Walt Jocketty Rumors
2:03pm: Sizemore appears to be set to sign with a club other than Cincinnati, a source tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
WEDNESDAY, 1:32pm: In a radio appearance on 1450 ESPN in Cincinnati, Jocketty stated that "things have changed" and the Reds will not sign Sizemore (Twitter link).
SUNDAY, 4:19pm: "Some details have to be worked out," Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We hope to get something done next week." Jocketty also told Fay both Major League and minor league deals have been discussed with Sizemore.
2:53pm:The Reds are in advanced talks with outfielder Grady Sizemore, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The sources, however, caution other teams are involved and the 31-year-old free agent could go in a different direction.
This is not the first time the Reds have been linked to the three-time All-Star, who hasn't played since 2011 because of microfracture surgery on his right knee and back and sports hernia operations. Earlier this month, Reds GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon he believes Sizemore is healthy enough to resume his career and acknowledged there has been talks with his representatives.
Sizemore slashed .281/.372/.496 with 107 home runs and 115 steals from 2005-08 winning a pair of Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. He missed only nine games over the course of that four-year run, but has appeared in only 210 games since posting a line of .234/.314/.413.
Sizemore would provide insurance for the Reds, who plan on starting rookie Billy Hamilton in center after losing Shin-Soo Choo to free agency. The Astros have also been connected to the Joe Urbon client this winter while the Twins were interested but have since moved on.
The Reds spoke with Homer Bailey's representatives before the holidays about a new long-term contract for the right-hander, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports. This isn't the first time the club has explored locking up Bailey, as the two sides reportedly discussed an extension last winter before settling on a one-year, $5.35MM contract to avoid arbitration.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Sheldon that Bailey is the only one of Cincinnati's six arbitration-eligible players who is currently being considered for a long-term deal. Unsurprisingly, Jocketty sees Bailey as "probably the one guy that's going to be the most difficult [to sign] because of how well he's done and where he's at in this service class. Young pitchers are getting quite a bit."
"At this point, we really haven't discussed anybody but Homer to sign long term. Homer is the only one we've pursued, but we've had internal discussions on the other guys. We just have to see how it all fits in, financially."
Bailey is arb-eligible for the third and final time this winter, and MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects that Bailey will earn $9.3MM through the arbitration process. Another strong reason for Bailey would almost surely net him a $100MM contract in free agency next offseason, and the mid-market Reds would be hard-pressed outbid richer clubs for Bailey's services on the open market. Even locking him up now would be an expensive proposition for the Reds --- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes opined that it might take more than a five-year, $85MM deal to keep Bailey in the fold since he's so close to free agency.
If the Reds can't extend Bailey this offseason, they could explore a trade, though Jocketty has said that the team wants to keep Bailey in order to help them contend in 2014. I'd guess it would also be difficult for Jocketty to find fair value for Bailey in a trade considering a suitor would only have him for one season. Since Bailey would net Cincinnati a first-round compensation pick (for turning down a qualifying offer) if he signed elsewhere in the offseason, the Reds would likely only be motivated to move the righty if they could obtain something of greater value than a first-round pick.
Of the other arbitration cases, Leake and Chapman stand out as the only possible candidates for a long-term deal. Leake, picked eighth overall in the 2009 draft, has become a solid part of the rotation in his own right, with a 3.99 ERA and 677 1/3 IP over his first four seasons. This is Leake's second year of arb-eligibility and Swartz projects him to earn $5.9MM. Chapman is projected by Swartz to earn $4.6MM through his first year of arbitration eligibility (on top of the $3MM he earns from his original contract). It's probably unlikely that the Reds would look to make a long financial commitment to a closer, especially since the chance still exists that Chapman could be moved into the rotation.
The Reds have had preliminary extension talks with some of their arbitration eligible players, Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty acknowledged. "Nothing has gotten really serious yet,” the GM said, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. However, the Reds are interested in locking up Mat Latos and Homer Bailey to multiyear contracts.
"We've discussed that," Jocketty said. "We're taking a look to see if it works. If not, we'll go year to year. We'd prefer something long term eventually."
Mike Leake, Logan Ondrusek, Alfredo Simon, Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Heisey of the Reds are also arbitration eligible this offseason, as MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last month that the Reds had had some extension talks with Bailey and intended to discuss a deal with Latos.
Bailey, a Hendricks Sports client, projects to earn $5.1MM in 2013 as a second time eligible player, according to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Meanwhile, Latos projects to earn $4.6MM as a first time eligible player. Bledsoe Brothers represents Latos.
Today is the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American player to win the MVP Award. This would be the only such honor during Robinson's Hall of Fame career. Here's the latest news from the Senior Circuit:
- Negotiations between the Nationals and Adam LaRoche are going slowly, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The source also says LaRoche's top priority is to return to the Nationals, but the free agent first baseman is thinking about his two children, which is why he wants a three-year deal and has talked with several teams.
- A five-year, $75MM contract might be accurate for B.J. Upton but expect Michael Bourn to seek more, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Despite the declining influence of home runs to change a game, as typified by the Giants winning the World Series after slugging the fewest home runs in baseball, the Phillies still need a power surge in 2013, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Centerfield is one position where the Phillies could seek to boost their power output. ESPN's Buster Olney breaks down their various centerfield options in his latest Insiders-only blog.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sees the Reds' 2013 payroll being $92MM, but a team insider tells him the actual number could start with an eight. This would make it difficult, in Fay's opinion, to do anything in free agency except sign a closer or re-sign Ryan Ludwick.
- Within the same piece, GM Walt Jocketty says he will wait until after Thanksgiving to speak with Scott Rolen, who is contemplating retirement.
- The Cardinals' needs are simple for 2013, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team needs to reinforce a thin bench by adding some right-handed power and find a fourth outfielder who can generate some offense. Miklasz adds the health of shortstop Rafael Furcal is also a significant question.
- Blessed with the deepest of pockets, the Dodgers' desire to pursue an elite starting pitcher reveals myriad ways the team can approach the process, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Common sense, however, may still prevail at Chavez Ravine as Dodgers controlling partner Mark Walter once eloquently stated, "Pitchers break."
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty spoke to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about some of the free agent names connected to his club this winter...
- The Reds' first priority is trying to find a leadoff hitter, though Jocketty said that Michael Bourn is too expensive for his club and the same could be true about Angel Pagan. Jocketty said that the team hasn't contacted Pagan yet and "not that we wouldn’t but I wonder about the money.”
- Jocketty confirmed that the Reds have talked to Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Madson about returning to Cincinnati, while the team has also spoke to free agent Joakim Soria. Broxton is the only one of the trio who would be able to pitch on Opening Day, as Madson and Soria are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Reds are likely one of the eight contenders who Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, says has shown interest in his client.
- The Reds talked to Torii Hunter's agent "but the money was too much," Jocketty said. The general manager doubted that Hunter's two-year, $26MM contract with the Tigers would impact Ryan Ludwick's price since "they're different kind(s) of players." The Reds have had "preliminary" talks with Ludwick about a new deal.
- Jocketty told FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi last week that the Reds could deal one of their shortstops (Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius) if the right deal came along, but Jocketty said that neither player is being shopped. "We’re not taking offers,” Jocketty said. “That gets out and then we have to call Cozart and call Didi.”
- The Reds have no plans to extend Jay Bruce's contract. "We control him for five more years,” Jocketty said. “It’s so far off. It’s something we haven’t talked about.” Matt Sosnick, Bruce's agent, raised the possibility of an extension beyond 2016 for his client earlier today.
It’s no secret that Reds GM Walt Jocketty intends to upgrade the Cincinnati outfield this offseason. Jocketty addressed his search for outfield help and other Reds-related questions in a conversation with MLBTR at the GM Meetings in Indian Wells, California. Here are the details.
- Jocketty said the Reds hope to re-sign Ryan Ludwick this winter. “We’ve made some progress, but it’ll probably take another week or two before we know where we’re at,” the GM said. “
- Ideally the Reds would like to add a leadoff hitter. Whether the newcomer plays center or left field has yet to be determined.
- The Reds view Aroldis Chapman as a starting pitcher long-term and they could make him a starter in 2013 if they acquire a free agent reliever. “If we re-sign Ryan Madson or [Jonathan] Broxton or someone else it would allow us to move Chapman to the rotation,” Jocketty said. Pitching coach Bryan Price feels strongly that Chapman can become a top of the rotation starter.
- Signing Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in the spring helped the Reds focus on other needs this offseason, the GM said. “That was important for us to do, for sure.”
The Reds announced that they have agreed to a three-year contract extension with GM Walt Jocketty that will keep him in place through 2014 (Twitter link). Reds owner Bob Castellini promised last week that he would bring the longtime GM back.
The Reds currently have a 76-80 record (though they have scored more runs than they've allowed) and sit in third place in the NL Central. They won the division with a 91-71 record last year and made their first trip to the postseason since 1995. They lost in the Division Series, but only after re-establishing their relevance in the division and boosting attendance by over 3,000 per game.
MLBTR's Transaction Tracker provides complete documentation of Jocketty's moves with Cincinnati. This is Jocketty's third full season with the Reds (this was the last year on his previous contract), but he has been a big league GM since 1994. Click here to see what they were saying when the Cardinals first hired him 17 years ago.
A few links to pass along regarding clubs in the Central divisions ...
- The Indians are facing an offseason of difficult decisions, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. With basically the same roster, the Tribe's payroll would jump from $49MM in 2011 to roughly $70MM next season, explains Hoynes. Several key players like Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez and Asdrubal Cabrera will be eligible for arbitration, and the Indians own options on Grady Sizemore ($9MM) and Fausto Carmona ($7MM).
- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa dismissed a rumor that he will manage the Cubs next season, writes Kevin Roberts of MLB.com. A report surfaced earlier this week that the Cubs would hire La Russa and Reds GM Walt Jocketty (formerly the Cards' GM) in an effort to lure impending free agent Albert Pujols this offseason. This one seems to be falling apart, as Reds owner Bob Castellini has said Jocketty will be back with the Reds in 2012.
- The AL MVP Award is now Tigers righty Justin Verlander's to lose, opines Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
The season has not gone according to plan for the Reds, who are 72-76 and 14.5 games back of the Brewers in the NL Central. GM Walt Jocketty's contract is up after the season, and there's been some speculation that he could be a fit for the Cubs. Reds owner Bob Castellini shot that down though, telling John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer that both Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker will be back.
"Walt's contract is up ... There's been some speculation about his future. My instincts tell me he isn’t going anywhere," said Fay to Castellini, who replied: "Your instincts are correct." As for Baker, Castellini said: "Of course, he’ll be back."
Jocketty has been running the Reds since late-April of 2008, when he replaced Wayne Krisvky. Baker came on board a few months before Jocketty, agreeing to manage the Reds during the 2007-2008 offseason. The duo has helped the team go from 72-90 in 2007 to the NLDS and a division title last year, though this season has been a bit of a bump in the road.
To see all of Jocketty's moves with the Reds, check out our Transactions Tracker.
The Cubs currently project for the seventh overall pick in next year's draft. Once that is determined, things should get interesting on the North Side. The latest:
- The Reds will discuss the idea of signing third baseman Aramis Ramirez if he reaches free agency, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. I think signing Ramirez would really push the Reds' payroll to the limit, assuming they also pick up Brandon Phillips' club option. The Cubs must decide between Ramirez's $16MM club option and a $2MM buyout within five days of the end of the World Series, so the team's new GM may not yet be in place. After the Cubs decide, Ramirez has five days to make his choice on the option (declining would mean forfeiting the buyout). Ramirez wants to stay, but he recently told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine he desires a two or three-year deal.
- One scenario raised during informal discussions (presumably ones including owner Tom Ricketts) has the Cubs hiring current Reds GM Walt Jocketty, which could then lead to the team snaring Tony La Russa to manage and Albert Pujols to play first base, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Jocketty declined to comment, saying that he's happy in Cincinnati, but also lavished praise on the Cubs job and noted that the team extending farm director Oneri Fleita "shouldn't be" a hindrance. Wittenmyer says the Cubs are gathering information on Andrew Friedman, Billy Beane, Dan Evans, and Ned Colletti so far. Ricketts has yet to ask permission to speak to any GM under contract, writes Levine. In a chat conducted yesterday, Levine guessed Rick Hahn would be the next Cubs' GM.
- Also in that chat, Levine wrote that Ricketts has identified the Cubs' primary need to be two or three starting pitchers. The beat writer does not think the team will spend their money this offseason on position players. He predicts a payroll in the $120-130MM range.
- Numerous Japanese teams have been scouting and are prepared to make offers to Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair, reports Levine. LaHair is intrigued but hopes to remain in the Majors. The 28-year-old snagged Pacific Coast League MVP honors by hitting .331/.405/.664 with 38 home runs in 523 plate appearances, and he's carried that success to the bigs in an eight-game stint. Former Cubs first baseman Micah Hoffpauir went the Japan route a year ago, but is hitting .245/.325/.429 for the Nippon Ham Fighters this year.