Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors Thu, 19 Jul 2018 04:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Raisel Iglesias Hopes To Stick With Reds Sat, 14 Jul 2018 21:59:35 +0000
  • The belief is that the Astros’ front office has a high opinion of Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Mark Sheldon of relays. That’s hardly a shock, as most who follow the game think highly of Iglesias, but it’s notable considering the Astros are in the market for bullpen help. Iglesias would fit nicely into their relief corps or any other team’s, but the 28-year-old – a careerlong Red – would like to remain in Cincinnati. On the subject of trade rumors, Iglesias said through an interpreter: “I’m not paying attention at all to that. I want to stay here. I don’t want to go anywhere else, but I don’t control that. If I could control it, I would stay here and play here for all of my career.”
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    Latest On Scooter Gennett Sat, 14 Jul 2018 01:05:35 +0000 Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett made clear today that he does not anticipate being traded, as’s Mark Sheldon reports. Rather, the first-time All-Star says he has been given indication that the team would prefer to make him a part of the long-term picture.

    Indeed, Gennett’s comments seemingly suggest that there’s even some contemplation of a long-term arrangement. Sheldon writes that “no serious talks” have taken place to this point, but that “a line of communication has been opened.” Perhaps it’s possible that mid-season talks will be pursued in some earnest, but that’s not particularly clear at this time.

    What is apparent is that Gennett believes he won’t be putting on a new uniform in the next few weeks. As he puts it:

    “Just from the talks that I’ve had with the guys in control of all those things, I feel like they want me here. I feel like, just from what I’ve been told, they want me here for the long term. What I’m getting is [CEO Bob Castellini] wants me here for a while.”

    That dovetails with what Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports hears — namely, that some “sources familiar with Reds [sic] are dubious that the team has any intent of dealing him.” The note regarding Castellini is particularly interesting, as his preferences are of obviously critical importance and have evidently come to bear directly in the recent past. Though GM Nick Krall certainly did not give anything away in his comments to Sheldon, he did emphasize how much the team values Gennett.

    Gennett, of course, has thrived since landing in Cincinnati via waiver claim before the 2017 season. There was cause to doubt the sustainability of his output last year, but he has only boosted it thus far. Through 374 plate appearances this year, Gennett carries an outstanding .326/.372/.518 batting line with 15 home runs.

    That being said, there’s still reason to believe some regression could be in store, as his .371 batting average on balls in play doesn’t seem sustainable. In particular, it’s tough to imagine Gennett will keep up his current pace against left-handed pitching while carrying only a 3.7% walk rate to go with a healthy .389 BABIP.

    No matter precisely how one views the 28-year-old, there’s no question that he’s a valuable asset. For the Reds, both evident possibilities — trade or hold and try to extend — are surely tantalizing. Despite an injury-riddled year, infield prospect Nick Senzel still seems to be a key long-term asset, providing added impetus to the idea of making a move. Cashing in Gennett might help other areas — notably, a pitching staff that’s still in need of long-term pieces despite some promising signs of late. At the same time, a long-term deal with the Cincinnati native would no doubt prove popular with fans. With the team expressing growing confidence in its core group of talent and preparing to increase its MLB spending, perhaps Gennett will be worth more to this organization than any other.

    D-backs, Reds, Yankees Have Varying Levels Of Interest In Zack Wheeler Fri, 13 Jul 2018 17:00:57 +0000 July 13: The Yankees’ interest in Wheeler, at this point, is considered to be “mild,” Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports in a deeper look at the right-hander’s market. Scouts from at least eight teams watched Wheeler’s most recent start, and of that group, Ackert lists the Diamondbacks as a club that came away from the outing with interest in the righty. The Reds, despite their rebuilding status, are planning to watch him again this weekend.

    The D-backs’ interest is easy to parse. Arizona has lost Taijuan Walker for the season and is now once again concerned over the right elbow of Shelby Miller, who only recently returned from Tommy John. The resurgent Clay Buchholz is currently on the disabled list as well. Beyond that, Arizona could lose Patrick Corbin to free agency this winter, and Miller’s future is currently anything but certain. Wheeler, controlled through 2019, would give them an affordable arm to add not just for this season but also next year.

    As for the Reds, their inclusion is a bit more surprising. Cincinnati has played considerably better in recent months, but their rotation picture still looks to be largely a mess. President of baseball ops Dick Williams said recently, though, that the team plans to up its payroll in 2019. Adding Wheeler now could amount to doing a bit of their offseason shopping in advance, and his modest price tag would allow the team to pursue more costly rotation upgrades this winter, with the goal of pairing those arms with an increasingly encouraging core of position players.

    July 12: Though Yankees fans might prefer a different target from the Mets’ rotation, the Bronx Bombers have “recently inquired” into the availability of right-hander Zack Wheeler, according to Marc Carig of The Athletic (via Twitter). While Carig cautions that the contact may mostly be a matter of conducting due diligence, it’s still a notable potential connection between these infrequent trade partners.

    The thought long has been that the Yankees would pursue starters, but the level of quality they’ll ultimately end up achieving is still in doubt. Many would argue that the team needs to chase a top-end arm to pair with Luis Severino at the top of its staff in order to take down the rival Red Sox and make a lengthy postseason run.

    With no rental arms available that meet that description — unless buyers are fully ready to believe in Nathan Eovaldi, at least —  the attention has been on more controllable pitchers. That may suit the Yanks just fine, as they could well end up considering rotation upgrades at season’s end regardless.

    That said, the asking prices for the very best assets figure to be astronomical. That’s no doubt the case for Wheeler’s teammate, Jacob deGrom, whose name has already made the rounds in the rumor mill as a crosstown trade candidate. His complete dominance — 1.68 ERA in 123 1/3 innings — and two remaining seasons of arbitration control make deGrom arguably the very top deadline pitching target in the game. Though indications are that the Mets will at least be open-minded, they’ll understandably be holding out for a truly compelling trade package.

    Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising to learn that the Yankees are at least taking a closer look at Wheeler. True, Wheeler owns only a modest 4.42 ERA over his 99 2/3 innings on the year. But he’s carrying a solid 8.9 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 and, more importantly, has shown some other interesting trends.

    Wheeler is working at the top of his career velocity levels (96.2 mph average fastball), getting more swings and strikes (11.0%) than ever, and permitting an average exit velocity lower than all but seven other pitchers in baseball. And the results have improved quite a bit of late, coinciding with a rise in Wheeler’s velocity and a steady reduction of his fastball usage in favor of his slider.

    The 28-year-old would not necessarily be an instant upgrade to the team’s anticipated playoff rotation, though perhaps there’d be some hope that he’d further establish himself down the stretch. Regardless, there would clearly be value in having him on hand to help a tough AL East battle. And even if he doesn’t currently project to be a postseason ace, Wheeler might be an interesting arm to deploy creatively — say, in a pairing with veteran lefty CC Sabathia, to offer one hypothetical possibility.

    There’s added value in Wheeler’s contract rights, though that’s also countered by his spotty health history. He’s earning just $1.9MM this season before qualifying for arbitration a final time this coming offseason. The low cost may also be a factor as the Yankees contemplate other upgrades — including, perhaps, other hurlers — as it’d leave plenty of room left to work with under the luxury tax line.

    Williams Says Reds Plan To Increase Payroll In 2019 Tue, 10 Jul 2018 04:06:24 +0000 Reds president of baseball operations and general manager Dick Williams indicated today that his club’s “internal plan” is to boost MLB spending in 2019, as Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

    “What we’ve said is that we’ve always tried to put as much of (the payroll) on the field as we can,” said Williams. “We now feel like the last couple of years, we’ve taken a lot of our resources and allocated them into the amateur draft, the international market. We hope that can shift back toward Major League payroll.”

    While he did not commit to specifics, Williams certainly indicated that the organization is hoping to build off of some recent positive momentum on the field. He said that the club “believe[s] that we’re creating a good core to invest around.”

    Though the Reds remain buried in the NL Central, the club has played much better of late. In addition to receiving solid contributions from much of the lineup, the pitching staff has shown some promise after years of struggles.

    Among the organization’s building blocks are several players already signed to long-term deals, including star first baseman Joey Votto, third bagger Eugenio Suarez, and catcher Tucker Barnhart. In addition to some major strides from the bullpen, starters Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano have turned in improved results over the last month or so.

    It’s interesting to note, of course, that the Reds remain in an obvious selling position at the trade deadline. That said, starter Matt Harvey is perhaps the team’s only truly marketable pending free agent. And the intended future course could counsel against significant moves involving controllable players, even those who aren’t under club control for the long haul. Second baseman Scooter Gennett, outfielder Billy Hamilton, and veteran relievers Raisel Iglesias, Jared Hughes, and David Hernandez are among the names that surely have or will come up in trade chatter. But none of those players will qualify for free agency at season’s end, and most of the rest of the roster comes with even lengthier control.

    With half of the 2018 season still yet to be played, of course, the plans could still undergo some change. Williams cautioned that “it’s too early to know for sure” just what course the Reds will chart. He noted that “support we get from the fans” will play a role, perhaps hinting at the fact that attendance is down quite a bit in Cincinnati, as Nightengale explains.

    The hope and expectation, though, seems to be that there’ll be added funds available for some additions. What types of players might be targeted will surely also be a function of how things shape up over the coming months, though pitching promises to be a focal point. As things stand, though, Williams foresees a “nice  increase” in payroll. The club began the present season at just over $100MM after falling shy of that mark in the prior two campaigns. The team’s Opening Day record, of $115MM and change, came in 2015.

    ]]> 49 Dodgers Looking Into Multiple Potential Infield Targets Tue, 10 Jul 2018 01:38:18 +0000 The Dodgers are widely rumored to be a major suitor for Orioles star Manny Machado. But they are also looking at multiple other possibilities for improving their lineup, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).

    Per the report, the Los Angeles organization has not only “stepped up” its efforts to boost its infield mix, but has inquired into at least three specific options beyond Machado. Passan links the Dodgers to the Reds’ Scooter Gennett, the Twins’ Brian Dozier, and the Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera. And Josh Harrison of the Pirates is also of some interest, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (Twitter link). (He also notes that the Dodgers are interested in some of Minnesota’s veteran relievers.)

    The precise interest level in each of those players isn’t clear. Needless to say, the Dodgers are not limiting themselves to a single option — or, really, even a single type of player. While Machado has spent his entire career on the left side of the infield, the other players now reportedly in the mix could fit in at second base.

    Indeed, both Gennett and Dozier have more or less exclusively played at second in the majors. Though the latter did break in as a shortstop, he hasn’t lined up there since 2012. Cabrera has more extensive time at short and third, while Harrison has also played all over. Gennett swings from the left side, Dozier and Harrison the right. Cabrera is a switch-hitter. Both Dozier and Cabrera will be free agents after the season, while Gennett and Harrison can be controlled for one and two additional years, respectively.

    This slate of candidates includes quite a lot of MLB experience, of course. All are relatively low-strikeout, contact-oriented hitters. Gennett and Cabrera have outproduced the others offensively this year, but there are other things for the L.A. brass to consider. Dozier has an excellent track record, a history of second-half productivity, and an explanation (.247 BABIP) for some of his woes. Harrison is surely the least-accomplished hitter of the bunch, but adds more value on the bases and in the field.

    All things considered, it’s not strictly evident just what the Dodgers are most interested in finding beyond adding a player they like to their infield mix. The team has not received much from Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley, but those two have combined to take the lion’s share of time at second. Adding Machado might well mean bumping Chris Taylor to the other side of the bag, or to the outfield. If that fails, a different addition intended to address second base more directly could instead be pursued.

    Of course, it’s somewhat debatable whether this is even an area the Dodgers really ought to be focused, even with Corey Seager gone for the year. Forsythe and Utley haven’t been great, true, but the entire rest of the lineup (excepting backup catcher Austin Barnes) has been excellent. Ensuring there’s a place for Max Muncy’s bat to play is perhaps the more pressing need. Most recently, he has slotted in at second, though perhaps that’s not the club’s ultimate preference. In any event, it seems the L.A. front office is interested not only in maximizing depth, but also in guarding against any downturns in its potent lineup.

    Reds Scouting Yankees' Triple-A Club Mon, 09 Jul 2018 16:49:48 +0000
  • Aroldis Chapman will likely be dealing with his current left knee issue for the rest of the season, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said before yesterday’s game (link via George A. King III of the New York Post). Chapman has been playing through a minor bout of tedinitis in his left knee and was held out of yesterday’s game even when the Yankees found themselves with a late 2-1 lead. Boone explained that he wanted to stay away from Chapman and Dellin Betances, instead turning to David Robertson to nail down the save. With a doubleheader set for Monday, it makes some sense to give Chapman that extra day of rest. King also notes that the Reds, Rangers and Royals were all among the rebuilding teams scouting the Triple-A tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox’ top affiliates yesterday. Several contending clubs were on hand as well, though, including the Indians, Phillies and D-backs.
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    Dick Williams On Reds' Deadline Plans Sun, 08 Jul 2018 21:52:31 +0000 Ten teams were reportedly in attendance on Sunday to watch Rays right-hander Nathan Eovaldi pitch in New York, and he didn’t disappoint. Eovaldi delivered seven near-perfect innings against the Mets, striking out nine (against no walks) and allowing one hit. The Yankees, Diamondbacks, Braves, Brewers, Cubs, Giants, Reds and Marlins had scouts on hand to witness the performance, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports, though he notes that all of them aren’t necessarily interested in Eovaldi. The Yanks and Marlins are already familiar with Eovaldi, who has pitched for both teams in the past. Miami’s not going to buy Eovaldi, though, as it’s well out of contention and he’s a pending free agent. But the Yankees are World Series hopefuls who need a starter, so perhaps they’d consider a reunion with Eovaldi. The 28-year-old has returned from 2016 Tommy John surgery to post a 3.35 ERA with 8.19 K/9, 1.12 BB/9 and a 48.8 percent grounder rate over 48 1/3 innings.

    • At 39-50, Cincinnati sits below Pittsburgh in the NL Central. But the two teams have been going in opposite directions in recent months, with the Reds having played respectable ball of late. As a result, they’re not necessarily inclined to sell this summer unless returns are compelling, president Dick Williams told Mark Sheldon of “Really, almost the whole 25-man roster is controlled beyond this year other than (Matt) Harvey,” Williams said. “That puts us in a good position of not feeling like you have to do anything with guys. You can be opportunistic. We want to have a very successful second half. We believe we’ll have the players here to keep this momentum going.” And even though the Reds have turned things around since firing manager Bryan Price on April 19 and replacing him with interim skipper Jim Riggleman, they’re not ready to hand the reins to Riggleman on a full-time basis, per Williams.
    Reds Select Dilson Herrera Fri, 06 Jul 2018 14:23:15 +0000 The Reds announced Friday that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Dilson Herrera from Triple-A Louisville. It’ll mark not only the Reds debut for the 24-year-old, but his first MLB action since a 2015 trial run with the Mets. Left-hander Cody Reed was optioned to Louisville in a corresponding move.

    Herrera came to the Reds alongside left-hander Max Wotell (who was released yesterday) in the 2016 trade that sent Jay Bruce to the Mets. While Herrera was once viewed as a premium prospect, shoulder troubles have slowed his development in recent years — to the point where Herrera actually went unclaimed on waivers last year and was outrighted off Cincinnati’s 40-man roster.

    So far in 2018, however, Herrera has made great strides in rebuilding his stock. He opened the season at Class-A Advanced as he eased his way back into things following 2017 shoulder surgery but quickly proved ready for a greater challenge, hitting .298/.359/.429 through 21 games in the Florida State League. The Reds then bumped Herrera back up to Triple-A, where he’s batted .297/.367/.465 with seven homers and 10 doubles through 208 plate appearances.

    It’s been a long road back to the Majors for Herrera, and while there’s no immediate opening for him to receive everyday at-bats in Cincinnati with Scooter Gennett at second base and Eugenio Suarez at third base, that could change in the coming weeks. Gennett, after all, is a potential trade candidate given that he has just a season and a half remaining until reaching free agency. Herrera could also simply function as a bench piece, spelling both Gennett and Suarez occasionally while serving as a pinch-hitting option late in games. Whatever his role, Herrera will at the very least deepen the Cincinnati bench for the time being as he hopes to play is way into more prominent standing with the organization down the road.

    Reds Release Max Wotell Thu, 05 Jul 2018 23:37:25 +0000
  • The Reds’ Rookie-level affiliate announced today that lefty Max Wotell has been released by the organization. The 21-year-old Wotell was traded alongside Dilson Herrera from the Mets to the Reds in exchange for Jay Bruce back in 2016, but his control evaporated immediately upon being dealt to the Reds. At the time of the swap, Wotell had a 3.94 ERA with a respectable 31-to-12 K/BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings in Rookie ball. He walked seven batters in six innings to close out that season with the Reds, and the following year, he walked 14 batters in just 17 1/3 innings between two levels. This season, Wotell had a combined 10.45 ERA with 17 walks against 11 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings between A-ball and Rookie ball.
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    Yankees Not Too Interested In Matt Harvey Thu, 05 Jul 2018 02:50:40 +0000
  • The Yankees are known to be exploring the starting pitching market but Matt Harvey isn’t a big target for the team, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Harvey has recovered a bit of his former value by pitching well over 10 starts for the Reds, though the Yankees are wary of the right-hander due to the “potential circus” of extra media attention that would accompany Harvey’s return to New York.
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    Dodgers Acquire Dylan Floro, Zach Neal From Reds; Designate Daniel Corcino Wed, 04 Jul 2018 20:17:46 +0000 The Dodgers have acquired right-handers Dylan Floro and Zach Neal from the Reds, as per a team press release.  Los Angeles will also receive some international bonus pool space from Cincinnati in the trade, and right-hander Daniel Corcino has been designated for assignment to create a 40-man roster spot.  The Reds will receive minor league right-handers Aneurys Zabala and James Marinan in the trade.

    After signing a minor league deal with Cincy over the winter, Floro emerged as a solid bullpen piece for the Reds, posting a 2.72 ERA, 2.25 K/BB rate, and a 6.7 K/9 over 36 1/3 innings this season.  While he doesn’t miss many bats, Floro has consistently been able to keep the ball on the ground over his seven-year pro career, including a 56.8% grounder rate in 2018.  He has also done a good job of limiting contact, as his .282 xwOBA is notably lower than his .307 wOBA.

    Floro’s skillset makes him a logical fit in a Dodgers bullpen that has had some issues keeping the ball in the park, as the L.A. relief corps ranks in the bottom half of all bullpens in HR/9.  Dodgers relievers generally rank around the middle of the pack in most categories, and the team was known to have been looking around (particularly at the Marlins) for some bullpen help to bolster a unit that has been thinned by injuries.  It wouldn’t be surprising if the Dodgers weren’t done with their relief shopping prior to the deadline, as while Floro has been effective this year, he isn’t a proven commodity with only 61 career Major League innings under his belt.

    This is actually the second time Floro has been in the Dodgers’ system, as the club selected him off waivers from the Cubs last summer before letting him go as a free agent after the season.  Neal is another former Dodger, who was dealt to the Reds back in April as part of a three-player trade.  The 29-year-old Neal saw lot of action (70 innings) right out of the gate in his 2016 rookie season as a member of the A’s, though he has since tossed just 15 2/3 big league frames.  He’ll likely continue to pitch in Triple-A, potentially replacing Corcino as minor league relief and swingman depth if Corcino is lost on DFA waivers.

    Corcino tossed four innings for L.A. this season, which marked his first bit of MLB action since 18 2/3 innings for the Reds back in 2014.  The 27-year-old has a 4.06 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 2.05 K/BB rate over 838 1/3 minor league innings in the farm systems of the Reds, Cubs, and Dodgers.

    This is the Reds’ second trade of international bonus pool space in the last three days.  Cincinnati can’t spend more than $300K on any single international prospect in this year’s July 2 class due to past overages (under the old int’l signing rules), and with a large pool of $6,025,400 to work with, it isn’t surprising that the Reds have unloaded some of that cash to the Red Sox and now the Dodgers to obtain some other young talent.  It isn’t known how much Cincy is sending to Los Angeles, though international pool funds can only be dealt in $250K increments.

    Marinan is the most notable prospect name in the trade, with ranking him 21st amongst Dodgers farmhands (Baseball America had Marinan 24th in their preseason ranking of Los Angeles’ top 30 minor leaguers).  A fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft, Marinan is still just 19 years old, and he has a 1.95 ERA over 27 2/3 innings at the rookie ball level, albeit with a troubling 5.9 BB/9.’s scouting report lists the young righty at 6’5″ and 220 pounds, and describes him as possessing a fastball in the 92-96mph range, a slider, and “an upper-70s curveball that features good depth when he stays on top of it.”

    Zabala is another young arm joining the Reds’ farm system, a 21-year-old signed out of the Dominican Republic who is in his fifth season of pro ball.  Zabala has worked exclusively as a reliever since 2015, and he has a career 5.05 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 1.26 K/BB over 164 innings.

    Reds Sign Jonathan India Tue, 03 Jul 2018 20:35:24 +0000 TUESDAY: The deal is official. India receives a $5.3MM bonus,’s Jim Callis tweets.

    SUNDAY: The Reds will sign first-round pick Jonathan India, per Jon Heyman of Fancred. India’s bonus isn’t known, but his selection – No. 5 – comes with a $5.9MM slot value.

    India was a star third baseman at Florida, where he was particularly excellent in 2018. The 21-year-old concluded his tenure with the Gators by slashing .350/.497/.717 with 21 home runs in 226 at-bats as a junior, leading to both a high selection and top 1o pre-draft rankings at Baseball America (No. 6), (No. 8), ESPN (No. 9) and FanGraphs (No. 9).

    India will bring an “advanced” offensive approach to the Reds, per, which lauds his “excellent plate discipline,” ability to hit for average and decent power. He’s also a threat on the base paths and has the athleticism to play all over the infield, according to India’s defensive versatility could be especially useful for a Cincinnati team which has third baseman Eugenio Suarez locked up for the long haul.

    Latest On Matt Harvey, Raisel Iglesias Tue, 03 Jul 2018 20:20:08 +0000 3:20pm: A source disputes the reporting from the Nationals’ perspective, per Chelsea Janes and Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post (Twitter links). The Washington organization does not have interest in Harvey and “seems unlikely” to be a real bidder on Iglesias, according to the WaPo duo. The Nats are said to have shown some interest in Iglesias as a reliever, but that came before they acquired Kelvin Herrera.

    10:07am: The Nationals have been in touch with the Reds recently and are eyeing right-handers Matt Harvey and Raisel Iglesias, in particular, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). Perhaps most interestingly, Heyman notes that several clubs are intrigued by the idea of using Iglesias as a starter.

    Harvey, 29, has undeniably raised his stock since joining the Reds in a trade nearly two months ago in a trade that sent Devin Mesoraco to New York. Through 53 2/3 innings out of the Cincinnati rotation, he’s worked to a 3.86 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9 and a 43 percent ground-ball rate. More encouraging than the bottom-line numbers is the fact that Harvey has steadily improved his velocity over the course of his tenure in Cincinnati; he’s averaged nearly 95 mph on his fastball over his past five starts and is averaging 94.2 mph on his heater as a Red after averaging 92.6 mph as a Met.

    Harvey would be a pure rental for any team that acquires him, as he’s slated to hit free agency at season’s end. From the Nationals’ vantage point, though, it’s not clear he’d be a definitive upgrade over their in-house options. The Nats’ current top three of Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez is a strong trio, and while it’s not known exactly when Stephen Strasburg will rejoin the team, he did recently throw a bullpen session. If Strasburg’s absence proves to be lengthy, the need for a starter would be more pronounced. If he can return in the reasonably near future, though, it’s tougher to call Harvey a demonstrative upgrade over current fifth starter Jeremy Hellickson, who has turned in a perhaps surprisingly effective season to date (2.63 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 3.51 FIP, 3.55 xFIP through 48 innings).

    As for Iglesias, he stands out as a reasonable target for virtually any team with postseason aspirations. The 28-year-old has stepped up as Cincinnati’s closer over the past two seasons and pitched quite well, regularly pitching more than an inning per appearance. Since Opening Day 2017, he’s pitched 112 2/3 innings (97 appearances) and posted a 2.48 ERA with 10.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9. Beyond that, he’s controlled for three more years after the 2018 season, making him a long-term piece for any club to add to its staff — be it in the bullpen or rotation.

    The Nationals’ bullpen is much improved from a year ago, as they’ve since added Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler and Kelvin Herrera, to say nothing of the surprisingly dominant Justin Miller. But Iglesias would nonetheless further deepen an increasingly productive relief corps for manager Dave Martinez or, perhaps, serve as an upside play to plug into the fifth spot in the Washington rotation. If that proved to be a role in which he could thrive, he’d give the team a valuable option there with Gonzalez and Hellickson set to hit free agency at season’s end and Roark controlled only through 2019.

    Reds Acquire Lorenzo Cedrola From Red Sox For International Bonus Pool Space Mon, 02 Jul 2018 16:27:23 +0000 The Red Sox have traded minor league outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola to the Reds in exchange for international bonus pool space, both teams announced. Neither announcement revealed the size of the pool allotment changing hands, though international bonus allotments must be traded in increments of $250K.

    For the Reds, it’s not a surprise to see them trading away some pool space. The Cincinnati organization is still in the maximum penalty bracket from the previous collective bargaining agreement, meaning they can’t sign any single international amateur for a bonus of greater than $300K. Boston is under no such exemption and will use the additional funds to bolster their haul on the 2018-19 international signing market, which opened today and will run through June 15, 2019.

    Cedrola, 20, signed with the Red Sox in February 2015 out of Venezuela and has since risen to the Class-A South Atlantic League, where he’s currently repeating the level. He’s hitting .318/.350/427 through 229 plate appearances in his second run through that level, and while he hasn’t homered, he’s hit 17 doubles and three triples along the way. Cedrola has minimal power but has swiped 65 bases (in 91 tries) through 262 minor league games.

    Baseball America rated Cedrola as the Red Sox’ No. 24 prospect in the 2016-17 offseason, calling him an “excellent athlete and plus runner” while also noting his physical limitations and lack of home run power. Cedrola rarely walks but has strong contact skills — career 4.3 percent walk rate and 11.9 percent strikeout rate — and BA notes that with his speed and average arm, he has the profile of at least a reserve outfielder.

    Reds Trade Joe Hudson To Angels Sun, 01 Jul 2018 01:32:11 +0000
  • The Angels have acquired catcher Joe Hudson from the Reds for cash, per an announcement from Cincinnati. Hudson had been with the Reds since they chose him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. Now 27, Hudson has seen his first Triple-A action this year and hit .235/.339/.294 in 60 plate appearances.
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    Cafardo: Red Sox, Astros Interested In Raisel Iglesias Sat, 30 Jun 2018 23:12:06 +0000 The Red Sox and Astros are among the teams with interest in Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Houston, in particular, is “looking hard at Iglesias,” Cafardo writes. The Astros had been eyeing fellow late-game option Kelvin Herrera, per Cafardo, though he’s no longer on the market after the Royals traded him to the Nationals earlier this month. Unlike Herrera, a free agent at season’s end, Iglesias could be a multiyear solution for an acquiring team. The 28-year-old standout is under control through 2020 for affordable salaries ($4.5MM this season, $5MM in each of 2019 and ’20), though he could elect to opt into arbitration over the winter in hopes of securing a raise. Given Iglesias’ track record and remaining team control, the Reds would surely require an impressive haul to consider moving him. It’s worth noting, then, that the Astros have Baseball America’s 10th-best farm system, while the Red Sox’s prospect pool is just 24th.

    Reds Prospect Nick Senzel Undergoes Finger Surgery Thu, 28 Jun 2018 23:20:11 +0000 THURSDAY: The surgery was to “reduce the fracture,” per a club announcement, with “no damage to the tendon” requiring treatment. Whether or not that impacts the timeline is not known, but it seems there could be some hope for an improved outlook.

    SATURDAY: The Reds have announced that their top prospect, third baseman Nick Senzel, will undergo season-ending surgery in order to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger.

    It appears as though Senzel suffered the injury while making a defensive play during the top half of the first inning in a Triple-A matchup against the Norfolk Tides. Although he initially remained in the game for the Louisville Bats, he was removed in the bottom half of the inning, and now it appears the Reds are facing one of the worst-case outcomes, as a player who seemed ready to contribute in the majors at some point soon will instead miss the remainder of 2018.

    The 22-year-old Senzel is a consensus top-flight young talent in the game, with all four of Fangraphs, MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus labeling him as either the game’s sixth- or seventh-best prospect in their most recent rankings. A 6’1″ third baseman, Senzel has raked at a .310/.378/.509 clip in 193 Triple-A plate appearances this season while slugging six homers and swiping eight bags.

    For what it’s worth, The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosencrans reports that the Reds expect Senzel to make a full recovery, and they believe the injury is unlikely to affect him moving forward. Furthermore, it seems as though he could still feasibly be ready in time for further development in the Arizona Fall League or in winter ball. Online research, at least, would seem to corroborate that last point, as a few sources suggest that a finger with said injury can handle heavy sports activities after about 12 weeks post-surgery.

    Prior to this stunning turn of events, Senzel seemed to be on the brink of a potential major-league call-up, at least by basic logic. He was just coming off a two-homer game and had three in the past week in addition to his strong Triple-A batting line. Furthermore, a promotion at this point in the season would not have helped him qualify for Super Two status, as that deadline has almost certainly passed for the season. Though he would appear to be blocked at third base by a red-hot Eugenio Suarez, Senzel’s actually been getting some reps at the keystone this season in order to give him a more direct path to the majors.

    For now, though, the young wunderkind will sit on the MiLB injury shelf, where he won’t gather any MLB service time. That means Reds fans will likely have to wait until at least three weeks into next season to see Senzel at Great American Ballpark, as Cincinnati will almost certainly look to manipulate his service clock in order to gain an extra year of team control over him.

    Reds Notes: Duvall, Deadline, Bailey Sun, 24 Jun 2018 19:09:38 +0000 The latest from Cincinnati…

    • Reds outfielder Adam Duvall is drawing plenty of interest in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says (video link). The 29-year-old Duvall likely wouldn’t bring back a lot in a trade, Rosenthal notes, as he’s amid a down season in terms of bottom-line results. After hitting 30-plus home runs in both 2016 and ’17, a two-year stretch in which he slashed .245/.299/.489 in 1,255 plate appearances, Duvall has recorded a .201/.282/.406 line in 262 PAs this season. But with 12 homers and a .205 ISO, Duvall has continued to offer power, and he’s walking at a career-best rate (9.9 percent). Further, as Rosenthal points out, Duvall has encountered some bad luck. The 29-year-old’s batting average on balls in play is just .230, 40 points below his career mark, and he entered Sunday with an impressive .356 xwOBA (via Baseball Savant). Duvall’s also cheap ($645K) and won’t make his first of three potential trips through arbitration until the upcoming offseason.
    • It’s possible the Reds will move Duvall and/or other veterans, though the club’s also open to trading for big league help prior to the deadline. Even though the Reds are 31-45 and nowhere near contention, general manager Dick Williams said Saturday (via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that “we are open to adding. We’re going to start moving into the building mode at the deadline and this offseason.” The goal, according to Williams, is to acquire “a controllable asset that would be with us for a few years.” At the same time, the Reds “have a pretty clear idea going into this deadline on players we’re willing to move if the right deal comes along,” Williams added. Fay goes on to analyze several veterans whom the team could deal in the next several weeks.
    • Right-hander Homer Bailey is in for “a lengthy rehab” stint, per interim manager Jim Riggleman (via Jeff Wallner of While the right knee inflammation that sent Bailey to the disabled list on June 2 seems to have subsided, the Reds are concerned with his results. “His health is good,” said Riggleman. “It’s more about how the ball’s coming out of his hand and the quality of the pitches. He feels pretty good.” Pitching at the Triple-A level Saturday, Bailey gave up seven earned runs on 10 hits over six innings. Before his DL placement, Bailey worked to a 6.68 ERA/6.23 FIP over 62 innings with the Reds, leading them to demote him to a relief role at the end of May. The 32-year-old hasn’t come out of the bullpen for the club yet, though, as he went on the DL shortly after the demotion. Bailey’s in the second-last season of a six-year, $105MM deal, a contract that hasn’t paid off for the Reds.
    Reds Select Kyle Crockett, Option Wandy Peralta, Release Tony Cruz Thu, 21 Jun 2018 20:50:44 +0000 The Reds announced a series of roster moves Thursday, most notably selecting the contract of left-handed reliever Kyle Crockett and optioning fellow southpaw Wandy Peralta to Triple-A Louisville in his place. Cincinnati opened a spot on the 40-man roster for Crockett by releasing Triple-A catcher Tony Cruz. Additionally, the Reds placed Scott Schebler on the bereavement list and recalled outfielder Phil Ervin from Louisville.

    [Related: Updated Cincinnati Reds depth chart]

    The decision to option Peralta was likely a disheartening one for the organization. The hard-throwing 26-year-old looked to be on the path to establishing himself as a quality big league reliever last season when he tossed 64 2/3 innings with a 3.76 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9 and a 54.2 percent ground-ball rate. Most encouragingly, Peralta showed minimal platoon splits (.287 wOBA vs. lefties, .298 vs. righties).

    Unfortunately for Peralta, the 2018 campaign has been nothing short of a nightmare. He has more walks (25) than strikeouts (21) in 29 1/3 innings so far in 2018, and he’s hit a pair of batters as well. He’s allowed just one homer on the season, but his awful control in 2018 has resulted in a 6.14 ERA. Things have been particularly bad of late, as Peralta has surrendered 11 runs over his past five innings of work; he was charged with five earned runs without recording an out in his final appearance before being optioned.

    Cincinnati will hope that Crockett, 26, can step into the role they’d set aside for Peralta. The 2013 Indians fourth-rounder was somewhat improbably the first player from his draft class to reach the Majors, and he did so in impressive fashion, posting a 1.80 ERA with a 28-to-8 K/BB ratio in 30 innings for Cleveland as a rookie in 2014. Since that time, however, he’s managed just a 4.84 ERA in 38 MLB innings. Crockett pitched well for Cleveland’s Triple-A club in 2017 and has a 4.00 ERA with a 23-to-5 K/BB ratio in 27 Triple-A innings this season.

    Cruz, 31, hit .154/.154/.308 in 26 plate appearances this season while serving in a backup capacity for the Reds. However, the Reds picked up Curt Casali in a minor trade with the Rays, displacing Cruz as the backup to Tucker Barnhart. In 73 plate appearances with Louisville this year, Cruz has batted .188/.260/.344.

    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/13/18 Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:35:12 +0000 We’ll use this post to track Wednesday’s notable agreements from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • Reds second-round pick Lyon Richardson scored a $2MM payday to forego his commitment to the University of Florida, per’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That’s nearly half a million over the slot value ($1,520,300) for a player who has only recently emerged as a high-end pitching prospect.’s team was highest among major prospect outlets, ranking Richardson 67th on the basis of his ample upside as an athletic hurler who has shown big velocity despite unpolished mechanics.
    • The Yankees have announced a variety of signings, including deals with second-rounder Josh Breaux and third-rounder Ryder Green. These agreements were first reported by Callis (Twitter links), with the bonus values pinned down by Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Breaux’s bonus of $1,497,500 handily tops his $1,086,900 slot value, while Green, too, receives an over-slot $997,500 bonus that exceeds his $576,400 slot value. All of the above lists include Breaux among the top 100 available prospects, with an increasingly promising bat and improving work behind the dish justifying the placement.
    • The Braves got second-round selection Greyson Jenista for a $1.2MM bonus that leaves them $250,500 of extra pool space to work with, Callis reports on Twitter. The Wichita State slugger received a fairly broad array of grades from prospect hounds, but the Fangraphs crew was highest. With big power and the ability to draw walks, but also plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, there’s a lot to like about the bat. One major question is whether Jenista will be able to work into being a reasonable defender in the corner outfield, or whether instead he’s destined for first base in the long run.
    • Second-rounder Alek Thomas will join the Diamondbacks rather than heading to TCU, as Callis also tweets. The deal includes a $1.2MM bonus that tops the $1,035,500 allocation that came with the 63rd overall draft slot. Law was quite bullish on the young outfielder, crediting him with “five-tool potential” and “an advanced feel on both sides of the ball.”
    • The Nationals have also agreed to terms with their second-round selection, UConn lefty Tim Cate, Callis adds on Twitter. It’s an at-slot, $986,200 bonus for the 65th overall choice of the draft. Best known for his big hook, Cate is an undersized hurler who has also had some worrying arm health questions crop up. Still, Baseball America ranked him 54th on its board, noting his “exceptional feel to land his breaking ball in the zone and bury it for swings and misses.”
    • Still another second-rounder, Florida Atlantic infielder Tyler Frank, will take home a $997,500 bonus from the Rays, per’s Jonathan Mayo (Twitter link). That leaves the Tampa Bay club with some extra funds to work with, as the 56th slot came with a $1,228,000 allocation. Also going under-slot were Royals second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan ($697,500 bonus vs. $1,168,300 slot) and Twins second-rounder Ryan Jeffers ($800K bonus vs. $1,140,600 slot), according to Callis (Twitter links)
    Draft Signings: 6/9/18 Sun, 10 Jun 2018 01:33:50 +0000 Check out some of the latest draft signings outside of the first round…

    • Fourth-rounder Mike Siani has agreed to terms with the Reds, tweets FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal will pay Siani $2MM, which comes in over slot value. Siani, notably, is giving up a scholarship offer from the famed University of Virginia to join Cincinnati’s minor league ranks. He’s an outfielder coming out of William Penn Charter High School in Pennsylvania; he’s been described by Baseball America as “a plus-plus runner with natural instincts in center field, [and] raw power and bat speed from the left side of the plate.” Indeed, the publication ranked him as the number 53 draft prospect headed in, but clearly he fell due to signability concerns. The Reds, then, will make great use of their fourth-round selection with the addition of Siani.
    • The Rays have officially signed second-round pick Tyler Frank out of Florida Atlantic, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The 185-pound shortstop was generally ranked around number 70 or so in draft rankings by Fangraphs, Baseball America and
    • Darren Wolfson of KSTP reports that the Twins have signed their second- and fourth-round picks. Catcher Ryan Jeffers, taken in round two, was ranked by Baseball America just inside the top 300 draft prospects; they described him as a below-average runner with an average arm behind the plate, though they did note his power as being impressive. Meanwhile, fourth-rounder DaShawn Kiersey Jr. is largely heralded for his contact skills. He came in 82nd in BA’s pre-draft rankings due to that skill. While some scouts worry that a gruesome hip injury suffered last year will cause him to decline faster, his “solid package of tools” give him great upside in MLB. With the above info in mind, perhaps it’s not entirely surprising that Jeffers signed for below slot value, while Kiersey Jr.’s deal exceeded his slot value (per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press).
    Reds Activate Anthony DeSclafani, Release Kevin Shackelford Tue, 05 Jun 2018 19:11:32 +0000 The Reds announced today that they have activated righty Anthony DeSclafani from the 60-day disabled list. Clearing the way for his long-awaited return, the organization optioned righty Jackson Stephens and released right-hander Kevin Shackelford.

    DeSclafani’s return to action tonight represents the culmination of a lengthy rehab effort. The 28-year-old had been a noted success story for the Reds after coming over in the pre-2015 Mat Latos swap, working to a 3.74 ERA in 308 frames over his first two seasons in Cincinnati.

    Successive injuries, however, put DeSclafani on the shelf. He was working back from a long absence owing to a sprained ulnar collateral ligament when he suffered an oblique strain.

    In between those injuries, DeSclafani agreed to avoid arbitration with the Reds for $860K. That rate of pay obviously reflects the right-hander’s absence, but does also increase his potential value if he can get back to something approaching his prior form.

    Thus far in 2018, DeSclafani has thrown 19 1/3 innings in the high minors on a rehab assignment. Though he has surrendered ten earned runs on five long balls, he’s also maintaining a healthy 22:3 K/BB ratio.

    As for Shackelford, he sported an impressive 16.1% swinging-strike rate and 58.0% groundball rate in 30 2/3 MLB innings last year, though he also allowed a few too many long balls and a 4.70 ERA. But he struggled in limited action this and is now headed for elbow surgery, per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter).

    Reds’ Anthony DeSclafani To Make Season Debut Tuesday Sun, 03 Jun 2018 19:55:18 +0000 Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will make his long-awaited return to the Reds’ rotation with a start on Tuesday against the Rockies, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. It’ll be DeSclafani’s first major league appearance since Sept. 28, 2016. Given that DeSclafani’s currently on the 60-day disabled list and the Reds’ 40-man roster is full, they’ll need to make a corresponding move prior to activating him.

    Injuries have beset DeSclafani over the past couple years, as a sprained ulnar collateral ligament kept him out for all of 2017 before a left oblique strain shelved him for the first two months of this season. DeSclafani was a quality mid-rotation starter before then, combining for 308 innings of 3.74 ERA/3.79 FIP ball from 2015-16 – the ex-Marlin’s first two seasons as a Red. Although, DeSclafani’s injury troubles began in earnest in the latter of those years, when an oblique issue cost him two months and limited him to 123 1/3 frames.

    Now, if the 28-year-old DeSclafani is able to revisit his old form upon his return, it would be a boon to a rebuilding Cincinnati club that has struggled mightily to develop starting pitching. The Reds’ DeSclafani-less rotation has logged a league-worst 5.59 ERA since last season, and bright spots have been hard to find this year – especially with 2017 breakout starter Luis Castillo amid a disappointing campaign. Among the rotation pieces the Reds have used this season, only Matt Harvey (4.44) and Tyler Mahle (4.38) have managed ERAs under five, but even they’re well below the National League average for starters (3.98).

    Reds Place Homer Bailey On DL Sun, 03 Jun 2018 02:35:03 +0000
  • The Reds have placed righty Homer Bailey on the DL, retroactive to May 30, with right knee inflammation, Jay Paris of relays. Interim manager Jim Riggleman revealed that Bailey has been dealing with a knee issue “for about a month,” though the club doesn’t regard it as a serious injury. In any case, the DL placement continues a tough week for Bailey, whom the Reds demoted to a relief role on Wednesday. To this point, all 204 of Bailey’s MLB appearances have come as a starter. Unsurprisingly, then, Bailey’s “not thrilled” about shifting to the bullpen, according to Paris.
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    Royals Claim Rosell Herrera Sat, 02 Jun 2018 19:36:02 +0000 The Royals have claimed utilityman Rosell Herrera off waivers from the Reds, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter. Herrera was designated for assignment yesterday in order to make room for catcher Curt Casali on the Reds’ roster. In a corresponding move, righty Nate Karns has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

    Herrera was an international signing of the Rockies in July of 2009, and vaulted his way up the club’s prospect list over the next few years. At one point, a .343/.419/.515 in his age-20 minor league season earned him the number 86 spot on Baseball America’s top 100 overall prospects. He was highly regarded enough at one point to be added to the club’s roster in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

    However, after a pair of dismal seasons in High-A ball from 2014-2015, the Rockies released him and re-signed him to a new minors pact; that very same thing happened again the following season. From that point on, he never really made any headlines until being once again released by the Rockies this past offseason and subsequently re-signed by the Reds in a minor-league contract. Even the rebuilding Reds, however, didn’t consider him to be worth a roster spot after watching him strike out in five of his first 13 major league plate appearances, even after the young outfielder managed to slug .500 across nearly a hundred plate appearances at Triple-A.

    It’s easy to think, though, that he could find playing time with a Royals club that seems content to look for hidden gems in the beginning stages of a rebuilding process. Herrera is capable of playing both the infield and the outfield, so he could very well earn a major league look in Kansas City with a strong minors performance over an extended stretch.

    Reds Acquire Tommy Bergjans From Phillies Sat, 02 Jun 2018 03:33:40 +0000
  • The Reds acquired right-hander Tommy Bergjans from the Phillies in exchange for cash, also per Eddy. Bergjans, 25, went from the Dodgers to the Phillies in the 2016 Carlos Ruiz/A.J. Ellis trade. He struggled to a 6.57 ERA with solid control but just 7.1 K/9 and a whopping 2.37 HR/9 in 50 1/3 innings at the Double-A level last season. He’s allowed just two runs through seven innings this season but has failed to record a strikeout in that time.
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    Reds Designate Rosell Herrera, Select Curt Casali Fri, 01 Jun 2018 19:16:45 +0000 The Reds have designated utilityman Rosell Herrera for assignment, per a club announcement. That move opens a 40-man spot for just-acquired backstop Curt Casali, whose contract was selected.

    It became clear yesterday that Casali would be moving right onto the active roster, as the team announced it was optioning Tony Cruz. Making things official still required another roster decision, though, and that waited until today.

    Herrera, 25, got his first brief taste of the majors with Cincinnati after joining the organization as a minor-league free agent over the winter. He has spent most of the year at Triple-A, where he posted a strong .280/.337/.524 slash with three home runs in ninety plate appearances.

    Reds Acquire Curt Casali Thu, 31 May 2018 21:20:11 +0000 4:34pm: Casali has not been placed on the MLB roster to this point, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (via Twitter). Presumably, though, the team will select Casali’s contract or otherwise bring another catcher up before its next game, which is tomorrow evening.

    4:20pm: The Reds have acquired catcher Curt Casali from the Rays, per a club announcement. Cash considerations are heading to Tampa Bay in return.

    Casali, 29, has seen action in four MLB campaigns. He’s a .199/.285/.385 hitter with 19 home runs in 466 career plate appearances. This season, Casali is off to a solid start to the year at Triple-A, where he’s slashing .283/.330/.467 in one hundred trips to the plate. He has also typically graded as a solid performer at framing pitches, blocking balls in the dirt, and handling the running game.

    It seems that the Reds will be adding Casali to the MLB roster, as the club announced that fellow backstop Tony Cruz has been optioned down to Triple-A. The 31-year-old Cruz has struggled in limited action this year at the MLB level, with 11 strikeouts in his 26 plate appearances.

    Reds Move Homer Bailey To Bullpen Wed, 30 May 2018 17:06:53 +0000 TODAY: Bailey will indeed move into the relief unit,’s Mark Sheldon tweets.

    YESTERDAY: The Reds have had discussions with right-hander Homer Bailey about a potential shift from the rotation to the bullpen, per John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter links). While nothing has been finalized, Fay characterizes the move as a fairly likely one. Righty Luis Castillo would be able to make a start on regular rest in Bailey’s place this Sunday thanks to an upcoming off-day on Thursday.

    Bailey’s six-year, $105MM contract extension with the Reds has proven to be a regrettable misstep for the organization, as the righty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and a second elbow surgery to remove bone spurs in 2017. In all, he’s been limited to just 187 1/3 innings dating back to the 2015 season. In that time, he’s averaged fewer than five innings per start while recording a 6.59 ERA and allowing a .310/.384/.511 batting line to opposing hitters. The 2018 campaign has arguably been his worst, as he currently leads the Majors in allowing hits, home runs and earned runs.

    While it seems fair to question just how much of a leash Bailey has left with regard to hanging onto his roster spot, the fact that the team is exploring a move to a relief role suggests that he won’t be cut loose just yet. Bailey is still owed a whopping $14MM of this season’s $21MM salary, plus a $23MM salary in 2019 and a $5MM buyout on an option for the 2020 campaign. Given that hefty $42MM sum, it’s hardly a surprise that the Reds would exhaust their options in terms of salvaging some kind of value from the ill-fated deal.

    In the meantime, a move of Bailey to the bullpen would create an opening in the rotation behind Castillo, Matt Harvey, Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano. That spot could be earmarked for right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who is on a minor league rehab assignment at the moment and is nearing a return to the Majors for the first time since 2016. A sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm prevented DeSclafani from taking the hill last season, and he’s yet to pitch in the bigs this year thanks to an oblique strain.

    [Related: Cincinnati Reds depth chart]

    Of course, the rest of the Reds’ rotation isn’t exactly stable in its own right. Castillo has shown signs of rebounding after a rough start, but Harvey is still a ways from cementing himself as a viable big league rotation option just yet. Mahle and Romano have each had their own struggles as well, particularly the latter of the two. Certainly, further juggling of the rotation down the stretch is a possibility, as the Reds have several alternatives in the minors — many of whom are already on the 40-man roster.

    Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Brandon Finnegan, Jose Lopez and Keury Mella are the top names in that group, though only Mella has posted particularly strong numbers, and he’s registered those while pitching in Double-A. (The others have all been in Triple-A.) Stephenson has the best surface-level numbers of the Triple-A arms, with a 3.59 ERA in 47 2/3 innings, but while he’s averaged an impressive 10.6 K/9 this year, he’s also averaging more than five walks per nine innings pitched. Lefty Justin Nicolino is also on hand as a veteran option in Louisville, though he’s not on the 40-man roster at present.

    Scooter Gennett Discusses His Future In Cincinnati Wed, 30 May 2018 14:27:11 +0000 Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett discussed his future with the ballclub after last night’s game, as’s Mark Sheldon reports. While a mid-season trade seems possible, Gennett says he’d “like nothing more than to play [in Cincinnati] long-term.”

    Gennett’s comments are most notable, perhaps, for his discussion of one potential alternative to a trade scenario. The veteran infielder says that his agent made an offseason attempt at starting extension talks with the organization. That effort fizzled, however, when the team “shot it down.”

    A native of the area and childhood Reds fan, Gennett seemingly suggests he’d still be amenable to discussing a new deal. “The ball’s in their court,” he tells Sheldon. “I think it’s really up to Mr. Castellini [owner Bob Castellini] and the front office about where we go from here. I love the team and I’d love to be here.”

    It seems there isn’t any lingering negativity following the unsuccessful offseason contract negotiation efforts. Apart from the differing viewpoints on a long-term deal, the sides failed to settle on an arbitration number. Gennett ultimately prevailed in a hearing, taking down a $5.7MM salary rather than the $5.1MM that the team defended.

    Gennett is eligible for arbitration one final time after the present campaign. It’s certainly possible the Reds could decide to keep him and simply tender him a contract for 2019, though it’s still hard to see the organization as a likely contender next year. Holding Gennett without extending him would mean giving up a chance at achieving future value through a trade or a new contract. It’s not a straightforward decision, particularly with Eugenio Suarez locked in at third and top prospect Nick Senzel at or near MLB readiness and in need of a position.

    It seems at least plausible to think, then, that Gennett will be shopped at the deadline if the club does not view him as a long-term piece that they can extend at an appealing price tag. With a strong offensive track record dating back to the start of the 2017 season, Gennett has certainly earned consideration as a trade target for contending teams. Indeed, we fully examined his potential trade candidacy just yesterday, noting the excellent output at the plate along with some lingering concerns as to its sustainability.

    Trade Candidate: Scooter Gennett Tue, 29 May 2018 16:08:19 +0000 The Reds don’t have much going on at the MLB level this year. Their 19-36 record is a bit disappointing, perhaps, but largely aligns with expectations after a winter that mostly involved acquiring some affordable pitching depth to supplement a returning roster filled with question marks.

    There have been some recent front-office wins, though. Offseason additions David Hernandez and Jared Hughes have been nice bullpen buys to this point; both could end up as deadline assets or useful pieces for the 2019 season. The extensions of Tucker Barnhart and Eugenio Suarez have worked out nicely so far. Reclaiming Matt Harvey seems to be a worthwhile, albeit still-uncertain venture.

    Perhaps the biggest score of late, though — setting aside the landing of Luis Castillo, at least — has come via the waiver claim of Scooter Gennett from the division-rival Brewers late in Spring Training last year. Gennett was very productive in 2017, but has now elevated his output yet further in the new season. With the picture of the 2018 trade deadline beginning to take shape, he’s a potential source of trade value for the Reds and an interesting player to examine.

    Avid readers of MLBTR may recall that, at times in the past, I have shed some doubt on Gennett’s merits as a trade candidate. His effort last year was not accompanied by any improvements to his plate discipline, he carried a somewhat elevated .339 batting average on balls in play with less-than-promising Statcast data (.367 wOBA vs. .322 xwOBA), and he continued to struggle against same-handed pitching (.248/.287/.404 vs. lefties).

    Entering the current season, then, my own expectations were not terribly lofty for the 28-year-old, who is playing on a reasonable, but not exactly cut-rate $5.7MM salary. That non-bargain pay grade also weighs down the value of controlling Gennett’s 2019 season via arbitration. It wasn’t all that surprising that he remained with the Reds when the season began, particularly given the relative dearth of demand at second base, a position that he has never fielded with particular excellence.

    Rumors of regression have to this point been greatly exaggerated, though, as Gennett is off to a fabulous start in the new year. Through 212 plate appearances this year, he’s slashing a healthy .340/.376/.558 with ten home runs. That’s good for a 156 wRC+. Despite typically middling defensive grades at second base, Gennett has already contributed 2.2 rWAR / 1.9 fWAR on the year.

    Basically, Gennett is performing right now like a post-breakout Daniel Murphy. The added benefit here, of course, is that he’s younger and cheaper. Gennett is even torching lefties thus far, with a .364/.375/.545 slash that quiets one of the most obvious critiques of his abilities at the plate.

    Impressive as Gennett has been, though, some concerns continue to nag. Surely, he won’t be able to sustain a .405 batting average on balls in play. Statcast numbers again indicate that he has been somewhat fortunate, grading him at a .349 xwOBA that substantially lags his actual .397 wOBA. Gennett certainly has not shown any leaps in the plate-discipline department, as he has an unremarkable combination of a 20.7% strikeout and 5.1% walk rate to begin the 2018 season. And these signals are all the more evident in his 57 plate appearances against southpaws (.514 BABIP, 18:1 K/BB).

    It still seems, then, that some regression is in store. But Gennett has shown signs of real change, too. He has quietly converted groundballs to line drives of late. In 2016, he put the ball on the ground 44.7% of the time and hit liners on 20.8% of his batted balls. Thus far in 2018, he’s at 37.3% and 26.6%, respectively. Though he’s not a particularly dramatic participant in the Launch Angle Revolution, Gennett has steadily elevated over time, moving from an average of 10.5 degrees (2015) to 11.7 degrees (2016) to 12.8 degrees (2017). This year, so far, he sits at 14.4 degrees on average. Of late, Gennett has maintained a lofty homer-per-fly rate (20.8% last year, 17.5% this).

    An optimist might argue that this interesting blend of data points suggests that Gennett has honed in on being the best version of himself. He’s hitting the ball sharply on a line while generating well-struck high flies when that’s what’s available. That it has come through steady development rather than an obvious change in approach should not necessarily represent a red flag. Pessimists, on the other hand, will cite many of the above figures in support of the proposition that Gennett’s skills simply don’t support this kind of output. By that view, while he’s going well over an extended stretch, Gennett still hasn’t provided good reason to believe it’s sustainable. Projection systems, for instance, generally anticipate that he’ll settle into producing in range of the league-average rate.

    We still have about two months of action left before the trade deadline, so the evidence is still being gathered. At some point, though, contending teams with a need at second base will need to decide whether it’s worth trying to pry Gennett loose from the Reds. Just how willing the Cincinnati organization is to deal, meanwhile, could depend in part upon whether and when top prospect Nick Senzel forces a promotion. But the biggest driver will likely be the quality of the offers.

    There are a few other second basemen that will surely be weighed as deadline targets — MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently listed a few — but Gennett is the one presently pacing all MLB second baggers in offensive output. It’s hardly certain that there’ll be broad demand at the position. That may not be entirely necessary if Gennett truly stands out, but that’s just where the core question lies. Clearly, he has proven since joining the Reds that he’s a quality MLB player who can help a contender. But unless one or more teams come to believe he’s truly an everyday, high-level type of performer, it’s fair to wonder whether an offer will come in that’s strong enough to pique the Reds’ interest.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Brandon Finnegan Unhappy With Demotion To Minors Sun, 27 May 2018 01:01:04 +0000
  • Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan tells Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s displeased the team demoted him to Triple-A on May 10 to make room for Matt Harvey’s acquisition. Finnegan noted that he’s fine either starting or relieving in the majors, saying “whatever helps the team out is what I want to do,” but he believes he made a case earlier this season to continue in the Reds’ rotation. “I felt like I had two pretty good starts up in Cincinnati,” Finnegan said. “You can’t do anything about getting taken out of the game after 70 pitches. (Reds interim manager Jim) Riggleman loves using the bullpen; that’s his thing. That part was out of my hands. Besides that, two of my five starts I had, I thought were pretty good. I was attacking guys.” Notably, Finnegan added that he has no hard feelings toward Riggleman, per Nightengale. Regardless, Finnegan didn’t exactly make a case to stay in the Reds’ rotation during his five pre-demotion starts  – he logged a 7.40 ERA with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings – though he still expected more leeway after missing most of last season with shoulder issues. The Reds, for their part, haven’t given up on Finnegan serving as a starter in the majors, and they sent him down so he’d work out of their their Triple-A rotation rather than the big league bullpen, Nightengale writes. Finnegan, meanwhile, is using his stint in the minors as motivation and “hoping to get back” to the Reds sooner than later.
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    Reds Place Raisel Iglesias On Disabled List Wed, 23 May 2018 20:43:29 +0000 The Reds announced this afternoon that they’ve placed closer Raisel Iglesias on the 10-day disabled list due to soreness in his left (non-throwing) biceps. Fellow righty Austin Brice is also headed to the DL thanks to an upper back injury. In their place, the Reds activated righties Michael Lorenzen and Tanner Rainey from the disabled list. The announcement didn’t include any expected timeline for either player’s absence.

    Iglesias, 28, struggled with his control early in the season but has corrected that issue lately and looked to be in excellent form since late April. He did issue a pair of runs and suffer his second blown save in his most recent appearance, but he’s gone 10 outings without issuing a walk and pitched to a 1.74 ERA with 12 strikeouts in that time. Overall in 21 2/3 innings this season, he’s notched a 2.08 ERA with 11.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.25 HR/9 and a 36.2 percent ground-ball rate.

    Brice, meanwhile, has been scored upon in four of his past past five appearances, causing his ERA to balloon up to 4.67 despite largely promising K/BB and ground-ball tendencies. In 25 innings of relief this season, he’s averaged 9.4 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 with a 50.7 percent ground-ball rate. He’s been too prone to the long ball, though, already serving up four homers on the season. That’s been an ongoing trend for Brice in the big leagues, as he’s yielded a dozen big flies in just 71 2/3 frames at the game’s top level.

    [Related: Cincinnati Reds depth chart | MLB closer depth chart at Roster Resource]

    It’s not yet clear who’ll step into the ninth inning for the Reds with Iglesias out of action. For all of the Reds’ flaws, they actually have several high-quality options in the ’pen, where Amir Garrett, Jared Hughes and Dylan Floro have all worked to a sub-2.00 ERA in 2018. Garrett has very arguably been the team’s most dominant relief arm, averaging better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings and notching a 1.67 ERA in his 27 frames this far. The veteran Hughes has shown the best control of the bunch and comes with the most late-inning experience in the big leagues, having spent several seasons as a setup man for the division-rival Pirates. Lorenzen, meanwhile, was the top setup man to Iglesias last season but has yet to pitch in the Majors this season due to a shoulder strain that caused him to open the season on the disabled list.

    Reds Select Brandon Dixon's Contract Wed, 23 May 2018 01:23:44 +0000
  • The Reds selected the contract of infielder/outfielder Brandon Dixon from Triple-A, optioning Rosell Herrera to Triple-A in a corresponding move.  Dixon, a third-round pick for the Dodgers in the 2013 draft, was one of the three youngsters (along with Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler) dealt to Cincinnati as part of the three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox.  Neither Baseball America or ranked Dixon among the Reds’ top 30 prospects, though he put himself on the map this season thanks to an impressive .326/.371/.527 slash line over 140 PA at Triple-A Louisville.  While he has spent much of his pro career as a second and third baseman, Dixon has made multiple starts as a first baseman and corner outfielder this season, giving him added versatility on the Reds’ roster.
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    Reds GM Nick Krall Discusses Rise Through Baseball Ops Tue, 22 May 2018 13:41:41 +0000 On his latest podcast,’s Mark Feinsand chats with just-minted Reds GM Nick Krall, who took a grinder’s approach to getting into the game. The back story is an interesting listen and also provides some insight into Krall’s background with the Moneyball-era A’s. Of what he learned from Billy Beane, Krall says he was impressed by Beane’s scope of knowledge of players from outside the Oakland organization along with his certitude as to “what he wanted on his team.” From former Reds GM Walt Jocketty, Krall says he learned to exercise greater patience. (Krall describes himself as “a very impatient person” by nature.) It’s a worthwhile listen for fans who want to learn more about the most recent person to be named a major-league general manager.

    Reds Unlikely To Spend Big On New Manager Mon, 21 May 2018 01:25:11 +0000
  • The Reds have been playing better under Jim Riggleman, but if the team does still want to make a long-term change in the dugout, Heyman hears that the team isn’t going to be spending big on a managerial salary.  A new skipper will almost certainly make less than Dusty Baker’s $3.5MM annual salary when he was running the team.  This could rule out a star hire like Joe Girardi, who impressed Reds ownership when he interviewed for the job prior to Baker’s hiring.  Interestingly, Heyman believes that Girardi — an Illinois native — could be a candidate if the White Sox decided to make a managerial change, though there isn’t any indication that the Sox are considering moving on from Rick Renteria.  That scenario would have a strong echo of Renteria’s last managerial job, when he stewarded the Cubs through some rebuilding years before being replaced by another star manager in Joe Maddon.

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    Anthony DeSclafani Progressing Toward Return Sun, 20 May 2018 18:28:42 +0000
  • Like Kershaw, Reds righty Anthony DeSclafani is making progress as he works back from his own injury – a left oblique strain. DeSclafani, who previously missed all of last season with a sprained UCL, made a successful start at Double-A on Saturday and could be just two more rehab starts from returning to the majors, Brian Scott Rippee of writes. Before injuries derailed his career, DeSclafani was an effective starter in Cincinnati, where he combined for 308 innings of 3.74 ERA/3.79 FIP ball from 2015-16. If the 28-year-old’s anywhere near that good upon returning, it would be a boon for a rebuilding Cincy club that has struggled to find quality starters. The Reds’ DeSclafani-less rotation has posted a horrendous 5.66 ERA dating back to last season.
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    Reds Release Cliff Pennington Fri, 18 May 2018 21:48:07 +0000 The Reds have released infielder Cliff Pennington at his request, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (via Twitter). He had recently been outrighted off of the 40-man roster.

    Pennington, 34, has been a fixture in the majors since he debuted back in 2008, though he has not been a regular since wrapping up his time with the A’s after the 2012 campaign. In recent seasons, he has functioned as a utilityman with the Diamondbacks, Angels, and (briefly) Blue Jays.

    Over the years, Pennington has compiled ample experience at short and second, while also lining up a fair bit at third base and seeing limited action in left field and at first base. (And, yes, he has also taken the mound.) Despite a marginal .242/.309/.339 career batting line, Pennington has rarely struggled to find work due to his respected glove.

    Last winter, though, it proved impossible for Pennington to land a MLB job. He won a spot on the Cincinnati roster to open the year, but managed only four singles and five walks (with 13 strikeouts) in his 34 plate appearances. Now, he’ll head back onto the open market in hopes of finding another organization that can offer a path back to the big leagues.

    Reds Release Ben Rowen Mon, 14 May 2018 19:21:28 +0000
  • Right-handed reliever Ben Rowen was released from the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.The 29-year-old Rowen has just 11 2/3 MLB innings under his belt (none since 2016), but the sidearmer has a lengthy track record of success in Triple-A. He allowed 11 runs in 10 2/3 innings to open the 2018 season, however, and his ground-ball rate, which has previously been well north of 60 percent, was just 41.9 percent so far this season. Rowen entered 2018 with a career 2.81 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 in parts of five Triple-A campaigns, so perhaps he’ll garner interest elsewhere.
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    Minor MLB Transactions: 5/13/18 Sun, 13 May 2018 22:43:55 +0000 The latest minor league moves from around the game…

    • The Reds announced that outfielder Tyler Goeddel was released from Triple-A Louisville’s roster to create room for recently-demoted southpaw Brandon Finnegan.  Goeddel has been in Cincinnati’s organization since being claimed off waivers by the Phillies in April 2017, and he was off to a tough start this season, batting just .229/.326/.349 over 96 PA for Louisville.  Picked 41st overall by the Rays in the 2011 amateur draft, Goeddel hit .192/.258/.291 over 234 plate appearances after the Phillies selected him out of Tampa’s system in the 2015 Rule 5 draft.
    Central Notes: Reyes, R. Rodriguez, Taillon, Senzel Sat, 12 May 2018 14:13:17 +0000 The presence of Rule 5 Draft pick Victor Reyes is somewhat of a strain on the Tigers’ roster. Evan Woodberry of takes an extensive look at the topic, and notes that the speedy outfielder’s most definable job so far this season has been as a pinch runner for the aging Victor Martinez. While injuries mount for Detroit, other players have been forced to shoulder a heavier workload, including Mikie Mahtook, who had to start Wednesday’s game against the Rangers despite being jet-lagged and sleep-deprived. While Reyes certainly has a bright future, Woodberry points out that he’s clearly overmatched by big-league pitching in the present; he’s only managed to collect three soft singles so far this season and has an average exit velocity below 80 MPH. In accordance with the Rule 5 boundaries, Reyes must remain on the Tigers’ 25-man roster for the entirety of the season or be returned to his former club (the Diamondbacks). Few around baseball have any doubt that his future is bright, but rostering him for the entire season could prove a significant burden for a club that’s already going to have a hard time winning baseball games.

    Onto some items from the NL Central…

    • Travis Sawchik of Fangraphs writes that the Pirates found a winning lottery ticket in the form of recent minor-league free agent Richard Rodriguez. The 28-year-old right-hander has been just about as dominant as a pitcher can be, evidenced by his 15.53 K/9 and microscopic 0.16 FIP on the young season. He’s already been worth half a win above replacement, as Sawchik points out, which is remarkable considering we’re not even halfway through May. Sawchik has plenty of other interesting facts throughout a deep look into RichRod’s dominance, including the whiff rate on his fastball, his first-pitch strike percentage and the way he’s attacking hitters.
    • In other Pirates news, right-hander Jameson Taillon exited last night’s start with a finger laceration. According to Adam Berry of, Taillon is frustrated at the freak accident and hopes it won’t cost him a start. “It just got worse and worse. It’s tough in the short term to come out of a game, but hopefully by coming out when I did, we’ve kind of mitigated it,” Taillon said. “Hopefully I won’t miss starts down the road.” The budding Pirates ace has had something of a Jekyll-and-Hyde season so far, allowing 15 earned runs in his three losses but permitting just three across his other five starts.
    • Nick Senzel’s vertigo is back, and the Reds prospect has landed on the 7-day DL as a result. Mark Sheldon of notes that Senzel hasn’t played since being removed from a May 3rd game after just one plate appearance. Vertigo is a condition that brings on dizziness spells and causes the victim to lose balance. Reds president Dick Williams told reporters recently that the club is “being very cautious” with their top-ranked prospect, and at the moment there isn’t a clear timetable for when he’ll be able to resume playing. The club has been playing Senzel at both second and third base this season in hopes of increasing his versatility and finding him a spot at the big league level.
    Reds To Option Brandon Finnegan; Matt Harvey To Start Tomorrow Thu, 10 May 2018 23:45:00 +0000 The Reds will option left-hander Brandon Finnegan to Triple-A Louisville tomorrow, and his spot in the rotation will go to the newly acquired Matt Harvey, the team tells reporters (Twitter link via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer).

    [Related: Reds Acquire Matt Harvey]

    It’s been a rough start to the season for Finnegan, as the former first-rounder has issued more walks (15) than strikeouts (14) and yielded 20 runs (17 earned) in 20 2/3 innings out of the Cincinnati rotation. Of the 27 hits Finnegan has allowed, five have left the yard. He’ll head to Triple-A and look to hone his command as he looks to work his way back onto the big league roster and trim an unsightly 7.40 ERA.

    As for Harvey, he’ll be getting a fresh start after a dramatic and highly publicized end to his tenure in Queens. The righty has been rocked for 21 runs on 33 hits and nine walks with 20 strikeouts in 27 innings so far in 2018 as he still searches for his pre-thoracic-outlet-syndrome form. Moving to the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark isn’t likely to do him any favors in curbing his home run problems — he’s yielded six in 27 innings — though the change of scenery and a lower-profile setting could perhaps provide a mental reprieve.

    Cincinnati flipped catcher Devin Mesoraco, whose own career has been derailed by injuries in recent seasons, to the Mets to acquire the rights to roll the dice on Harvey earlier this month. The Reds are reportedly still paying the entirety of Mesoraco’s $13.8MM salary, while the Mets are on the hook for what’s left of Harvey’s $5.6MM salary.

    Reds Promote Nick Krall To General Manager Thu, 10 May 2018 20:32:42 +0000 The Reds announced this afternoon that assistant general manager Nick Krall has been named the club’s new general manager. President of baseball operations Dick Williams will continue to oversee the club’s entire baseball operations department, per the announcement. The Reds, then, will be employing the president/general manager tandem that has become increasingly popular throughout the game, with organizations such as the Cubs, Dodgers, Athletics and numerous others have adopted in recent seasons.

    It’s been a steady climb through the Reds’ ranks for Krall, who broke in with the organization in 2003 when he was hired to run the club’s advance scouting department. Since that time, Krall has been the team’s assistant director of baseball operations, the senior director of baseball operations and, most recently, a vice president and assistant GM. The LSU grad has been working in professional baseball since getting a foot in the door with the A’s back in 2001-02.

    “Moving forward, Nick will be more heavily involved in the decisions we need to make to improve our product on the field both at the Major League and minor league levels,” Williams said in a statement announcing the promotion.

    In addition to his advance scouting work earlier in his career, Krall’s previous duties as a VP and AGM saw him involved in a wide range of baseball ops responsibilities, including arbitration, contract negotiations, player acquisition and rules/waiver compliance. He’ll bring a wide range of experience to his newfound title, though it appears that final say on baseball operations decisions will still lie with Williams.

    Mets, Reds Swap Matt Harvey For Devin Mesoraco Tue, 08 May 2018 22:18:40 +0000 The Mets and Reds announced on Tuesday that they’ve swapped right-hander Matt Harvey and catcher Devin Mesoraco. The Reds are sending cash to the Mets to offset the difference in salary, as Mesoraco is earning $13.125MM in 2018 to Harvey’s $5.6MM. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports first reported the trade was close (via Twitter).

    Matt Harvey | Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Cincinnati is paying the entirety of Mesoraco’s deal, while the Mets are paying all of Harvey’s contract. In essence, then, there’s no impact on either club’s payroll, and the move simply boils down to a change of scenery for two former stars who’ve fallen out of favor and dropped down the depth chart in their original organizations.

    New York also announced that Todd Frazier has been placed on the disabled list due to a strained left hamstring, while Anthony Swarzak has been transferred to the 60-day DL. The Reds, meanwhile, have selected the contract of catcher Tony Cruz from Triple-A in a corresponding move, and he’ll now serve as the backup to Tucker Barnhart, who has replaced Mesoraco in tonight’s lineup. The Mets and Reds are playing each other tonight, and Mesoraco is available to hit for his new club. Harvey will join the Reds later this week in Los Angeles, the team announced.

    For Harvey, the ace will get a clean slate in a low-pressure environment as he looks to return to form with a last-place Reds club that assuredly can afford to give him an extended look in what has been a dismal rotation. Harvey hasn’t been anywhere near the pitcher he was early in his career, with injuries derailing what was one of the more promising young careers among all MLB pitchers. Specifically, Harvey has undergone both Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in the past four years, and his production has unsurprisingly plummeted as a result.

    Harvey, 29, pitched to a pristine 2.53 ERA with 9.5 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 in 427 big league innings from 2012-15. Tommy John surgery in 2014 slowed his career, but he was able to return to prominence with a terrific 2015 season and a heroic postseason performance that was largely befitting of his “Dark Knight” moniker, even if his ninth-inning struggles in the decisive Game 5 of the 2015 World Series will live on in infamy.

    [Related: Updated New York Mets depth chart | Updated Cincinnati Reds depth chart]

    The 2016 season, however, was a struggle for Harvey, as he pitched just 92 2/3 innings of 4.86 ERA ball before ultimately succumbing to the aforementioned TOS surgery. The track record of pitchers returning from TOS surgery is not good, to say the least, and Harvey is one of the more prominent data points exemplifying that fact. Since returning from that surgery in 2016, he’s pitched to a 6.77 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and 2.0 HR/9 in 119 2/3 innings. Harvey’s average fastball velocity is a career-low 92.6 mph so far in 2018, and he’s also posted career-worsts in chase rate (21.1 percent) and opponents’ hard-contact rate (43 percent) while notching the second-lowest swinging-strike rate of his career (8.2 percent).

    Reds starters have posted an MLB-worst 5.68 ERA in 2018, and the team is unsurprisingly buried in the NL Central with an 8-27 record due in no small part to the inadequacies of its rotation. Young righties Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano have turned in ERAs in the mid-4.00s, but no other Reds starter has an ERA south of Homer Bailey’s 5.61 mark. Mahle, Romano, Bailey, Luis Castillo and Brandon Finnegan have been the primary starters for Cincinnati to date, though there’s been some suggestion that Finnegan’s spot could be in jeopardy. With an 8.27 ERA and more walks than strikeouts so far in 2018 through 20 2/3 innings, he’s been the worst offender in a stunningly bad collection of starting pitchers.

    Viewed through that lens, there’s a very low bar for Harvey to clear in his new environs. Without the expectation of contending, he’ll be able to start regularly with the Reds and try to get straightened out even if he initially struggles. However, it’s also worth noting that from a ballpark perspective, Harvey is landing in one of the worst spots possible for a pitcher that has had home run issues since TOS surgery. Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park is known as a hitters’ haven and is especially home-run friendly for hitters, so Harvey will have his work cut out for him in rebounding in a park with dimensions that won’t do him any favors.

    Devin Mesoraco | Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

    Turning to the Mets, in Mesoraco they’re acquiring a former All-Star catcher who once looked to be a breakout star but is now a reclamation project in his own right following a brutal series of injuries. A former first-round pick (15th overall in 2007), Mesoraco long rated as one of the game’s top overall prospects. And while he took longer than most expected to realize that potential, he announced his presence as the Reds’ catcher of the future — or so they thought — in 2014 when he hit .273/.359/.534 with 25 homers and 25 doubles, making his lone All-Star appearance along the way.

    That season was enough for the Reds to sign Mesoraco to a four-year, $28MM contract extension that covered what would’ve been his first free-agent season (2018). However, a left hip injury in 2015 prevented Mesoraco from following up on that breakthrough season, limiting him 23 games and eventually necessitating surgery. A torn labrum in his shoulder prompted season-ending surgery in 2016, and a year later Mesoraco underwent surgery on his other hip in a third consecutive injury-ruined season. Along the way, Cincinnati entrusted defensive standout Tucker Barnhart as its new primary catcher, relegating Mesraco to the role of an expensive backup.

    Since playing in 114 games in that stellar 2014 campaign, Mesoraco has played in a combined 113 games from 2015-18, hitting just .195/.291/.318 in 316 plate appearances along the way. He’s off to a .220/.289/.341 start to his 2018 season through a total of 45 plate appearances, but he’ll likely receive ample opportunity to bounce back with his new club. Travis d’Arnaud has already undergone Tommy John surgery and is out for the season, while Kevin Plawecki remains shelved with a hairline fracture in his hand that he suffered upon being hit by a pitch late last month. New York has been relying on journeyman Jose Lobaton and rookie Tomas Nido to handle catching duties in the absence of d’Arnaud and Plawecki, but neither backstop has provided even a shred of offensive value. Lobaton is hitting .163/.265/.256, while Nido has slashed just .147/.197/.176.

    As for the remainder of the roster moves announced today, it’s not yet clear just how long Frazier will be sidelined with his injury. With Frazier out of action, the Mets seem likely to turn to Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores to handle duties at the hot corner. The transfer of Swarzak to the 60-day DL doesn’t necessarily impact his timeline to return, either; he’s already been out of action since April 1 due to an oblique injury and has to go out on a rehab assignment. He’ll be eligible to come back to the active roster in another 22 days, having already spent 38 days on the disabled list.

    In Cincinnati, Cruz will get his first look in the big leagues since a brief cameo with the 2016 Royals. The 31-year-old is no stranger to the NL Central after serving as the backup to Yadier Molina in St. Louis from 2011-15. He’s a career .218/.260/.308 hitter in 638 MLB plate appearances. Cruz has a solid track record in Triple-A and hit .280/.341/.458 with San Diego’s top affiliate last season, though he was off to an ugly .170/.268/.255 start to his 2018 season in Louisville.

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mets Expect To Trade Matt Harvey Tue, 08 May 2018 21:22:35 +0000 May 8: The Mets have been trying to add a catcher in return for Harvey, per Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link). Puma adds that the Padres are also in the mix for Harvey.

    May 7: The Mets are “confident” they will strike a deal involving righty Matt Harvey, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). At this point, says Rosenthal, there are “four to five teams interested” in taking a chance on the former ace.

    Harvey was formally designated for assignment on May 5th, meaning his situation will be resolved one way or another by Saturday the 12th. If he’s not traded, Harvey would need to go onto waivers; if he were then to pass through unclaimed, he’d hit the open market (whether by release or by rejecting an outright assignment).

    We checked in earlier today on some teams with varying degrees of interest in Harvey. The Giants seem clearly to be involved, though their interest level isn’t clear. (Andy Martino of tweets there’s “very strong” interest, while’s Mark Feinsand reports (via Twitter) that it’s much more tepid, with some significant roadblocks to a swap.) Martino adds the Reds as a possibility, joining the previously reported Mariners in that regard. And Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the White Sox are also in the mix. There’s some uncertainty about the status of the Orioles, but they are among the organizations that would make some degree of sense on paper.

    Of course, we’ve also seen plenty of reports of other teams that will not be in on the 29-year-old. It appears the Rangers have decided against pursuing Harvey in a trade scenario despite giving it serious consideration. Otherwise, the RaysTigersRed Sox, and Yankees are said not to be involved.

    If a deal does, in fact, get done, Rosenthal says not to expect the Mets to shave away much salary. With something on the order of $4.5MM still owed to Harvey for the rest of the season, the New York organization anticipates paying the “vast majority” in hopes of securing “something in return” in a deal.

    Reading the tea leaves, then, the Mets aren’t really looking for a MLB asset back that might offset some of the Harvey commitment. It’s possible the team will be able to find another organization willing to give a bit of young talent, but it’ll take deft work for GM Sandy Alderson to achieve significant value.

    Harvey, after all, has managed only a 5.93 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in his 212 1/3 innings since the start of the 2016 season. His velocity has continued to trail off as the arm injuries have mounted. As outstanding as he was before a procedure to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Harvey has struggled badly ever since.

    Clearly, some front offices around the game still think that Harvey can at least deliver some useful innings from the back of a rotation. Just what they’ll give up to find out remains to be seen.