Cincinnati Reds Rumors

Cincinnati Reds trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL East Notes: Price, Zobrist, Lackey, Lester

David Price is trying to just focus on pitching amidst the many trade rumors surrounding him, and the Rays ace admitted to being a bit nervous when he was recently summoned from a pre-start hot tub soak to Joe Maddon’s office.  Price told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he was wondering if the long-rumored deal had finally come, but upon arriving at Maddon’s office, the skipper merely wanted to congratulate Price on making the All-Star team.  Topkin’s piece quotes Price and several other Rays on how everyone is handling all the trade buzz surrounding the star left-hander.

Here’s some more news from around the AL East…

  • The Giants are considered to be the team most interested in Ben Zobrist, Marc Topkin reports, with the Reds and Mariners among other teams also intrigued by the 33-year-old.  Zobrist would help the Giants and Reds at second base while the versatile 33-year-old would fit in Seattle as a shortstop or right fielder since Robinson Cano has the keystone locked up for the M’s.
  • The Red Sox have over $72MM coming off the books this offseason and will have lots of payroll flexibility to get the team back in contention, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  While the Sox seem adverse to signing veteran free agents to major contracts, there’s still plenty of payroll space for moves like re-signing Jon Lester.  The Sox are still committed to their young prospect base, though Cafardo notes that the club could trade from this minor depth to acquire a more expensive proven Major Leaguer.
  • John Lackey worries that the negotiations between Lester and the Red Sox have resembled his own extension talks with the Angels, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.  Lackey and the Halos tabled talks during Spring Training of Lackey’s final contract year in 2009 and then the Angels were outbid on the open market by the Sox.  Now, Boston could be the ones who lose their ace due to another aggressive bidder if Lester ends up testing free agency.  “(The Red Sox) messed up in spring training for sure. The price of gas is going up every time (Lester) goes out there,” Lackey said.
  • Lackey also didn’t say whether he will approach the Red Sox about an extension, given that he’s under contract for a league minimum salary in 2015.  “I haven’t even thought that far ahead. I’m just worried about pitching right now, and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year,” the righty said.
  • Derek Jeter‘s retirement marks the end of the “Core Four” era for the Yankees, and ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand notes just how unlikely and special it was for the franchise to reach the postseason from every year, save one, from 1995-2012.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Angels, Orioles, Reds, Indians

In his latest video, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports says it would be “just like” Angels owner Arte Moreno to acquire David Price. Since L.A. lacks a prospect of Addison Russell‘s quality, they will need to trade somebody off their major league roster. Rosenthal mentions C.J. Cron and Tyler Skaggs as likely suspects, but he suggests that price may be too steep for the contending Angels. Here’s more from Rosenthal.

  • If the Angels do fall short on Price, they could turn their attention to acquiring a reliever like Rangers closer Joakim Soria.
  • The Orioles would like to add a left-handed bat. Seth Smith was on the radar before he signed his extension with the Padres. The O’s are scouting pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa and Ian Kennedy. They could also target relievers.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects to miss Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips for five to six weeks. Cincinnati would like to add a first baseman and somebody to split time with Ramon Santiago at second base. Unfortunately, the club’s record $112MM payroll will force Jocketty to get creative with any additions.
  • It’s unclear whether the Indians will buy or sell at the trade deadline. Even if they do find themselves as sellers, they aren’t likely to aggressively shop pieces besides shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Rosenthal offers the Mariners as one team who could benefit from the switch-hitting shortstop.

Minor Moves: Perez, Marshall, Feierabend

Here are today’s minor moves from around baseball.

  • The Pirates have signed pitcher Rafael Perez to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Indianapolis, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. The lefty has spent the past two seasons pitching in Triple-A and in Mexico. For many years, he was a fixture in the Cleveland Indians bullpen, posting a 3.64 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in parts of seven big-league seasons.
  • The Reds have outrighted pitcher Brett Marshall to Triple-A Louisville, according to MiLB.com. They designated him for assignment on Thursday. Marshall, 24, has struggled this season for Louisville, with 29 runs and 27 walks allowed in 21 1/3 innings there. The Reds claimed him from the Cubs in February.
  • The Rangers have purchased the contract of lefty pitcher Ryan Feierabend, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets. To clear space on their active roster, they’ve optioned pitcher Aaron Poreda to Triple-A Round Rock. Feierabend, 28, last appeared in the big leagues all the way back in 2008 with the Mariners. In 113 innings with Triple-A Round Rock this season, he has a 4.54 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. It’s not clear who will start for the Rangers tomorrow; Feierabend, who last pitched on Tuesday, looks like he could be a candidate.


Central Links: Alcantara, Bailey, Worley, Masterson, Sox

Originally recalled for a two-day period with Darwin Barney on paternity leave, Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara has been informed that he will be with the team at least through the All-Star break, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Alcantara, who ranked 33rd on Baseball America’s midseason list of the game’s Top 50 prospects, says he was surprised by the news. Manager Rick Renteria offered praise for the 22-year-old, who collected his first four Major League hits in today’s contest.

Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…

  • Reds right-hander Homer Bailey left today’s game after five innings due to a slight strain in his right knee, but he won’t see his name added to the list of significant injuries that have stricken contending teams today. The Reds have announced that he is expected to make his next start.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’s glad to see Vance Worley performing well with the Pirates, though he did imply that it’s too early to say that the Twins gave up on Worley too soon: “Give him a little time to see what he does over the course of starts. We’ll talk about that in October. See how it goes. I know he’s done well.”
  • The Indians are hopeful that Justin Masterson‘s two weeks on the disabled list will not only give him a chance to heal, but to help him get his mechanics back in line, reports MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway feels that Masterson’s knee has affected the way he’s been able to land during his delivery, which would explain the sharp decrease in velocity Masterson has seen this year.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn would need to receive an offer that knocks his cell phone out of his hands in order to trade Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Avisail Garcia or Jose Abreu, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. However, Hahn notes that oftentimes, a trade will come together when a rival club’s initial inquiry is on a player that is unavailable, as it leads to the suggestion of alternative options.

Brandon Phillips Suffers Torn Thumb Ligament

3:12pm: Phillips has indeed suffered a torn thumb ligament, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. He will undergo surgery tomorrow.

3:00pm: Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has suffered an injury to the ligament in his left thumb which could be a tear, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). As Rosenthal notes, Phillips is expected to be “out a while;” Bryce Harper recently lost 57 games to a torn ligament in his thumb.

The news on Phillips is not the only significant injury development out of Cincinnati (to say nothing of the rest of the NL Central). After placing first baseman Joey Votto on the DL and seeing center fielder Billy Hamilton go down with a hamstring issue last night, starter Homer Bailey left in the middle of his start today with what the team described as pain in his left patellar tendon (via Twitter). The status of those two important players remains unknown.

MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently broke down the trade market for second basemen. If Phillips requires an extended absence, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes asks (via Twitter) whether the Reds might match up with the White Sox on a deal for Gordon Beckham.


Reds Designate Brett Marshall For Assignment

The Reds have designated righty Brett Marshall for assignment, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). With the move, the club opened a 40-man spot for recently-recalled outfielder Kristopher Negron.

Marshall, 24, threw 12 innings last year for the Yankees in his only MLB stint. Designated to make room for Carlos Beltran, Marshall was claimed by the Cubs and then the Reds. Since working back from a finger injury, he has struggled in 21 1/3 frames over seven starts at Triple-A for the Reds, working to a 10.97 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and a troubling 11.4 BB/9.


Rockies Acquire Jair Jurrjens From Reds

The Rockies announced that they have acquired right-hander Jair Jurrjens from the Reds in exchange for minor league first baseman Harold Riggins.

The 28-year-old Jurrjens inked a minor league deal with the Reds back in May that came with an $800K base salary upon making the Major Leagues. The former All-Star has thrown 34 1/3 innings with Triple-A Louisville since signing the deal, posting a 4.46 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.

Jurrjens looked to be a young star on the rise a few years ago, finishing third in the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year voting with the Braves and making an All-Star team in 2011. Acquired from the Tigers in exchange for Edgar Renteria, Jurrjens posted a 3.34 ERA in 671 2/3 innings for Atlanta from 2008-11, but knee injuries have derailed his career and limited him to just 55 2/3 innings of 6.68 ERA ball since. He spent last season with the Triple-A affiliates for the Orioles and Tigers, posting a combined 4.57 ERA in 134 innings.

Riggins, 24, had a .263/.351/.447 batting line with seven homers in 205 plate appearances with Double-A Tulsa this season. He ranked as Colorado’s No. 23rd prospect heading into the 2013 season, per Baseball America, but did not crack the club’s Top 30 prospects heading into this season.

The Rockies have seen a great deal of their pitchers go down with injuries, as they currently have Brett Anderson, Tyler Chatwood, Eddie Butler, Jordan Lyles, Jhoulys Chacin and Christian Bergman on the disabled list. Jurrjens will provide depth at Triple-A Colorado Springs for the time being, per the Denver Post’s Nick Groke (on Twitter).


Reds To Sign First-Rounder Nick Howard

The Reds have agreed with first-round choice Nick Howard on a $1,990,500 bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (Twitter link). That falls just $100K shy of the slot allocation that came with the 19th overall pick.

Howard, a closer in his last season at the University of Virginia, is expected to be given a chance to transition into back into a starting role in the Reds organization. He has two strong offerings: a mid-to-high 90s heater and often-devastating slider. On the back of those pitches, Baseball America (25th) and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis (31st) saw Howard as one of the best arms available.

Howard becomes the last of the team’s choices from the first ten rounds to sign. In total, the club saved $375K on those signings as against its total available pool of just under $7MM, per MLB.com’s signing tracker.


Reds Sign Second-Rounder Taylor Sparks

The Reds have agreed to a $972.8K bonus with second-round (58th overall) choice Taylor Sparks, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). That represents the assigned value of the pick.

Sparks is a third baseman out of UC Irvine. He was the 56th overall prospect in the view of MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, who write that he is strong, athletic, and delivers hard contact at the plate. He is expected to develop some power and be able to stick at the hot corner. ESPN.com’s Keith Law rated him at the 72nd spot, while Baseball America had him as the 87th best player available.

According to the MLB.com signings tracker, Cincinnati has now locked up all of its picks from the first ten rounds with the exception of its first selection (19th overall): Nick Howard, the University of Virginia closer, who just completed play at the College World Series.


Minor Moves: Collier, Loe, Pineiro, Maine

Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • Phillies outfielder Zach Collier cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A, the team announced.  The Phils designated Collier for assignment earlier this week.  Collier, picked 34th overall in 2008, has a .240/.312/.349 slash line over 2084 career minor league plate appearances.
  • The Braves released righty Kameron Loe, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via Twitter).  Loe posted an 8.83 ERA in 17 1/3 relief innings with Triple-A Gwinnett after signing a minor league deal with the Braves last month.  This is Loe’s third change of teams in 2014, as he already opted out of a minor league deal with the Giants in March and was released by the Royals in May.
  • The Angels released right-hander Joel Pineiro, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports (Twitter link).  Pineiro struggled to a 7.48 ERA over four Triple-A starts after signing a minor league deal with the Halos earlier this month.  Pineiro was attempting a comeback after missing most of 2012 and all of 2013 recovering from shoulder problems,  and the Angels were his second stop after already being released by the Cubs earlier this season.
  • The Reds have signed left-hander Scott Maine to a minor league deal and assigned him to Double-A.  Maine had been pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, and the transaction was announced via Bridgeport’s team website.  The southpaw had a 4.95 ERA, 10.4 K/9 and a 5.75 K/BB rate in 20 innings for the Bluefish this season, with all but one of his 19 appearances coming out of the bullpen.  Maine posted a 5.59 ERA and 48 strikeouts over 46 2/3 IP with the Cubs and Indians from 2010-12, though he was plagued by both the long ball (1.5 HR/9) and walks (4.8 BB/9) over his brief stint in the bigs.  Maine spent 2013 pitching in the Marlins’ farm system.