Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds Looking For Pitching]]> 2018-03-23T14:03:55Z 2018-03-23T13:41:02Z
  • While none of these teams were specifically cited as being interested in McHugh, Heyman listed the Reds, Brewers, Mariners, and Rangers as teams that are looking for pitching.  All four of the clubs have dealt with some injury setbacks in Spring Training, so further additions could be more akin to fill-in options rather than major acquisitions.  Texas, however, does seem to be at least considering making a higher-priced add, given how the Rangers showed some recent interest in Cobb and Greg Holland.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Central Notes: Indians, Naquin, Refsnyder, Reds, Miley, Cabrera]]> 2018-03-23T02:39:14Z 2018-03-23T02:27:29Z Tyler Naquin and Rob Refsnyder are still competing for a potential spot on the Indians’ opening day roster, and Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that manager Terry Francona has explained some details to them. Francona reportedly told the two players that the spot won’t simply go to the guy who gets the most hits over the last week, and that roster construction could be the biggest factor. For instance, if Brandon Guyer and/or Michael Brantley aren’t ready in time for opening day, Naquin and Refsnyder would stand a better chance to make the club out of camp. Whether the club chooses to carry seven or eight relievers will also affect their fates. It’s worth noting that Tyler Naquin has multiple options remaining, while Rob Refsnyder is an out-of-options player.

    More out of the midwest…

    • In a piece for The Athletic, Doug Gray details ten Reds prospects to keep an eye on for the coming season. The players in the article aren’t necessarily top prospects, but rather a group of under-the-radar players who Gray describes as “unheralded”. The list includes right-handers Nick Hanson and Ryan Hendrix, $10MM shortstop Jose Garcia, and Brandon Phillips’ cousin Montrell Marshall. Many of these players have significant upside and are worth the exploration by any Reds fan, or indeed any avid baseball follower.
    • Wade Miley’s opt-out date has been pushed back, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports on Twitter. The southpaw seemed likely to make the Brewers’ rotation before suffering a torn groin that’s expected to keep him out two to four weeks. Miley could have opted out of his contract tomorrow after being informed that he wouldn’t make the opening day roster, but GM David Stearns apparently worked out a deal with his agent. Miley’s opt-out date has been extended until the point at which he’s able to start pitching again.
    • Two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera is stuck in “baseball purgatory”, says Scott Miller in an opinion piece for Bleacher Report. Miller describes Cabrera as “an island unto himself”, on a rebuilding Tigers team that will not likely be able to deal him and the $192MM remaining on his contract, particularly coming off the worst season of his career wherein he was plagued by back issues. For his part, Cabrera doesn’t seem to be focused on that aspect of his situation. “I’m here to play,” he says. “I’m not here to give my opinion of what’s going to happen. I’m here to do my job, to help win games and to help the process.” 
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Claim Kennys Vargas]]> 2018-03-22T18:31:16Z 2018-03-22T18:14:24Z The Reds have claimed first baseman/DH Kennys Vargas off waivers from the Twins, per an announcement from the Minnesota organization. He had been designated for assignment recently.

    It’s a bit difficult to see how Vargas will fit into the Cincinnati organization’s plans at first glance. He’s out of options and limited on a National League roster to pinch-hitting or playing first base, where Joey Votto is an everyday presence.

    Unless there’s some unknown issue that would warrant the move, it could be that the Reds are simply utilizing their waiver position to grab a player they like but won’t carry on their active roster. Vargas could be traded to a team further down the priority line — just four teams are higher than the Reds at present — or put back on waivers in hopes that he’ll clear and can be stashed at Triple-A.

    All indications have been that the Twins anticipated another organization claiming Vargas, despite the fact that a trade could not be sorted out. It seems there’s some optimism around the league for the 27-year-old switch-hitter.

    Though Vargas has not yet shown that he can be a consistent on-base threat at the game’s highest level, with a .311 OBP in 859 career plate appearances, though he has drawn tons of walks in the upper minors. Vargas isn’t exactly a prodigious home run hitter but has shown good power output both at Triple-A and in the majors (.185 ISO) and perhaps has some more in the tank if he can tap into his raw strength.

    *The initial version of this post incorrectly suggested that American League teams all passed on a chance to claim Vargas. Outright waiver priority is determined by winning percentage, lowest first, without reference to league except to break a tie in recor.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Ohio Notes: Lorenzen, Antonetti, Upton, Mesoraco]]> 2018-03-21T05:19:21Z 2018-03-21T05:14:52Z Here’s the latest from both Buckeye State teams…

    • Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen suffered a Grade 1 strain of the teres muscle near his throwing shoulder, and will be kept from throwing “for several days,” manager Bryan Price told media (including the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay).  Lorenzen’s injury isn’t as severe as the similar issue that kept Brandon Finnegan out of action for half of the 2017 season, though it does seem unlikely that Lorenzen would be ready to go by Opening Day.  The 26-year-old was attempting to win a spot in Cincy’s rotation but struggled to an 8.38 ERA over 9 2/3 Spring Training innings.  Between those poor results and now this injury, Lorenzen is sure to resume his old role as a late-inning weapon out of the Reds bullpen.
    • The Indians don’t have much payroll on the books beyond the 2019 season, but president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti tells’s Mark Feinsand not to expect the team to make any splashy signings next winter.  “That’s not the reality of our team-building,” Antonetti said.  “We are one of the smallest markets in professional baseball….We’ve had incredible support from our ownership in which we’ve spent well beyond our revenues as we’ve gone through this competitive period.  But we can’t build teams through free agency.  Our success model is we need to draft and acquire players that are younger and help provide the right environment for them to grow and develop because that’s going to be the nucleus of our team.  We’ll use free agency to complement that group, but not to build that group.”  The Tribe is poised to exceed the $100MM payroll mark for the third straight season (all record highs for the organization) in pursuit of a World Series, with the Edwin Encarnacion signing standing out as an uncharacteristic move for the smaller-market team.  Any future spending isn’t likely to reach nearly the heights of 2016-18, however, and it could be more internally-focused, such as trying to sign in-house players (i.e. Francisco Lindor) to extensions.
    • After releasing Melvin Upton Jr. yesterday, the Indians could potentially re-sign the outfielder to another minor league deal if he can’t find a contract elsewhere,’s Jesse Sanchez writes.  Manager Terry Francona said that the team chose to let Upton know prior to his opt-out date that the veteran wouldn’t be making the team, so Upton could have extra time to explore his options.  Cleveland already has several outfielders ahead of Upton on both the MLB and minor league depth charts, though there are enough question marks at the position that Upton could provide some extra experience at Triple-A.
    • In another piece from John Fay, Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco said that he is finally feeling healthy after three injury-ravaged seasons.  “I feel great.  I don’t have to worry about health.  I work on my swing, work on my catching, play ball,” Mesoraco said.  After breaking out with a huge 2014 that earned him a four-year, $28MM extension after that season, Mesoraco has since played in just 95 total games due to hip, shoulder, and foot injuries.  The lack of durability cost Mesoraco the starting job as the Reds catcher, but he is prepared to contribute anyway he can as Tucker Barnhart’s backup.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 3/17/18]]> 2018-03-17T18:53:40Z 2018-03-17T19:00:38Z We’ll keep track of the day’s minor moves here…

    • The Marlins’ media info account tweeted that the team has acquired third baseman Eric Jagielo from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations. Jagielo was selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 2013 draft. After an excellent 2015 season with the club’s Double-A affiliate, Jagielo was a key piece in the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees. Since then, however, his power has mysteriously disappeared, and he’s struggled to be productive in the upper levels of the Reds’ farm system. After a midseason promotion to Triple-A last year, Jagielo struggled to a .161/.283/.195 slash line across 139 plate appearances.


    • The Marlins have added left-hander Sean Burnett on a minor-league pact, Joe Frisaro of reports. He’ll start off in extended spring training. Now 35, Burnett has 378 1/3 career innings under his belt, almost entirely as a reliever. Though he appeared in the majors as recently as 2016 (with the Nationals), the southpaw hasn’t pitched more than ten innings in a season since a very successful 2012 campaign. In that season, he managed an impressive 2.38 ERA across 70 appearances out of the bullpen for the Nats, striking out 9.05 batters per nine while walking just 1.91.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Central Notes: Suarez, Mahle, Romano, Garrett, Kirby, Tigers]]> 2018-03-17T15:02:26Z 2018-03-17T15:02:26Z Mark Sheldon of posits that the Redsextension of Eugenio Suarez is a sign that the club is making an effort to keep a young core of players together for the foreseeable future, alongside potential future Hall-of-Famer Joey Votto. In the companion video, GM Dick Williams speaks highly of Suarez, particularly in regards to his defensive capabilities. “This is one of the premier defenders in the league,” says Williams. “At third base he’s established himself as one of the best young players in the league… he’s an offensive force, defensive force, leader in the clubhouse, say no more.” It’s interesting that Williams so specifically refers to Suarez as a third baseman, given the speculation that the former shortstop might slide back to his old position to make room for top prospect Nick Senzel. The GM’s comments seem to suggest the possibility that the destination of Senzel’s path to the majors isn’t the hot corner.

    More from some non-coastal ballclubs…

    • In other Reds news, the starting rotation picture is beginning to gain some clarity beyond Homer Bailey and Luis Castillo, who appear to be the only locks following injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan. Per a tweet from C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, manager Bryan Price says that Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle “may have separated themselves from the pack a little bit” in the rotation competition. A piece by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer contains quotes that line up with this tweet, perhaps also suggesting that lefty Amir Garrett is tabbed for a spot if Finnegan’s injury sidelines him to start the season. “With the way Romano and Mahle have thrown in camp, they’ve certainly put themselves in the lead,” Price said, via Fay’s article. “I think with the way Amir has thrown has created an opportunity to jump in there in the rotation and get a start against the Diamondbacks and get stretched out.”
    • Brewers prospect Nathan Kirby is finally healthy and determined to establish himself as a valuable pitcher, writes Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Rosiak describes Kirby as something of a “forgotten man” in Milwaukee’s system for the past two and a half years. The 24-year-old was drafted 40th overall by the organization back in 2015, but has since undergone two surgeries on his left elbow (a Tommy John operation and another for ulnar neuritis). Though Kirby ranked near the bottom on most Milwaukee prospect lists, he was a large part of the University of Virginia’s first College World Series title, and would seem to have the potential to rise through the Brewers’ farm system quickly if he can stay healthy this season.
    • Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets that the Tigers remain on the lookout for veteran insurance for their starting rotation. The organization is reportedly concerned about the dependability of its starting rotation as a whole; their current options include Michael Fulmer, Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris. Alex Cobb tops the list of available free agent starters, while Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz are some other interesting arms that remain on the market.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Extend Eugenio Suarez]]> 2018-03-16T15:50:53Z 2018-03-16T15:28:50Z The Reds announced this morning that they’ve signed third baseman Eugenio Suarez to a seven-year contract extension that spans the 2018-24 seasons and contains a club option for the 2025 campaign. Suarez, an Octagon client, will reportedly be guaranteed a total of $66MM over the life of the contract, which does not include any incentives, escalators or no-trade protection.

    Eugenio Suarez | Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Cincinnati already controlled Suarez through the 2020 season via arbitration and had previously agreed to a $3.75MM salary for the 2018 season, meaning his new deal affords him $62.25MM over a six-year term that includes his final two arbitration seasons and at least his first four would-be free-agent years. If the option is exercised, he’ll secure a total of $79MM over an eight-year span.

    Notably, the new contract reportedly reworks Suarez’s 2018 salary. He’ll receive a $2MM signing bonus and a $2.25MM salary this coming season before earning $7MM and $9.25MM in his final two arbitration years. He’ll then earn $10.5MM in 2021 and $11MM annually from 2022-24 before the club has an option on his age-33 campaign.

    Cincinnati initially acquired Suarez, 26, alongside righty Jonathon Crawford in a lopsided trade that sent Alfredo Simon to the Tigers. Over the past three seasons, Suarez has seized the everyday third base job for the Reds, hitting a combined .260/.336/.438 — including a career-best .260/.367/.461 batting line and a career-high 26 home runs in 2017.

    Suarez’s career year at the plate came in large part due to a massive jump in his plate discipline — a trait he’s improved with each full season in the Majors. After posting a meek 4.3 percent walk rate in his first year with the Reds in 2015, Suarez walked at an 8.1 percent pace in 2016 and saw that number soar to 13.3 percent in 2017. Suarez swung at pitches in the zone at a career-high rate while chasing out-of-zone offerings at a career-low 24.2 percent last season, illustrating an overall more patient approach.

    Defensively speaking, the former shortstop looks to have found a new home on the diamond at the hot corner. Suarez posted solid marks of +1 DRS and a +0.7 Ultimate Zone Rating in 2016 and took a step forward in 2017 with respective ratings of +5 and +5.8 in those same metrics. In all, he was worth 3.7 rWAR and 4.1 fWAR last season.

    From a financial standpoint, the deal certainly makes sense for the Reds, who’ll gain security over Suarez at a more affordable rate than recent three-plus service extensions for Wil Myers (six years, $83MM) and Kyle Seager (seven years, $100MM), as can be seen in MLBTR’s Extension Tracker. Cincinnati only has Joey Votto and Tucker Barnhart on the books beyond the 2020 season, so there’s plenty of room to fit in an $11MM annual value for Suarez’s would-be free-agent seasons.

    Looking at the larger picture, the Suarez contract poses a minor impediment to top prospect Nick Senzel’s arrival in the big leagues, though the Reds will surely find a place to work the former No. 2 overall pick into the lineup. Senzel has been working out at second base and shortstop, and his bat has made enough noise in the minors that the Reds will want to get him a look at the big league level sooner rather than later.

    Last season, Senzel batted .321/.391/.514 with 14 homers and 14 steals through 507 PAs between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. While third base has been his only position in the minors to date, it now seems likely that he’ll be ticketed for middle infield duty once he forces his way onto the big league roster — likely at some point in 2018.

    The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans tweeted that the Reds were in the process of announcing an extension for Suarez. Mark Sheldon of and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer added details on the length of the deal (Twitter links). Tommy Stokke of reported the total guarantee and option value. Rosecrans reported the yearly breakdown (Twitter link).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Hire John Farrell]]> 2018-03-14T23:15:37Z 2018-03-14T23:15:37Z The Reds have hired former Red Sox skipper John Farrell, though he won’t be joining the coaching staff of Cinci manager Bryan Price. Rob Bradford of first tweeted news of the hiring.

    Farrell will function as a scout with the Cincinnati organization, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (Twitter link). It seems the focus will be on pitching, with Farrell beginning his tenure by examining the Reds’ own system, as Peter Gammons explains on Twitter.

    It certainly makes sense that Farrell will be focused on pitching, as he’s a former big league hurler who made his mark as a pitching coach. He went on to manage the Blue Jays and Red Sox.

    Farrell’s tenure in Boston came to a close after 2017. Though he had guided the team to consecutive AL East crowns, in addition to a 2013 World Series title, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski elected to fire Farrell and (eventually) replace him with Alex Cora. It stands to reason that Farrell will be considered for future managerial openings.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Outright Dilson Herrera]]> 2018-03-14T04:02:00Z 2018-03-13T17:40:52Z Reds infielder Dilson Herrera has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (via Twitter). The Reds have since announced the move. Herrera will remain in MLB camp for the time being but obviously will not be expected to make the active roster out of Spring Training.

    Circumstances have combined to change Herrera’s once-promising outlook in the Cincinnati organization. He struggled to a .264/.312/.397 slash in 264 Triple-A plate appearances last year before shoulder surgery ended his season. In the meantime, the club not only oversaw the surprising emergence of Scooter Gennett but has also seen the development of other infield talent.

    That said, Herrera is still just 24 years of age and should have every opportunity of regaining his trajectory. He has mostly produced quality offensive numbers in the upper minors, including a .289/.345/.460 slash in over a thousand total trips to the plate at Triple-A.

    Herrera, who was acquired in the 2016 deal that sent Jay Bruce to the Mets, will now have too earn his way back onto the MLB roster. The Reds will no doubt be glad to have held onto Herrera, who is out of options, after deciding not to keep him in the majors to open the year.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Brandon Finnegan Leaves Outing With Forearm Spasm]]> 2018-03-12T01:08:52Z 2018-03-12T01:07:48Z
  • Minor left hamstring tightness forced Robinson Cano out during the second inning of today’s Mariners/Reds game, and the second baseman will receive an MRI tomorrow.  Cano told reporters (including the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish) that he doesn’t believe the injury is serious, comparing it a hamstring issue from last season that kept him out of action for just a couple of games.  The Mariners are certainly hopeful they can avoid another spring injury — Ryon Healy (hand) and Ben Gamel (oblique) could miss Opening Day, while the likes of Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger, Erasmo Ramirez and Dan Vogelbach have all also missed time with less-lengthy injuries.
  • Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan lasted just two batters into an outing today before leaving the game with what the club described as a “lateral forearm spasm.”  The injury doesn’t seem too problematic, as Finnegan himself said in a pair of tweets that the problem was “just a knot” and leaving the game was “just precautionary, got it all worked out and good to go.”  Finnegan posted a 3.98 ERA over 172 innings for Cincinnati in 2016, but multiple shoulder problems limited him to just four starts last season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Anthony DeSclafani Dealing With Strained Oblique]]> 2018-03-11T20:26:01Z 2018-03-11T20:25:35Z Injuries continue to plague Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who’s now dealing with an oblique issue, C. Trent Rosecrans was among those to report (Twitter links). There’s no timetable for DeSclafani’s return, per Rosecrans, who adds that he “felt discomfort” during his start Friday and then underwent an MRI. DeSclafani previously missed two months during the 2016 campaign with an oblique injury, and then sat out all of last season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, depriving the Reds of one of their top players. When he was available from 2014-15, DeSclafani logged a 3.74 ERA/3.79 FIP with 7.48 K/9 and 2.48 BB/9 across 308 innings.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Keeping Nick Senzel On Left Side Of Infield]]> 2018-03-11T17:41:46Z 2018-03-11T16:48:17Z
  • Back in early November, the Reds were aiming to use hyped infield prospect Nick Senzel all around the diamond in 2018. They’ve since abandoned that plan, manager Bryan Price explained to Mark Sheldon of “You can’t do that. The game’s not that easy to take a young man that’s primarily been third base and move him all over the field,” Price said. “We’ve primarily kept him on the left side of the infield.” The Reds are unsure whether the 22-year-old’s primary spot will be third base or shortstop when he opens the season in the minors, but Senzel believes he’s already capable of playing short in the majors right now, per Sheldon. At least for the moment, that position belongs to Jose Peraza in Cincinnati.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Joe Mantiply To Undergo Tommy John Surgery]]> 2018-03-11T02:18:58Z 2018-03-11T01:00:48Z
  • Reds lefty Joe Mantiply will undergo Tommy John surgery, Evan Woodbery of tweets. Mantiply, 27, inked a minor league deal with the Reds in November after spending all of last season with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate and posting terrific numbers over 70 innings (2.83 ERA, 7.97 K/9, 2.31 BB/9 and a 49.3 percent groundball rate). His only MLB experience to date came during a 2 2/3-inning stint with the Tigers in 2016.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[A’s Designate Brandon Moss For Assignment, Claim Jairo Labourt]]> 2018-03-04T20:05:45Z 2018-03-04T19:26:56Z The Athletics have claimed left-hander Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Reds, the club announced.  Veteran first baseman/DH Brandon Moss has been designated for assignment in a corresponding move to create room for Labourt on Oakland’s 40-man roster.

    Moss was acquired by the A’s as part of a four-player trade with the Royals that essentially shook out as Oakland agreeing to take on a heavy chunk of Moss’ salary as the price for obtaining a cost-controlled young reliever in Ryan BuchterMatt Olson and Khris Davis were already locked in at first base and DH for the A’s, leaving Moss without any clear path to regular playing time, and even a bench role seemed unlikely given the Athletics’ overall youth movement.

    [Updated A’s depth chart at Roster Resource]

    The Royals kicked in $3.25MM as part of the trade, leaving the A’s on the hook for the remaining $4MM of Moss’ 2018 salary, plus $1MM to buy out their end of Moss’ $10MM mutual option for 2019.  A team that claims Moss within the 10-day DFA period would take on this salary commitment, so it seems much likelier than any clubs interested in the 34-year-old will wait until Moss is officially released.  (A new team would owe Moss just a minimum salary in 2018, with Oakland responsible for the prorated remainder of that $5MM.)

    It remains to be seen if any suitors will come calling for Moss given the number of other first base/DH types available in free agency, plus Moss’ own struggles in 2017.  Moss hit 22 homers last year for Kansas City, but slashed just .207/.279/.428 over 401 plate appearances.  His batting averages and on-base percentages have been in steady decline over the last five seasons and, given his lack of defensive value, Moss was a sub-replacement level player in 2017 as per both fWAR (-0.5) and bWAR (-1.0).

    If Moss doesn’t land another MLB contract, the veteran plans to retire, he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle as part of an interview on the A’s Plus Podcast (to be released later today).  “I totally understand the situation here.  They [the A’s] had to get me to get a guy they really needed.  That’s baseball, that’s the way it works,” Moss said.  “But if I get cut, I can play by my own rules, I don’t have to do anything, and I won’t.  If another team doesn’t pick me up, I’ve had a good career, more of a career than I ever thought I’d have.”

    Labourt will now be joining his third organization in less than two weeks, as the southpaw was designated by the Tigers in the wake of their signing of Francisco Liriano, and the Reds then claimed Labourt just two days ago.  Buchter and Danny Coulombe are the only other left-handers on Oakland’s 40-man roster, so Labourt has at least a shot at winning a job out of Spring Training.  Despite some significant control issues throughout his seven-year pro career, Labourt posted some strong results after becoming a full-time reliever in 2017, and his performance even led to Labourt making his Major League debut in a six-game cup of coffee with Detroit last season.  Labourt has a 3.61 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 1.74 K/BB rate over 481 minor league innings.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Claim Jairo Labourt From Tigers]]> 2018-03-02T19:08:21Z 2018-03-02T19:06:25Z 1:06pm: The teams have announced the claim. Cincinnati transferred right-hander Rookie Davis to the 60-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list to clear space on the roster and has already optioned Labourt to minor league camp. Davis underwent hip surgery back in October.

    12:54pm: The Reds have claimed left-hander Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Tigers, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter). The Tigers designated Labourt for assignment earlier this week to clear a roster spot for Francisco Liriano.

    Labourt, 24 next week, made his big league debut with Detroit last season, appearing in six games and allowing three runs with four strikeouts against seven walks in six innings. Initially acquired from the Blue Jays in the trade that sent David Price to Toronto, Labourt posted excellent numbers in Class-A Advanced and in Double-A last season before stumbling when he reached Triple-A. He tossed 22 innings with the Tigers’ Toledo affiliate, and while his 2.45 ERA was strong he also issued 23 walks in those 22 frames.

    Control has long been an issue for Labourt, who has averaged 5.1 walks per nine innings pitched over the course of seven minor league seasons. But, he’s a fairly hard-throwing southpaw with a fastball sitting around 93 mph who averaged a career-best 10.7 K/9 in the minors this past season. The Tigers organization used Labourt exclusively as a reliever last year, though he’s made 87 starts in the minors as well. He’ll add another interesting young arm to a collection of unproven but promising pitchers in Cincinnati as he looks to hone his control and carve out a spot in the Majors. Labourt does have an option remaining as well, so he needn’t be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t break camp in the Reds’ bullpen.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds Sign Ben Revere]]> 2018-02-26T23:40:06Z 2018-02-26T23:38:08Z Feb. 26, 5:37pm: The deal is now official (h/t John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, via Twitter).

    10:25am: Reds manager Bryan Price confirmed the agreement with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, though he notes that the agreement is still pending a physical (Twitter link).

    Feb. 25: The Reds have agreed to a minor league deal with free agent outfielder Ben Revere, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  Revere will receive an invitation to Cincinnati’s big league Spring Training camp, and he will earn between $1MM to $1.5MM if he should crack the Reds’ 25-man roster.

    Revere will provide Cincy with a veteran backup option amidst a generally inexperienced crop of outfielders in camp.  The 29-year-old Revere hit .275/.308/.344 over 308 plate appearances with the Angels last season, modest numbers that still represented a solid improvement over his disastrous 2016 campaign with the Nationals.  He also again looked like his usual dangerous self on the basepaths, recording 21 steals in 27 chances and earning a strong +4.5 mark as per Fangraphs’ Baserunning (BsR) metric.

    Cincinnati plans to deploy a four-man rotation of Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler, and Jesse Winker in the outfield this season, which could make it hard for a fifth outfielder to make the team’s big league roster.  Still, Revere’s ability to play all three outfield spots is a plus in his favor (even if defensive metrics indicate he is average at best at all positions), and at worst he could also provide the Reds with some minor league depth.  Hamilton’s name was often floated in trade rumors over the offseason, so Revere could also step into the mix should the Reds swing a last-minute deal before Opening Day.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Reds Sign Oliver Perez To Minor-League Deal]]> 2018-02-24T17:18:04Z 2018-02-24T17:17:14Z 11:17am: Sheldon tweets that Perez will earn $1.25MM if he makes the MLB roster, and has $500K available performance bonuses. He’ll be able to opt out of the contract at the end of camp if he isn’t added to the roster by then.

    11:02am: The Reds have added left-hander Oliver Perez to their bullpen competition; he’ll receive a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training (hat tip to Mark Sheldon of

    The 36-year-old veteran has spent parts of 15 seasons pitching in the major leagues (both as a starter and a reliever), and Cincinnati will be his eighth organization on that journey. Most recently, Perez completed a two-year, $7MM contract with the Nationals for whom he appeared in 114 games while pitching to a 4.81 ERA and 4.55 xFIP. His WPA was 0.46 during that time.

    While Perez has experienced a wide variance in overall effectiveness throughout his major-league career, his reputation against left-handed hitters is solid. He’s faced them a total of 1,541 times and held them to just a .228/.318/.365 batting line. That skill has still managed to hold up as he’s aged, as evidenced by the .227/.301/.364 batting line of his lefty opponents in 2017.

    The Reds’ bullpen was historically bad in 2016, and would’ve been below replacement level overall again last season if it hadn’t been for an excellent showing from closer Raisel Iglesias. That being said, Perez isn’t a lock to crack the club’s major-league roster. Fellow lefty Wandy Peralta is a solid incumbent who figures to be in the Reds’ bullpen come opening day, and Amir Garrett might also be in the mix if he doesn’t land a spot in the rotation. Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen are among the right-handers set to return, and the club also added Jared Hughes and David Hernandez on major-league deals to fill two more vacancies.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Notes: Votto, Senzel]]> 2018-02-23T03:38:48Z 2018-02-23T02:42:03Z
  • Upon his arrival in camp, Reds star Joey Votto made clear he hopes the team can begin pushing toward consistent contention, as Gary Schatz writes in the Dayton Daily News. Votto’s stellar 2017 season was not enough to keep the club out of the NL Central cellar. Clearly, ending up anywhere near a winning record is going to require quite a lot of internal improvement given the organization’s limited additions over the winter. At some point, though, the Reds organization will surely look to outside acquisitions to help take the next step, a topic covered by Rian Watt of Fangraphs.
  • One key piece of the Reds picture, both in the near term and especially in the future, is top infield prospect Nick Senzel. Notably, as’s Mark Sheldon writes, Senzel will see action at shortstop in what ought to be an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. Craig Edwards of Fangraphs looks at Senzel’s possible move up the scale of defensive difficulty and puts it in a broader context. Needless to say, the possibility is quite intriguing for the Reds. In other Senzel-related news, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has the fun story of the 22-year-old’s conquest of minor-league skipper Pat Kelly, the Reds’ house wrestling champion who had long fended off challengers from the farm system. No doubt the front office is just relieved that everyone has emerged unscathed.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire International Slot Money From Reds]]> 2018-02-21T22:08:05Z 2018-02-21T16:23:19Z The Rangers have officially picked up $350K in international slot money from the Reds, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer first reported on Twitter. Righty Miguel Medrano is heading to the Reds in return.

    This move will further pad the Rangers’ international purse for the current signing period, which was already rather full in the wake of the team’s unsuccessful bid for Shohei Ohtani. It seems that Texas is lining up to chase top young Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter) and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link) suggest. Ben Badler of Baseball America has long cited the Rangers as a top pursuer of Martinez.

    Martinez was officially cleared to sign recently. MLBTR’s Steve Adams broke down the Texas pool situation in that post. It’s worth noting, as Adams points out on Twitter, that the Reds have likely now parted with all of their remaining pool money. (The rules only permit $250K increments to be dealt unless it’s a trade that moves all the remaining funds from a team’s pool.) Texas could still acquire another $250K before being capped, BA’s Matt Eddy notes on Twitter. (The CBA stipulates that a team may acquire no more than 75 percent of the value of its initial pool in trades.)

    All that’s known at this point, though, is that the 20-year-old Medrano will head to the Cincinnati organization. He has pitched exclusively with the organization’s Dominican Summer League outfit to this point in his professional career. Medrano certainly produced some interesting numbers there last year, working to a 2.59 ERA in 59 innings over ten starts and two relief appearances and racking up 9.3 K/9 against just 1.1 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Sign Ben Rowen]]> 2018-02-20T04:27:34Z 2018-02-20T04:11:16Z
  • The Reds announced that they’ve signed right-handed reliever Ben Rowen to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. The 29-year-old Rowen has just 11 2/3 MLB innings under his belt (none since 2016), but the sidearmer has a lengthy track record of success in Triple-A. While Rowen had a down season in 2017, working to a 4.41 ERA in 63 1/3 innings, his struggles came in a hitters’ paradise — the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. Overall, Rowen has a career 2.81 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 in parts of five Triple-A campaigns, and he has routinely racked up ground-ball rates north of 60 percent thanks in large part to his unorthodox delivery.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL Central Notes: Brewers, Reds, Pirates]]> 2018-02-19T01:45:23Z 2018-02-19T01:45:23Z Reiterating a familiar stance for the Brewers this offseason, GM David Stearns says that the club has confidence in its current group of starters, but they’re exploring upgrades (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). “We’ve explored a variety of starting pitching options out there, and have a pretty good sense of what the market is,” Stearns said Sunday. “Our stance is if we can make an acquisition that we think can meaningfully upgrade the team at a responsible investment level, that’s something we’re open to.” Stearns went on to say that he believes the Milwaukee front office has done a nice job of adding to their depth. This isn’t the first time the Brewers GM has expressed confidence in the club’s current group of starters, though that notion might be met with some skepticism considering the club’s lengthy pursuit of Yu Darvish that ultimately came up short.

    Some other notes out of the NL Central…

    • Stearns expressed confidence in the club’s catching group as well when asked about the possibility of a reunion between the Brewers and Jonathan Lucroy (Twitter links from Haudricourt). The GM thinks that the team got “pretty meaningful production” last year from a position split between Manny Pina, Stephen Vogt and Jett Bandy (though there’s room for skepticism on that front too, considering the team’s catchers combined to finish 20th out of 30 MLB teams by positional fWAR). Haudricourt notes that Bandy is out of minor league options while Vogt’s deal is non-guaranteed, meaning the Brewers may have a tough decision to make during spring training camp.
    • Though Reds franchise icon Joey Votto has shown faith in the club’s rebuild in past seasons, the first baseman seems to be growing impatient, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer“I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball,” he told the press on Sunday. “I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.” Votto certainly did all he could for the Reds during their recent losing stretch. Though the team lost at least 90 games in each of the past three seasons, he managed a stunning .320/.449/.557 slash line with 94 home runs and more walks (385) than strikeouts (338) during that time.
    • In part due to player feedback, the Pirates have made changes to their training staff this offseason that they believe will lead to fewer DL stints on the whole. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the details: Bryan Housand, the team’s new head athletic trainer, and Todd Tomscyk, recently named director of sports medicine for the club, are two of the major cogs in this overhaul. GM Neal Huntington says that Tomczyk in particular will now be able to have a “bigger impact” on the club’s performance team. Notably, the club saw three of its 2017 contributors hit the DL with hamstring strains (Gregory Polanco, Adam Frazier and David Freese); perhaps this change in the club’s training approach could help to curb that issue in 2018.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Scooter Gennett Defeats Reds In Arbitration]]> 2018-02-18T03:27:30Z 2018-02-17T16:59:38Z Infielder Scooter Gennett has won his arbitration case over the Reds, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. The ISE Baseball client will earn $5.7MM in 2018, as opposed to the $5.1MM the Reds proposed. Gennett’s arbitration case was the last of the offseason across Major League Baseball. The players came out on top in 12 of 22 decisions.

    The victory for Gennett comes in the wake of a career year, his first with the Reds. Cincinnati claimed Gennett off waivers from the NL Central Brewers in late March, and the move paid off handsomely for the Reds. Playing his age-27 season, the lefty-hitting Gennett, a Cincinnati native, slashed a terrific .295/.342/.531 with 27 home runs and a .236 ISO across 497 plate appearances. Four of those homers (and 10 of his 97 runs batted in) came on a historic June 6 for Gennett, who enjoyed the game of his life in a 13-1 romp over the Cardinals.

    Thanks in part to that performance against St. Louis, Gennett will make substantially more this year than the $2.525MM he earned last season. Gennett’s controllable through 2019, so he could be a Red for at least two more seasons, though it’s conceivable he’ll emerge as a trade chip for the rebuilding club. For the time being, Gennett’s likely to continue occupying second on a regular basis for the Reds, who have younger options behind him in Dilson Herrera and touted prospect Nick Senzel.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Void Agreement With Jeff Manship]]> 2018-02-15T17:41:08Z 2018-02-15T17:40:29Z Feb. 15: The Reds announced today that they have voided Manship’s contract. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Manship did not pass his physical earlier this week (Twitter link).

    Feb. 6: The Reds and free-agent righty Jeff Manship are in agreement on a minor league contract, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). He’ll be in camp as a non-roster invitee and compete for a roster spot.

    Manship, 33, spent the 2017 season in the Korea Baseball Organization, where he posted a 3.67 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 112 2/3 innings for the NC Dinos. Manship worked as a starter in the KBO, taking the mound on 21 occasions, but his most recent MLB work (and the only real MLB success he’s ever experienced) has come out of the bullpen.

    Through his first six MLB campaigns, Manship totaled a 6.46 ERA through 139 1/3 innings with the Twins, Rockies and Phillies. However, his career looked to hit a turning point in 2016 when he landed with the Indians and pitched to a scintillating 0.92 ERA in 39 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. He followed that up with a 3.12 mark through 43 1/3 innings the following season, though after a downturn in control that season (4.6 BB/9), metrics like xFIP (4.81) and SIERA (4.53) weren’t nearly as optimistic. Cleveland non-tendered him that December.

    In all likelihood, Manship will vie for a spot in the Cincinnati bullpen. The team’s rotation already consists of Anthony DeSclafani, Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan, and the Reds have plenty of candidates for the fifth and final spot. Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano, Cody Reed, Amir Garrett and Robert Stephenson are among the candidates to round out the starting five. The bullpen offers more opportunity, though the signings of veteran righties David Hernandez and Jared Hughes have already filled two potential vacancies.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds To Sign Cliff Pennington]]> 2018-02-15T17:34:10Z 2018-02-15T17:28:18Z The Reds are in agreement with veteran infielder Cliff Pennington on a minor league contract that would pay him a $1.5MM base salary in the Majors, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). He’ll be in camp as a non-roster invitee this spring. Pennington is represented by Sosnick, Cobbe & Karon.

    The 33-year-old Pennington spent the past two seasons with the Angels, where he batted a combined .232/.287/.320 through 405 plate appearances. Offense has never been a calling card for Pennington, a switch-hitter with a career .243/.310/.341 hitter through 3108 plate appearances, spanning 10 seasons. But, he’s a versatile defender capable of providing average or better glovework at shortstop, second base and third base, which makes him a nice utility option to have on hand — particularly for a Reds team that has yet to see Jose Peraza establish himself as a big leaguer.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Win Arbitration Hearing Against Eugenio Suarez]]> 2018-02-06T23:54:40Z 2018-02-06T23:38:37Z Cincinnati third baseman Eugenio Suarez lost his arbitration hearing against the Reds, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (Twitter link). Suarez and his agents at Octagon had filed for a $4.2MM salary, while the Reds countered with a figure of $3.75MM (as reflected in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker). Suarez will earn that $3.75MM salary for the upcoming season, and he’ll now have a lower launching point for the subsequent arbitration raises for which he is in line in the next two offseasons.

    Suarez, 26, was in his first trip through the arbitration process this winter on the heels of a strong .260/.367/.461 batting line with 26 homers, 25 doubles and a pair of triples. The former Tigers farmhand, who came to Cincinnati in exchange for righty Alfredo Simon, has blossomed into the everyday third baseman for the Reds in recent years and was among the top all-around third basemen in the National League this past season. In addition to his fine work at the plate, Suarez turned in strong marks of +5 Defensive Runs Saved and a +5.8 Ultimate Zone Rating.

    The Reds can enjoy that strong, well-rounded production for at least the next three seasons, as Suarez can be controlled through the 2020 campaign via arbitration. It stands to reason that even after agreeing on a salary for the coming season, the Reds could yet hold interest in brokering a longer-term pact for Suarez that would extend him beyond his arbitration seasons. Of course, the Reds have been undergoing a lengthy rebuilding phase and, depending on the team’s results this season, could ultimately look gauge interest in him on the trade market as well.

    With Suarez’s case now wrapped up, the lone remaining case for the Reds is that of Scooter Gennett (Arb Tracker link). Gennett filed for $5.7MM, while the team submitted a $5.1MM sum.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[NL Central Notes: Grimm, Brewers, Reds]]> 2018-02-06T16:41:23Z 2018-02-05T20:08:18Z The Cubs and Justin Grimm will have an arbitration hearing this week, reports ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers (Twitter link). The right-hander filed for a $2.475MM salary for the 2018 campaign, while the Cubs filed at $2.2MM (as seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker). The two sides haven’t been able to make any progress in their talks, per Rogers, so they’ll head to what will be the Cubs’ first arbitration hearing in the Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer era. Grimm, who earned $1.825MM in 2017, struggled to a 5.53 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 1.93 HR/9 and a 43.1 percent ground-ball rate in 55 1/3 innings for the Cubs last year. The 2017-18 offseason marks his second winter of arbitration eligibility as he heads into his age-29 season.

    Elsewhere in the division…

    • The Brewers have the capacity to add to their payroll even after acquiring Christian Yelich and signing Lorenzo Cain, Jhoulys Chacin, Boone Logan and Matt Albers this offseason, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel“Mark wants to do what’s in the best interests of the organization,” GM David Stearns tells Haudricourt. “He has made that very clear throughout my time here and even before I got here. He’s going to be supportive of the baseball process. He’s going to be supportive of investing when it’s warranted.” That said, Haudricourt notes that a top-of-the-market offer for a free agent like Yu Darvish still doesn’t seem likely, per Haudricourt, and the Brewers do want to leave some room for in-season moves, should the need arise.
    • Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan and Luis Castillo will head into Reds camp as the top four rotation options, writes’s Mark Sheldon, but the competition for the fifth spot is “wide open.” Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, Jackson Stephens and 2017 setup man Michael Lorenzen will all vie for that job. (Presumably, a return to the bullpen would be in order for Lorenzen should he not win the final spot, whereas the others would likely head to Triple-A Louisville.) “We want to make sure we have depth in our starting rotation, and we’ve got a lot of good, young guys with options that we still believe in as starters,” said GM Dick Williams. “…I would also leave the door open that out of [the fifth starter’s mix], there is a possibility, like last year, that you could see someone appear in the Major League bullpen just to get exposure and to help the team.”
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Likely Done Adding To Big League Roster]]> 2018-01-31T00:22:22Z 2018-01-31T00:21:16Z
  • The division-rival Reds, meanwhile, have addressed their bullpen this offseason by signing Hughes and David Hernandez. After landing Hernandez today, they’re probably done making additions to their big league roster, GM Dick Williams told Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer and other reporters (Twitter link). The Reds are likely to turn to minor league signing Phil Gosselin as their backup shortstop, Williams added.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Sign David Hernandez]]> 2018-02-02T14:54:22Z 2018-01-30T19:30:59Z 1:30pm: Buchanan also reports that the contract contains up to $2MM worth of incentives — $1MM in each year (Twitter links). Hernandez would earn $50K for making his 40th appearance in each year of the deal, and he’d earn an additional $100K for his 45th, 50th, 55th and 60th appearances each season. He’ll also earn $150K for making his 65th and 70th appearances, and he can earn $125K for finishing 30 and 35 games in each year of the deal.

    1:00pm: The Reds announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed free-agent right-hander David Hernandez to a two-year contract. Cincinnati’s 40-man roster is now full with the addition of the veteran reliever. Hernandez, a client of agent Jason Hoffman, will earn $2.5MM in both years of the contract, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (via Twitter).

    David Hernandez | Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    Hernandez, 33, took a winding route to the Majors with the Angels last season, signing a minor league deal with the Giants before being granted his release, signing with the Braves, and ultimately being flipped to Anaheim in exchange for cash in late April. When he finally did arrive back in the Majors, the former closer enjoyed one of his most productive seasons and emerged as one of the Halos’ most dependable relievers.

    In 36 1/3 innings with the Angels, Hernandez worked to a pristine 2.23 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 47.3 percent ground-ball rate. Hernandez benefited from his fair share of good fortune, namely in the sense that not a single fly-ball he allowed cleared the fence for a home run. Outside of that, however, his resurgence looked largely legitimate, and his former club, the Diamondbacks, saw fit to swing a trade to acquire him as they pushed for an NL Wild Card berth.

    Things didn’t go quite as well for Hernandez in Arizona, as he logged a dismal 4.82 ERA, albeit with a terrific 15-to-1 K/BB ratio in 18 2/3 innings. Hernandez’s evasion of the long ball ran out in the desert, though, as he was tagged for four homers, helping to bloat his ERA despite generally more promising secondary metrics (4.09 xFIP, 3.62 SIERA).

    [Related: Updated Cincinnati Reds depth chart & Cincinnati Reds payroll]

    Overall, since returning from 2014 Tommy John surgery, Hernandez has been generally successful. An early stint as the Phillies’ closer in 2016 proved disastrous, but he rebounded with a strong finish to the season. Dating back to Opening Day 2015, he’s turned in a solid 3.68 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9 in 161 1/3 innings while playing most of his home games in hitter-friendly settings (Arizona’s Chase Field, Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park).

    Cincinnati’s closer role is locked down by emerging star Raisel Iglesias, but Hernandez will give manager Bryan Price an experienced arm to add to a setup corps that features Michael Lorenzen and fellow offseason signee Jared Hughes (who also inked a two-year pact in Cincinnati), as well as sophomore southpaw Wandy Peralta.

    The two-year, $5MM term is an exact match (in terms of guaranteed money) with the contract to which fellow veteran Matt Albers agreed with the division-rival Brewers just yesterday. While the price is modest in nature, the contract does project the Reds to push slightly north of the $100MM threshold for what would be the fourth time in franchise history.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Kevin Towers Passes Away]]> 2018-01-30T18:45:22Z 2018-01-30T16:06:40Z In a sudden piece of heartbreaking news, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that former Padres and Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has passed away at the age of 56. Towers had been diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer back in December 2016.

    Kevin Towers | Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Prior to his days as one of the game’s most prominent and recognizable executives, Towers broke into professional baseball as a player when he was selected by the Padres in the first round of the 1982 draft. A right-hander who starred at Brigham Young University, Towers would pitch in parts of eight minor league seasons that were slowed by injury before ultimately transitioning to the operations side of the game.

    Well-respected for his scouting acumen, Towers parlayed his keen eye for player talent into a position as the Padres’ scouting director before ascending to their GM chair in 1996 — a position he’d occupy all the way through the 2009 season. That remarkable run is one of lengthier stints that any GM has enjoyed atop his organization in recent history.

    San Diego won its division in two of Towers’ first three seasons at the helm and advanced to the World Series in 1998 under his watch. The Friars would go on to win the West on two more occasions under Towers’ guidance, taking home consecutive division crowns in the 2005-06 seasons. Never afraid to make a bold trade, Towers was affectionately referred to as the “gunslinger” for much of his career as a general manager.

    Upon being dismissed after that 2009 season, Towers spent a year as a special assignment scout with the Yankees before being tabbed as the new general manager of the Diamondbacks. From 2010-14, Towers would hold that role, and it was during his tenure that the D-backs signed face of the franchise Paul Goldschmidt to one of the game’s best contracts.

    Following his dismissal and replacement by the Dave Stewart/Tony La Russa regime, Towers joined the Reds as a special assistant to GM Dick Williams, specializing in player personnel — a role that he continued to hold even into his battle with cancer.

    The immediate outpouring from the media, former players and others in the industry serves as a testament to Towers’ reputation as a venerable ambassador to the game of baseball, as well as to the love and respect that he fostered in more than three decades as a member of the MLB family. Yahoo’s Tim Brown has penned an especially poignant tribute to Towers, encapsulating the magnetic vigor that drew so many to him.

    Our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and the countless men and women both in the industry and the media whose lives he impacted over the course of a 35-year career in professional baseball.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Reds Notes: Garrett, Relievers, Rebuild]]> 2018-01-27T14:35:52Z 2018-01-27T14:35:52Z Following a hip surgery and successful rehab, Reds left-hander Amir Garrett feels optimistic about the 2018 season, Mark Sheldon of reports. The sophomore is ready to put a nightmarish 2017 behind him. “I will re-establish myself again and basically start over from the beginning in spring,” says Garret. “It’s a clean slate, 2018. 2017 is behind me. I have a book and that page isn’t even in there.” Garrett added that he feels stronger and has even shed ten pounds. While the 25-year-old southpaw got off to a hot start last year, his 7.39 ERA and 5.09 BB/9 at season’s end look disastrous. Garrett claims he’s happy that he had a rough year, as he had “never really had any struggles and adversity” prior to that.

    More news out of Cincinnati…

    • In light of a slow free agent market, the Reds are looking to add a player, says GM Dick Williams (hat tip to Sheldon). That player is likely to be a reliever, however, which seemingly closes the door on any notion that a rebuilding Cincinnati ballclub might be in on the market’s remaining position players and rotation candidates. Thus far, the only contract the Reds have given out this offseason is a two-year, $4.5MM guarantee to right-handed reliever Jared Hughes. According to our 2017-2018 free agent list, over 40 MLB relievers remain available on the free agent market.
    • Although Cincinnati obviously isn’t expected to compete for a playoff spot, the 2018 season will prove a crucial one for the franchise’s rebuild, says Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Reds fans have watched the rival Brewers undergo a notoriously short rebuild while they’ve had to endure four consecutive losing seasons already. “We’ve struggled to be competitive since the second half of 2014,” manager Bryan Price told reporters at the Reds Caravan on Thursday. “That’s a fair amount of time to ask our fan base to wait. I think they’re going to see a lot of improvement as far as wins and losses. They need to see that.” Buchanan does cite some reasons for optimism, including a much healthier pitching staff that could take a step forward, the rising stardom of Eugenio Suarez and the potential for top prospect Nick Senzel to make the big league roster at some point this season. Interestingly, he also notes that the Reds were apparently in on Christian Yelich early on, but backed off quickly when they learned that they’d need to part with either Senzel or Hunter Greene “just to start”.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hamilton Talks Between Reds, Giants Are "Dormant"]]> 2018-01-17T23:26:03Z 2018-01-17T23:26:03Z While Billy Hamilton’s name has been oft-mentioned in trade rumblings this offseason, a deal involving the Reds’ fleet-footed center fielder may not be all that likely, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. San Francisco’s acquisition of Andrew McCutchen doesn’t have much of an impact on the Giants’ chances of swinging a deal for Hamilton as they look to add a strong defender with their (limited) remaining financial resources. But, Buchanan reports after speaking with multiple sources, a deal was looking “unlikely” anyhow. Talks between the Giants and Reds regarding Hamilton have gone “dormant,” per Buchanan, adding that one source expects Hamilton to be in Cincinnati come Opening Day.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds, David Hernandez In "Serious Discussions"]]> 2018-01-13T19:56:59Z 2018-01-13T19:56:59Z The Reds are amid “serious discussions” with free agent reliever David Hernandez, though an agreement isn’t imminent, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Cincy isn’t the only team after the right-handed Hernandez, per Buchanan, who notes that the Reds are also interested in other free agent relievers and aren’t necessarily limiting themselves to one-year deals as they look to improve their bullpen. On the heels of a strong 2017, Hernandez is seeking a multiyear pact, according to Buchanan. The recipient of a minor league contract last offseason, the 32-year-old Hernandez went on to toss 55 innings of 3.11 ERA ball and notch 8.51 K/9 against 1.47 BB/9 with the Angels and Diamondbacks.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases]]> 2018-01-13T03:05:53Z 2018-01-13T00:02:01Z We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

    Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League]]> 2018-01-13T06:28:47Z 2018-01-12T21:10:22Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

    • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
    • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
    • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
    • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

    National League Central

    • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals,’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
    • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
    • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
    • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM.’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
    • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

    National League East

    • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
    • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
    • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
    • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
    • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Sign Vance Worley]]> 2018-01-09T20:50:15Z 2018-01-09T19:42:49Z The Reds have signed righty Vance Worley to a minors deal that includes an invitation to the MLB side of Spring Training, per a club announcement. He’ll receive an opt-out opportunity at the end of camp and can earn a $1.5MM salary in the majors, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter links).

    Worley, 30, contributed 71 2/3 innings over a dozen starts and another dozen relief appearances last year for the Marlins. He ended the season with an unsightly 6.91 ERA, though his peripherals suggest there was some poor fortune baked into the results.

    On the year, Worley managed 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, and a 48.6% groundball rate — all numbers that land near his career averages. But he stranded just 64.5% of runners to reach against him and was tagged for a .378 batting average on balls in play. While that latter mark was deserved to an extent, it appears somewhat out of line given that Worley surrendered a .405 wOBA but carried a .364 xwOBA.

    Of course, Worley enjoyed much better fortune in a 86 2/3-inning stint with the Orioles in 2016, when he managed a 3.53 ERA. As ever, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. All things considered, Worley has worked at or slightly above replacement level for the past several seasons.

    Cincinnati is obviously looking primarily for solid veteran depth, while Worley is no doubt intrigued by the opportunity on a staff that has many options but few sure things. It’s conceivable that he could have a shot at breaking camp with the Reds either as a starter or a reliever.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: Which Of These Players Is Most Likely To Be Traded?]]> 2018-01-07T13:34:25Z 2018-01-07T03:44:42Z We’ve reached January, and the free agent market is still lagging in a big way. The top free agents available seemingly haven’t showed a willingness to lower their asking prices, and with spring training less than two months out, teams may feel a need to complete their offseason shopping lists sooner than later. In some cases, this may cause teams to make stronger pushes for some candidates on the trade market.

    There have certainly been some large scale trades so far this offseason. High-end players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler and Stephen Piscotty have changed hands already, and there are still plenty of practical matches left between MLB teams. We’ve detailed many of these in the 2017-2018 installment of our “Looking For A Match” series; the players featured in those articles are listed below, with our noted potential fits listed in parentheses.

    • Billy Hamilton, Reds CF (Giants, Dodgers, Royals): Hamilton’s talents as a burner on the basepaths and an elite defender in center field are well-known throughout MLB circles, but in truth, that’s about where his usefulness ends. His .299 OBP was the 11th-lowest among qualified hitters in 2017; that number is about consistent with his career mark. The Giants seem to have shown a strong interest in Hamilton, but Reds owner Bob Castellini’s recently-reported hesitancy to part with the speedster could gum up trade negotiations. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Billy Hamilton Trade]
    • Brad Hand, Padres LHRP (Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins, Braves): Though our evaluation of Hand’s trade market also included the Rays and Rockies, those teams seem like less likely suitors at this point in the offseason; the former decreased their likelihood of contention by shipping Longoria to San Francisco, while the latter has signed three expensive relief pitchers to pad their bullpen. Hand is one of the elite relief pitchers in all of baseball, and he’s certainly one of the best (if not the undisputed best) bullpen options on the trade market. Of course, the caveat is that it would also require a significant prospect haul to convince San Diego to move him. The lefty has two years of team control remaining, and MLBTR projects him to cost just $3.8MM in 2018. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Brad Hand Trade]
    • Jose Abreu, White Sox 1B (Astros, Indians, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies): Though the Cuba native has been a mainstay in the White Sox’ lineup since his MLB debut in 2014, his club is unlikely to contend for a pennant before he reaches free agency after the 2019 season. MLBTR’s arbitration projections have him pegged for a $17.9MM salary in 2018, but his expected offensive output makes him well worth that price tag. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Jose Abreu Trade]
    • Avisail Garcia, White Sox OF (Blue Jays, Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers): Like Abreu, Garcia is a South Sider with two years of team control remaining. However, he comes with a lot more risk; Garcia had played below replacement level over the course of his career prior to a breakout this past season. Still, there are many teams who would benefit from adding a lefty-masher to their outfield corps, and his projected 2018 salary is a reasonable $6.7MM. [LINK: Looking For A Match In An Avisail Garcia Trade]
    • Raisel Iglesias, Reds RHRP (Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Astros): With three full seasons of team control remaining, Iglesias could prove a valuable long-term asset to either a rebuilding club or a current contender. He’s managed to strike out 10.43 batters per nine innings over the course of his career as a reliever while posting a sterling 2.29 ERA. The Twins have reportedly shown interest in Iglesias this winter, though that was nearly two months ago; there haven’t been any new developments in that story since then. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Raisel Iglesias Trade]
    • J.T. Realmuto, Marlins C (Nationals, Rockies, Diamondbacks): Unlike the other players on this list, Realmuto has gone so far as to request a trade from his current team. While that alone certainly isn’t enough to facilitate a trade, some have taken the stance that Miami ought to trade their catcher (along with fellow Marlin Christian Yelich) at his peak value. Realmuto has accrued more than 7 WAR over the past two seasons alone, but the Marlins don’t feel compelled to trade him unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A J.T. Realmuto Trade]
    • Manny Machado, Orioles 3B (Cardinals, Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Nationals): Rumors surrounding Baltimore’s prized infielder have cooled off a bit recently, but the Orioles could still be prompted to move him for the right offer. They’re reportedly seeking two talented starting pitchers who are controllable for the long term, however, which seems like a sky-high asking price for a player with just one year of team control remaining. Of course, the O’s probably wouldn’t restrict a return to just rotation options. Machado is projected to earn a $17.3MM salary in his final season before hitting the free agent market. [LINK: Trading Manny Machado]

    We’ll open this subject up to reader opinions at this point. Which of the trade candidates we’ve profiled do you think is most likely to be traded before the 2018 season begins? (Link for app users)

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds Owner Disinclined To Trade Billy Hamilton]]> 2018-01-06T07:31:58Z 2018-01-06T04:23:21Z
  • Though the Reds continue to engage in discussions regarding center fielder Billy Hamilton,’s Jerry Crasnick notes on Twitter that there’s one major potential roadblock. Club owner Bob Castellini is quite hesitant to part with Hamilton, it seems. While there’s no indication that the switch-hitting speed demon is completely off limits, the stance may make it harder to get a deal done.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds, Dylan Floro Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-01-04T03:52:51Z 2018-01-04T03:49:49Z
  • Right-hander Dylan Floro has agreed to a minor league deal with the Reds, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Floro was twice designated for assignment by the Cubs in 2017 and claimed off waivers by the Dodgers following that second DFA. However, the Dodgers designated him for assignment themselves just a few weeks later upon acquiring Curtis Granderson. Floro became a minor league free agent at season’s end and will bring to Cincinnati a career 5.11 ERA with a 20-to-7 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 MLB innings. In 242 2/3 innings of work in Triple-A, Floro has a 4.38 ERA with 5.9 K/9 against 1.5 BB/9. A ground-ball specialist, Floro has regularly posted ground-ball percentages in the upper 50s and low 60s throughout his minor league tenure and has a career 52.8 percent mark in his brief MLB tenure.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/2/18]]> 2018-01-03T05:02:50Z 2018-01-03T05:02:17Z We’ll track the day’s minor moves in this post:

    • The Reds have reached a minor league agreement with utilityman Phil Gosselin, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports (Twitter link). The 29-year-old Gosselin divided last season between the Pirates and Rangers organizations, hitting an ugly .146/.180/.188 over a small sample of big league PAs (50). While Gosselin was also ineffective at the Triple-A level (.260/.299/.326 in 292 PAs), he’s not far removed from a useful two-year showing in the majors. From 2015-16, Gosselin combined for 1.4 fWAR on the strength of a .280/.340/.411 line in 358 trips to the plate with the Braves and Diamondbacks.

    Earlier updates:

    • The Phillies have agreed to a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Steve Geltz, Cotillo tweets. Geltz worked exclusively with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017 and posted a 2.67 ERA, 9.67 K/9 against 4.00 BB/9 and a 37.1 percent groundball rate over 27 innings. The 30-year-old previously saw major league action with the Angels (2012) and Rays (2014-16). Across 104 1/3 big league frames, Geltz owns a 4.23 ERA to accompany 8.54 K/9, 3.71 BB/9 and a 28.8 percent grounder mark.
    • Infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. is joining the Red Sox on a minor league deal, per Cotillo (Twitter link). De Jesus, 30, has past experience with the Boston organization, having been a member of it in 2012 and ’14. More recently, he spent last season with the Brewers’ Triple-A club and batted a robust .345/.407/.488 in 466 trips to the plate. He hasn’t been nearly as successful across 545 major league PAs with the Dodgers, Red Sox and Reds, having slashed .242/.303/.327.
    • The Cardinals have added backstop Steven Baron on a minors pact, according to’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). (As she also notes, and we covered previously, the club also added catcher Francisco Pena.) Baron, 27, was the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 draft, but he has never hit much at all in the minors and has only minimal MLB experience. Still, he’ll represent another upper-level depth option for the Cards, who’ll become his first organization other than the Mariners. Baron spent most of 2017 at Triple-A, where he slashed .256/.339/.329 in 187 plate appearances.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Taking Inventory: Cincinnati Reds]]> 2018-01-02T00:26:57Z 2018-01-02T00:26:57Z The Reds have already parted out most of the components of their most recently competitive roster. It seems the inclination now is to begin climbing the hill rather than continue to strip away veterans. That being said, this is a club that won just 68 games in 2017 and has shown no real indication of ramping up spending.

    In short, the Reds are in no position to decline to consider trades involving shorter-term veteran assets. At the same time, indications are that they have fairly hefty asking prices affixed to some of their most notable trade pieces.

    [Related: Cincinnati Reds depth chart and Reds payroll outlook]

    Two Years of Control

    Feb 18, 2017; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (6) poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Day at the Cincinnati Reds Player Development Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Billy Hamilton, CF (projected $5.0MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2019): The game’s preeminent burner, Hamilton has drawn a steady drumbeat of trade chatter all winter. Thus far, nothing has come together, but it still feels reasonably likely that another organization will make a significant enough offer to tempt the Reds. After all, though Hamilton has yet to show he can consistently reach base, his lofty baserunning and defensive value make him a highly useful player even if his career ceiling with the bat is still about twenty percent below league average. Dealing Hamilton would clear room in the outfield rotation for youngster Jesse Winker, who showed well in his 2017 debut.

    Scooter Gennett, 2B (projected $6.1MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2019): The Cinci front office made good on its surprising claim of Gennett before the 2017 campaign. He rewarded the faith with 497 plate appearances of .295/.342/.531 hitting and 27 home runs — far and away his best full-season output. That said, Gennett has never hit lefties much and is generally graded as a below-average defender at second, limiting his value. There has been little reported interest to this point, though perhaps it still wouldn’t surprise if he ends up on the move.

    Longer-Term Assets

    Joey Votto, 1B ($157MM thru 2023; includes buyout on 2024 club option): Sure, he’s 34 years of age, but Votto has been the second-best hitter in baseball over the past three years. That makes the remainder of his massive extension seem quite a bit less onerous than might have been feared. Odds are, though, we won’t get a chance to see how the rest of the league values Votto. All indications are that Votto is not interested in waiving his full no-trade protection and the Reds seem happy to keep him around.

    Raisel Iglesias, RP ($13.5MM thru 2020; may opt into arbitration; arb-eligible thru 2021); The Reds’ most obviously marketable player, Iglesias has blossomed into one of the game’s better young late-inning relievers. He’s capable of functioning as a traditional closer or multi-inning stopper. Though he’ll ultimately have a chance to boost his earnings by opting into arbitration, Iglesias remains a controllable bargain. While we analyzed his possible market earlier in the offseason, indications are that the Reds have advertised such a high and firm asking price that interested parties aren’t even coming onto the lot to kick the tires.

    Eugenio Suarez, INF (projected $4.4MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2020): With three years of control remaining, the Reds don’t need to deal Suarez. But they could conceivably find it an opportune time to move the 26-year-old, who is fresh off of an excellent .260/.367/.461 campaign, with top prospect Nick Senzel nearing MLB readiness. That said, Suarez is capable of playing elsewhere in the infield, and it seems likelier that the Reds will explore a long-term contract than try to work out a deal for a player who could well be a key part of the organization’s next contender.

    Tucker Barnhart, C ($16MM through 2021; includes buyout on 2022 club option): A quality defender who has increasingly shown he can hit at a useful rate, Barnhart only signed his contract in September. It’d rank as quite a surprise were he to be moved at this point.

    Adam Duvall, OF (pre-arb eligible): Though he has swatted over thirty home runs in each of the past two seasons, Duvall has been a roughly league-average hitter due to his inability to get on base (career .296 OBP). That said, highly-rated glovework in the gives Duvall the profile of a solid average regular in the corner. There’d be interest if the Reds make him available, but it still seems likely he’ll be kept in the fold.

    Scott Schebler, OF (pre-arb eligible): You can basically take exactly what was written about Duvall and apply it to Schebler. While the latter did not grade as a top-end right fielder in 2017, he did show he can palatably patrol center. With just 1.132 years of service to this point, though, Schebler is likely to remain in Cincinnati for the time being.

    Anthony DeSclafani, SP (projected $1.1MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2020): Elbow troubles robbed all of 2017 from DeSclafani. He remains an exciting pitcher when healthy, and the Reds are all but certain to hold onto his upside this winter.

    Brandon Finnegan, SP (pre-arb eligible): Similarly, Finnegan is coming off of a season in which entered with big expectations but managed only four outings. Cinci has little choice but to hope for better health. It’s worth noting, too, that other controllable starters — most notably, eye-opening 2017 debutante Luis Castillo — are likely to be kept in the stable.

    Michael Lorenzen, RP  (projected $1.4MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2021): Perhaps the Reds would at least listen to offers on Lorenzen, who did not produce results to match his big-time stuff in 2017. He’d surely draw interest after showing a personal-high 10.4% swinging-strike rate and strong 54.6% groundball rate in heavy usage (83 innings over seventy appearances). But for the Reds, the hope remains that he’ll join Iglesias to form a dominant late-inning duo. It’s even less likely that the club will end up dealing other relief assets, though perhaps there could be some interest in Wandy Peralta, who turned in a solid (if hardly dominant) rookie season.

    Jose Peraza, INF (pre-arb eligible): Unless the Reds decide to give up on Peraza, he’ll remain on hand to fill out the infield. But the team is no doubt concerned with what it saw over his 518 plate appearances in 2017, as Peraza managed 23 stolen bases but otherwise produced a marginal .259/.297/.324 batting line.

    Salary Dump Candidates

    Homer Bailey, SP ($49MM through 2019; includes buyout of 2020 mutual option): If you’re looking for positives, you’d note that Bailey showed velocity in the range of his career peak (94 mph or so) over 91 frames in 2017 — his most extensive action since 2014. But he managed only a 6.43 ERA in that span, with just 6.6 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9. Given that the Reds have a need for innings, and no doubt still have some hope that Bailey will find his way, it seems likeliest this contract will remain on the books for the time being.

    Devin Mesoraco, C ($13.125MM in 2018): Just as he was finally showing some signs of health and productivity with a .260/.345/.600 output last June, Mesoraco hit the DL with a shoulder strain. He scarcely hit at all upon returning and ended up suffering a season-ending foot fracture in mid-August. In the aggregate, the Reds have received virtually nothing for the $28MM they committed to Mesoraco via extension: he has provided just 271 plate appearances of 61 OPS+ hitting over the past three seasons. With nearly half of that outlay still left to be paid in the final year of the deal, it’s hard to see Mesoraco as anything but a potential salary dump candidate at this stage. In all likelihood, the Reds will carry him into the season and see what they can get — with the idea of a mid-season trade still carrying at least some potential for saving a bit of cash.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Have Reportedly Made Offer To Ji-Man Choi]]> 2018-01-01T15:37:16Z 2018-01-01T15:31:02Z
  • First baseman Ji-Man Choi’s agency in Korea recently spoke to the media about their client’s current foray into free agency and revealed that he’s received offers (presumably of the minor league variety) from the Yankees, Angels, Rays, A’s, Brewers, Marlins, Cubs, Reds, Orioles, Twins, Braves, Blue Jays and White Sox (English link via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). The 26-year-old Choi slugged a pair of homers in 18 plate appearances with the Yankees last year and posted a strong year with their Triple-A affiliate, slashing .288/.373/.538 in 87 games. In parts of five Triple-A campaigns, Choi has posted a robust .298/.390/.479 batting line.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[GM Williams Discusses Hughes Signing]]> 2017-12-29T04:39:44Z 2017-12-29T04:39:44Z
  • While the Reds were looking for one-year deals for relievers, they were comfortable enough with Jared Hughes’ track record to sign the righty to a two-year deal, general manager Dick Williams tells Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Williams feels Hughes adds some needed veteran experience to a Reds bullpen that struggled badly in 2017, and the GM didn’t close the door on his team acquiring another veteran reliever before the winter is over.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Transaction Retrospective: The First Aroldis Chapman Swap]]> 2017-12-28T15:39:41Z 2017-12-28T05:26:20Z Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman from the Reds to the Yankees. While Chapman is currently ensconced as New York’s closer, just as he was in the wake of the swap, the intervening period has seen quite a few twists and turns.

    Aroldis Chapman

    Six years before the trade, the Reds had landed Chapman as a free agent, staking a hefty $30.25MM bet on the power pitcher from Cuba. He proved the team wise, providing 319 innings of 2.17 ERA pitching and racking up 146 saves.

    Entering the 2015-16 offseason, though, it seemed clear that it was time for both sides to move on. Chapman had just one year of control remaining, after all, and the Reds were coming off of a 64-win season. While the team struggled, Chapman was his typically dominant self, and seemed positioned to draw a big return.

    In early December, it seemed Chapman was destined to join Kenley Jansen to form a terrifying one-two punch in Los Angeles. Precise details of the proposed Dodgers swap were never clear, though reportedly the Reds would not have added then-top L.A. prospects Julio UriasCorey Seager, or Jose De Leon.

    Just when it seemed a deal was imminent, though, a stunning off-field development intervened, as reports emerged that Chapman had been arrested earlier in the offseason for a troubling domestic incident. With Chapman’s reputation tarnished and a possible suspension looming, the Dodgers backed away and the market dried up.

    Thus it was that the Yankees stepped into the void and placed a somewhat controversial bet on the game’s most intimidating reliever. Despite already carrying a fantastic late-inning duo of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, the Yanks saw an opportunity to create a three-headed bullpen monster. They shipped four prospects — third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda, and right-handers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham — to Cincinnati to acquire Chapman.

    The risk, really, was never on the field or even in the course of the investigation: Chapman was one of the surest relievers in baseball and had he received a sufficiently lengthy suspension, he’d have been eligible for another season of arbitration. Rather, the Yanks were gambling that Chapman would be valuable enough to warrant absorbing a significant public relations hit.

    While he was never arrested or charged with a crime, Chapman was rightly criticized and ultimately suspended for what commissioner Rob Manfred determined to be violent actions directed toward his girlfriend. He eventually acknowledged he “should have exercised better judgment” but insisted he “did not in any way harm [his] girlfriend that evening.”

    At the same time, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Yankees benefited greatly from taking him on. After returning from a thirty-game ban, Chapman picked up right where he left off, throwing 31 1/3 innings of 2.01 ERA pitching leading into the trade deadline. With the Yanks in a less-than-promising postseason position, the organization decided to market Chapman in the summer trade market, finding interest far more robust than had existed just months earlier.

    Thus it was that the Yankees ended up with a foursome of players immensely more valuable than that which it had shipped to Cincinnati. New York sold the rights to rent Chapman for the remainder of 2016 to the Cubs, who obviously saw him as the final piece needed on a World Series-caliber roster.

    Infielder Gleyber Torres was the undeniable headliner; he’s now seen as one of the game’s very best prospects. Though Rashad Crawford has yet to show much since coming to New York, outfielder Billy McKinney is now fresh off of a promising season in which he restored some of his former prospect luster. And the Yanks even came away with right-hander Adam Warren, who has provided 87 2/3 productive relief innings since the swap and is still under team control via arbitration for one more season.

    Then, of course, there’s the fact that Chapman ended up returning to the Bronx after his brief stint with the Cubs. In the first year of his record-setting $86MM contract, the now-29-year-old Chapman wasn’t quite as devastating as usual — his 3.22 ERA was the second-highest mark of his career, and he has never before ended a season with a lower strikeout rate than his 12.3 K/9 — but he still averaged a triple-digit heater. While there are some signs of concern, including a plummeting swinging-strike rate, Chapman generally figures to remain one of baseball’s better closers for some time.

    As for the Reds? Only Davis and Jagielo remain in the organization. As for the former, there’s certainly hope he’ll be a MLB contributor. Davis did make it up to the majors in 2017, though he struggled quite a bit and was less than dominant at the highest level of the minors. Jagielo, 25, struggled in his first attempt at Triple-A in 2017 and does not rate among the organization’s top thirty prospects, per

    It remains a major disappointment for the Reds that they were unable to fully capitalize on Chapman. While some argued that the organization was foolish not to have carried him into the 2016 season rather than accepting a discounted return, that action would have come with its own significant risks. If there’s a silver lining, perhaps it’s that the Reds have since come to realize another successful investment in a high-powered Cuban reliever. Raisel Iglesias has now established himself as one of the game’s best young closers. For the time being, at least, it seems he’s staying put as the anchor of the Cincinnati bullpen.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Astros, Machado, Hamilton]]> 2017-12-28T00:35:27Z 2017-12-27T22:28:44Z In a dramatic and suspenseful article, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic chronicles the recent harrowing life-or-death race to get Astros first base coach Rich Dauer to Houston Methodist Hospital. On the day of the Astros’ championship parade, Dauer was present at the official ceremony to honor the team. He began to stagger as if drunk, and stepped to the back of the stage. From there, a panicked attempt to get Dauer to the hospital amidst a crowd of millions of people unfolded behind the scenes. The piece is incredibly well-written, and thankfully has a happy ending. It’s definitely worth a full read.

    More from around MLB as we approach the end of December…

    • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun wonders if this offseason’s drama surrounding Orioles star Manny Machado could have been avoided. Meoli takes a look at the chances the Orioles had to explore trades or a contract extension with their prized third baseman, but he ultimately comes to the conclusion that there was never a reason to trade him until now. It also seems as though by the time Machado was a safe fixture in the O’s lineup, his value was sky-high, and he was close enough to free agency that an extension didn’t make sense for him (or his agent). While it remains to be seen whether Baltimore will actually end up dealing Machado, Meoli’s piece sheds some light on a tough set of circumstances for the Orioles.
    • The Giants and Reds have remained active in talks about a trade that would send Billy Hamilton to San Francisco, according to Jon Morosi of The Reds have reportedly shown interest in Heliot Ramos, who is largely considered to be the Giants’ best prospect (he credits The Athletic with first report of this news). Hamilton, of course, is regarded as one of the best defenders in the game, and also creates a lot of runs with his speed alone. His career .298 on-base percentage is widely regarded as his achilles heel, but he could still provide plenty of value as an elite center fielder in AT&T Park’s spacious outfield. A couple months back, I wrote about the trade market for Hamilton, noting that the Giants were the best match for his services.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Reds To Sign Daniel Wright]]> 2017-12-29T01:40:48Z 2017-12-27T04:28:20Z The Reds have agreed to a minor-league deal with righty Daniel Wright, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). It seems reasonable to anticipate that he’ll receive an MLB camp invite, though that’s not yet clear.

    Wright, 26, has worked to a 5.61 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 over 59 1/3 MLB innings in the prior two seasons. All of those outings came with the Angels, who claimed Wright from Cincinnati — the organization that originally drafted him — in early September of 2016.

    All in all, it was a tough 2017 campaign for Wright, who sits at only about 90 mph with his fastball but works in three offspeed offerings (a change, slider, and curve) with regularity. He logged 92 2/3 innings at Triple-A, almost entirely as a starter, but was torched for a 6.99 ERA and managed only 5.9 K/9 with 3.4 BB/9.