The Reds‘ quiet offseason included few depth signings, and now that lack of roster depth is being tested given the number of key players currently on the team’s disabled list. Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila that “there weren’t a lot of moves to make” and warned against too much roster turnover, though finances also played a part in the Reds’ uneventful winter. “It wasn’t just [will we have money later], it was also ‘Do we have enough money now?,’ Jockett said. “We’d have loved to have [Shin-Soo] Choo back, but we couldn’t afford him. And there really wasn’t anything else we felt we could do — that we felt we could financially do. Once your club is set, it’s pretty hard to make changes.”
Here are some more items from around baseball…
- Also from Laurila’s piece, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara wasn’t sure he was ready to pitch in North America when he was first eligible at age 24, though he would’ve liked to have arrived sooner than his age-34 season. The issue for Uehara was that his Japanese club, the Yomiuri Giants, didn’t post their players and instead required them to fulfill the entirety of their contacts.
- Right-hander Tyler Kolek regularly hits the 100-mph plateau and “is the hardest-throwing high schooler of the draft era,” scouts tells Baseball America’s John Manuel. Kolek has been widely predicted to be at least a top-three selection in this year’s amateur draft.
- As pitchers like Kolek are throwing faster and harder at increasingly young ages, evaluating these young arms has become “a convergence of fascination and fear,” for scouts, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince writes. Teams are as interested in ever with hard-throwers, yet are also concerned with the injury risk attached with regularly throwing at such high velocities.
- Mets fans are losing patience with the team’s rebuilding plan and Sandy Alderson’s front office has seemed either unwilling or unable to spend to make the Amazins more competitive, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin opines. Even the low-cost moves that were supposed to be Alderson’s forte have backfired, Rubin notes in regards to the club’s struggling bullpen.
- Baseball America’s Ben Badler (BA subscription required) profiles five international prospects who have drawn the attention of the Yankees and Astros in the lead-up to the July 2 deadline. New York has been linked to catcher Miguel Flames, shortstop Diego Castillo and outfielder Jonathan Amundaray, while Houston is interested in outfielder Ronny Rafael and shortstop Miguel Angel Sierra.
- Should the Tigers use Robbie Ray as a much-needed southpaw reliever or send him back to the minors to get regular work as a starter? Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press argues the former point while MLive.com’s Chris Iott argues the latter.
- The revamped draft and free agent rules haven’t helped parity or benefited smaller-market teams, Peter Gammons writes for GammonsDaily.com. Tying the draft directly to the free agent compensation system (in regards to qualifying offers) has created flaws in both areas, Gammons argues, and the real purpose of the new rules was “to lessen the power of agents and limit the money paid to amateur prospects.”