Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-11-12T17:03:17Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Notes: Yankees, Padres, Gray, Athletics, Cards]]> 2018-11-10T04:14:13Z 2018-11-10T04:14:13Z With the GM Meetings now wrapped up, the stage is set for the offseason action to get underway. Of course, we’re still waiting for some significant dominoes to fall … and everyone involved is no doubt curious to see how this year’s market will develop after the 2017-18 dud. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports cites some warning signs on spending levels; readers interested in the higher-level picture will want to give his reasoning a look.

While we wait for some hard data points to be set down, the just-completed meetings left quite a few rumors. We’ve covered many over the past several days; here are a few more worthy of note:

  • Though the Yankees seem unsettled at first base, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that they haven’t reached out to the Diamondbacks on slugger Paul Goldschmidt. The potential rental slugger, one of the game’s steadiest offensive producers, is reportedly on the trading block. While the Yankees got stunning production from Luke Voit over a brief stretch late last year, and still have Greg Bird on hand, it wouldn’t be surprising if they sought to add a bigger piece.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Bronx organization seems fixated first on pitching. Beyond its free agent targets, the club is looking into the biggest possible names on the trade market. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the Yanks have opened a line of communication with the Mariners on James Paxton. And the New York delegation to the GM Meetings met with their peers from the Indians, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter), with Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco both covered in conversation. It obviously isn’t at all surprising to hear that the Yankees have checked in on these distinguished hurlers, but it’s nevertheless a notable bit of information as the market continues to develop.
  • There are quite a few possibilities for the Padres, writes Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription link), as the organization is feeling a need to show some real strides in the win-loss department. We’ve heard chatter recently about the desire for a young starter and the series of potential trade pieces, but Lin’s most interesting notes seem to focus on the left side of the infield. Manny Machado is not seen internally as a realistic target, with Freddy Galvis still under consideration at short. If the team really wants to push things forward, though, Galvis or another veteran may only warm the seat up for top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. At third, Josh Donaldson does not appear to be the first name on the club’s list of targets. Rather, says Lin, the current plan is to seek a new third baseman via trade.
  • So, where have the Padres set their sights for a third baseman? There aren’t many obviously available options that would figure to represent everyday pieces. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported recently, though, that the Pads are interested in pursuing Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who recently posted a big campaign on the heels of what now looks to be quite a team-friendly extension. Given the Cincinnati organization’s inclination to begin pushing toward contention, that seems like a tough deal to swing for Padres GM A.J. Preller.
  • Acee also tabs the Padres as a suitor for Yankees righty Sonny Gray, who’s being openly marketed. Whether Gray would be seen as fulfilling the club’s rotation needs, or rather serving as a potential complement to a more significant addition, isn’t clear. There are other teams with interest in Gray, of course. Per’s Mark Feinsand, at least five organizations have inquired, and it wouldn’t be surprising to hear of more. Among those contemplating a move is Gray’s former employer. The Athletics evidently think their former staff ace could bounce back in Oakland, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. Of course, it remains to be seen how much the A’s will be willing to stake on a turnaround. Meanwhile,’s Mark Feinsand hears that at least five teams have inquired with the Yankees on Gray’s availability — the A’s presumably among them. Gray is projected to top $9MM in arbitration earnings this winter, but he thrived away from Yankee Stadium last season and had plenty of encouraging secondary metrics beyond his rudimentary ERA.
  • We’ve heard recently that the Cardinals intend to explore the relief market, with one southpaw on the team’s priority list. Accordingly, it’s no surprise to hear that the club is among the many teams to show early interest in veteran lefty Andrew Miller, as’s Jon Morosi tweets. Miller is drawing interest after getting some good news on his knee, so there’ll be no shortage of competition. At this point, it’s entirely unclear where he’ll end up.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Linked To Josh Harrison]]> 2018-11-09T16:05:26Z 2018-11-09T16:05:26Z
  • Former Astros utility man Marwin Gonzalez is the most versatile defender in free agency this season, and Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that he’s garnered at least some level of interest from nearly every club in the game. As a switch-hitter with at least a league average bat and the capability to play as many as six positions (all four infield slots and both outfield corners), “Swiss G” is indeed easy to imagine fitting onto virtually any team’s roster. Meanwhile, former Pirate Josh Harrison, a quality defender at second base with experience at third base and in the outfield corners, has generated some interest from the likes of the Yankees, Reds and Nationals, among others, per Heyman. Both players’ versatility should serve them well this winter.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Unlikely To Add Top-Tier Arms?]]> 2018-11-08T02:15:20Z 2018-11-08T02:15:20Z Though there’s been plenty of talk about the Reds’ willingness to increase payroll and their pursuit of rotation upgrades, Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that the team isn’t likely to make any “top-tier glamorous” additions in free agency. Daugherty hears that Cincinnati may be willing to boost payroll by as much as $30MM but is looking to add a mid-rotation arm and a “middle-to-late-inning reliever.” The Reds, he opines, should be open to dealing some of their young hitters — even those who’ve reached the Majors — for pitching help, as it’s difficult to sway free-agent arms to sign up to pitch half their games at Great American Ball Park. Regardless of he means by which they choose to do so, the Reds seem determined to bolster the pitching staff this winter.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Hire Turner Ward As Hitting Coach]]> 2018-11-06T15:31:33Z 2018-11-06T15:31:33Z The Reds announced today that they have hired Turner Ward as their hitting coach. He’ll join the still-developing staff of new skipper David Bell.

    Ward, 53, had served in the same capacity with the Dodgers since the 2016 season. Previously, the former big leaguer worked as a minor-league manager and the assistant hitting coach for the Diamondbacks.

    With the news, it seems that former hitting coach Don Long will not be retained, at least in his prior role. The club recently hired pitching coach Derek Johnson away from the division-rival Brewers. It’s unclear as yet how the remainder of the staff will shake out.

    Meanwhile, the Dodgers will be left looking for a replacement hitting coach. The team is already seeking to hire a new third base coach after Chris Woodward left to become the Rangers manager.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Exploring Rotation Market]]> 2018-11-05T17:01:40Z 2018-11-05T17:01:00Z As expected on the heels of public comments from owner Bob Castellini about his desire to enhance the starting rotation, the Reds are showing early interest in the starting pitching market, per both Jon Heyman of Fancred and Jon Morosi of (Twitter links). Both reports list top free-agent starter Patrick Corbin as a pitcher of interest, while Morosi specifically lists J.A. Happ and Heyman adds Dallas Keuchel to the pile. While any of that bunch would be a high-profile addition for the Reds, who’ve largely avoided free agency in recent seasons, Heyman notes that Cincinnati “will consider” top-of-the-market names.

    Of course, considering a top-of-the-market arm and actually luring one to Cincinnati are two very different things. As three of the top starters on the market, the trio of Corbin, Keuchel and Happ will have no shortage of interest from contending clubs with clearer paths to a postseason berth. Beyond that, Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park is known as one of the game’s most hitter-friendly environments; to call it a tough sell to convince a top-tier starter to sign in a homer-conducive stadium with a team that lost 95 games in 2018 would be somewhat of an understatement.

    [Related: MLBTR’s 2018-19 Free Agent Tracker]

    It’s not clear how much money the Reds have to spend this offseason, though Castellini has recently promised a record payroll for the franchise. That certainly sounds encouraging for fans, though it should be noted that Cincinnati’s record payroll is $115MM, and they’re already projected by MLBTR’s Jason Martinez to head into 2019 with a near-$110MM payroll. Both Corbin and Keuchel are candidates to secure $20MM+ annual salaries, and Happ’s annual salary on a new contract figures to check in north of $12MM. Free-agent contracts could, of course, be backloaded — as could a potential offseason extension for second baseman Scooter Gennett. Doing so would lower the team’s projected commitments for the 2019 season and ramp up spending into 2020 and beyond, when Homer Bailey’s albatross deal will be off the books.

    It remains difficult to envision the Reds winning a bidding war with larger-market clubs coming off winning seasons and playoff berths, but the very fact that they’re exploring this tier of free agency is a departure from recent offseasons and, accordingly, is of some note. Whether Castellini, president of baseball ops Dick Williams, GM Nick Krall and the rest of the organization’s leadership can persuade a top-notch starter to sign for the next several years, it seems likely that the Reds will be adding some external help to the rotation. Matt Harvey was reportedly a favorite of Castellini during his four-month run with the organization, so at the very least, the Reds could make an earnest run at retaining him and adding another established arm to a rotation whose only locks at present seem to be Anthony DeSclafani and Luis Castillo.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Minor Leaguer Jairo Capellan Dies In Car Crash]]> 2018-11-04T01:08:59Z 2018-11-04T01:08:32Z Reds minor league right-hander Jairo Capellan died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, the team announced. He was 19 years old. Two other Reds minor leaguers – righty Raul Hernandez and outfielder Emilio Garcia (both of whom are 19) – were also in the car, and each player suffered injuries. Hernandez is currently in critical condition, while Garcia is in stable condition. “We received this terrible news and send our condolences and support to the families, friends and teammates of Jaro, Raul and Emilio,” said Reds CEO Bob Castellini. “Our Dominican operations are an integral part of the Reds organization, and this tragedy affects us all. We will remain closely involved to help everyone through this difficult time.” MLBTR joins the Reds in extending our condolences to the families, friends and teammates of all three players.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Angels Claim Austin Brice]]> 2018-11-02T19:19:12Z 2018-11-02T19:11:31Z The Angels have claimed right-hander Austin Brice from the Reds, per the Cincinnati organization.

    Brice, 26, has not exactly distinguished himself in the majors to this point. Through 84 innings over the past three seasons, he carries a 5.68 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9.

    Clearly, though, the Halos like Brice’s arm. He works in the mid-nineties with a pair of heaters and also has shown two varieties of breaking balls. That arsenal has allowed the former ninth-round pick to compile a 2.70 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in his 53 1/3 total innings at the highest level of the minors.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Claim Matthew Bowman From Cardinals; Dilson Herrera, Mason Williams Outrighted]]> 2018-11-02T19:21:14Z 2018-11-02T19:09:21Z The Reds announced Friday that they’ve claimed right-handed reliever Matthew Bowman off waivers from the division-rival Cardinals. Additionally, infielder Dilson Herrera and outfielder Mason Williams have cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Louisville.

    Bowman, 27, was a quality middle-relief option for the Cards from 2016-17, working to a 3.70 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9 in 126 1/3 innings. He stumbled in 2018 however, requiring multiple DL stints for ongoing blister issues and generally performing poorly when on the field. In 23 innings this past season, he posted a 6.26 ERA with a career-best 10.2 K/9 mark but also a career-worst 4.1 BB/9 mark. Bowman does have a minor league option remaining, so he could be a flexible ’pen option for the Reds in 2019.

    The 24-year-old Herrera went unclaimed after hitting .184/.268/.414 in 97 plate appearances for the Reds late in the 2018 season. It’s been a couple of years since he was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Jay Bruce from Cincinnati to the Mets, but Herrera’s late cup of coffee was actual his team debut. The former top prospect’s career has been utterly derailed by shoulder troubles, and while he finally surfaced in the Majors with the Reds, he didn’t do enough to secure a roster spot for the 2019 season. Because he’s previously been outrighted by the Reds, he can now elect fre agency, leaving the Cincinnati organization with nothing to show for that Bruce swap; lefty Max Wotell, the only other player in the trade, was cut loose earlier this season.

    The 27-year-old Williams is a former top prospect in his own right, though it’s been quite some time since he was perceived in that light. He inked a minor league pact with Cincinnati and made his way to the big league roster, hitting .293/.331/.398 in 132 PAs. Solid as that showing was, he couldn’t stick on the 40-man nor did another team claim him, so he, too, can head to the open market as a minor league free agent by virtue of that fact that he’s also been outrighted previously (by the Yankees in 2017).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Claim Dixon From Reds, Fernandez From Blue Jays]]> 2018-11-03T04:09:08Z 2018-11-02T19:05:42Z The Tigers announced Friday that they’ve claimed infielder Brandon Dixon off waivers from the Reds and left-handed reliever Jose Fernandez off waivers from the Blue Jays.

    It stands to reason that the Detroit organization will continue to look for ways to find value from roster castaways from other organizations. In this case, they’ll take a look at a pair of players who earned first-time MLB promotions in 2018 but failed to impress at the game’s highest level.

    Dixon, 26, raked in his second attempt at Triple-A but racked up 43 strikeouts and limped to a .574 OPS in his first 124 plate appearances in the big leagues. The former third-rounder is capable of playing the corners in both the infield and outfield but also has experience at second base, potentially making him a versatile piece if he can earn a shot with the Tigers.

    As for Fernandez, he’ll turn 26 right as camp opens, just in time to push for a job in the Detroit pen. He’s exclusively a reliever and occasionally threw multiple innings in the upper minors last year, working to a 2.97 in 60 2/3 frames over 44 appearances. Though he has allowed a few too many free passes in recent years, Fernandez gets some swings and misses. He also showed a 94+ mph heater from the left side.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Hire Pitching Coach Derek Johnson Away From Brewers]]> 2018-10-31T21:58:25Z 2018-10-31T21:57:42Z 4:57pm:’s Adam McCalvy tweets that Milwaukee general manager David Stearns has confirmed that Johnson is leaving the organization. The Brewers had “extensive” negotiations in an effort to retain Johnson, Stearns said, but it seems the two sides ultimately could not reach an agreement.

    4:50pm: The Brewers are set for yet another coaching change, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that pitching coach Derek Johnson is leaving the organization to join the Reds in the same capacity. Milwaukee previously saw hitting coach Darnell Coles step down, and he was announced as the new hitting coach for the Diamondbacks earlier today.

    To this point, the entirety of Johnson’s coaching career in pro ball has come in the National League Central. He spent the 2013-15 seasons as the Cubs’ minor league pitching coordinator and has served as Milwaukee’s pitching coach from 2016-18 before jumping ship to the division-rival Reds. Prior to that, he spent 11 seasons as the pitching coach at Vanderbilt, working with numerous future big leaguers, including first-rounders David Price, Mike Minor and Sonny Gray.

    Johnson will be the first staff hire under newly minted skipper David Bell on a Reds staff that figures to see its own fair share of turnover following the early-season dismissal of Bryan Price and the recent departure of interim manager Jim Riggleman.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds Part Ways With Jim Riggleman]]> 2018-10-28T21:08:48Z 2018-10-28T21:07:04Z 4:07pm: Pat Kelly, who was Cincinnati’s interim bench coach under Riggleman, is likely to return to the team’s minor league system, a source tells Nightengale. Kelly was the Reds’ Triple-A manager before joining Riggleman’s staff. He was among those who interviewed for the Reds’ managerial opening prior to Bell’s hiring.

    2:22pm: The Reds won’t be keeping Jim Riggleman in the organization in 2019, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (Twitter link).  The interim manager for much of the 2018 season, Riggleman interviewed for the full-time job before the Reds hired David Bell as their next skipper earlier this week.

    Riggleman has spent the last seven years within the Reds organization, managing at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, and then working as a third base coach and bench coach for the Major League team.  He took the managerial reins on April 19 when Bryan Price was fired in the wake of a brutal 3-15 start to the season, and Riggleman did right the ship to some extent, leading Cincinnati to an even 45-45 record over the next 90 games.  As the team faded down the stretch, however, Riggleman was left with a 64-80 record as skipper.  Nonetheless, there still appeared to be a solid chance that Riggleman would lose the interim tag, as his performance reportedly impressed owner Robert Castellini and many in the Reds’ front office.

    There was some speculation that Riggleman could remain with the Reds in some capacity, possibly as a minor league manager again or potentially even his old bench coach role (if the team had stayed in-house and hired John Farrell to manage).  Instead, the 65-year-old will now look elsewhere to continue a coaching and managing career that has lasted since 1983.  Riggleman is one of a select group who have managed five different Major League teams, with different stints running the dugouts for the Reds, Nationals, Mariners, Cubs, and Padres.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Manager David Bell On Analytics Approach]]> 2018-10-26T04:50:39Z 2018-10-26T01:19:32Z
  • New Reds skipper David Bell discussed his approach to the position, as Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. He acknowledges being relatively new to the application of analytics to the field, but says he has “gone through a process the last five years of asking a lot of questions, understanding the information, understanding how to utilize it and how to factor it into all decisions.” That experience will surely help Bell in his current role, in which he says he’ll be open to incorporating all manner of information. Indeed, he indicated that he finds it “a very exciting time in baseball” with whole new approaches to deploying rosters percolating around the game.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Hire David Bell As Manager]]> 2018-10-21T15:12:08Z 2018-10-21T14:25:07Z The Reds have hired Giants vice president of player development David Bell as their manager, per a team announcement. Cincinnati awarded Bell a three-year contract with a club option for 2022.

    The move represents a homecoming for the 46-year-old Bell, a Cincinnati native with deep ties to the organization. Bell’s grandfather (Gus Bell), father (Buddy Bell) and brother (Mike Bell) all played for the Reds, and Buddy is a former Reds coach who now works in their front office. David Bell didn’t play for the club during his long career as a major league infielder, but he did manage in its minor league system from 2008-12, running its Double-A team for three years and its Triple-A squad for one.

    Bell hasn’t garnered any managerial experience at the big league level, though he did work in multiple capacities with a few organizations in between his Reds stints. He was a third base coach with the Cubs in 2012 before serving on then-manager Mike Matheny’s staff in St. Louis from 2013-17. Bell first worked as the Cardinals’ assistant hitting coach before becoming Matheny’s bench coach. He left last fall to join the Giants, whose farm system he wanted to modernize.

    “There’s incredible information, and it has to factor into everything we do,” Bell explained to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle last March. “It’s there. If we don’t access, utilize and implement that information, we’re going to fall behind.”

    While it’s unclear how beneficial Bell was to the Giants’ farm system during his brief time with them, his modern outlook helped him land on other teams’ radars this month before the Reds hired him. Bell interviewed for both the Blue Jays’ and Rangers’ vacant managerial posts prior to joining the Reds, who counted him among roughly a dozen candidates for their job. Bell quickly emerged as the favorite for the position, beating out other serious candidates in Brad Ausmus and Rocco Baldelli. It helped Bell’s cause that Joe Girardi withdrew from contention Friday in a move that “surprised” Cincinnati, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets.

    As he begins the next phase of his life in baseball, Bell will be tasked with helping to turn around a Reds team that hasn’t earned a playoff berth or even finished .500 since 2013. While the Reds showed flashes in 2018 under interim manager Jim Riggleman, who took over for the fired Bryan Price, they still ended up with fewer than 70 victories (67) for the fifth consecutive season. There is some enviable position player talent on hand, though, especially in the infield – where the Reds boast first baseman/franchise cornerstone Joey Votto, second baseman Scooter Gennett, shortstop Jose Peraza and third baseman Eugenio Suarez. The club’s pitching staff is a problem, on the other hand, but there are at least a few potential building blocks in the fold in starters Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani and closer Raisel Iglesias.

    It’s likely the Reds, who plan to increase payroll in 2019, will spend the offseason trying to improve their pitching staff. Regardless, the Bell-led Reds will be in for another tough test next year in the NL Central, which featured four plus-.500 clubs and two playoff teams in 2018.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds’ Managerial Search Enters Second Round]]> 2018-10-21T00:01:12Z 2018-10-20T21:44:56Z The Reds are well into their search for a new manager, as has long been anticipated. Interim skipper Jim Riggleman took over after Bryan Price was fired and was at the helm for most of the 2018 season, but the club is determined to consider an array of candidates before naming the next full-time dugout leader. As we did last year with other openings of this kind, we’ll use this post to track the early developments in the hiring process in Cincinnati.

    Latest Update — Oct. 20

    • Per Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi (Twitter link), Giants VP of Player Development and former MLB third baseman David Bell is the now the favorite to be offered the job.
    • The Reds informed Jim Riggleman today that he will not return as manager, according to William Ladson on Twitter.

    Earlier Update — Oct. 17

    • Ausmus and Girardi are also still under consideration, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Both are slated for additional interviews,’s Mark Sheldon adds on Twitter. It seems they’ll join Bell to make up a group of three finalists, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link).
    • The Reds conducted interviews with the 12 candidates listed below and won’t speak with anyone else, per John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that there’s a growing sense that David Bell “has the inside track,” though he notes that Rocco Baldelli’s interview went “extremely well,” too, placing Baldelli “strongly in the mix.”

    Click to view full overview of managerial search:

    Read more

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Joe Girardi Withdraws From Reds’ Managerial Search]]> 2018-10-19T21:54:17Z 2018-10-19T21:37:37Z Joe Girardi has withdrawn from the Reds’ managerial search, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He had the inside track on the job, per the report, but will instead continue working as a television analyst for the time being.

    It is not clear at this point how the Reds will adjust to the news. The organization was said to have narrowed down its search to three candidates, with David Bell and Brad Ausmus also reported as finalists.

    In the past, Bell has been seen as the favorite to take the reins in Cincinnati. But he’s also interviewing with multiple other clubs. Plus, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Bell is even being whispered about as a possible candidate to advance in the Giants’ baseball operations department after just one season working in the club’s player development system.

    Girardi, who previously managed the Yankees and Marlins, is still interested in returning to the dugout in the future, per Rosenthal. In fact, he’s said to be under consideration by the Rangers, if not other organizations seeking new skippers.