Friday, February 28, 2014

Reds news and notes to propel you into your glorious weekend


While much of the region is bracing for yet another winter storm this weekend, the Reds continue to enjoy sunny skies and pleasant temperatures in Arizona. Those lucky dogs. And it will be this way for the foreseeable future as we close the book on February and turn the pages to March.

Keep warm by running down this list of Reds news and notes for Friday:

+ Well, Thursday's outcome wasn't pretty as the Redlegs were blasted by the Indians, 13-2. Reds pitchers allowed 10 walks and 12 hits. Three of those hits cleared the wall for home runs. One of them resulted in grand slam. Yeah, let's put this one in the rear view mirror, shall we?

+ Sunday will mark the 10-year anniversary of Marge Schott's passing. In homage of the late ex-Reds owner, ESPN will be airing an Outside the Lines feature at 9 a.m. with a follow-up on SportsCenter at 10 a.m. The piece was produced by Reds fan and Ohio native Luke Perry.

Reds single game tickets go on sale Saturday

REDS PUBLIC ON-SALE IS THIS SATURDAY!

Are you still in the market to secure Reds tickets this season? If so, you're in luck, because the team is putting single game tickets up for sale beginning bright and early Saturday morning. More details are provided in this press release from the Reds....

CINCINNATI (Feb. 26, 2014) - Single game tickets for the 2014 Cincinnati Reds regular season home games at Great American Ball Park go on sale Saturday, March 1 at 9 a.m. ET, excluding Opening Day on March 31 and both Boston Red Sox games August 12 and 13.

Get the best seats at the lowest prices for your favorite games of the season including Opening Night on April 2, six bobblehead games and 13 Fireworks Fridays.

Fans have many options to purchase single game tickets on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.:

• Internet: reds.com

• Phone: 513-381-REDS or 877-647-REDS (7337)

A 2014 preseason outlook on the outfielders for the Reds

A lot rides on this young man
We wrap up our 2014 preseason preview of the Cincinnati Reds with the outfield today. There is a lot of pressure riding on this unit with the departure of Shin-Soo Choo. The outfield will look a bit different in 2014 with Choo gone, injury returnees, and free agent signings. Can they fill the void left by the Korean on-base machine?

Jay Bruce has been the clear stalwart of this outfield group, giving the Reds six solid years from his left arm. A lot will be expected from his likely Opening Day counterparts, Billy Hamilton and Ryan Ludwick, the center fielder and left fielder respectively. Hamilton obviously has blazing speed, but can he get on base enough to utilize it fully? Ludwick is coming back from shoulder injury suffered on Opening Day of 2013. He played in just 38 games at the end of the year, so hopefully with a full bill of health to start 2014, Ludwick can show glimpses of 2012.

Can the Reds outfield handle the pressure?

Here's a brief preview of the Reds projected outfield:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Private War with Cable Television


by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Editor’s note: the views expressed in this post are strictly that of the writer and does not reflect the views of Redlegs Review, its staff, management, and editors.

I must admit, I’m not a patient person. I have been known to stand in front of a microwave and yell “hurry up”. There are some occasions that my actual patience has been similar to the Biblical person Job; like the time I ordered a pepperoni pizza from a local restaurant and the person taking my order asked me if I wanted sauce with that. I’m not making it up; she really did ask me that. To her defense I did say pepperoni only. Here’s another example of “Job’s Patience”;

In late September 2001 Charter Communications upgraded all their cable television equipment in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia to provide digital video and high speed internet to its customers. My house was upgraded near the close of the 2001 baseball season. Needless to say I was quite excited to have the latest in video technology. Having a degree in electronics, I kept pestering the installer with what must have seemed a thousand questions; including a very important one, “Do we get Fox Sports Ohio?” I explained that I was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and their baseball games have not been aired on local television since 1998. “I don’t know,” replied the patient technician. I thought his response was a bit odd but I digressed to allow him to finish his work. When he completed the install he handed me an instruction booklet along with a channel list and hurriedly sped away in his truck, I guess to prevent me from asking any more questions.

Thursday's batch of Reds news and notes


+ Budding radio connoisseur Joey Votto went on the air with Lance McAlister again Wednesday night. You can listen to audio of the full interview right here if you haven't heard it already.

+ Recap of Thursday's spring training affair against the Indians can be found here. Johnny Cueto got the start and threw two innings of shutout ball. Judging by this tweet from C. Trent Rosecrans, the weather was super nice.
+ A lot of fans have scoffed at the signing of Skip Schumaker this offseason. Yes, he may not be an impact player per se, but I really think he's going to be a great addition for the Reds this year. He's versatile, he's experienced, and he knows what it takes to win. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com highlighted these traits in a recent feature piece of Schumaker.

+ David Schoenfield of ESPN's SweetSpot Blog has the over/under on wins for every team in Major League Baseball. Yesterday, I told you that the over/under for the Reds has been set at 84.5.

Skip Schumaker: Brandon Phillips is the best second basemen in baseball


Skip Schumaker seems to be assimilating himself to the Reds locker room farely well after previously spending years with the rival Cardinals.

The 34-year-old was the spotlight of a recent feature article written by MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. In the article, the versatile Schumaker discusses a variety of topics, but one of them turned to his role on the team. Although he has 456 career games under his belt at second base, he doesn't expect there to be much need for him there this year with Brandon Phillips patrolling the area.

"In my opinion, Brandon Phillips is the best second baseman in the big leagues," Schumaker said. "This guy can really play. He's a pain to play against. You never want to see him up. Every ball hit to the right side is going to be caught. You plan on him playing 150 games. I know my role. That's to be ready when the time is needed. … When guys get into trouble is when they don't know their role. They think they're someone they're not. I get it and I'm excited for it."

Audio: Joey Votto's interview with Lance McAlister



In what has become a weekly occurrence, Joey Votto went on the air with Cincinnati sports radio host Lance McAlister Wednesday night for another candid interview.

Some of the topics Votto discussed during the half-hour session included: differences in camp between Bryan Price and Dusty Baker, his relationship with Pete Rose, criticism he's faced from Marty Brennaman, and changing his walk-up music this year, among others.

Also, here are some tweets from McAlister that help break down the interview.

A 2014 preseason outlook on the infielders for the Reds

Can Frazier rebound from a "sophomore slump?"
By: Jon Davis
Staff Writer


Today we breakdown the Cincinnati Reds infield group going into the 2014 season. As it has been the last few years the only question is who will be on the Reds bench? The starters are set with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier. The only surprise there could come if a surprise Phillips trade surfaces, but I don't expect that to happen.

Looking at the potential bench players the Reds have four guys of note. The two on the 40-man roster are 1B/3B Jack Hannahan and 2B/OF Skip Schumaker. The non roster invitees are 2B/3B Chris Nelson and 2B/SS Ramon Santiago. It appears at first glance that Hannahan and Schumaker are the favorites for the spots given that they are already on the 40-man roster. There does seem to be a hole in that plan though who would be the backup shortstop? Schumaker has never played short in the majors or minors and Hannahan has a grand total of 20 games at short. Chris Nelson has only three games at short in the majors but 532 games in the minors. Which brings us to this years glove first shortstop old guy. In 2012 it was Wilson Valdez, then last year Cesar Izturis and now this year it is Ramon Santiago. One interesting note at least their getting better bats each year, at least if you go by career OPS, Valdez is at .594 then Izturis is .614 and Santiago is at .641.

The real tricky part of trying to figure out who makes this team is Schumaker. Is he the fifth outfielder or sixth infielder? Also maybe the Reds may choose to carry and extra position player. I think the best way to look at this is that there are four bench spots available and three are most likely taken by Heisey, Hannahan and Schumaker. That leaves one spot up for grabs between Nelson, Santiago and the outfield candidates, Bernadina and Bourgeois. So at this point it is anyone's guess what combination will be filling out the Reds bench, well except Jocketty & Price they might have a clue.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday's Reds notes: Spring opener recap, over/under season wins, and more


So, the Cincinnati Reds played a baseball game for the first time in five months on Wednesday. I'm stating the obvious here, but it was glorious to see/hear Reds baseball again.

As promised, Billy Hamilton batted lead-off and played center field. He wasted no time stretching out his legs after working a 10-pitch walk and then swiping second base. An errant throw led to Hamilton standing on third base before the Indians could even record an out. Unfortunately, the Reds couldn't get him home and the youngster eventually wound up 0-for-2 on the day.

Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Tucker Barnhart, and Chris Nelson each notched an RBI. Chris Heisey provided some fireworks when he blasted a two-run homer in the top of the seventh. Heisey followed that act by smashing a double in the eighth. Donald Lutz chipped in a triple and a couple of RBI, too.

From the pitching side, Alfredo Simon got the start and turned in two innings of scoreless ball. The same can be said for Chad Rogers. However, Tim Crabbe came in as relief in the fifth and surrendered a pair of runs on two hits and two walks. Curtis Partch, the only pitcher in MLB history to surrender a grand slam in the first batter he faced in the big leagues, allowed a run and a hit in his lone inning of work. Lee Hyde, Pedro Beato, and Trevor Bell combined to throw three innings of hitless ball to close out the affair.

It all added up to an 8-3 Reds victory in Bryan Price's managerial debut.

+ For those of you planning a trip to Goodyear or for those of you who are already there, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon cranked out an unrivaled list of eateries around the area. This should serve as a great guide for fans who otherwise wouldn't know where to go to satisfy their hunger during spring training.

Buster Olney: Reds have 8th-toughest early season schedule



ESPN's Buster Olney went through the trouble of breaking down the early season schedule for every team in the National League on Wednesday.

By Olney's tabulations, the Reds will sport the league's 8th-toughest schedule through the first quarter of the season. Although 22 of their first 40 games are at home, another 21 of them come against teams with records of .500 or better in 2013.

Perhaps the most notable schedule observation is that they play 13 games against the Pirates and Cardinals by April 24. This includes a three-game series against St. Louis to begin the regular season.

In case you were wondering, the Cubs are said to have the toughest schedule lying ahead. A whopping 31 of their first 40 games comes against clubs who notched winning records a season ago.

Reds farm system tabbed 16th-best by Baseball Prospectus

Baseball Prospectus home


After ranking 15th in last year's farm system rankings by Baseball Prospectus, the Reds didn't experience much movement at all in 2014, securing the 16th slot in this season's edition of the annual list.

Jason Parks was the man tasked to put the rankings together and the results were published Wednesday morning on Baseball Prospectus' website.

Here's a look at what Parks had to say about Cincinnati:

State of the System: The top tier of the farm is flashy with loud tools and high projections, and the middle contains a healthy amount of solid-average types with realistic major-league futures.

Top Prospect: Robert Stephenson (22)

Breakout Candidates for 2014: Ben Lively and Jose Ortiz

A 2014 preseason outlook on the bullpen for the Reds

Chapmania
Cincinnati Reds pitching has been a major reason for the team's recent success. A key component to the Reds pitching staff is obviously its bullpen. For the past few years, the Reds bullpen has been among the best in Major League Baseball. In 2013, they finished the season with the seventh-best team ERA at 3.29 and the lowest batting average against them at .216.

The 2014 season promises much of the same from Cincinnati's relievers. The 'pen will be comprised of the same main cast of characters as it was in 2013, and mostly 2012 as well when they led all of baseball in team ERA. They hope to get Sean Marshall back at full strength, after he made just 16 appearances last season with shoulder ailments. They also hope hefty right-hander Jonathan Broxton is able to recover fully from forearm surgery in August.

If they get those two guys back healthy, and the rest of the staff makes solid contributions, there's no reason to think the Reds bullpen won't be among the best in baseball again. Hopefully they avoid suffering more nagging injuries, as well as a decline in performance and throw together another strong year.

Here's a brief preview of the Reds projected bullpen:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday's terrific collection of Reds news


+ The photo seen above was taken by Reds assistant director of media relations Jamie Ramsey. As you can see, veterans Todd Frazier and Corky Miller had one of the youngsters caught up in a pickle. It's safe to assume that he didn't make it out of the rundown safely.

+ Bryan Price is reluctant to name an Opening Day starting pitcher just yet. However, it doesn't appear Mat Latos' name will be in the mix. John Fay says they're taking their time bringing Latos back from knee surgery. Plus, thanks to an off day following the season opener, the Reds won't need a fifth starter until Sunday, April 6 against the Mets.

Reds announce lineup for spring opener versus Indians

Here's a look at your Reds lineup for Wednesday's spring opener.

As you can see, no real surprises here, with Billy Hamilton leading off and playing center field.

Brandon Phillips occupies the No. 2 hole while Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Ryan Ludwick round out the meat of the order.

Todd Frazier, Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, and Brayan Pena will bat 6-9, respectively. Alfredo Simon gets the nod and will do the pitching.

First pitch is set to be uncorked at 3:05 p.m. EST. That's 1:05 p.m. MST for all you lucky dogs who will be in Goodyear to take in the action.

Former Reds slugger Adam Dunn heading to the Oscars?


Could former Reds outfielder Adam Dunn be heading to the Academy Awards on Sunday?

Empirical evidence seems to suggest so after the current White Sox slugger earned an invitation for his role in producing "Dallas Buyers Club." Dunn served as an investor in the film as well as appearing in a cameo role as a bartender.

The 34-year-old is mulling whether to go because he doesn't want to rub anyone the wrong way with the White Sox in the midst of spring training. However, after speaking with manager Robin Ventura about the potential trip, Dunn may be leaning toward gracing his presence in Los Angeles come Sunday.

Reds youngsters enjoy 2 Chainz concert in Phoenix

Ever wonder what players do in their spare time during Spring Training when they're not honing their baseball skills? Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Donald Lutz gave us a little glimpse into their extracurricular activities last night via Twitter.

I've heard of him, but I'm not 100% sure what a 2 Chainz is. They didn't just tell us where they were going though. Their trip also produced this rather intriguing photo from Lutz. What 2 Chainz is doing in this photo, I'm not sure.

What odds does Las Vegas give the Reds to win the World Series?

World Series Odds

It's been nearly five months since the Cincinnati Reds last played a baseball game. On Wednesday, that will change as the Reds battle the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

With offseason signings, releases, and trades behind us, we now have a pretty good idea of what the roster will look like in 2014. Thus, giving the gambling-minded oddsmakers in Las Vegas more to work with when it comes to prognosticating the season.

So, how does Bryan Price's club stack up against the rest of baseball? Well, let's see. Bovada gives the Reds 15/4 odds to win the division, 10/1 odds to win the pennant, and 22/1 odds to win the World Series. Essentially, they are tied with the Pirates for second-best odds in the division, have the sixth-best odds to capture the NLCS, and 13th-best odds to win it all.

ODDS TO WIN NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL DIVISION

A 2014 preseason outlook on the catchers for the Reds

By: Jon Davis
Staff Writer


Today we breakdown the Cincinnati Reds catchers going into the 2014 season and I have got three words for Reds Nation, The Punxatawny Punisher. Yeah the Reds heading into the 2014 season have finally decided it was time to turn the job over to Devin Mesoraco. That being the case the Reds decided to trade Ryan Hanigan and get the best value out of him. I like Hanigan as much as the next Reds fan but I believe trading him was the right move and the Reds did very well in the trade. He held much more value as a trade piece than he did as a backup catcher. Another thing is that if Hanigan stayed it would have just hung over Mesoraco's head, but now he is in the best scenario to succeed in 2014.

The clear plan here is for Mesoraco to be the starter and for the newly acquired Pena to serve as his backup. If Devin struggles they may opt for a platoon situation. Looking at last years splits that isn't such an unappealing option. Last year Mesoraco vs. LHP hit .321/.386/.487/.874 and Pena vs. RHP hit .325/.346/.455/.801. I know it may be wishful thinking but put those numbers together and you get about an .820 OPS. Last year only three teams got that kind of production out of their catcher spot. That just leaves one question who is number three? A question I am sure the Reds have not addressed and hope they don't have to address this year. If the time comes I am sure their play this year will help make that decision should the need arise. The choice is go with the ageless mustachioed wonder that is Corky Miller or the young excellent glove first, switch hitting prospect, Tucker Barnhart? Regular readers will be able to tell which way I am leaning when my prospects rankings come out.

And finally just a few interesting notes before we dive in. Barnhart was put on the 40 man roster this offseason, which gives the Reds now four catchers on the 40 man. Nope the fourth isn't Corky it is hard hitting prospect Neftali Soto. In an effort to expand his value Soto came to camp early to work on his catching. Lastly the Reds have two non roster Venezuelan catchers in camp, Rossmel Perez and Max Ramirez. It is safe to say the Reds have plenty of depth at the catcher position.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A jam-packed edition of Reds news and notes from Monday

Embedded image permalink

We're now in full swing when it comes to spring training and that means there's been no shortage of Cincinnati Reds news lately. So let's get you caught up on things:

+ Despite taking a vow of silence with the media this spring, Brandon Phillips decided to open up with FOX19 to talk about trade rumors, among other topics. If you watch the short video, you will see that Jay Bruce and Bob Castellini had nothing but complimentary things to say about him. Meanwhile, Phillips said he would really like the opportunity to retire as a Red.

+ Remember how the Reds reportedly tried to acquire Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner in exchange for Phillips? Well, New York has signed Gardner to a contract extension worth $52 million over four seasons. Ironically, that's the exact same contract Phillips currently has with the Reds. In my opinion, it's going to be extremely interesting to see how each of their careers pan out during that span.

+ The debate has and will likely continue to rage on about Joey Votto's lack of RBI. Some argue that his low RBI total is a detriment to the team while others point toward on-base percentage and other sabermetric statistics to counter that claim. With that said, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com writes how Votto is not concerned about the way people perceive his play, saying he just wants to take advantage of every opportunity he is given in order to help the team.

Brandon Phillips: My goal is to retire a Red


Despite taking a vow of silence with the media this spring, Brandon Phillips made an exception with Jon Danneman of FOX19 to discuss offseason trade rumors among other topics.

Phillips said he never realized how important the business side of baseball was until his name was being tossed around the rumor mill during the winter.

"I feel like I did everything for this organization that they asked me to do," the Reds second basemen said.

"If they feel like they can do better without me than good luck with that," Phillips added with a grin.

A 2014 preseason outlook on the starting pitchers for the Reds

Cingranisnarl_medium

Although the bullpen has been touted as the biggest strength of the Cincinnati Reds in recent years, the starting rotation has been pretty darn good in their own right. Reds starters tallied the 5th-best ERA among all MLB rotations in 2012 and finished 3rd-best in 2013. This is especially impressive when you consider that ace Johnny Cueto spent majority of last year on the disabled list.

What's in store for the starting five in 2014? On paper, it looks like the staff is primed for another successful year. For starters, the Reds will get a shot in the arm by adding a renewed and healthy Cueto back to the mix. And despite a recent freak injury, Mat Latos should build upon the positive momentum he has built in his first two seasons in Cincinnati, as well.

Homer Bailey continues to make steady improvement as a starting pitcher and could potentially break through as a star as he approaches free agency. Meanwhile, the reliable Mike Leake is back for another go around and should serve as a solid back-end-of-the-rotation option. And after an outstanding rookie showing, Tony Cingrani looks to prove to everyone that his first season in the big leagues wasn't a fluke.

Here's a brief preview of the projected starters for the Reds this season:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday's Reds news and notes


+ Unlike seasons past under Dusty Baker's regime, the Reds won't be adhering to a strict catching rotation under new manager Bryan Price. According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Price says he will decide which catcher plays depending on how they match up offensively to opposing pitchers, not simply by assigning a specific catcher to a certain pitcher(s). With that said, Devin Mesoraco is slated as the starter and Brayan Pena will be the back-up.

+ After ranking 10th in the National League in stolen bases last season, Price says that he wants the team to be more aggressive on the basepaths, specifically when it comes to swiping bags. As Fay points out, Zack Cozart did not attempt a single steal in 2013 despite stealing 30 in 34 attempts at the Triple-A level in 2010. He's one of the players Price would like to see run more often. Price also referenced the 2010 club as a model for which the 2014 squad may adopt when it comes to baserunning.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reds ready to run like the wind in 2014?

                                  '

The Reds haven't been known as a particularly aggressive team in years past when it comes to baserunning, but that could soon change under the tutelage of new manager Bryan Price.

Simply put, Price says he wants his players to take more advantage of opportunities on the bases, especially as it pertains to flat out stealing them.

“We’re not going to get to Opening Day and open up and give the green light to everyone,” 
Price told the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay. “However, spring training is the perfect opportunity to evaluate what these guys are capable of — and which guys need more help.”

So, which guys could Price be referring to? Well, for starters Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart might be two Reds who could help out in the stolen base department. Despite swiping 30 bags at Triple-A Louisville in 2010, Cozart did not attempt a single stolen base last season, and has only attempted four (all successful) in 300 games as a major leaguer.

Reds links and notes for your Saturday

+ So, there's a photo of the best Reds tattoo you are likely to see today.

+ Jonathan Bernhardt of Sports On Earth examines the long-term financial implications of the Reds extending Homer Bailey's contract. It's a little on the lengthy side, but it's a good read.

+ Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes how Bailey's contract sets the market for other starting pitchers, including Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija.

“It’s good for the game. It’s good for the players,” Samardzija said of Bailey’s deal. “It’s good to see a guy that started out really young in the big leagues get rewarded for his hard work and his consistency as of late for sure. It’s cool. It’s good to see.”

Samardzija is in line to receive a big contract himself pretty soon and the Cubs will undoubtedly be using Bailey's new deal as a reference.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jonathan Broxton's bones are stronger than steel drill bits, apparently


One look at Jonathan Broxton is all it takes to realize that the Reds reliever is a mountain of man. His listed height and weight of 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, respectively, serves as further confirmation of his massiveness.

Despite the fact that Broxton is built like a brick house, he's prone to injury just like the rest of us, and that's what happened when he tore a flexor tendon in his right forearm last August. It came during a game against the Diamondbacks in which he said he literally felt the tear when it happened.

The injury was severe enough to require surgery and Broxton went under the knife two days later. The surgery was performed by none other than team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek and by all accounts it was without fault.

Well, except for a tiny detail Mark Sheldon of MLB.com included in a post from Friday, which essentially revealed that steel is no match against Broxton's superior body.

Here's the excerpt that caught my attention:

Friday's Reds notes: Cueto honing English skills, Latos recovering nicely, 'Porkopolitans,' and more


+ It was reported yesterday by Cincinnati Enquirer's C. Trent Rosecrans that MLB Network was scheduled to televise nine Reds games this spring. That's since been changed to 11. So hooray for more games!

+ Rosecrans' colleague, John Fay, notes that Bryan Price liked what he saw from top pitching prospects Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen during the first day of live batting practice. Price lauded each for having "easy deliveries" which create "deception" for hitters. Awesome.

Mat Latos continues to recover well after having minor knee surgery last week. Fay says Latos threw from 60 feet Friday morning. It was his third straight day of throwing off flat ground.

Which home games are 'must-see' for Reds fans in 2014?


Watching Reds games from the comfort of your own home is nice, but it doesn't come close to seeing the Reds play live and in person. There's a certain experience one gets from attending a baseball game. From the smell of hot dogs, the crack of the bat, and the roar of the crowd, it's a fan experience one cannot receive when simply watching through television. Sure, there's hurdles such as parking, obtaining tickets, and laboring through hot and humid conditions sometimes, but it's always worth it.

With that said, many of us will attend at least one Reds game this season. Some of us will attend multiple Reds games. No matter how many games you plan to attend, it's safe to assume you want to get the most bang for your buck, which means attending the best games the schedule has to offer.

After taking a quick look over the schedule, here are five home series that should produce some riveting outcomes. These were chosen are based on such factors as the quality of the opponent, the projected stakes, which days of the week the series falls on, and what promotions (if any) are available to fans.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Show Me the Money & Other Hot Stove Notes



by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Congrats to Homer Bailey, throwing two no-hitters pays well doesn’t it?

The Reds now have committed 65 million dollars to six players for the 2016 season, 20 million to Joey Votto, 18 million to Homer Bailey, 13 million to Brandon Phillips, 12.5 million to Jay Bruce, one million to Jonathan Broxton and a paltry half mil to Skip Schumaker. For the entire 2006 season the Reds payroll was 64 million.

Pardon me for asking, but is Joey Votto auditioning for a job on WLW Radio? He’s been on the air once a week for the past four weeks.

I’m sure “The Big One” is not the same radio station since Gary Burbank retired. From 1988 to 1993 I worked as a technical manager for a Buffalo NY based advertising company. I was supposed to be responsible a five state territory, but I ended up going into fifteen states, everywhere I travelled WLW radio went with me, and not just for the Reds. I was practically on a first name basis with personalities Jim Scott and Gary Burbank.

2014 NL Central Preview: St. Louis Cardinals




If Reds fans were wondering how the St. Louis Cardinals would top their 2012 NL championship, Mike Matheny gave them a terrible, terrible answer: in only his second year as a big league skipper, he led the Cardinals to the World Series while the Reds failed to win an October series yet again.

Throughout the season, the beastly birds played to win and didn’t give their fans any cause for concern, even in the August heat when they slipped to 4 games behind Pittsburgh in the NL Central. Despite weak play at shortstop and Jaime Garcia’s May surgery, they never faltered and came close to winning their twelfth world championship.

Key Additions: The Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta in November to a four-year contract, adding both offensive and defensive talent to the shortstop position that was share by Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso in 2013.

Reds tabbed 10th in MLB power rankings


Given everything we know about the Reds entering spring training, coupled with everything we know about the competition, where would you rank the Reds among all 30 MLB teams?

If you're anything like me, the prospect of actually compiling such an objective set of rankings seems daunting, so let's be glad Jonah Keri of Grantland.com did the grunt work for us. All that's left to do now is analyze where he put Cincinnati.

As fate would have it, Bryan Price's squad cracked the top 10.

10. Cincinnati Reds

I already hate this ranking. With Shin-Soo Choo gone, Cincinnati’s offense looks frighteningly thin after Votto and Bruce, with a lot of easy outs against right-handed pitching elsewhere in the lineup. The wild card is Billy Hamilton, a spectacularly tantalizing fantasy baseball commodity who could steal 100 bags by getting on base 50 times … except he might be so ill-equipped to hit major league pitching that getting on base those 50 times might be a stretch.

Thursday's Reds notes: Reaction to Bailey's extension, Phillips gives media silent treatment, and more



+ Joe Kay of the Associated Press has a breakdown of Bailey's six-year contract. The former first round pick will earn $9 million in 2014 and the annual salary escalates each season thereafter until peaking at $23 million in 2019. There is a mutual $25 million option for 2020, too.

+ ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes the Reds like what they got in Bailey. Crasnick's column includes the following quote from manager Bryan Price:

"You look at it all: The size. The work ethic. The attention to detail in preparation. The desire to be in the game after the sixth inning, and the ability to be healthy and throw over 200 innings. I'm a firm believer that this is a guy who can perform through a long-term contract and help carry a pitching staff towards the top of a rotation."

Homer Bailey credits team's commitment to winning as motive to sign extension

Homer Bailey Cincinnati Reds

Homer Bailey's contract extension with the Reds became official on Thursday as he and general manager Walt Jocketty spent time addressing the media before workouts.

If you've been alive over the past couple of days, you know the facts: Bailey will receive $105 million over six years, with the possiblity of earning $25 million in a seventh year. The deal goes down in the record book as the largest contract ever given to a Reds pitcher and third-largest overall.

While speaking to reporters in Goodyear on Thursday, Bailey shared some insight on what made him ultimately re-sign with Cincinnati. Among others, Bailey said the organization's commitment to win and his familiarity with the surroundings is what sold him on staying a Red.

From C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Audio: Joey Votto's radio interview with Lance McAlister



For the fourth time in as many weeks, Joey Votto joined Cincinnati sports radio show host Lance McAlister for a rather lengthy on-air interview.

In this edition, Votto discussed his thoughts about Homer Bailey's freshly signed contract extension, Bryan Price's message to the team in spring training, dealing with expectations, cooking, and more.

The four-time All-Star also fielded questions from callers, again. That's always a treat.

Via ESPN1530

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Two Reds among Baseball America's top 50 prospects


The 2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list is out and two Reds are among the top 50.

Robert Stephenson leads the way for Cincinnati by grabbing the 19th overall spot in the rankings. Meanwhile, speedy Billy Hamilton was given the nod for the 43rd slot on the list.

Here's what the publication had to say about each:

Aside from gaining experience, staying healthy and learning to the nuances of the craft, Stephenson just needs to stay ready. He’s already acclimated to the major leagues and is likely an injury away from a Cincinnati callup.

Details of Homer Bailey's contract extension



History was made Wednesday as Homer Bailey signed the richest contract any pitcher has ever received from the Reds franchise.

All totaled, the right-hander stands to earn $105 million over the next six seasons, with a mutual option of $25 million for a seventh year.

According to Joe Kay of the Associated Press, the 27-year-old will boast a base salary of $9 million in 2014, $10 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $19 million in 2017, $21 million in 2018, and $23 million in 2019. Should the Reds choose not to pick up his option for 2020, they will owe him an additional $5 million in buyout money.

Wednesday's Reds notes: Bailey signs, position players report, free pizza?

Homer Bailey's deal includes a mutual option for a seventh year. (Joe Robbins)

After five full days of pitchers and catchers working out, Wednesday marked the report date for the remaining position players, thus bringing the Reds to full strength from a numbers perspective.

Of course, some position players had already reported to Goodyear before Wednesday. Most notably, Jay BruceTodd FrazierRyan LudwickJack HannahanChris Heisey, and Skip Schumaker. There may have been others, but those are the ones I saw reported by beat writers.

Overshadowing everything else on Wednesday was news of Homer Bailey's long-term contract extension. Bailey is set to receive $105 million spread over six seasons. There is a mutual option for a seventh year to the tune of $25 million. A buyout of $5 million exists if the Reds choose to decline.

+ In case you missed it, Tuesday's news and notes.

+ Bruce says he "feels great" coming into spring training and that he is looking forward to getting the "train rolling in the right direction," writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The native Texan also expressed how he isn't worrying about his weight as much anymore and instead is focusing on how he feels. That's not to stay he went heavy on the ham and turkey over the holidays.

Report: Homer Bailey, Reds agree to long term deal

It appears Homer Bailey and the Reds won't be needing to meet in Florida on Thursday after all.

According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, who cited a source close to the situation, Bailey and the team have agreed upon a six-year deal reportedly worth $105 million. If true, it means the two sides won't have to attend an arbitration hearing in Tampa Bay tomorrow.

The contract includes a mutual option worth $25 million for a seventh year, according to Sheldon. If Cincinnati chooses to decline, Bailey will receive a $5 million buyout.

The move to sign Bailey long term came as a surprise to most around the baseball community. It didn't appear like the Reds would have the financial muscle to retain their 2004 first round pick. However, as Wednesday's news proves, that speculation turned out to be false.

Bailey owns a 49-45 record and a 4.25 ERA in 143 major league starts. This new contract will take Bailey through 2019 at which point he will be 33-years-old.

Jim Bowden: Ryan Ludwick in jeopardy of losing his job this spring?

Enquirer file photo

After experiencing a bounceback season in 2012, Ryan Ludwick's 2013 campaign didn't go as planned, as the veteran outfielder suffered a serious shoulder injury on Opening Day. The injury caused him to miss most of the season and he wasn't nearly the same when he returned in August.

Now, the 35-year-old said he "feels strong" entering 2014, but will he be able to replicate the 26 HR/80 RBI success he enjoyed in 2012? ESPN Insider and former Reds general manager Jim Bowden isn't so sure. This is why Bowden pegged Ludwick as one of seven players who could potentially lose their jobs this spring.

From Bowden:

LaRosa's Pizzeria bringing back strikeouts for pizza promotion in 2014

Back by popular demand, LaRosa's Pizzeria will once again be serving up free pizza to fans when Reds pitchers strikeout 11 or more hitters in a game.

In 2013, Reds hurlers eclipsed the magical 11-strikeout mark in nearly two dozen home games, resulting in LaRosa's shelling out over 200,000 free small pizzas. It's estimated that the free pizza was worth upwards of one million dollars. At one point early in the season, Reds pitchers were on pace to unlock the free pizza promotion every other home game, which would have amounted to around 40 occasions.

Prior to 2013, LaRosa's had only projected that the threshold would be met 11-13 times, based on the results from past seasons. However, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman and the rest of the pitching staff obviously exceeded those expectations.

2014 NL Central Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates


Can the Pirates build upon the success of 2013 or will they fade back to irrelevance?

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally did it in 2013. After a couple years of teasing their fans with hot starts and cool finishes, they finished 94-68 which was good for a second place finish in the NL Central and a wildcard berth into the postseason, their first since 1992. They held first place for 25 days from 7/30 to 8/23, and never fell lower than second place after 6/21. Then, not only did they show up in the playoffs, they beat our Cincinnati Reds for their first playoff win since '92 as well. Their October mission however was cut short in the National League Division Series when they lost to the Cardinals. Led by NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, a fantastic starting rotation, and an unwavering bullpen, the Pirates had their best season in over 20 years.

The Buccos will not be the same team in 2014, as several key contributors from 2013 will be gone. They still have their core in tact for the most part however with McCutchen and manager Clint Hurdle piloting the ship. Though unlikely, could they re-sign A.J. Burnett who says he will pitch in 2014? Literally as I'm typing this, Burnett has just signed a deal with the Phillies. Will they be able to fill the voids left by the likes of Burnett, Justin Morneau, and Marlon Byrd?
bye bye Burnett
Notable Additions: RHP Edinson Volquez (free agent), OF Chris Dickerson (FA), 1B Travis Ishikawa (FA), 1B Chris McGuiness (acquired from Texas Rangers), C Chris Stewart (acquired from New York Yankees)

Notable Losses: OF Byrd, 1B Morneau, 1B Garrett Jones, C John Buck, RHP Burnett, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Jeff Karstens

Manager: Clint Hurdle (4th season, 245-241)
2013 Payroll: $79,555,00 (20th in MLB)
Avg. Home Attendance: 28,210 (19th in MLB)