Cincinnati Reds Rumors

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

Reactions To And Fallout From The Jon Lester Deal

Here’s a roundup of reactions from around the web on the Cubs’ $155MM deal with Jon Lester:

  • Adding Lester is huge for the Cubs, but they’re at least one more good starter away from contention, ESPN’s Keith Law writes (Insider-only). Brandon McCarthy would be a good fit, Law suggests, or they could trade young hitting for another starter. Even if the Cubs’ core of young hitting needs another year to develop before the team can contend, though, Lester figures to age well and should still be pitching at a high level in 2016.
  • The Lester deal gives the Cubs more credibility, new manager Joe Maddon told reporters, including MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. “It definitely makes it more believable to everybody else in that [clubhouse],” Maddon said. “I’ll stand up and make the same speech regardless, but when you have it backed up by that particular kind of presence, it adds to it. … Having people like that in the room definitely helps other guys believe this is possible.”
  • The deal is an awkward one for the Red Sox, tweets Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. They could have offered Lester far less last spring than their losing bid this time around, and he would have accepted.
  • The Red Sox still have to upgrade their rotation, and their missing out on Lester by $20MM is a bad sign, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes writes. It will be hard, Edes writes, for the Red Sox to have a rotation without Lester as good as the one they could have had if they had signed him.
  • Lester becoming a Cub shifts the balance of power in the NL Central, and the New York Post’s Joel Sherman wonders (via Twitter) if it will be what causes the Reds to begin rebuilding.
  • On a related note, Lester’s contract sets the standard for extension talks between the Reds and Johnny Cueto, who is eligible for free agency after 2015, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Rosecrans also notes that, with Lester heading to Chicago, the Red Sox figure to be clearly in the market for starting pitching, and there might be a match between the Red Sox and Reds, who could offer Mat Latos or Mike Leake.

NL Central Notes: Pirates, Cueto, Lynn, Weeks

The Cubs’ signing of Jon Lester is the headline item out of the NL Central today, but here’s some other pertinent news from the division…

  • Now that the Pirates have re-signed Francisco Liriano, they’re probably not going to look for any more starting pitching and will instead focus on the bullpen, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter links).  The Bucs are willing to give a multiyear contract to a reliever “if it’s right guy-right deal situation.”
  • The Reds met with Johnny Cueto‘s agent today to explore a long-term extension, GM Walt Jocketty told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon).  “If it’s possible, I’m not sure it will be, I think it’s still something we have to take a look at as we explore every possibility,” Jocketty said.
  • Teams have reportedly been calling the Reds about Cueto and Aroldis Chapman, though Jocketty said that the Reds aren’t themselves shopping those pitchers.  “I don’t know where the Chapman stuff came from….I walked into the room today and asked our guys if there was anything on Chapman,” the GM said.  “I got three texts and a phone call this morning. I’ll listen to anything that makes sense. It was not something we initiated….I don’t consider, unless we get proposals from clubs, that it’s anything legitimate. It’s just inquiring.”
  • Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jen Langosch) that it’s “fair to say” that Lance Lynn‘s name came up during Mozeliak’s meeting today with an Excel Sports Management agent, as Lynn is an Excel client.  While Mozeliak didn’t comment on the meeting, Langosch wonders if the two sides could’ve discussed Lynn’s forthcoming arbitration eligibility or perhaps even a multiyear extension for the right-hander.
  • The Cardinals have some interest in Rickie Weeks, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.  The Cards would use Weeks as a right-handed bench bat and possibly also as first base depth, which would require Weeks to learn a new position.
  • How quiet has this Winter Meetings been for the Brewers?  Haudricourt reports (Twitter link) that as of earlier tonight, the Crew had yet to personally meet with any agents or with representatives from another team.

Reds Drawing Interest In Cueto, Chapman

Reds ace Johnny Cueto and closer Aroldis Chapman are each drawing a lot of trade interest, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links).  The Reds are at least listening on Cueto, though they’re trying to direct trade discussions to other starting pitchers like Mat Latos, Mike Leake or Alfredo Simon.

As I wrote back in September, all four of those Reds starters projected as possible trade candidates since they’re all eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.  While Cueto would bring the most back in a trade, he’s also the one Cincinnati is least likely to deal since they want him atop their rotation next year.

Chapman is projected to earn $8.3MM in 2015 through salary arbitration (per MLBTR’s Matt Swartz) and he still has another arb-eligible year left before hitting free agency after the 2016 season.  This could make him an expensive luxury for the Reds, and as Rosenthal notes, other teams know that the Reds want to cut payroll.



NL East Notes: Marlins, Jeter, Upton, Phillies

Despite rumblings to the contrary, Derek Jeter says he’s not making a play to buy the Marlins, writes Christian Red of the New York Daily News.  “You got money for me? A report I’m gonna buy it, who am I buying with? Unless you got money for me,” Jeter said. “You believe everything you read?” More from the NL East..

  • Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter) heard from one AL exec that the Royals have talked to the Braves about outfielder Justin Upton.
  • David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution lays out the case for the Braves trading Upton.  Upton is one year away from free agency and Atlanta wants to build a strong team for 2017 and beyond as they get ready to move into a brand new stadium in Cobb County.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is being more realistic about the value of his players than he was in July, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “Teams just don’t want to give up the talent. They’d rather give up the money than the talent. So we have to have an understanding of that, and at the same time we have to identify the guys that are still pretty talented and not take a bath,” Amaro said.  Right now, the Phillies aren’t receiving a ton of trade interest.
  • If the Marlins can’t find the top of the rotation starter they’re looking for, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com suggests that they should instead make a play for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman and build a super bullpen.  With Chapman, Miami could either move Steve Cishek for a starter or a power bat or keep him and use him in the eighth inning, giving them one of the best combos in the National League.

AL East Rumors: Robertson, Red Sox, Cespedes

The Yankees lost a homegrown star in David Robertson yesterday and they’re also losing ground in the American League with the talent that’s flowing in, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  There have been 14 free agents to sign for $10MM or more in total, and just two of those deals were with National League teams with zero migrations from the AL to the NL.  At this moment, all five AL East teams probably feel they can win the division and the wild card competition also figures to be fierce for the Bombers in 2015.  More out of the AL East..

  • A big part of the Yankees‘ decision to not make an offer to David Robertson was the value they put on the compensatory draft pick they would receive, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter).  The closer agreed to join the White Sox on a four-year, $46MM deal late last night.
  • The Red Sox and Reds have discussed deal that would send Yoenis Cespedes to Cincinnati, but there’s been no recent progress on that front, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • The Red Sox and Phillies have discussed a swap of Antonio Bastardo for Sean Coyle this offseason, a major league source with knowledge of the situation tells Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter).  It’s unclear if those talks are still progressing at this time, however.
  • Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters yesterday that he’s confident that Boston can sign Jon Lester, but not everyone agrees.  “I don’t see how the Red Sox get this done,” an official of one club who has been monitoring Lester closely told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

Central Rumors: Tigers, Cespedes, Twins

The Tigers declined to open up a spot on their 40-man roster prior to today’s deadline, which means that they will not be adding anyone in the Rule 5 draft, as Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  The Tigers protected infielder Dixon Machado and pitcher Angel Nesbitt from the Rule 5 draft last month, but left Joel Hanrahan unprotected due to his contract situation.  More out of the Central divisions.

  • Hanrahan’s deal has a $1MM base salary if he reaches the majors with up to $2MM in incentives, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com (via Twitter).  It was originally believed that Hanrahan’s deal with the Tigers had a bit more in incentives.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said that the club is open to a possible Andy Dirks return, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com (via Twitter).
  • “A lot of clubs have asked about” Tigers pitchers, but Dombrowski says that he still feels good about the five starters they currently have in place, Iott tweets.
  • The Reds have a need for a power bat and have some interest in Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, according to CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam.  The Reds and Cespedes have been connected for some time.  The Reds have starting pitching that they can deal, which would make the two teams seem like solid trade partners on the surface.
  • Twins manager Paul Molitor has not made any recruiting calls since contacting outfielder Torii Hunter, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Brewers manager Ron Roenicke says the club is focused on filling the bullpen, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter). Milwaukee is open to both free agents and trades. Today, they focused on watching video of left-handed relievers.

Trade Notes: Santana, Mets, Mariners, Reds, Wilson

Your mid-day roundup of trade-related rumors from the Winter Meetings:

  • The Indians have been contacted by teams with interest in dealing for first baseman and former catcher Carlos Santana, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi says that no deal is close, though that leaves unclear whether Cleveland has any actual interest in exploring deals for the slugger, who recovered from a slow start to put up a big 2014. Santana is under club control through 2017 (the last year by club option) at a very team-friendly price.
  • The Mets are not sure whether the Mariners really have interest in dealing one of their young shortstops (Brad Miller and Chris Taylor), Marc Carig of Newsday reports on Twitter. The clubs have been linked to various deals involving pitching from the former and infielders from the latter.
  • While the Reds are giving other teams the impression that they need to shed some salary, they are only willing to consider dealing outfielder Jay Bruce if they are overwhelmed by an offer, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Angels have received some interest in starter C.J. Wilson, but at present other clubs are asking for L.A. to pay for part of his remaining deal, according to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link).

Pitching Notes: Miller, Giants, Cards, Masterson, Axford

Before he joined the Yankees, the Astros actually offered Andrew Miller a deal that included not only four guaranteed years but also a fifth-year option, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. It remains to be seen how Houston will reallocate the funds it had earmarked for the lefty.

  • If the Giants miss on Jon Lester, they are more likely to go to the next tier of free agent pitchers than to go all out for Max Scherzer, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). San Francisco could aim for options of the ilk of Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano, says Shea, though it is not clear if those illustrative names or particular targets.
  • The Cardinals met with Scherzer at some point over the offseason and are at least weighing a run at him, Jon Heyman of CBSSportscom reports. It remains something of a longshot that Scherzer will land in St. Louis, Heyman notes, though the fact that he is from the area can’t hurt.
  • The Red Sox met with Justin Masterson over the weekend, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports on Twitter. The Twins, meanwhile, have not managed to gain traction with Masterson’s camp, Wolfson adds.
  • The MarlinsWhite Sox, and possibly Cubs will also sit down with Masterson in San Diego, Heyman reports.
  • Reliever John Axford has drawn interest from the Reds, though nothing is close and there are other teams involved, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

Quick Hits: Leake, Craig, Liriano, Masterson

Reds pitcher and regular MLBTR reader Mike Leake keeps track of offseason trade whispers but tries not to worry about them, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com writes.  “I’m curious. I check MLB Trade Rumors every day just to see what’s new,” says Leake, a potential trade candidate this winter. “There’s nothing you can do about it. You sit and wait and see if your name is thrown in a trade.” Leake notes that he would be happy to remain with the Reds, but would be understanding if they traded him.

  • If the Red Sox decide to deal Allen Craig, there will be interest despite his poor 2014 season, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  The Marlins and Brewers have had interest in the past, and one evaluator expresses confidence that Craig’s performance last season was derailed by injuries and not by a steep decline in ability.
  • Also from Cafardo, Francisco Liriano would be a good fit in either the NL or AL, but teams are concerned about giving him more than a three-year deal since he’s never been an innings-eater.  The Pirates remain interested in retaining him but not on a four-year contract.  Some executives feel the “tipping point” of Liriano’s market will be if at least one team is willing to give that fourth year, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.
  • Liriano is one of the Pirates‘ top targets, sources tell Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • Justin Masterson has received a lot of interest but no actual offers yet, Fangraphs’ David Laurila reports.  Laurila suggested in a recent column that Masterson could be a good candidate to be converted to relief pitching, though no teams have approached him with that idea and Masterson wouldn’t be interested if they did.
  • Also from Laurila’s piece, he talks to Burke Badenhop and the righty reliever said he felt he improved his free agent stock by posting strong numbers against left-handed batters in 2014.
  • Ichiro Suzuki‘s market is “not hot,” agent John Boggs tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).  Boggs is trying to push his client’s ability to play all three outfield spots and a bat that delivered a .284 average in 2014, hoping that teams won’t shy away because Ichiro is entering his age-41 season.
  • It would be surprising if the Rockies pulled off a blockbuster deal involving Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes.  “If I was a betting man, I sure wouldn’t put down money on a trade,” a Major League executive tells Saunders.  The likeliest scenario is that neither player is traded (if at all) until they’ve proven they’re healthy.

West Notes: Kemp, Cabrera, Kendrick, Upton

With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.

Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:

  • Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
  • The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
  • In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
  • Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
  • Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.