was promoted to assistant pitching coach on the Major League staff…Riggins, 54, is a resident of Murray, KY and spent last season as pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs…he also was the Major League pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995…Riggins served as a pitching coach or coordinator in the Cardinals’ system from 1984-1994 and again from 1996-2007 before he joined the Cubs in 2008 as their minor league pitching coordinator (2008-2010)."

**John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer recently took time to answer a plethora of Twitter questions on his blog page. I must admit, it's a pretty damn good read when you have nuggets like this thrown in there:

Q: @A_Kroeger Any chance the Reds use Madson as a starter?
A: Yeah, and Mat Latos will close. You’re well on the way to your third straight goofiest question title.


Madson
**Although a deal is firmly in place with free agent closer Ryan Madson, an official announcement may take several days. More on that with this excerpt from Mark Sheldon's blog:

"A source told MLB.com on Wednesday that Madson will get a one-year guaranteed contract that pays him $6 million in 2012 with an $11 million option for 2013 that carries a $2.5 million buyout. So that’s $8.5 million guaranteed. Some of the money will be spread out over four years.

One of the issues holding up a deal being formalized is that Madson is on vacation and has yet to be scheduled for a physical. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty is currently attending the owner’s meetings in Phoenix and could not be reached for comment."

**Hall of Famer and Reds catching legend Johnny Bench received some ink in the Los Angeles Times today. See why and what for by following this link to the article written by Bill Dwyre.

**ESPN.com's Jayson Stark had plenty to say about the Redlegs in his latest edition of "Rumblings and Grumblings". He mentions Madson and Aroldis Chapman in the following clips taken from the piece:

"Front-office types and agents who have talked with the Reds this winter say they were shocked the team was willing to give Ryan Madson $8.5 million.

"All I've heard all winter was, 'We don't have any money. We don't have any money. We don't have any money,'" said one of them. "I guess they found the money."

Here's what people on the outside are missing: The Reds had already offered their old closer, Francisco Cordero, $7 million. So for another $1.5 million, they get a better closer. AND they'll get a draft pick for Cordero. (They'd have gotten no compensation for him a year from now.) AND they're likely to get two more draft picks for Madson next year, because they can make a tender offer after the season, knowing he wants to test the market again and won't accept it. Does it all make sense now?
Chapman's role on the Reds
pitching staff is still unclear

Now that they've added Madson and Sean Marshall, the Reds are full speed ahead on turning Aroldis Chapman into a starter. The Reds kicked off that transition last fall during the Instructional League and in the Arizona Fall League. They also wanted Chapman to start in winter ball but had to shut him down with a "tired arm" that has checked out as nothing serious.

So he'll come to spring training as a starter. But let's just say there's some skepticism he profiles in that role, 106 mph fastball or no 106 mph fastball.

"I just don't see it, at all," said one AL exec. "I don't see a repeatable delivery. I see a guy who's a thrower, not a starter. He doesn't throw enough strikes. He hasn't shown any feel for the changeup. He doesn't hold runners. He's not a good fielder. He can't bunt. He can't run the bases. He's never been asked to do some of these things starting pitchers have to do. He's a lead-pipe cinch as a reliever, but if he's a starter, I'll eat some serious crow.""

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