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Jay Bruce Rumors
To put it mildly, this has been a rough year for Reds fans. Edinson Volquez had the Cincinnati faithful buzzing after posting a 3.21 ERA with 9.5 K/9 in his first full season in 2008. After logging just nine starts in the 2009 campaign, Volquez needed surgery to repair damage in his right elbow. The Reds faded fast as their depleted staff wasn't getting much of a lift from their sagging offense. Injuries to Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion (prior to being dealt to Toronto) certainly didn't do them any favors.
However, if the team's recent performance is any indication of what lies ahead, Reds fans might have something to cheer about in 2010. Dusty Baker's squad has gone 19-11 since September 1st, thanks in part to stronger pitching (3.39 team ERA) and the return of Jay Bruce, who missed two months with a broken wrist.
Buster Olney, Baseball Prospectus and the ESPN Insider staff compiled a glance at this past season and what to expect next year in Cincy. An ESPN Insider account is needed to read the article, but here are the brass tacks for those without:
- It's no secret that the Reds don't have a top-flight budget. They opened this season with a payroll of $73MM and owner Bob Castellini isn't going to "go all Steinbrenner" and tack-on much more.
- Further exacerbating their financial woes are their pricey commitments to Bronson Arroyo, Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang and Scott Rolen. Combined, these four players are owed $46.5 million next season.
- Olney says that considering their lack of flexibility this offseason, Homer Bailey might be their best chance for improvement as he recorded a 2.41 ERA in September. The velocity that made Bailey such a highly-coveted prospect has returned, with his fastball being clocked at an average of 94.5 MPH this year. This is a big step-up from his previous big league work and could spell an even bigger jump in 2010.
- Baseball Prospectus says that their "acceptable" rate of 4.5 runs allowed per game is due in part to their much-improved defense. It will be interesting to see if defensive-minded yet weak-hitting shortstop Paul Janish will be the Reds' starter next season. Manager Dusty Baker said on Friday that a "definitive decision" hasn't been made yet.
- Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus notes that the combined efforts of all Reds batting in the top two lineup spots resulted in a slash line of .245/.301/.354. When Willy Taveras hit the DL in August, Dusty Baker put rookie Drew Stubbs and the aforementioned Janish at the top of the order. The team has gone 27-15 since then, but Jaffe attributes most of the credit for that to the improved performance of the pitching staff.
- The "Rumor Central" portion of the piece encourages Reds fans that are anxious to see the team acquire a big bat to consider what the offense is capable of if they are healthy. Injury-free seasons from Bruce and Votto should give Cincinnati a major boost.
- The report says to expect the Reds to tender Jonny Gomes an offer as he is arbitration-eligible. This should come as no surprise as Gomes has belted 20 HRs in 311 plate appearances while posting .266/.338/.540.
- Jaffe says that Jocketty could deal Arroyo or Harang to give the team room to make a mid-level signing this winter. He adds, "…It's difficult to envision this team breaking out of the middle of the pack without keen vision and bold steps."
It has been an eventful day for the Reds, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, and not just because they let go of pitching coach Dick Pole. Other Cincinnati notes from Sheldon:
- When asked if Paul Janish will be the Reds' starting shortstop in 2010, manager Dusty Baker said that he had yet to "come up with a definitive decision." GM Walt Jocketty indicated that surrounding Janish with more dangerous bats would help justify keeping his glove in the lineup. The 26-year-old shortstop has a +17.8 UZR/150 in 2009, but has hit just .215/.297/.308 in over 250 plate appearances.
- Edinson Volquez is pleased with his progress recovering from Tommy John surgery. Cincinnati expects him back around the All-Star break next season.
- Jay Bruce no longer plans to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He has been on a tear since coming off the disabled list on September 14, hitting .316/.422/.684, though he says the hot streak isn't a major factor in his decision. He should be healthy and ready to produce a stronger campaign in 2010.
Congrats to All-Star Game starters Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum. What a matchup. Here are some more links to look through…
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Nationals "will remain an embarrassment" unless they give Mike Rizzo and Stan Kasten more power.
- Jay Bruce will miss 6-8 weeks, according to Brian Kollars of the Dayton Daily News, but the young outfielder didn't suffer any ligament or tendon damage in his right wrist.
- One talent evaluator told Tom Krasovic that it will be five years before the Padres are good again, so Krasovic creates a blueprint for the team.
- Some of his suggestions: Make the most of every dollar, go after high upside pitching, find out how much Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell would bring in a trade.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier reports that Roy Halladay does not have a list of teams he would accept trades to. Last week Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal reported that Halladay had such a list, but it is not the case.
Another round of links for those still hanging around on Saturday evening…
- Reds outfielder Jay Bruce broke his right wrist sliding for a ball tonight, and is heading back to Cincinnati to be examined according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. The Reds were looking to add a bat before the injury, so it stands to reason that they'd ramp up those efforts now.
- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he doesn't "think we’re going to give up three or four players, key players, for the future, just to rent a player for year," according to Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune. Ozzie then admitted that GM Kenny Williams is the one calling the shots when it comes to trades.
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer rounds up the signing bonuses for the Indians second through tenth round draft picks. First rounder Alex White remains unsigned.
CBSSports.com reports that the Reds have agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Jay Bruce. Reliever Jared Burton and nine other players were signed to one-year deals as well. The team announced the deals on Saturday.
Fifteen players remain to be signed by the Reds.
C. Trent Rosecrans of TheLotD.com also talked with Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty today. Here are some conversation highlights:
- The Reds are still talking to Jerry Hairston Jr. to play left field. “We’re still trying to get Hairston,” Jocketty told Rosecrans. “We’ll have a different look on our club, but we still have guys like (Joey) Votto, (Jay) Bruce, (Brandon) Phillips, (Edwin) Encarnacion and even (Ramon) Hernandez with power.”
- Jocketty hasn’t spoken with Pat Burrell in awhile. They are holding back on that one right now.
- Health remains a serious issue with Rocco Baldelli, Jocketty said.
- The Reds have been in discussion with the New York Yankees about their extra outfielders, but no deals are close.
- No Barry Bonds; no Sammy Sosa.
Links for Friday night…
- The Reds are going to call Pat Burrell‘s agent.
- Ken Rosenthal breaks down the Braves’ options now that they’ve lost out on A.J. Burnett. Could they sign Rafael Furcal as a second baseman and move Kelly Johnson to left field?
- The Red Sox signed five players to minor league deals, including Paul McAnulty and Billy Traber.
- T.R. Sullivan takes a look at the market for Ben Sheets from the Rangers’ perspective.
- Keith Law calls the Raul Ibanez signing ‘absurd’ for the Phillies.
- Orioles manager Dave Trembley thinks his team is still in the running for Mark Teixeira.
- Dean Jones Jr. breaks down the Orioles’ Rule 5 draft selections.
- Dave Dombrowski isn’t the only one who’d like to bring John Smoltz to Detroit. Even college basketball coach Tom Izzo likes the fit.
- Jay Bruce also plays GM; he wants the Reds to keep their young pitching. Bruce also revealed that Jerry Hairston Jr. is considering the Phillies and Mariners in addition to the Reds.
Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch relays a Walt Jocketty radio show appearance. Jocketty reportedly named five untouchable Reds players: Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Edwin Encarnacion. Hunter is surprised to see Encarnacion labeled off-limits. The 25 year-old third baseman has a career line of .268/.344/.450 in 396 games. With several .900+ OPS months on his resume, EE has shown flashes of star potential offensively.
Veterans Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and Brandon Phillips apparently did not make the list. Only Arroyo has been mentioned in trade rumors this year; the rest seem unlikely to go anywhere. But it should be noted that Jocketty wasn’t with the organization when the Cordero, Harang, and Arroyo contracts were signed and might be more willing to move them.
Here’s Buster Olney’s latest blog entry.
- Olney takes a look back at last winter’s rumored Erik Bedard for Jay Bruce trade. Bruce has been living up to his untouchable tag. The Reds have to be happy with the way their young players are developing, but a rotation of Bedard, Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey could rival the Braves of the early 90’s. That said, Bruce won’t be traded anytime soon.
- Numerous reports are coming out regarding draft strategies. Here are a few links – Astros, Athletics, Brewers, Pirates, Rangers, Rays and Yankees.
- Olney also touches base on the seemingly lopsided Delmon Young trade from the past offseason between the Rays and Twins. The Rays are in first place and have benefitted since receiving Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett in the deal. Garza is pitching well, while Young is still homerless on the season. Young is only 22-years old and is bound to fulfill at least some of what was once limitless potential.
Posted by Shannon McKeown
Plenty of links for today.
- Indians top prospect Adam Miller is pretty much done for the season.
- ’09 free agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera and manager Ozzie Guillen are not getting along.
- Peter Bendix explains the savings the Reds get by waiting to promote Jay Bruce.
- Morgan Ensberg is a DFA candidate, while LaTroy Hawkins may be getting there.
- Bret Boone‘s comeback attempt has ended.
- Jeff Weaver (6.69 ERA in Triple A) can ask for his release if not called up by June 15th.
- Hank Blalock may not be in the Rangers’ long-term plans.
- The Indians designated Jorge Julio for assignment.