Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:07:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dodgers Acquire Ariel Hernandez From Reds For Zach Neal, Ibandel Isabel Wed, 18 Apr 2018 00:44:54 +0000 The Reds and Dodgers have announced a swap that will send starter Zach Neal and first baseman Ibandel Isabel to Cincinnati. In return, the Los Angeles organization acquires recently designated reliever Ariel Hernandez.

Neal had already cleared waivers after being designated in the first week of April, so he won’t require a 40-man spot. He briefly appeared with the Dodgers after signing a minors deal in the offseason. Neal carries a 4.94 ERA with just 3.9 K/9 and 0.7 BB/9 in his 85 2/3 total MLB innings. The 29-year-old will presumably represent a depth option for the Cincinnati staff.

The Reds also pick up Isabel, a 22-year-old who has yet to move past the High-A level. He has produced some solid numbers in the low minors, though, including a .259/.327/.489 slash with 28 home runs over 492 plate appearances last year at Rancho Cucamonga. That showing did come with a rather unhealthy tally of 172 strikeouts, and the Dodgers obviously did not see cause to move him up the chain since he was back at the same level to open the 2018 season.

It’s certainly arguable that Hernandez is the most interesting player involved in this swap. He has huge stuff but hasn’t yet shown he can harness it at the game’s highest level. The Dodgers obviously are willing to place a bet that they can straighten him out. Hernandez worked to a 5.18 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 22 walks in 24 1/3 MLB innings in 2017.

Reds GM Dick Williams On Nick Senzel Timeline Tue, 17 Apr 2018 01:46:16 +0000 With the Reds off to a brutal start to the season, and recently extended third baseman Eugenio Suarez out with injury, attention has turned to the question whether and when the team will promote top infield prospect Nick Senzel. GM Dick Williams addressed the matter with’s Mark Sheldon, emphasizing that the organization is focused first on Senzel’s development.

The second overall pick in the 2016 draft, Senzel has played to expectations since joining the professional ranks. He’s widely considered one of the ten or so best prospects in the game and knocked around both High-A and Double-A pitching in 2017.

Particularly with Suarez still on the mend, there’s clearly a place for Senzel in the Cincinnati infield. But Williams says the organization felt it wasn’t the right call to promote Senzel to fill in the need. For one thing, he had been playing in the middle infield since the start of Spring Training. Thus, it was “a more natural move” for the organization to turn to the less-hyped Alex Blandino (along with some veterans already on the MLB roster) for the time being.

Beyond that, the top Reds’ baseball decisionmaker said, the preference is for Senzel’s promotion “to be more dictated by his performance and confidence as opposed to being dictated by the situation” in the majors. Despite his extremely impressive effort last year, Senzel turned in a relatively tepid Cactus League performance and has carried that sluggishness into the early portion of the 2018 season at Triple-A Louisville.

Service time is often the elephant in the room, though at this point the Reds could promote Senzel whenever they wish while knowing he will be controllable for six future seasons. Of course, if he’s held down long enough — mid-June, perhaps, though the precise date won’t be known until after the fact — then Senzel might be kept from reaching arbitration a year early as a Super Two player.

Regardless, Williams says such considerations have not factored in. The club is focused on Senzel being fully prepared — “more than ready when he gets here, if that’s at all possible.” Williams says the hope is that, once Senzel is up, he’ll be in the majors for good. But just when that will come to pass is unclear. And in the meantime, disappointed fans are sure to continue expressing their frustrations.

Rangers Acquire Tony Sanchez Mon, 16 Apr 2018 21:26:16 +0000 The Rangers have acquired backstop Tony Sanchez from the Reds, both teams announced. Cash or a player to be named later will head back in return.

Once a highly-regarded prospect with the Pirates, the 29-year-old Sanchez has settled in as an upper-level depth piece. He’ll head to the Rangers’ top affiliate to take the place of Brett Nicholas, who was recently dealt to the Padres.

Sanchez has just 156 total plate appearances at the MLB level in four seasons of action, over which he carries a .257/.301/.375 batting line. He spent the bulk of 2017 at the Triple-A level with the Angels organization, where he posted a .272/.355/.374 slash with four long balls in 284 trips to the plate.

Price On Senzel Timeline Mon, 16 Apr 2018 16:12:32 +0000
  • The struggling Reds have received zero production from their third basemen since Eugenio Suarez hit the disabled list, but they’ve yet to call on one of baseball’s top prospects, Nick Senzel, to fill the void. As John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, we’re already deep enough into the season that the Reds could promote Senzel and have delayed his free agency by a full year. Manager Bryan Price indicated that he believes Senzel could help the team right now but added that it’s a group decision and not one he can make on his own. “This is a decision that’s made by a lot of people for a lot of varying reasons,” said Price. “…I think he could help us. There’s also the argument that the people who see him and know him better than I do need to feel like he’s ready.” Senzel, the former No. 2 overall pick in the draft, is hitting just .233/.283/.349 through 46 Triple-A plate appearances, though his bat has picked up a bit after a four-game hitless slump.
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    Reds Notes: Schebler, Hernandez Sun, 15 Apr 2018 17:28:05 +0000
  • Reds outfielder Scott Schebler, on the DL retroactive to April 6 with a right elbow injury, is slated to play in a Triple-A rehab game Sunday, Mark Sheldon of relays. If that goes well, it’s possible Schebler will rejoin the Reds on Monday, according to manager Bryan Price. Meanwhile, reliever David Hernandez is getting close to embarking on his own rehab assignment, per Sheldon. The Reds signed Hernandez to a two-year deal in free agency, but right shoulder inflammation has kept him from debuting with the club.
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    Reds Designate Ariel Hernandez For Assignment Fri, 13 Apr 2018 19:04:08 +0000 The Reds announced on Friday that they’ve designated right-hander Ariel Hernandez for assignment. His 40-man spot will go to righty Dylan Floro, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Louisville. Right-hander Tanner Rainey was optioned to Louisville to open a spot on the active roster for Floro, who’ll join the bullpen for tonight’s game.

    Hernandez, 26, is best known for an electric fastball that he can run up into triple digits, though his big league debut in 2017 wasn’t particularly inspiring. Through 24 1/3 innings out of the Reds’ bullpen last year, the 6’4″, 230-pound righty posted a 5.18 ERA with and impressive 29 strikeouts against a disastrous 22 walks. He also served up six homers in that short time and posted a 42.9 percent ground-ball rate that was noticeably lower than his typically strong minor league marks.

    That said, as a power arm with multiple minor league options remaining, Hernandez seems like the type of arm that could well command interest from other clubs — if not via trade then certainly on the waiver wire. It’s worth noting that Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper pointed out a spring velocity drop for Hernandez (Twitter link), which could very well have contributed to his DFA, though.

    Floro, meanwhile, has 24 2/3 innings of big league experience and a 5.11 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 to show for it. While Hernandez struggles with his control, Floro specializes in preventing free passes, having only yielded 1.5 walks per nine innings in 245 2/3 frames at the Triple-A level. The 27-year-old has averaged just 5.9 K/9 at that level, but he’s also routinely posted ground-ball rates in the mid-50s and notched an impressive 61.6 percent grounder rate in Triple-A last year.

    Yovani Gallardo Elects Free Agency Thu, 12 Apr 2018 18:15:25 +0000 The Reds announced that right-hander Yovani Gallardo has cleared waivers and rejected an outright assignment to the minors in favor of free agency. Cincinnati had designated him for assignment earlier this week.

    Gallardo’s tenure with the Reds will go down as a brief 2 1/3-inning stint over a span of just three games. Cincinnati picked up the veteran righty after he didn’t make the Brewers’ Opening Day roster, but the 32-year-old will once again hit the open market in search of a new club.

    Gallardo was a quality big league starter from 2009-15, averaging 32 starts and 191 innings of 3.69 ERA ball per season with Milwaukee (and, in 2015, with the Rangers). However, his strikeout rate began to deteriorate in 2013. His fastball, which averaged 92.5 mph during his best seasons, fell to an average of 90.4 mph in his lone season with Texas, and the start of his Orioles career was marred by a shoulder/biceps issue which shelved him for roughly six weeks. He gained some of his velocity back in 2017 with Seattle, though that spike is likely in part attributable to a brief move to the bullpen.

    Over the past two seasons, Gallardo has struggled to a 5.57 ERA with just 6.5 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9 as he’s become increasingly susceptible to the long ball. Still, a club in need of some rotation depth could certainly look to bring the veteran into the fold as a depth option — depending on his willingness to head to the minors. It’s possible that a club particularly thin on pitching, such as the Marlins, could look to plug Gallardo directly into its staff (that’s merely my own speculation), though most clubs would view him as more of a Triple-A depth option at this point.

    Reds Designate Yovani Gallardo Tue, 10 Apr 2018 18:07:25 +0000 The Reds announced today that they have designated veteran righty Yovani Gallardo for assignment. His roster spot will go to fellow right-hander Tanner Rainey, whose contract was selected.

    Gallardo, 32, spent camp with the division-rival Brewers but was cut loose before the start of the season. He joined the Cincinnati organization shortly thereafter on a deal that reported came with a $750K salary. It’s not clear, though, whether some or all of that sum is guaranteed.

    Though it’s still quite early, Gallardo is off to a brutal start. He has allowed eight earned runs on eight hits and four walks while logging 2 1/3 innings. The veteran has had trouble finding the zone and been hammered when he has. That follows some rather distinct struggles over the past two campaigns, as Gallardo carries a 5.57 ERA in his past 248 2/3 innings.

    Still, it stands to reason that another team will come calling on Gallardo, though he’ll surely have to spend some time in the minors before another MLB chance opens. From 2009 through 2015, after all, he averaged 191 innings of 3.69 ERA annually. While it’s no longer reasonable to anticipate anything close to that kind of productivity, Gallardo could end up being seen as a handy depth option to have around.

    As for Rainey, the 2015 second-rounder could make for an interesting addition to the MLB relief unit. He has a big arm and took off after moving to a full-time relief role in 2017. Splitting the season between the High-A and Double-A levels, Rainey compiled a 3.19 ERA with 15.1 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.

    Minor MLB Transactions: 4/10/18 Tue, 10 Apr 2018 04:16:57 +0000 Here are the day’s minor moves:

    • The Reds have agreed to a minor-league deal with outfielder Steve Selsky, per Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). Selsky, 28, was cut loose by the Red Sox a few days back. He spent the 2017 season with the Boston organization but will return now to the team that originally took him in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft. Selsky has only seen minimal MLB time to date but has shown an interesting bat at times. He has not continued the pop he demonstrated at the High-A level earlier in his career, but has mostly been a high-average, solid-on-base hitter in the upper minors. In 2017, however, he limped to a .215/.270/.360 slash with atypically unsightly plate discipline numbers (30.1% strikeout rate; 5.6% walk rate).
    Reds Place Eugenio Suarez, Scott Schebler On Disabled List Mon, 09 Apr 2018 19:58:23 +0000 The Reds announced that they’ve placed third baseman Eugenio Suarez and outfielder Scott Schebler on the 10-day disabled list today. Suarez was diagnosed with a broken thumb after being hit by a pitch in yesterday’s game against the Pirates, while Schebler hasn’t played in a week due to a right elbow/ulnae nerve contusion (also stemming from a hit-by-pitch). Schebler’s DL stint is retroactive to April 6 — the maximum three-day period by which a DL placement can be backdated.

    In their place, Cincinnati has recalled infielder Alex Blandino and right-hander Zack Weiss from Triple-A Louisville. Each player will be making his MLB debut the first time he gets into a big league game.

    Blandino, 25, was the 29th overall pick in the 2014 draft but hasn’t seen his stock take off as the Reds would’ve hoped when investing such a lofty pick in the former Stanford star. Blandino, who hit .265/.382/.453 with a dozen homers and 36 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A last season, does rank in the organization’s top 20 prospects in the estimation of most major outlets, though. Fangraphs (No. 14) and (No. 18) ranked him favorably, while ESPN’s Keith Law was more bullish and placed Blandino 10th (subscription link) among Reds farmhands. He’s generally regarded as a second/third baseman with quality on-base skills but average power at best.

    Weiss, meanwhile, comes with just 29 innings of experience above Class-A Advanced — 28 in Double-A last season and one in Triple-A in 2018. He’s been slowed by elbow issues throughout his professional career but has also missed enough bats (11.2 K/9) and limited walks well enough (2.5 BB/9) in parts of five seasons that the Reds added him to the 40-man roster in the offseason.

    Some Reds fans, of course, could be disheartened not to see Nick Senzel tabbed as an immediate replacement for Suarez, who figures to be on the shelf for more than the 10-day minimum as he recovers from his broken thumb. The former No. 2 overall draft pick is widely regarded as one of the top five to 10 prospects in all of baseball, and it’s believed that he’ll make his MLB debut at some point in 2018.

    However, the Reds could gain an extra year of control over Senzel merely by waiting until this weekend to promote him for his first look in the Majors. And beyond any service time questions, it’s also possible that the organization simply doesn’t want to rush the highly touted infielder to the big leagues. Senzel has played in just three Triple-A games and logged only 57 games in Double-A last season. Senzel posted a .633 OPS in a small sample of plate appearances this spring in Major League camp with the Reds.

    Additionally, with Suarez locked up to a new seven-year extension, it seems clear that Senzel will be moving off of third base in the long run. He’s played second base in his first three Triple-A games this year, but those are his lone (regular-season) professional games anywhere other than the hot corner, so there’s some logic in getting him additional reps in the middle infield before calling on him in the Majors as well.

    Eugenio Suarez Diagnosed With Fractured Thumb Sun, 08 Apr 2018 21:50:35 +0000 4:50pm: Suarez will go on the DL on Monday, per’s Mark Sheldon, who expects the Reds to replace him with Pennington and Gosselin.

    2:39pm: Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez has suffered a fractured right thumb, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic was among those to report. The injury occurred when Suarez took a pitch off the hand from the Pirates’ Jameson Taillon on Sunday.

    It’s unclear how much time Suarez will miss, though he’s likely to head to the disabled list, thus depriving the Reds of one of their top players. The 26-year-old has gotten off to an excellent start this season, having batted .296/.424/.630 with a pair of home runs in 33 plate appearances, after landing an extension last month. The Reds guaranteed Suarez $66MM over seven years on the heels of a breakout 2017 in which he posted 4.0 fWAR and slashed .260/.367/.461 with 26 HRs in 632 trips to the plate.

    The Reds replaced Suarez with veteran infielder Cliff Pennington on Sunday. He could continue to man third while Suarez is out, then, while Phil Gosselin represents another potential replacement on the club’s 25-man roster. Forty-man options in the minors include Alex Blandino and Shed Long, both of whom are with Triple-A Louisville. Infielder Nick Senzel, one of the best prospects in baseball, is also at the highest level of the minors in the Reds’ system. Senzel, 22, could be a candidate for a promotion, though he’s not on Cincinnati’s 40-man roster.

    Hunter Green To Open Season Exclusively As Pitcher Thu, 05 Apr 2018 00:45:56 +0000 Reds prospect Hunter Greene, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft who wowed scouts with triple-digit velocity in addition to his potential as an infielder, will begin the season exclusively as a pitcher, Cincinnati director of player development Jeff Graupe tells Jon Morosi of (Twitter link). However, while the ballyhooed 19-year-old won’t be hitting to begin the year, the organization is not “closing the door on developing him offensively,” Graupe adds. Virtually every scouting report heading into the draft suggested that Greene’s upside on the mound was higher anyhow, though there was nonetheless some thought to developing him as a two-way player at least in the early portion of his career. Greene made three starts in Rookie ball last season and appeared in seven games as a DH.

    Reds Outright Stuart Turner Wed, 04 Apr 2018 17:54:08 +0000 The Reds announced today that catcher Stuart Turner was outrighted after clearing waivers. He’ll remain with the organization at Triple-A.

    Turner, 26, was carried on the active roster for all of the 2017 season after being taken in the Rule 5 draft from the Twins. He ended up appearing in only 37 games and taking just 89 plate appearances, over which he carried an ugly .134/.182/.244 batting line.

    While the Cincinnati organization achieved full control rights over Turner, he obviously did not exactly force his way into the club’s plans. Though he’ll still have a chance to continue working on his hitting at Triple-A, Turner will need to play his way back onto the 40-man roster.

    Vance Worley Opts Out Of Reds Contract Tue, 03 Apr 2018 18:23:06 +0000 Righty Vance Worley has exercised the opt-out clause in his contract with the Reds, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). He had inked a minors deal with the Cincinnati organization in January that would have paid him $1.5MM in the majors.

    Worley, 30, had fought for a role on the Reds staff this spring but did not crack the active roster. The eight-year MLB veteran surrendered eight earned runs on 17 hits in his 11 2/3 Cactus League innings.

    Once a starter with the Phillies, Twins, and Pirates, Worley has functioned mostly as a long man and fill-in starter over the past three seasons. While he doesn’t get many swings and misses, he typically draws a solid number of groundballs and has been effective at times, as his career 4.09 ERA over 667 innings attests.

    Of course, Worley is coming off of a less-than-effective campaign with the Marlins in which he coughed up 6.91 earned per nine. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest poor fortune — including a 64.5% strand rate, .378 BABIP, and significant spread in batted ball outcomes (.363 xwOBA vs. .396 wOBA) — but perhaps also not much reason to expect Worley to be more than a useful depth asset to have on hand.

    Reds' Yovani Gallardo Had Offers From Other Teams Sun, 01 Apr 2018 02:13:31 +0000
  • Yovani Gallardo signed a major league deal with the Reds on Saturday, but they weren’t the only team that pursued the right-hander. Gallardo told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic and other reporters that he garnered offers from other clubs before joining the Reds (though it’s unclear whether those were big league proposals). He’s now in position to return to regular-season action in the NL Central, where he pitched with the Brewers from 2007-14. Gallardo has collected plenty of experience at the Reds’ Great American Ballpark as a result, having made 15 starts there, Rosecrans notes.
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    Reds Sign Yovani Gallardo Sat, 31 Mar 2018 14:32:11 +0000 The Reds have inked free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo to a one-year major league contract, according to Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation confirms, tweeting that he’ll earn a guaranteed $750K, and his contract includes incentives that could boost the total value of the deal to $1MM. The club has optioned right-hander Zack Weiss to Triple-A in a corresponding move, and designated catcher Stuart Turner for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster.

    It’s a quick turnaround for the 32-year-old Gallardo, who earlier this offseason settled for a partially-guaranteed contract with a Brewers organization that drafted and developed him. Soon after being informed that he wouldn’t make the team, Gallardo was released by Milwaukee.

    After just five days back on the open market, the righty has found a new home with a rebuilding Reds organization that finds itself wondering when Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan might return to the rotation. The signing figures to push left-hander Cody Reed to the bullpen, leaving the club with a starting cast of Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle and Gallardo.

    While Gallardo’s 5.57 ERA, 6.48 K/9 and 4.38 BB/9 across the past two seasons with the Orioles and Mariners represent rather uninspiring marks, the righty had long been an effective rotation piece for the Brewers and Rangers. Prior to 2016, his ERA had only exceeded 4.00 once in a full season, and according to Fangraphs his full-season WAR never dipped below 2.0 from 2009-2015. If he can regain some semblance of his former ground ball-inducing and hard contact-limiting ability, he could yet prove a steady presence in the Reds’ rotation.


    Reds Place Anthony DeSclafani On 60-Day DL, Select Contract Of Cliff Pennington Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:24:40 +0000 The Reds announced a slew of moves Thursday in setting their Opening Day roster, including the placement of right-hander Anthony DeSclafani on the 60-day DL due to a left oblique strain. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to Cliff Pennington, whose contract has been selected.

    Additionally, the Reds placed left-hander Brandon Finnegan and righties David Hernandez, Michael Lorenzen and Kevin Shackelford on the 10-day disabled list. Meanwhile, closer Raisel Iglesias will open the year on the paternity list. The Reds have recalled lefty Cody Reed and righty Jackson Stephens from Triple-A.

    The oblique issue is the latest in a long series of injuries that has kept DeSclafani off a big league mound since the 2016 season. An oblique issue in 2016 and a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in 2017 have combined to limit the talented young righty to just 123 1/3 innings since the beginning of the 2016 season. When healthy, of course, DeSclafani has looked every bit the part of a quality young long-term piece; in 308 innings with the Reds in 2015-16, DeSclafani worked to a 3.74 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 over the life of 51 starts.

    The 33-year-old Pennington spent the past two seasons with the Angels, where he batted a combined .232/.287/.320 through 405 plate appearances. Offense has never been a calling card for Pennington, a switch-hitter with a career .243/.310/.341 hitter through 3108 plate appearances, spanning 10 seasons. But, he’s a versatile defender capable of providing average or better glovework at shortstop, second base and third base, which makes him a nice utility option to have on hand — particularly for a Reds team that has yet to see Jose Peraza establish himself as a big leaguer.

    Reds Outright Justin Nicolino Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:38:49 +0000 The Reds announced today that lefty Justin Nicolino has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers. He had recently been claimed from the Marlins.

    In the end, then, the Cincinnati organization was able to grab and stash the 26-year-old, who’ll add to the team’s collection of youthful pitching depth. Nicolino obviously won’t factor into the immediate plans at the MLB level, but he’ll presumably have a chance to build innings and challenge for a place in the pecking order with a team that could well end up with a lot of chances available in the majors.

    Nicolino has surrendered 4.65 earned runs per nine over his 201 1/3 MLB innings to date, all of which have come with Miami over the past three years. He has managed only 86 strikeouts in that span. While Nicolino has generated plenty of grounders and harmless infield flies in the minors, he has not excelled particularly in either area in the majors.

    Reds Claim Justin Nicolino From Marlins Sun, 25 Mar 2018 19:47:25 +0000 The Reds have claimed left-hander Justin Nicolino off waivers from the Marlins. The addition of Nicolino gives the Reds 39 players on their 40-man roster.

    Nicolino was once a well-regarded prospect, as he went to Toronto in the second round of the 2010 draft and later ended up on various top 100 lists. He was also one of the pieces in a massive 2012 trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins, one that featured a slew of household names in Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jake Marisnick, Jeff Mathis and Anthony DeSclafani (who’s now a Red).

    Unfortunately for both the Marlins and Nicolino, he didn’t perform to expectations after the trade. Nicolino debuted in 2015 and saw extensive action in Miami through last season, but he only managed a 4.65 ERA/4.84 FIP across 201 1/3 innings (50 appearances, 33 starts). While Nicolino did a decent job inducing grounders (45.8 percent) and limiting walks (2.68 per nine), he posted a paltry 3.84 K/9 that made it difficult for him to deliver quality results with the Marlins.

    Given that he’s out of options, the 26-year-old Nicolino will either have to stick on the Reds’ roster or head back to the waiver wire.  He could open the season as a long reliever in Cincinnati’s bullpen (depth chart).

    Reds Release Ben Revere Sun, 25 Mar 2018 16:29:18 +0000 The Reds have released outfielder Ben Revere, Mark Sheldon of was among those to report. Revere joined the Reds a month ago on a minor league contract. Meanwhile, offseason minor league signings Phil Gosselin and Kevin Quackenbush have made the club. Gosselin will be part of the Reds’ bench, while Quackenbush will work out of their bullpen.

    Revere was vying for a backup role in Cincinnati, but given the presences of outfielders Billy Hamilton, Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker, he looked like a long shot to make an impact with the team. The 29-year-old was ineffective over the previous two seasons, one with the Nationals and the other with the Angels, as he accounted for minus-1.2 fWAR and a .243/.282/.320 batting line in 683 plate appearances.

    Revere’s signature speed was on display in 2017 during a 21-steal showing, but he’s no longer the solid regular he was earlier in his career with the Twins, Phillies and Blue Jays. Between his first full season, 2011, and 2015, Revere racked up 9.2 fWAR and batted .296/.329/.350 in 2,630 PAs. He also amassed 176 steals, the second-highest total in the league during that span.

    Reds Acquire Robinson Leyer From White Sox Sun, 25 Mar 2018 01:47:55 +0000
  • The Reds have acquired right-hander Robinson Leyer from the White Sox, per Jon Heyman of FanRag. It’s not yet known what the ChiSox will receive for the 25-year-old Leyer, who debuted with their organization in 2012. Leyer spent a large portion of the previous two seasons at the Double-A level, including all of 2017, when he posted a 3.55 ERA with 9.57 K/9, 5.09 BB/9 and a 37.3 percent groundball rate in 58 1/3 innings.
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    Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Saturday Sat, 24 Mar 2018 20:02:03 +0000 Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team’s 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

    Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

    The deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

    1. Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
    2. Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.
    3. Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.

    We’ll use this post to keep track of the Article XX(B) free agents whose respective teams have elected option one or two; in other words, players who won’t be released for the time being. The most recent updates are on top.

    • Miguel Montero has been informed that he’ll make the Nationals as the club’s backup catcher, according to Jamal Collier of He’ll earn a $1.3MM base salary, as outlined in the details of the pact he signed with the club on February 1st. Montero beat out young backstop Pedro Severino in a camp battle for the role.


    Reds Looking For Pitching Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:41:02 +0000
  • While none of these teams were specifically cited as being interested in McHugh, Heyman listed the Reds, Brewers, Mariners, and Rangers as teams that are looking for pitching.  All four of the clubs have dealt with some injury setbacks in Spring Training, so further additions could be more akin to fill-in options rather than major acquisitions.  Texas, however, does seem to be at least considering making a higher-priced add, given how the Rangers showed some recent interest in Cobb and Greg Holland.

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    Central Notes: Indians, Naquin, Refsnyder, Reds, Miley, Cabrera Fri, 23 Mar 2018 02:27:29 +0000 Tyler Naquin and Rob Refsnyder are still competing for a potential spot on the Indians’ opening day roster, and Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that manager Terry Francona has explained some details to them. Francona reportedly told the two players that the spot won’t simply go to the guy who gets the most hits over the last week, and that roster construction could be the biggest factor. For instance, if Brandon Guyer and/or Michael Brantley aren’t ready in time for opening day, Naquin and Refsnyder would stand a better chance to make the club out of camp. Whether the club chooses to carry seven or eight relievers will also affect their fates. It’s worth noting that Tyler Naquin has multiple options remaining, while Rob Refsnyder is an out-of-options player.

    More out of the midwest…

    • In a piece for The Athletic, Doug Gray details ten Reds prospects to keep an eye on for the coming season. The players in the article aren’t necessarily top prospects, but rather a group of under-the-radar players who Gray describes as “unheralded”. The list includes right-handers Nick Hanson and Ryan Hendrix, $10MM shortstop Jose Garcia, and Brandon Phillips’ cousin Montrell Marshall. Many of these players have significant upside and are worth the exploration by any Reds fan, or indeed any avid baseball follower.
    • Wade Miley’s opt-out date has been pushed back, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports on Twitter. The southpaw seemed likely to make the Brewers’ rotation before suffering a torn groin that’s expected to keep him out two to four weeks. Miley could have opted out of his contract tomorrow after being informed that he wouldn’t make the opening day roster, but GM David Stearns apparently worked out a deal with his agent. Miley’s opt-out date has been extended until the point at which he’s able to start pitching again.
    • Two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera is stuck in “baseball purgatory”, says Scott Miller in an opinion piece for Bleacher Report. Miller describes Cabrera as “an island unto himself”, on a rebuilding Tigers team that will not likely be able to deal him and the $192MM remaining on his contract, particularly coming off the worst season of his career wherein he was plagued by back issues. For his part, Cabrera doesn’t seem to be focused on that aspect of his situation. “I’m here to play,” he says. “I’m not here to give my opinion of what’s going to happen. I’m here to do my job, to help win games and to help the process.” 
    Reds Claim Kennys Vargas Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:14:24 +0000 The Reds have claimed first baseman/DH Kennys Vargas off waivers from the Twins, per an announcement from the Minnesota organization. He had been designated for assignment recently.

    It’s a bit difficult to see how Vargas will fit into the Cincinnati organization’s plans at first glance. He’s out of options and limited on a National League roster to pinch-hitting or playing first base, where Joey Votto is an everyday presence.

    Unless there’s some unknown issue that would warrant the move, it could be that the Reds are simply utilizing their waiver position to grab a player they like but won’t carry on their active roster. Vargas could be traded to a team further down the priority line — just four teams are higher than the Reds at present — or put back on waivers in hopes that he’ll clear and can be stashed at Triple-A.

    All indications have been that the Twins anticipated another organization claiming Vargas, despite the fact that a trade could not be sorted out. It seems there’s some optimism around the league for the 27-year-old switch-hitter.

    Though Vargas has not yet shown that he can be a consistent on-base threat at the game’s highest level, with a .311 OBP in 859 career plate appearances, though he has drawn tons of walks in the upper minors. Vargas isn’t exactly a prodigious home run hitter but has shown good power output both at Triple-A and in the majors (.185 ISO) and perhaps has some more in the tank if he can tap into his raw strength.

    *The initial version of this post incorrectly suggested that American League teams all passed on a chance to claim Vargas. Outright waiver priority is determined by winning percentage, lowest first, without reference to league except to break a tie in recor.

    Ohio Notes: Lorenzen, Antonetti, Upton, Mesoraco Wed, 21 Mar 2018 05:14:52 +0000 Here’s the latest from both Buckeye State teams…

    • Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen suffered a Grade 1 strain of the teres muscle near his throwing shoulder, and will be kept from throwing “for several days,” manager Bryan Price told media (including the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay).  Lorenzen’s injury isn’t as severe as the similar issue that kept Brandon Finnegan out of action for half of the 2017 season, though it does seem unlikely that Lorenzen would be ready to go by Opening Day.  The 26-year-old was attempting to win a spot in Cincy’s rotation but struggled to an 8.38 ERA over 9 2/3 Spring Training innings.  Between those poor results and now this injury, Lorenzen is sure to resume his old role as a late-inning weapon out of the Reds bullpen.
    • The Indians don’t have much payroll on the books beyond the 2019 season, but president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti tells’s Mark Feinsand not to expect the team to make any splashy signings next winter.  “That’s not the reality of our team-building,” Antonetti said.  “We are one of the smallest markets in professional baseball….We’ve had incredible support from our ownership in which we’ve spent well beyond our revenues as we’ve gone through this competitive period.  But we can’t build teams through free agency.  Our success model is we need to draft and acquire players that are younger and help provide the right environment for them to grow and develop because that’s going to be the nucleus of our team.  We’ll use free agency to complement that group, but not to build that group.”  The Tribe is poised to exceed the $100MM payroll mark for the third straight season (all record highs for the organization) in pursuit of a World Series, with the Edwin Encarnacion signing standing out as an uncharacteristic move for the smaller-market team.  Any future spending isn’t likely to reach nearly the heights of 2016-18, however, and it could be more internally-focused, such as trying to sign in-house players (i.e. Francisco Lindor) to extensions.
    • After releasing Melvin Upton Jr. yesterday, the Indians could potentially re-sign the outfielder to another minor league deal if he can’t find a contract elsewhere,’s Jesse Sanchez writes.  Manager Terry Francona said that the team chose to let Upton know prior to his opt-out date that the veteran wouldn’t be making the team, so Upton could have extra time to explore his options.  Cleveland already has several outfielders ahead of Upton on both the MLB and minor league depth charts, though there are enough question marks at the position that Upton could provide some extra experience at Triple-A.
    • In another piece from John Fay, Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco said that he is finally feeling healthy after three injury-ravaged seasons.  “I feel great.  I don’t have to worry about health.  I work on my swing, work on my catching, play ball,” Mesoraco said.  After breaking out with a huge 2014 that earned him a four-year, $28MM extension after that season, Mesoraco has since played in just 95 total games due to hip, shoulder, and foot injuries.  The lack of durability cost Mesoraco the starting job as the Reds catcher, but he is prepared to contribute anyway he can as Tucker Barnhart’s backup.
    Minor MLB Transactions: 3/17/18 Sat, 17 Mar 2018 19:00:38 +0000 We’ll keep track of the day’s minor moves here…

    • The Marlins’ media info account tweeted that the team has acquired third baseman Eric Jagielo from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations. Jagielo was selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 2013 draft. After an excellent 2015 season with the club’s Double-A affiliate, Jagielo was a key piece in the trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees. Since then, however, his power has mysteriously disappeared, and he’s struggled to be productive in the upper levels of the Reds’ farm system. After a midseason promotion to Triple-A last year, Jagielo struggled to a .161/.283/.195 slash line across 139 plate appearances.


    • The Marlins have added left-hander Sean Burnett on a minor-league pact, Joe Frisaro of reports. He’ll start off in extended spring training. Now 35, Burnett has 378 1/3 career innings under his belt, almost entirely as a reliever. Though he appeared in the majors as recently as 2016 (with the Nationals), the southpaw hasn’t pitched more than ten innings in a season since a very successful 2012 campaign. In that season, he managed an impressive 2.38 ERA across 70 appearances out of the bullpen for the Nats, striking out 9.05 batters per nine while walking just 1.91.
    Central Notes: Suarez, Mahle, Romano, Garrett, Kirby, Tigers Sat, 17 Mar 2018 15:02:26 +0000 Mark Sheldon of posits that the Redsextension of Eugenio Suarez is a sign that the club is making an effort to keep a young core of players together for the foreseeable future, alongside potential future Hall-of-Famer Joey Votto. In the companion video, GM Dick Williams speaks highly of Suarez, particularly in regards to his defensive capabilities. “This is one of the premier defenders in the league,” says Williams. “At third base he’s established himself as one of the best young players in the league… he’s an offensive force, defensive force, leader in the clubhouse, say no more.” It’s interesting that Williams so specifically refers to Suarez as a third baseman, given the speculation that the former shortstop might slide back to his old position to make room for top prospect Nick Senzel. The GM’s comments seem to suggest the possibility that the destination of Senzel’s path to the majors isn’t the hot corner.

    More from some non-coastal ballclubs…

    • In other Reds news, the starting rotation picture is beginning to gain some clarity beyond Homer Bailey and Luis Castillo, who appear to be the only locks following injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan. Per a tweet from C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, manager Bryan Price says that Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle “may have separated themselves from the pack a little bit” in the rotation competition. A piece by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer contains quotes that line up with this tweet, perhaps also suggesting that lefty Amir Garrett is tabbed for a spot if Finnegan’s injury sidelines him to start the season. “With the way Romano and Mahle have thrown in camp, they’ve certainly put themselves in the lead,” Price said, via Fay’s article. “I think with the way Amir has thrown has created an opportunity to jump in there in the rotation and get a start against the Diamondbacks and get stretched out.”
    • Brewers prospect Nathan Kirby is finally healthy and determined to establish himself as a valuable pitcher, writes Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Rosiak describes Kirby as something of a “forgotten man” in Milwaukee’s system for the past two and a half years. The 24-year-old was drafted 40th overall by the organization back in 2015, but has since undergone two surgeries on his left elbow (a Tommy John operation and another for ulnar neuritis). Though Kirby ranked near the bottom on most Milwaukee prospect lists, he was a large part of the University of Virginia’s first College World Series title, and would seem to have the potential to rise through the Brewers’ farm system quickly if he can stay healthy this season.
    • Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets that the Tigers remain on the lookout for veteran insurance for their starting rotation. The organization is reportedly concerned about the dependability of its starting rotation as a whole; their current options include Michael Fulmer, Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris. Alex Cobb tops the list of available free agent starters, while Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz are some other interesting arms that remain on the market.
    Reds Extend Eugenio Suarez Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:28:50 +0000 The Reds announced this morning that they’ve signed third baseman Eugenio Suarez to a seven-year contract extension that spans the 2018-24 seasons and contains a club option for the 2025 campaign. Suarez, an Octagon client, will reportedly be guaranteed a total of $66MM over the life of the contract, which does not include any incentives, escalators or no-trade protection.

    Eugenio Suarez | Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Cincinnati already controlled Suarez through the 2020 season via arbitration and had previously agreed to a $3.75MM salary for the 2018 season, meaning his new deal affords him $62.25MM over a six-year term that includes his final two arbitration seasons and at least his first four would-be free-agent years. If the option is exercised, he’ll secure a total of $79MM over an eight-year span.

    Notably, the new contract reportedly reworks Suarez’s 2018 salary. He’ll receive a $2MM signing bonus and a $2.25MM salary this coming season before earning $7MM and $9.25MM in his final two arbitration years. He’ll then earn $10.5MM in 2021 and $11MM annually from 2022-24 before the club has an option on his age-33 campaign.

    Cincinnati initially acquired Suarez, 26, alongside righty Jonathon Crawford in a lopsided trade that sent Alfredo Simon to the Tigers. Over the past three seasons, Suarez has seized the everyday third base job for the Reds, hitting a combined .260/.336/.438 — including a career-best .260/.367/.461 batting line and a career-high 26 home runs in 2017.

    Suarez’s career year at the plate came in large part due to a massive jump in his plate discipline — a trait he’s improved with each full season in the Majors. After posting a meek 4.3 percent walk rate in his first year with the Reds in 2015, Suarez walked at an 8.1 percent pace in 2016 and saw that number soar to 13.3 percent in 2017. Suarez swung at pitches in the zone at a career-high rate while chasing out-of-zone offerings at a career-low 24.2 percent last season, illustrating an overall more patient approach.

    Defensively speaking, the former shortstop looks to have found a new home on the diamond at the hot corner. Suarez posted solid marks of +1 DRS and a +0.7 Ultimate Zone Rating in 2016 and took a step forward in 2017 with respective ratings of +5 and +5.8 in those same metrics. In all, he was worth 3.7 rWAR and 4.1 fWAR last season.

    From a financial standpoint, the deal certainly makes sense for the Reds, who’ll gain security over Suarez at a more affordable rate than recent three-plus service extensions for Wil Myers (six years, $83MM) and Kyle Seager (seven years, $100MM), as can be seen in MLBTR’s Extension Tracker. Cincinnati only has Joey Votto and Tucker Barnhart on the books beyond the 2020 season, so there’s plenty of room to fit in an $11MM annual value for Suarez’s would-be free-agent seasons.

    Looking at the larger picture, the Suarez contract poses a minor impediment to top prospect Nick Senzel’s arrival in the big leagues, though the Reds will surely find a place to work the former No. 2 overall pick into the lineup. Senzel has been working out at second base and shortstop, and his bat has made enough noise in the minors that the Reds will want to get him a look at the big league level sooner rather than later.

    Last season, Senzel batted .321/.391/.514 with 14 homers and 14 steals through 507 PAs between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. While third base has been his only position in the minors to date, it now seems likely that he’ll be ticketed for middle infield duty once he forces his way onto the big league roster — likely at some point in 2018.

    The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans tweeted that the Reds were in the process of announcing an extension for Suarez. Mark Sheldon of and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer added details on the length of the deal (Twitter links). Tommy Stokke of reported the total guarantee and option value. Rosecrans reported the yearly breakdown (Twitter link).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Reds Hire John Farrell Wed, 14 Mar 2018 23:15:37 +0000 The Reds have hired former Red Sox skipper John Farrell, though he won’t be joining the coaching staff of Cinci manager Bryan Price. Rob Bradford of first tweeted news of the hiring.

    Farrell will function as a scout with the Cincinnati organization, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (Twitter link). It seems the focus will be on pitching, with Farrell beginning his tenure by examining the Reds’ own system, as Peter Gammons explains on Twitter.

    It certainly makes sense that Farrell will be focused on pitching, as he’s a former big league hurler who made his mark as a pitching coach. He went on to manage the Blue Jays and Red Sox.

    Farrell’s tenure in Boston came to a close after 2017. Though he had guided the team to consecutive AL East crowns, in addition to a 2013 World Series title, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski elected to fire Farrell and (eventually) replace him with Alex Cora. It stands to reason that Farrell will be considered for future managerial openings.

    Reds Outright Dilson Herrera Tue, 13 Mar 2018 17:40:52 +0000 Reds infielder Dilson Herrera has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic (via Twitter). The Reds have since announced the move. Herrera will remain in MLB camp for the time being but obviously will not be expected to make the active roster out of Spring Training.

    Circumstances have combined to change Herrera’s once-promising outlook in the Cincinnati organization. He struggled to a .264/.312/.397 slash in 264 Triple-A plate appearances last year before shoulder surgery ended his season. In the meantime, the club not only oversaw the surprising emergence of Scooter Gennett but has also seen the development of other infield talent.

    That said, Herrera is still just 24 years of age and should have every opportunity of regaining his trajectory. He has mostly produced quality offensive numbers in the upper minors, including a .289/.345/.460 slash in over a thousand total trips to the plate at Triple-A.

    Herrera, who was acquired in the 2016 deal that sent Jay Bruce to the Mets, will now have too earn his way back onto the MLB roster. The Reds will no doubt be glad to have held onto Herrera, who is out of options, after deciding not to keep him in the majors to open the year.

    Brandon Finnegan Leaves Outing With Forearm Spasm Mon, 12 Mar 2018 01:07:48 +0000
  • Minor left hamstring tightness forced Robinson Cano out during the second inning of today’s Mariners/Reds game, and the second baseman will receive an MRI tomorrow.  Cano told reporters (including the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish) that he doesn’t believe the injury is serious, comparing it a hamstring issue from last season that kept him out of action for just a couple of games.  The Mariners are certainly hopeful they can avoid another spring injury — Ryon Healy (hand) and Ben Gamel (oblique) could miss Opening Day, while the likes of Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger, Erasmo Ramirez and Dan Vogelbach have all also missed time with less-lengthy injuries.
  • Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan lasted just two batters into an outing today before leaving the game with what the club described as a “lateral forearm spasm.”  The injury doesn’t seem too problematic, as Finnegan himself said in a pair of tweets that the problem was “just a knot” and leaving the game was “just precautionary, got it all worked out and good to go.”  Finnegan posted a 3.98 ERA over 172 innings for Cincinnati in 2016, but multiple shoulder problems limited him to just four starts last season.
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    Anthony DeSclafani Dealing With Strained Oblique Sun, 11 Mar 2018 20:25:35 +0000 Injuries continue to plague Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who’s now dealing with an oblique issue, C. Trent Rosecrans was among those to report (Twitter links). There’s no timetable for DeSclafani’s return, per Rosecrans, who adds that he “felt discomfort” during his start Friday and then underwent an MRI. DeSclafani previously missed two months during the 2016 campaign with an oblique injury, and then sat out all of last season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, depriving the Reds of one of their top players. When he was available from 2014-15, DeSclafani logged a 3.74 ERA/3.79 FIP with 7.48 K/9 and 2.48 BB/9 across 308 innings.

    Reds Keeping Nick Senzel On Left Side Of Infield Sun, 11 Mar 2018 16:48:17 +0000
  • Back in early November, the Reds were aiming to use hyped infield prospect Nick Senzel all around the diamond in 2018. They’ve since abandoned that plan, manager Bryan Price explained to Mark Sheldon of “You can’t do that. The game’s not that easy to take a young man that’s primarily been third base and move him all over the field,” Price said. “We’ve primarily kept him on the left side of the infield.” The Reds are unsure whether the 22-year-old’s primary spot will be third base or shortstop when he opens the season in the minors, but Senzel believes he’s already capable of playing short in the majors right now, per Sheldon. At least for the moment, that position belongs to Jose Peraza in Cincinnati.
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    Joe Mantiply To Undergo Tommy John Surgery Sun, 11 Mar 2018 01:00:48 +0000
  • Reds lefty Joe Mantiply will undergo Tommy John surgery, Evan Woodbery of tweets. Mantiply, 27, inked a minor league deal with the Reds in November after spending all of last season with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate and posting terrific numbers over 70 innings (2.83 ERA, 7.97 K/9, 2.31 BB/9 and a 49.3 percent groundball rate). His only MLB experience to date came during a 2 2/3-inning stint with the Tigers in 2016.
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    A’s Designate Brandon Moss For Assignment, Claim Jairo Labourt Sun, 04 Mar 2018 19:26:56 +0000 The Athletics have claimed left-hander Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Reds, the club announced.  Veteran first baseman/DH Brandon Moss has been designated for assignment in a corresponding move to create room for Labourt on Oakland’s 40-man roster.

    Moss was acquired by the A’s as part of a four-player trade with the Royals that essentially shook out as Oakland agreeing to take on a heavy chunk of Moss’ salary as the price for obtaining a cost-controlled young reliever in Ryan BuchterMatt Olson and Khris Davis were already locked in at first base and DH for the A’s, leaving Moss without any clear path to regular playing time, and even a bench role seemed unlikely given the Athletics’ overall youth movement.

    [Updated A’s depth chart at Roster Resource]

    The Royals kicked in $3.25MM as part of the trade, leaving the A’s on the hook for the remaining $4MM of Moss’ 2018 salary, plus $1MM to buy out their end of Moss’ $10MM mutual option for 2019.  A team that claims Moss within the 10-day DFA period would take on this salary commitment, so it seems much likelier than any clubs interested in the 34-year-old will wait until Moss is officially released.  (A new team would owe Moss just a minimum salary in 2018, with Oakland responsible for the prorated remainder of that $5MM.)

    It remains to be seen if any suitors will come calling for Moss given the number of other first base/DH types available in free agency, plus Moss’ own struggles in 2017.  Moss hit 22 homers last year for Kansas City, but slashed just .207/.279/.428 over 401 plate appearances.  His batting averages and on-base percentages have been in steady decline over the last five seasons and, given his lack of defensive value, Moss was a sub-replacement level player in 2017 as per both fWAR (-0.5) and bWAR (-1.0).

    If Moss doesn’t land another MLB contract, the veteran plans to retire, he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle as part of an interview on the A’s Plus Podcast (to be released later today).  “I totally understand the situation here.  They [the A’s] had to get me to get a guy they really needed.  That’s baseball, that’s the way it works,” Moss said.  “But if I get cut, I can play by my own rules, I don’t have to do anything, and I won’t.  If another team doesn’t pick me up, I’ve had a good career, more of a career than I ever thought I’d have.”

    Labourt will now be joining his third organization in less than two weeks, as the southpaw was designated by the Tigers in the wake of their signing of Francisco Liriano, and the Reds then claimed Labourt just two days ago.  Buchter and Danny Coulombe are the only other left-handers on Oakland’s 40-man roster, so Labourt has at least a shot at winning a job out of Spring Training.  Despite some significant control issues throughout his seven-year pro career, Labourt posted some strong results after becoming a full-time reliever in 2017, and his performance even led to Labourt making his Major League debut in a six-game cup of coffee with Detroit last season.  Labourt has a 3.61 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 1.74 K/BB rate over 481 minor league innings.

    Reds Claim Jairo Labourt From Tigers Fri, 02 Mar 2018 19:06:25 +0000 1:06pm: The teams have announced the claim. Cincinnati transferred right-hander Rookie Davis to the 60-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list to clear space on the roster and has already optioned Labourt to minor league camp. Davis underwent hip surgery back in October.

    12:54pm: The Reds have claimed left-hander Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Tigers, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports (via Twitter). The Tigers designated Labourt for assignment earlier this week to clear a roster spot for Francisco Liriano.

    Labourt, 24 next week, made his big league debut with Detroit last season, appearing in six games and allowing three runs with four strikeouts against seven walks in six innings. Initially acquired from the Blue Jays in the trade that sent David Price to Toronto, Labourt posted excellent numbers in Class-A Advanced and in Double-A last season before stumbling when he reached Triple-A. He tossed 22 innings with the Tigers’ Toledo affiliate, and while his 2.45 ERA was strong he also issued 23 walks in those 22 frames.

    Control has long been an issue for Labourt, who has averaged 5.1 walks per nine innings pitched over the course of seven minor league seasons. But, he’s a fairly hard-throwing southpaw with a fastball sitting around 93 mph who averaged a career-best 10.7 K/9 in the minors this past season. The Tigers organization used Labourt exclusively as a reliever last year, though he’s made 87 starts in the minors as well. He’ll add another interesting young arm to a collection of unproven but promising pitchers in Cincinnati as he looks to hone his control and carve out a spot in the Majors. Labourt does have an option remaining as well, so he needn’t be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t break camp in the Reds’ bullpen.

    Reds Sign Ben Revere Mon, 26 Feb 2018 23:38:08 +0000 Feb. 26, 5:37pm: The deal is now official (h/t John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, via Twitter).

    10:25am: Reds manager Bryan Price confirmed the agreement with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, though he notes that the agreement is still pending a physical (Twitter link).

    Feb. 25: The Reds have agreed to a minor league deal with free agent outfielder Ben Revere, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter links).  Revere will receive an invitation to Cincinnati’s big league Spring Training camp, and he will earn between $1MM to $1.5MM if he should crack the Reds’ 25-man roster.

    Revere will provide Cincy with a veteran backup option amidst a generally inexperienced crop of outfielders in camp.  The 29-year-old Revere hit .275/.308/.344 over 308 plate appearances with the Angels last season, modest numbers that still represented a solid improvement over his disastrous 2016 campaign with the Nationals.  He also again looked like his usual dangerous self on the basepaths, recording 21 steals in 27 chances and earning a strong +4.5 mark as per Fangraphs’ Baserunning (BsR) metric.

    Cincinnati plans to deploy a four-man rotation of Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton, Scott Schebler, and Jesse Winker in the outfield this season, which could make it hard for a fifth outfielder to make the team’s big league roster.  Still, Revere’s ability to play all three outfield spots is a plus in his favor (even if defensive metrics indicate he is average at best at all positions), and at worst he could also provide the Reds with some minor league depth.  Hamilton’s name was often floated in trade rumors over the offseason, so Revere could also step into the mix should the Reds swing a last-minute deal before Opening Day.

    Reds Sign Oliver Perez To Minor-League Deal Sat, 24 Feb 2018 17:17:14 +0000 11:17am: Sheldon tweets that Perez will earn $1.25MM if he makes the MLB roster, and has $500K available performance bonuses. He’ll be able to opt out of the contract at the end of camp if he isn’t added to the roster by then.

    11:02am: The Reds have added left-hander Oliver Perez to their bullpen competition; he’ll receive a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training (hat tip to Mark Sheldon of

    The 36-year-old veteran has spent parts of 15 seasons pitching in the major leagues (both as a starter and a reliever), and Cincinnati will be his eighth organization on that journey. Most recently, Perez completed a two-year, $7MM contract with the Nationals for whom he appeared in 114 games while pitching to a 4.81 ERA and 4.55 xFIP. His WPA was 0.46 during that time.

    While Perez has experienced a wide variance in overall effectiveness throughout his major-league career, his reputation against left-handed hitters is solid. He’s faced them a total of 1,541 times and held them to just a .228/.318/.365 batting line. That skill has still managed to hold up as he’s aged, as evidenced by the .227/.301/.364 batting line of his lefty opponents in 2017.

    The Reds’ bullpen was historically bad in 2016, and would’ve been below replacement level overall again last season if it hadn’t been for an excellent showing from closer Raisel Iglesias. That being said, Perez isn’t a lock to crack the club’s major-league roster. Fellow lefty Wandy Peralta is a solid incumbent who figures to be in the Reds’ bullpen come opening day, and Amir Garrett might also be in the mix if he doesn’t land a spot in the rotation. Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen are among the right-handers set to return, and the club also added Jared Hughes and David Hernandez on major-league deals to fill two more vacancies.

    Reds Notes: Votto, Senzel Fri, 23 Feb 2018 02:42:03 +0000
  • Upon his arrival in camp, Reds star Joey Votto made clear he hopes the team can begin pushing toward consistent contention, as Gary Schatz writes in the Dayton Daily News. Votto’s stellar 2017 season was not enough to keep the club out of the NL Central cellar. Clearly, ending up anywhere near a winning record is going to require quite a lot of internal improvement given the organization’s limited additions over the winter. At some point, though, the Reds organization will surely look to outside acquisitions to help take the next step, a topic covered by Rian Watt of Fangraphs.
  • One key piece of the Reds picture, both in the near term and especially in the future, is top infield prospect Nick Senzel. Notably, as’s Mark Sheldon writes, Senzel will see action at shortstop in what ought to be an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. Craig Edwards of Fangraphs looks at Senzel’s possible move up the scale of defensive difficulty and puts it in a broader context. Needless to say, the possibility is quite intriguing for the Reds. In other Senzel-related news, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has the fun story of the 22-year-old’s conquest of minor-league skipper Pat Kelly, the Reds’ house wrestling champion who had long fended off challengers from the farm system. No doubt the front office is just relieved that everyone has emerged unscathed.
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    Rangers Acquire International Slot Money From Reds Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:23:19 +0000 The Rangers have officially picked up $350K in international slot money from the Reds, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer first reported on Twitter. Righty Miguel Medrano is heading to the Reds in return.

    This move will further pad the Rangers’ international purse for the current signing period, which was already rather full in the wake of the team’s unsuccessful bid for Shohei Ohtani. It seems that Texas is lining up to chase top young Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter) and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link) suggest. Ben Badler of Baseball America has long cited the Rangers as a top pursuer of Martinez.

    Martinez was officially cleared to sign recently. MLBTR’s Steve Adams broke down the Texas pool situation in that post. It’s worth noting, as Adams points out on Twitter, that the Reds have likely now parted with all of their remaining pool money. (The rules only permit $250K increments to be dealt unless it’s a trade that moves all the remaining funds from a team’s pool.) Texas could still acquire another $250K before being capped, BA’s Matt Eddy notes on Twitter. (The CBA stipulates that a team may acquire no more than 75 percent of the value of its initial pool in trades.)

    All that’s known at this point, though, is that the 20-year-old Medrano will head to the Cincinnati organization. He has pitched exclusively with the organization’s Dominican Summer League outfit to this point in his professional career. Medrano certainly produced some interesting numbers there last year, working to a 2.59 ERA in 59 innings over ten starts and two relief appearances and racking up 9.3 K/9 against just 1.1 BB/9.

    Reds Sign Ben Rowen Tue, 20 Feb 2018 04:11:16 +0000
  • The Reds announced that they’ve signed right-handed reliever Ben Rowen to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. 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. While Rowen had a down season in 2017, working to a 4.41 ERA in 63 1/3 innings, his struggles came in a hitters’ paradise — the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. Overall, Rowen has a career 2.81 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 in parts of five Triple-A campaigns, and he has routinely racked up ground-ball rates north of 60 percent thanks in large part to his unorthodox delivery.
  • ]]>
    NL Central Notes: Brewers, Reds, Pirates Mon, 19 Feb 2018 01:45:23 +0000 Reiterating a familiar stance for the Brewers this offseason, GM David Stearns says that the club has confidence in its current group of starters, but they’re exploring upgrades (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). “We’ve explored a variety of starting pitching options out there, and have a pretty good sense of what the market is,” Stearns said Sunday. “Our stance is if we can make an acquisition that we think can meaningfully upgrade the team at a responsible investment level, that’s something we’re open to.” Stearns went on to say that he believes the Milwaukee front office has done a nice job of adding to their depth. This isn’t the first time the Brewers GM has expressed confidence in the club’s current group of starters, though that notion might be met with some skepticism considering the club’s lengthy pursuit of Yu Darvish that ultimately came up short.

    Some other notes out of the NL Central…

    • Stearns expressed confidence in the club’s catching group as well when asked about the possibility of a reunion between the Brewers and Jonathan Lucroy (Twitter links from Haudricourt). The GM thinks that the team got “pretty meaningful production” last year from a position split between Manny Pina, Stephen Vogt and Jett Bandy (though there’s room for skepticism on that front too, considering the team’s catchers combined to finish 20th out of 30 MLB teams by positional fWAR). Haudricourt notes that Bandy is out of minor league options while Vogt’s deal is non-guaranteed, meaning the Brewers may have a tough decision to make during spring training camp.
    • Though Reds franchise icon Joey Votto has shown faith in the club’s rebuild in past seasons, the first baseman seems to be growing impatient, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer“I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball,” he told the press on Sunday. “I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.” Votto certainly did all he could for the Reds during their recent losing stretch. Though the team lost at least 90 games in each of the past three seasons, he managed a stunning .320/.449/.557 slash line with 94 home runs and more walks (385) than strikeouts (338) during that time.
    • In part due to player feedback, the Pirates have made changes to their training staff this offseason that they believe will lead to fewer DL stints on the whole. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the details: Bryan Housand, the team’s new head athletic trainer, and Todd Tomscyk, recently named director of sports medicine for the club, are two of the major cogs in this overhaul. GM Neal Huntington says that Tomczyk in particular will now be able to have a “bigger impact” on the club’s performance team. Notably, the club saw three of its 2017 contributors hit the DL with hamstring strains (Gregory Polanco, Adam Frazier and David Freese); perhaps this change in the club’s training approach could help to curb that issue in 2018.
    Scooter Gennett Defeats Reds In Arbitration Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:59:38 +0000 Infielder Scooter Gennett has won his arbitration case over the Reds, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. The ISE Baseball client will earn $5.7MM in 2018, as opposed to the $5.1MM the Reds proposed. Gennett’s arbitration case was the last of the offseason across Major League Baseball. The players came out on top in 12 of 22 decisions.

    The victory for Gennett comes in the wake of a career year, his first with the Reds. Cincinnati claimed Gennett off waivers from the NL Central Brewers in late March, and the move paid off handsomely for the Reds. Playing his age-27 season, the lefty-hitting Gennett, a Cincinnati native, slashed a terrific .295/.342/.531 with 27 home runs and a .236 ISO across 497 plate appearances. Four of those homers (and 10 of his 97 runs batted in) came on a historic June 6 for Gennett, who enjoyed the game of his life in a 13-1 romp over the Cardinals.

    Thanks in part to that performance against St. Louis, Gennett will make substantially more this year than the $2.525MM he earned last season. Gennett’s controllable through 2019, so he could be a Red for at least two more seasons, though it’s conceivable he’ll emerge as a trade chip for the rebuilding club. For the time being, Gennett’s likely to continue occupying second on a regular basis for the Reds, who have younger options behind him in Dilson Herrera and touted prospect Nick Senzel.

    Reds Void Agreement With Jeff Manship Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:40:29 +0000 Feb. 15: The Reds announced today that they have voided Manship’s contract. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Manship did not pass his physical earlier this week (Twitter link).

    Feb. 6: The Reds and free-agent righty Jeff Manship are in agreement on a minor league contract, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). He’ll be in camp as a non-roster invitee and compete for a roster spot.

    Manship, 33, spent the 2017 season in the Korea Baseball Organization, where he posted a 3.67 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in 112 2/3 innings for the NC Dinos. Manship worked as a starter in the KBO, taking the mound on 21 occasions, but his most recent MLB work (and the only real MLB success he’s ever experienced) has come out of the bullpen.

    Through his first six MLB campaigns, Manship totaled a 6.46 ERA through 139 1/3 innings with the Twins, Rockies and Phillies. However, his career looked to hit a turning point in 2016 when he landed with the Indians and pitched to a scintillating 0.92 ERA in 39 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. He followed that up with a 3.12 mark through 43 1/3 innings the following season, though after a downturn in control that season (4.6 BB/9), metrics like xFIP (4.81) and SIERA (4.53) weren’t nearly as optimistic. Cleveland non-tendered him that December.

    In all likelihood, Manship will vie for a spot in the Cincinnati bullpen. The team’s rotation already consists of Anthony DeSclafani, Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan, and the Reds have plenty of candidates for the fifth and final spot. Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano, Cody Reed, Amir Garrett and Robert Stephenson are among the candidates to round out the starting five. The bullpen offers more opportunity, though the signings of veteran righties David Hernandez and Jared Hughes have already filled two potential vacancies.