Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nobody threw more 100 mph pitches in 2013 than Aroldis Chapman


No pitcher on the planet threw more pitches registering triple digits on the radar gun in 2013 than southpaw Aroldis Chapman.

Despite being relegated to just 63.2 innings of work, the Reds flamethrower managed to unleash an astronomical 318 pitches clocked at 100 mph or more last season. That total is more than double the amount of 100-plus mph pitches the runner-up pitcher threw (Kelvin Herrera - 153).

Aside from throwing the most numerous amount of blazing fastballs, Chapman also recorded the 11 fastest individual pitches of the regular season, which only seems appropriate. The fastest was thrown during a game in Atlanta that whistled in at a sizzling 104.81 mph.

To check out the rest of the top 10, visit this post by Dayn Perry.

Mike Leake ranked among baseball's best hitting pitchers


For a pitcher, Mike Leake is fairly good at hitting. And it appears he is finally getting some recognition for his modest ability with a bat.

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports recently took a stab at identifying some of the best hitting pitchers of the past three seasons. Not surprisingly, Leake made the cut.

Since 2011, Leake owns the second-best batting average (.229) in baseball (min. 100 PA) among pitchers, trailing only Zack Greinke's .236 clip.

If that wasn't enough to convince you of his merit, Leake also ranked second in OPS+ (50), which combines nearly every offensive statistic and is adjusted accordingly by ballpark factors, and third in oWAR (1.5).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Joey Votto's lucrative contract will spell trouble down the road


It hasn't happened yet, but history says it will.

The guaranteed money still owed to All-Star first basemen Joey Votto will eventually become so burdensome and crippling that it will put a serious strain on the franchise's financial health and flexibility, in addition to their ability to meld a competitive roster. In some ways, it already has.

As it stands now, Votto's remaining contract dictates that the Reds pay their prized player an astounding sum of $225 million through the 2023 season, at which point Votto will be the ripe age of 40. For the record, the 11-year extension that Votto signed prior to the 2012 campaign, with two years left on his then-current deal mind you, went down as the fourth-richest contract ever awarded to an individual player in baseball history. Only Alex Rodriguez ($252M/2001-10 & $275M/2008-17) and Albert Pujols ($240/2012-21) hold the distinction of receiving larger deals than Votto has.

Here is a quick breakdown of how much Votto will earn over the years:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Joey Votto helping military personnel cope with post-traumatic stress disorder


Joey Votto knows all too well about the negative effects post-traumatic stress disorder can cause. In the midst of the 2008 season, Votto engaged in his own bout with the condition while coping with his father's illness and subsequent death. Votto suffered from overwhelming panic attacks and deep depression, causing him to miss considerable action on the field, as he sought help to improve his mental health.

Eventually, Votto did receive the treatment and time that he needed, prompting him to bounce back better than ever, culminating into the National League MVP Award in 2010, as well as four straight seasons of leading the league in on-base percentage, among other achievements.

Now, Votto is spearheading an effort to help military personnel suffering from PTSD to get the help they need in order to get better. On Dec. 5, he has holding his first Joey Votto Foundation Benefit Night in Montgomery, Ohio, with proceeds set to benefit soldiers, veterans, and military families suffering from PTSD. The event will feature live and silent auctions where donors can bid on a plethora of memorabilia items including a jersey signed by Mariano Rivera, a baseball autographed by Ted Williams, and a trip for two to Los Angeles to meet legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, among others.

A light-hearted attempt to analogize Reds players to Thanksgiving dishes


Happy Turkey Day everyone! I would like to use this time to express my sincere gratitude for everyone who reads or frequents this blog on a regular basis. You all are very much appreciated.

Secondly, I would also like to provide an interesting and somewhat humorous post on this glorified day of gluttony. While most of America will have food, family and football on tap today, Redlegs Review is going to add a fourth dimension to that list....Reds baseball.

For your pure comedic entertainment, I give you what select members of the Reds would be if they were a traditional Thanksgiving dish. So, grab yourself some pumpkin pie or another dessert of your choosing and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Report: Manny Parra reaches two-year deal to remain with Reds


According to a report by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Reds have reached an agreement with free agent reliever Manny Parra to keep the southpaw in Cincinnati.

Parra, 31, will reportedly receive $5.5 million spread over two years.

Brandon Phillips responds to fan who asks if he will attend Redsfest


Brandon Phillips has been a fixture at the annual Redsfest event since arriving in Cincinnati in 2006. However, as of Wednesday morning, his name still wasn't included on the list of confirmed guests for the momentous bash, which is set to take place Dec. 6-7 at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

Naturally, this sparked one fan in particular to inquire about whether or not Phillips would be attending, taking the matter directly to Twitter in an attempt to solve the mystery. According to this screenshot posted on Reddit by a user, Phillips sent the fan a direct message in response to her question.

The presumably tongue-in-cheek response by Phillips is likely in reference to the fervent trade rumors surrounding the All-Star second basemen this winter. If he isn't traded by the time Redsfest comes around, which I still have my doubts he will be traded at all, I would be shocked if Phillips didn't attend, especially when you consider how the bubbly 32-year-old seems to revel in fan interaction. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Report: Reds have interest in Carlos Beltran?


Could the Reds be interested in free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran?

According to a report from a Puerto Rican newspaper, the Reds have reportedly contacted Beltran's agent, Dan Lozano, about the possibility of bringing the veteran to Cincinnati. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer was the first to report the story here in the U.S.

Beltran, who will turn 37-years-old next April, is said to be seeking a three-year contract and aims to make a final decision by mid-December.

The Tigers, Yankees, Rangers, Orioles, Mariners, Red Sox, and Royals are several of the teams rumored to be vying for his services.

Reds make Skip Schumaker signing official


It's official. The Reds have finally announced the signing of utility player Skip Schumaker to a two-year contract. The announcement was made on Tuesday.

Schumaker will reportedly make $2 million in 2014, $2.5 million in 2015, and at least $500,000 in 2016, as there is a club $2.5 million club option with a $500,000 buyout.

In nine big league seasons, eight of which came with the Cardinals, Schumaker boasts a slash line of .285/.344/.372. However, his slash line in each of the last four seasons have been under his career averages.

"The first thing I wanted to do was sign with a team that had a really good chance to win," Schumaker said. "The Reds have been that way, one of the best teams in the National League for the last three or four years. I knew that division really well. ... It was just a really good fit for me and I'm really excited about the opportunity."

A complete list of the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame candidates


On Tuesday, the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was revealed. This year's list of candidates is especially long, due partly because nobody gained election last year, and also because the names of eligible candidates linked to performance-enhancing drugs continues to grow.

But without further adieu, here is the full list of candidates:

Joey Votto's 'bat' and 'plate discipline' used to create perfect first basemen


Despite criticism over his perceived lack of power, it's commonly held that Joey Votto is one of the top-hitting first basemen in Major League Baseball.

But what if we could combine the outstanding attributes from several great first basemen to create the perfect player at the position? Well, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports has already beaten us to the punch, because he attempted to do just that in his most recent post.

According to Snyder, baseball's perfect first basemen would have, among other characteristics from other players, Votto's "bat" and "plate discipline."

Here is how Snyder justified both attributes:

Homer Bailey projected to receive hefty raise via arbitration


Homer Bailey is arbitration-eligible for the third time in his career this winter and he is very well in line to receive a substantial raise.

Last season, Bailey earned a salary of $5.35 million, which according to Baseball Reference, was nearly $3 million more than the $2.425 he earned in 2012.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Bailey will see his earnings skyrocket even more for 2014, which they estimate to be in the vicinity of $9.3 million. For those keeping score at home, that figure represents a raise of roughly $4 million.

Here is how MLB Trade Rumors justified their projection:

MLB auctioning off infamous 'obstruction base' from Game 3 of the World Series

image for listing #18968865

Game 3 of the World Series ended in one of the most unimaginable ways possible as the Cardinals escaped with a win thanks to an obstruction call at third base.

Now, Major League Baseball is giving fans the chance to own the infamous base by placing it in an online auction. Seriously, check it out for yourself.

The description of the item reads as the following:

You are bidding on a Game-Used 3rd base from innings 5-9 of the 10/26/13 Boston Red Sox @ St. Louis Cardinals World Series Game 3. This was the 3rd base on the field for the "Obstruction Play" that gave the Cardinals a win in Game 3. This item contains a Major League Baseball Authentication hologram. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

A few Reds-related news and notes: Choo, Arroyo, Stubbs


+ Although the Texas Rangers have already made a big splash this offseason with the blockbuster Ian Kinsler-Prince Fielder trade, they don't appear content to stop there, and ESPN's David Schoenfield suggests the Rangers should go hard after free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. That's easier said than done, obviously. Texas isn't the only interested team vying for his services.

+ Mark Sheldon of MLB.com breaks down the club's tough decision on whether to re-sign Choo or not. Considering just how good Choo was last season, and the value he can add to so many teams, I cannot see a scenario where the Reds come out on top in negotiations. His asking price is simply to high and there are too many teams in on the sweepstakes.

+ The Minnesota Twins continue to appear like a very possible destination for free agent Bronson Arroyo. Wherever Arroyo ends up, he will be sorely missed in Cincinnati, where he displayed remarkable durability and dependability season-after-season.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Over 60 Reds players, coaches, and alumni set to attend Redsfest 2013


In less than two weeks, Reds fans will migrate to the Duke Energy Convention Center to participate in the greatest annual event known as Redsfest.

There will be games, autograph and picture opportunities, music, food, merchandise for sale, and of course a ton of loyal Reds fanatics mingling throughout the premises.

There will also be plenty of players and coaches in attendance, both former and current, for fans to get the chance to meet and interact with.

Here is a list of the confirmed Reds that will be making the trip:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Noted Reds fan and famed actor Josh Hutcherson to guest host SNL


Noted Reds fan and northern Kentucky native Josh Hutcherson is slated to guest host Saturday Night Live in New York City tonight.

Born in Union, Ky., Hutcherson gained an affinity for Reds baseball at an early age, which after establishing himself in the acting realm, culminated into him throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Great American Ball Park on Opening Day 2012.

In an interview with Jay Leno a week later, Hutcherson said he had practiced for weeks in anticipation of tossing one right down the pipe. However, Hutcherson admitted nerves got the best of him in front of the sold-out crowd, and he flung the ball right in the dirt. Hutcherson later proclaimed that the pitch was "the most embarrassed I've ever been." You can check out footage of the pitch thanks to this clip from YouTube.

In case you are still unsure about who exactly Hutcherson is, the 21-year-old actor is best known for his portrayal of Peeta Mellark in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games series. The second movie in the trilogy, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, opened up in movie theaters around the U.S. this weekend, and is drawing both rave reviews and huge ticket sales.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Report: Metal detectors coming to all MLB stadiums in 2014


The process of fans entering Major League Baseball stadiums across the country may not be so quick and easy in 2014.

According to a report by the Associated Press, MLB security director John Skinner said that all 30 teams are expected to screen fans upon entering ballparks next season. Although some aspects of the screening will ultimately be left up to the discretion of individual teams, the league is planning to push the use of walk-through metal detectors, according to Skinner.

"It's the reality, unfortunately, of this world," Skinner said at the Ivy Sports Symposium at the Harvard Law School. "Ultimately, it will happen."

The movement was undoubtedly triggered in some ways due to the tragic events surrounding the Boston Marathon last April, where three people were killed and 260 more wounded, when a pair of bombs were set off at the finish line. Since then, sporting venues have taken a heightened awareness to security, with the National Football League permitting fans to take just a single, transparent bag for their belongings into stadiums, for example.

David Schoenfield gives Reds bullpen a grade of 'B+'


It goes without saying that pitching was probably the strength of the Reds last season. Both the bullpen and starting rotation were excellent -- ranking fourth and third, respectively, in the league in earned run average.

On Wednesday, David Schoenfield of ESPN's SweetSpot blog paid homage to Cincinnati's dominating bullpen, when he assigned grades for every National League's relief staff, including the Reds, obviously.

Here is what Schoenfield had to say about the Redlegs:

After posting a league-leading 2.65 ERA in 2012, the Reds' bullpen was expected to be even better with full seasons from Broxton and Hoover. While still effective, the pen wasn't on the same level, as Broxton and Marshall battled injuries and Chapman blew five saves -- four of which he took the loss on. New manager Bryan Price has hinted in the past that he'd like to make Chapman a starter but that seems unlikely considering Chapman wants to close and some of his control issues resurfaced last season (4.1 BB/9). Price should also get Chapman more than 63 innings; as big and strong as he is, Chapman should be able to carry a heavier workload and still maintain his stuff. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reds split nearly $1 million from Wild Card game


The Reds were eliminated from the 2013 postseason after playing just one game. However, they didn't go home for the offseason empty handed.

In short, it pays to be in the playoffs, guys.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball revealed its playoff shares for every team who participated in this year's postseason, and it should be noted that the Reds collectively netted $940,259.50, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

Valued at $15,284.85 per full share, the Reds awarded a total of 48 full shares, including 12.24 partial shares and 12 cash awards.

Ken Griffey Jr. celebrates 44th birthday today


On this day in 1969 in Donora, Pennsylvania, Ken Griffey Jr., one of the greatest all-around baseball players to ever play the game, was born.

The son of Big Red Machine outfielder Ken Griffey Sr., Junior shares his birthday and birthplace with another outstanding left-handed slugger, former Cardinals great Stan Musial.

The Griffey's moved to Cincinnati when Junior was six years old and the rest is history. The Kid blossomed into one of the most natural players to ever grace the sport.

He starred at nearby Moeller High School before being taken No. 1 overall in the 1987 Amateur Draft by the Seattle Mariners. By 1989, at just 19-years-old, Junior made his major league debut in what turned out to be an illustrious career.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Reds protect four prospects by adding them to 40-man roster


In order to protect players from being selected in December's Rule 5 Draft, the Reds added four minor league prospects to their 40-man roster Wednesday afternoon, ensuring that none of them will be stolen away by another organization.

Those players include catcher Tucker Barnhart, right-hander Chad Rogers, and outfielders Juan Duran and Ryan LaMarre (pictured above).

Teams have until midnight on Wednesday to set their 40-man rosters, at which point the players who they leave off become vulnerable to being snagged away.

In case you are wondering, here is a look at the Reds' full 40-man roster.

Ken Rosenthal cautions the Reds not to "sacrifice pitching to improve offense"

The bow tie offers its advice.
It seems certain that after the disappointing finish to 2013, the Reds will look to upgrade their offense. That could be tough though with what seems like the impending trade of second-leading run producer Brandon Phillips and the lack of funds available to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo. Cincinnati will have to dig deep and may have to make some difficult decisions to improve the team.

Ken Rosenthal, of Fox Sports, advises them not to give into the temptation of giving up pitching for offense. I agree with him.

Among his suggestions, he says that the Reds should keep Homer Bailey around even if they can't sign him to a long term deal, unless the return on his trade brings back much greater value. You'd hate to let Bailey walk with nothing in return, especially for a team that doesn't have a lot of assets with which to work, but at the same time, there is no one in-house who can replace Bailey at this point.

Jim Bowden proposes two maniacal moves Reds should make this offseason


In 1992, the Reds hired a 31-year-old named Jim Bowden to become their general manager, making him the youngest executive in both franchise and Major League Baseball history.

Bowden's 10-year reign at the helm was far from spectacular, but it did produce a handful of winning seasons, most notably in 1995, when the Reds fell advanced to the NLCS.

Now, Bowden currently serves as both an analyst for ESPN and a talk show co-host for Sirius XM satellite radio, where he entertains readers and viewers alike with no shortage of wild opinions, thoughts, and proposals.

While Bowden covers all 30 MLB teams, his latest pair of off-the-wall propositions for the Reds in particular are well, interesting to say the least.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Brook Jacoby finds new job with Rangers


Although there has been no formal announcement about the coaching staff, the writing was pretty much on the wall for Brook Jacoby when new Reds skipper Bryan Price recently named Don Long as his hitting coach, a position formerly held by Jacoby under departed manager Dusty Baker for seven seasons.

Don't feel too bad for Jacoby, though (not that some Reds fans would after clamoring for him to be fired years ago), because the 53-year-old has found work elsewhere.

Jacoby has re-joined the Rangers organization as the team's new assistant hitting coordinator under manager Ron Washington. He previously served four seasons as a hitting coach in the Texas organization before coming to Cincinnati prior to the 2007 campaign.

Jacoby was originally hired by the Reds by former general manager Wayne Krivsky to fill a void in then manger Jerry Narron's staff.

Via Twitter

Tuesday morning notes: Skip Schumaker, Bronson Arroyo, Shin-Soo Choo

Choo hit .285 with 21 home runs in 2013 for the Reds.(USATSI)

+ If you haven't heard, the Reds added much-needed bench depth on Monday when they announced the signing of veteran utilityman Skip Schumaker to a two-year deal (pending a physical). Schumaker, who is set to turn 34-years-old next season, will give Bryan Price a flexible reserve player to work with in his debut season as manager. Schumaker spent last season with the Dodgers after previously spending eight seasons with the rival Cardinals.

+ Although at least six teams have expressed interest in free agent Bronson Arroyo, the former Red appeared on "MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM" Monday and told Jim Bowden that none have made him an official offer yet. Here is what he said as transcribed by C. Trent Rosecrans:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Reds sign veteran Skip Schumaker to two-year deal


The Reds didn't get much from their bench last season. But on Monday, the club announced a deal that will try and change their fortunes in 2014.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Cincinnati has signed veteran utilityman Skip Schumaker to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

The 34-year-old Schumaker batted .263/.332/.332 in 356 plate appearances for the Dodgers last year. Overall, the California native owns a slash line of .285/.344/.372 in 3,043 career plate appearances. Known for his scrappy play and ability to play nearly any position on the field, Schumaker is entering his 10th season in the major leagues, eight of which he spent with the Cardinals from 2005-12, which is where he built a professional relationship with Reds GM Walt Jocketty. He should provide a definite upgrade to a Reds bench that was by all means woeful in 2013.

Of course, it should also be noted that although Schumaker has the flexibility to play several positions, he isn't so great with the glove. His -5.2 defensive WAR is quite concerning for a guy entrusted to be the utilityman.

Nonetheless, Schumaker is another veteran presence to bring to the clubhouse, who has a track record of being on winning clubs while serving as modest role player. Plus, this probably spells the end of the line for maligned infielder Cesar Izturis, which should make Reds fans happy.

Video: Pete Rose joins Keith Olbermann to discuss current state of baseball



In case you missed it, Pete Rose appeared on the air with Keith Olbermann a couple of weeks ago to talk about everything from his Hall of Fame chances, the most recent World Series, performance-enhancing drugs, and home plate collisions. It's actually a pretty good interview and one that will cost you just six minutes of your viewing time.

It's also worth noting that Olbermann now supports the idea of Rose being reinstated to baseball after previously believing that the Cincinnati native should be shunned forever. For what it is worth, count me as one who wants to see Rose back in Major League Baseball, too.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Remember to vote Reds for GIBBY Awards



Although the major postseason awards have already been doled out, there is still time for fans to determine the winners of future awards, namely the 2013 GIBBY Awards.

The GIBBYs, or "Greatness in Baseball Yearly," are awards presented during the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla. and the honors are designed to be the ultimate way to celebrate the greatest achievements in the industry. The awards are based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, the Society for American Baseball Research, and fans.

This year's GIBBYs feature nominees in 22 different categories. And seven Reds are up for consideration in nine different categories.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Decision to trade Brandon Phillips more complicated than meets the eye


Oh, how things can change ever so quickly.

Brandon Phillips has gone from the player that every fan loves to adore to the player most fans love to abominate in less than a year. The dramatic transformation of circumstance is truly amazing to witness.

Of course, a lot of the scrutiny has been brought upon by the boisterous Phillips himself. In July, Phillips stirred up the pot when he told Cincinnati Magazine that he felt the way ownership handled his contract extension was "a slap in the face," among other scathing comments, which obviously didn't sit well with the Castellini family, nor the rest of the front office. Simply put, you don't bite the hand that feeds you, or in this case, the hand that pays you roughly $72.5 million spread over six seasons.

Reds agree to minor league deals with five free agent players



The Reds have reached minor league deals with five players including: LHP Lee Hyde, 2B Rey Navarro, OF Mike Wilson, C Rossmel Perez, and C Max Ramirez.

Hyde, 28, returns to the Cincinnati organization after posting a 1.98 ERA in 55 split appearances between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville this year.

The 23-year-old Navarro joins the Reds farm system after having spent the last four seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization. In 2013, Navarro posted a .283/.310/.428 slash line, 12 home runs, 21 doubles, and 58 RBI with Double-A Northwest Arkansas of the Texas League.

Wilson, 30, a former second round draft choice by the Seattle Mariners, batted an extremely healthy .300/.368/.472 with 10 home runs, 18 doubles, and 60 RBI in split time between the independent Atlantic League and Triple-A Tuscon, the top affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Report: Ryan Hanigan is as good as gone


It appears as though Ryan Hanigan's days in Cincinnati are numbered.

The writing has been on the wall ever since the Reds agreed to a two-year deal with free agent catcher Brayan Pena on Nov. 8. Thus, making the 33-year-old Hanigan the odd man out, with Pena and Devin Mesoraco expected to platoon behind the dish in 2014.

On Friday, ESPN's Buster Olney further attested to Hanigan's looming demise by sending out the following tweet:

Joey Votto leads three Reds who finish among top 12 of MVP voting


Although no Reds player won the National League's Most Valuable Player Award, there were three who finished among the top 12 in voting.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America revealed the results of both the American League and National League MVP balloting Thursday night, which declared Pirates star Andrew McCutchen the winner for the Senior Circuit and Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera for the AL, and Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Shin-Soo Choo fared relatively well.

Votto led the trio of Reds players by finishing sixth with 149 points. Meanwhile, Bruce tallied 30 to finish 10th, and Choo occupied the 12th position by collecting 23 points. 

It is worth noting that Votto received (2) third-place votes, (8) fourth-place votes, and (7) fifth-place votes. It is the third time in his career that he has finished in the top 10, including topping the list in 2010.

Via BBWAA

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ken Rosenthal: Brandon Phillips is 'a goner'


Add Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports as another member of the baseball media who expects the Reds to part ways with enigmatic second basemen Brandon Phillips.

Among the many things he wrote from his post on Thursday, Rosenthal touted Phillips as "a goner," and said the Reds may even try to trade Homer Bailey, too. This is the second time in a week that a national writer has said with such certainty that Phillips will be dealt. Of course, Rosenthal says the reason Cincinnati may desire to move both is to make necessary payroll room in an attempt to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo, which still seems like an extreme stretch at this point.

Baseball America releases top 10 list of Reds prospects


In case you missed it, Baseball America released its annual list of organizational prospect rankings on Tuesday, and believe it or not, dynamic speedster Billy Hamilton wasn't at the top of the list among Reds up-and-comers. That honor went to right-handed pitcher Robert Stephenson, instead.

Stephenson, the team's first round pick in the 2011 draft, recorded a combined 7-7 record and 2.99 ERA at three different levels in 2013. He began the season with Single-A Dayton, before earning a promotion to Single-A Bakersfield, and then eventually finishing the year at Double-A Pensacola.

Baseball America managing editor J.J. Cooper had high praise for the California native, calling him the best pitching prospect Cincinnati has had since Homer Bailey. Cooper also said that Stephenson could make his major league debut as soon as next season.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Brandon Phillips named one of 'five players to avoid this winter'

Brandon Phillips

Will Brandon Phillips play second base for the Reds in 2014?

This is a question that has been posed by many around the baseball community lately. The Reds are reportedly adamant about unloading the burden of Phillips' remaining contract ($50 million) on someone else. And they are looking to do so via trade.

However, at least one baseball expert thinks teams who may be interested in acquiring Phillips should proceed with caution, as Dan Szymborski of ESPN Insider recently tabbed the All-Star as one of "five players to avoid this winter" in this post.

Here is a snippet of what Szymborski had to say about Phillips:

Report: Talks heating up between Bronson Arroyo and Twins


A darkhorse has emerged in the bidding for Bronson Arroyo.

According to Mike Berardino of TwinCities.com, "talks continue to heat up" between the Minnesota Twins and former Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo. The Twins have reportedly been scouring through Arroyo's medical records and have previously discussed contract details with his representatives while in Orlando for baseball's general managers' meetings.

Arroyo, who will be 37-years-old on Opening Day next season, is rumored to be seeking a two or three year deal in the neighborhood of $10 million to $13 million per season. Minnesota is apparently fond of the fact of Arroyo's knack for durability and dependability.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Report: Reds add two more to coaching staff


After a relatively long wait to see who Bryan Price would get to fill out his coaching staff, this week has provided plenty of answers, as two more names were revealed Tuesday evening.

Price has tabbed Jeff Pico to join his staff as pitching coach while Don Long will take over the hitting coach duties. This is according to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The 51-year-old Long has served as Atlanta's minor league hitting coordinator since 2011. Before then, Long was the hitting coach from 2008 to 2010 in Pittsburgh. He will replace Brook Jacoby after the latter served as the team's hitting coach for seven seasons.

Report: Reds source says 'ship has sailed' on transitioning Aroldis Chapman to rotation


The Reds have changed their position on whether Aroldis Chapman should start or relieve more times than LaRosa's gave away free pizza to fans last season. However, may we finally have our decisive verdict on Chapman's wavering fate?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, an inside source told Sherman that the proverbial ship to transition Chapman to the rotation has probably sailed already, as the source cited the fact that the Cuban southpaw is rather resistant to the move at this point. In short, Chapman prefers to close.

Of course, the decision won't be solely left up to Chapman. New skipper Bryan Price will certainly have something to say about it, as well as general manager Walt Jocketty, who both seemed to be in favor of getting more innings from Chapman by way of starting him. Unfortunately, a rash of injuries in the bullpen thwarted those preliminary plans in spring training in years past.

Report: Reds to tab Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell as bench coach


Multiple media outlets are reporting that Bryan Price and the Reds are set to name Pirates hitting coach Jay Bell as the new bench coach in Cincinnati.

The 47-year-old formerly played parts of 18 seasons with the likes of the Indians, Pirates, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Mets, before becoming a coach. As a player, Bell was a two-time All-Star, a World Series champion (2001), and the winner of a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at shortstop in 1993.

In 2005 and 2006, he spent time in Arizona as their bench coach, before leaving the team to spend more time with his family. He has since served as a spring training advisor for the Diamonbacks and most recently the hitting coach for the Pirates. It should be noted that Price served as pitching coach in Arizona around the same time Bell held his advising position.

Bell's hiring probably spells the end of the line for old bench coach Chris Speier, who was considered to be Dusty Baker's right hand man during his tenure with the Reds, and now Speier finds himself on the outside looking in.

Expect more coaching announcements to come in the near future.

Is Jay Bruce extension worthy?



by: Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

Jay Bruce added a little bling to his trophy case last week with his second consecutive Silver Slugger award. Could the Reds add more bling to his contract this offseason?

The erstwhile Reds right fielder is under team control through 2017. Nonetheless, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports cites Mr. Bruce as a prime candidate for a pre-emptive extension. Why? The market dynamics surrounding a scarcity of power, primarily. The price for 30-homer power is rising, especially after a season that saw only 13 such sluggers. Passan also makes the assumption that the Redlegs will be free from the burden of @DatDudeBP’s contract. He’s as good as gone, cites Passan’s industry source.

Is it a good idea for the Reds to further lock-up the Silver Slugger, presumably into the next decade? Passan cites that only 18 players have hit at least 20 home runs every season from ages 21-26, with the first 11 memorialized in Cooperstown bronze. Bruce is a rare breed and such specimen generally price themselves out of Cincinnati. The contention is that an extension must be done now if it is to be done at all.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Get educated and ready for Redsfest 2013


Believe it or not, your chance to witness Reds baseball may be sooner than you think, guys.

In less than four weeks, the Reds are slated to hold their annual Redsfest bash in downtown Cincinnati, which is without a doubt the best event any Reds fan can enjoy during the dreaded offseason. While there won't be any actual baseball played, there will be plenty of good times to be had by all, thanks to numerous autograph and photo opportunities, plenty of interactive games, and a smorgasbord of unique memorabilia, among other things. It's a great time for fans to interact with players, coaches, and fellow fans alike.

Here is more information on the event from the Reds:

Report: Bronson Arroyo drawing interest from Twins, Giants, and Phillies


The writing has been on the wall with respect to Bronson Arroyo for quite some time. He won't be back in a Reds uniform when the 2014 comes around.

However, the 36-year-old free agent will be suiting up for some major league team, and as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports, three of those potential teams include the Giants, Phillies, and Twins. According to Cafardo, each of those teams have made contact with Arroyo's agent, although no formal offers have been made. The Mets have also been linked to Arroyo.

The native Floridian has developed the reputation of being as durable as any pitcher in baseball over the past decade. Since 2005, Arroyo has thrown more than 200 innings in every season except one, and he barely missed eclipsing the mark that year (2011) when he tallied 199. Perhaps more impressive than that is the fact that Arroyo has never spent any time on the disabled list in his entire professional career.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Brandon Phillips-Dexter Fowler trade labeled 'tempting'


Could the Reds and Rockies be doing business together this offseason?

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Colorado has talked with All-Star Carlos Gonzalez about the possibility of moving from right to center field next season. Apparently, Gonzalez has already told the club he would be willing to do it, under the condition that it be his regular position. Of course, the mere fact that the Rockies are inquiring has been viewed by ESPN Insider AJ Mass as a subtle indication that the club may be open to moving center field incumbent Dexter Fowler.

Who might be interested in the services of the 27-year-old Fowler? Yeah, you guessed it, the Reds, who are faced with the difficult challenge of replacing Shin-Soo Choo in center field next year. And Cincinnati may have just the bargaining chip to wave at the Rockies in the personnel of defamed All-Star second basemen Brandon Phillips, whose remaining $50 million contract is a burden the Reds are (reportedly) impetuously trying to shed from the payroll.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Report: Shin-Soo Choo seeks deal in excess of Jayson Werth's $126 million contract


The price of Shin-Soo Choo's services will be a small fortune to pay for whoever decides to sign the free agent outfielder this offseason.

Although different reports have suggested different figures, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has reported that the Scott Boras client is allegedly seeking a contract exceeding the one Jayson Werth received from the Washington Nationals in 2011, which amounts to $126 million over seven years.

The scary fact is that Choo could very well land such a lucrative deal. If so, it's a foregone conclusion that the contract won't come from the Reds, who can only dream of doling out massive amounts of guaranteed money at this point, especially with all of the dough they are currently on the hook for with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the future.

Possible landing spots for Brandon Phillips if Reds do in fact trade him


Rumors are just about the only kind of noteworthy topics of discussion this time of year for baseball fans. And the rumors surrounding All-Star second basemen Brandon Phillips have run rampant over the past month.

In a recent post, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports took a look at where some of the top trade candidates may land this offseason, and Phillips was among the players included.

Here is an excerpt of what Snyder had to say about Phillips:

Sports Illustrated writer says Dave Parker, Dave Concepcion aren't worthy of Hall of Fame

 

On Monday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame unveiled a list of 12 candidates to be considered for induction via the Expansion Era ballot. Among the dozen candidates, two former Reds players made the cut, including Dave Concepcion and Dave Parker.

In his column from Wednesday, Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe, who is credited for developing the JAWS system, which aims to measure a player's Hall of Fame worthiness by comparing him to the players at his position who are already enshrined, took a look at each candidate on the Expansion Era ballot, and deemed Concepcion and Parker to be unworthy of baseball's most coveted honor.

Although Concepcion amassed 2,326 hits, won five Gold Gloves, and was a key member of the Big Red Machine, one of the greatest dynasties in the history of any sport, Jaffe believes Concepcion falls short for a few reasons, namely because he ranks only 41st among all shortstops in history, according to Jaffe's JAWS rating. This puts Concepcion below the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Omar Vizquel, and Rafael Furcal, all of which are borderline Hall of Famers in their own right.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Reds ink switch-hitting catcher Brayan Pena


Brayan Pena is the latest player to join the fold in Cincinnati as the Reds have reportedly reached a two-year deal with the 31-year-old catcher.

Pena, who has played in parts of nine seasons in the big leagues, batted .297/.315/.297 in 71 games for the Detroit Tigers in 2013, where he served as the backup catcher.

The Cuban native owns a slash line of .258/.292/.359 in his career, which also includes four seasons with the Kansas City Royals, and four seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

Pena's signing is definitely an interesting one as the Redlegs already possess two catchers on their roster in Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco. This could very well mean the end for the 33-year-old Hanigan in the Queen City, though. Hanigan batted just .198/.306/.261 a season ago, but despite his offensive woes, he could still attract interest from other teams by way of a trade.

As for Mesoraco, the Reds aren't ready to give up on him just yet.

Johnny Bench has health insurance cancelled


Johnny Bench is arguably the greatest catcher to ever play baseball.

Over the course of his illustrious 17-year career, all with the Reds, Bench garnered 14 All-Star selections, 10 Gold Glove Awards, and two National League MVP Awards, among other individual accolades. Furthermore, he was instrumental in helping the Big Red Machine win six division titles, four pennants, and two World Series titles. In 1989, he was unanimously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

As accomplished as Bench's resume is, it wasn't enough to keep him from getting affected by the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") just like the rest of Americans, as Bench announced via Twitter earlier this week that his insurance has been cancelled.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jay Bruce named Reds defensive player of the year by Wilson


On Thursday, Major League Baseball handed out its 2013 Wilson's Defensive Player of the Year Awards.

As fate would have it, Jay Bruce was selected as the Reds representative for the annual complement to the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.

What exactly does it mean to be a Defensive Player of the Year? From SB Nation:

The Defensive Player of the Year awards are divvied up a little differently than Rawlings' Gold Gloves. Instead of coming down to the best defender at each position in both leagues, Wilson hands out its award to one player on every team. As such, there's a whole lot of up-the-middle guys among the winners, not so many first basemen (read: none).

Video: Watch Johnny Bench joyfully ring NYSE closing bell



Johnny Bench did the honors of ringing the New York Stock Exchange Closing Bell on Thursday.

The Cincinnati Reds legend and Hall of Fame catcher was accompanied by executives and guests of Rawlings Sporting Goods, a subsidiary of Jarden Corporation, who hosted a ceremony honoring the class of 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award recipients Thursday evening.

One of the members of that aforementioned class is Brandon Phillips. The Georgia native just won his fourth career Gold Glove Award last week.

Bench was assisted in the bell ringing duties by Jarden Corporation CEO Jim Lillie. As you can see, it looks like a good time was had by all.

MLB executive on Brandon Phillips: 'He's gone'


While the actuality of Brandon Phillips being traded this offseason seems small, one MLB executive seems to be convinced that Phillips is good as gone, and revealed his sentiment to Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan in a recent column by the latter.

Here is the excerpt that pertains to Phillips:

With $50 million freed up from an upcoming Brandon Phillips trade – "He's gone," one executive said Tuesday – and the departure of Bronson Arroyo and Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds have a decent amount of payroll flexibility, even if they extend Homer BaileyJohnny Cueto or Mat Latos, all of whom will hit free agency within the next two years. While the Reds control Bruce through 2017 with three guaranteed years at $34.5 million and a team option for $13 million, the prospect of a pre-emptive extension isn't far-fetched, not when it's precedent for players with premium skills.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jay Bruce named best hitter at his position


For the second straight year, Jay Bruce has won the National League Silver Slugger Award in right field, which goes to players deemed to be the best hitters in their league at their respective position.

The native Texan led all National League right fielders in home runs, RBI, doubles and extra-base hits. He finished among the top four overall in the league in each of those categories, too.

All in all, Bruce maintained an average of .262, clubbed 30 home runs, smacked 43 doubles, drove in a career-high 109 RBI, and produced a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 4.3. He became only the third player in franchise history to amass 30 home runs and 40 doubles in a season, joining the likes of Frank Robinson and Dave Parker, two pretty good hitters in their own right.

Bruce was the only Reds player to earn Silver Slugger honors this season.