Former Blue Jays scouting director Bob Engel is heading to the Reds organization as the new international cross-checker, according to reports from Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com (via Twitter) and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (on Twitter). Cincinnati has made some notable international signings in recent years with Raisel Iglesias and Aroldis Chapman.
Here are a few more notes from the NL Central:
- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli is coming off of a breakout campaign in which he contributed in all facets and stayed on the field, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry writes. Cervelli says he’d love to stay with Pittsburgh for the long term, though he added that he has not been contacted by the front office regarding extension talks and would let his agent handle any such matters. Certainly, it would be interesting to see how negotiations would progress if they do occur, as Cervelli could be a highly sought-after free agent if he can repeat his 2015 campaign. But there’s also plenty of downside, as that was the first time he put it all together over a full season.
- Young outfielder Yorman Rodriguez could find a chance with the Reds this spring, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. The out-of-options 23-year-old will likely compete with other inexperienced players like Scott Schebler and Adam Duvall. Rodriguez put up a .269/.308/.429 slash last year over 326 Triple-A plate appearances.
- All of those outfielders would benefit, of course, if the Reds end up trading Jay Bruce, of course, although it would stand to reason that the organization will bring in some low-cost veterans once the market shakes out. As for Bruce, Sheldon reports that the Indians have replaced the Blue Jays on his limited no-trade list — likely a reflection of the fact that Cleveland has been pursuing outfield help this winter. The other clubs to which Bruce can block a deal are the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics, Rays, Marlins, Twins, and Diamondbacks. Sheldon breaks down the possible suitors for the left-handed hitting veteran.