The Reds did indeed scout top Cuban outfield prospect Eddy Julio Martinez, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, but they’re not likely to sign the 20-year-old, he adds. The Reds aren’t interested in incurring maximum penalties for exceeding their international bonus pool, which they’d almost certainly need to do in order to sign Martinez. The team that signs Martinez will likely have to pay a 100 percent luxury tax for every dollar spent over their allotted pool, and they’ll also be restricted from signing future international prospects for more than $300K in each of the next two signing periods. That, of course, hasn’t deterred some clubs from spending big, but it perhaps makes it more likely that we’ll see Martinez land with a team that has already exceeded its bonus pool by a substantial margin. Interestingly, though, Fay hears that the price tag may have dropped below the previous $10MM+ expectations (Twitter link).
Here’s more from the NL Central…
- Prior to being traded to the Giants, Marlon Byrd had somewhat of a “spat” with Reds bench coach Jay Bell, writes Fay in a separate column. Per Fay, Byrd became upset after Bell asked him to pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth inning the day before he was traded, but he then sent Brayan Pena into the on-deck circle instead. Byrd ultimately wound up pinch-hitting, but only after a discussion with manager Bryan Price. “I didn’t get in a spat with Jay Bell,” said Byrd. “I had a conversation with the manager about Jay Bell. We had conversations all year about him. If you want to know more about that, you’d have to talk to him.” Byrd was traded to the Giants the next day, though he said he left on good terms with the his teammates and had generally positive things to say about the Reds in the conversation with Fay and other reporters.
- Bernie Miklasz of 101 ESPN breaks down Jason Heyward‘s free agent stock, adding that he expects the Cardinals to make a push to retain their right fielder. Though the outfield looks crowded in the short-term, Matt Holliday‘s contract is up after 2016, as is Jon Jay‘s. As such, the team could boast a future outfield of Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk and Heyward. While traditional numbers — homers, RBIs, batting average — don’t tell the full tale of Heyward’s value, Miklasz notes that more analytically inclined teams will be willing to make a big play for the 26-year-old. The Cardinals, Miklasz writes, prefer a higher annual value on a shorter-term deal than the risk of a nine- or 10-year pact, and they may even be open to including an opt-out clause, though that final point appears to be speculative in nature.
- Though they’re division rivals, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had no issues giving Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy some advice on how to handle the concussion symptoms with which he is currently dealing, writes the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak. Matheny, whose playing career ended due to a long history of concussions, recommended a specialist for Lucroy to see and urged him to take his time, noting points in his career where he believes he may have suffered a concussion then returned to the field the very next day, only to take another foul ball to the mask. “[Matheny] said it was not worth a repeat hit when you’re not healed up, because that’s when things get really, really bad in terms of not being able to drive, not being able to look at lights, throwing up and nausea and stuff like that,” said Lucroy. “He really stressed, ‘Take your time.'” Dr. Micky Collins has told Lucroy that he can make a full recovery from what has been diagnosed as a vestibular concussion — or one that impacts his coordination and movement.