November 2010

Arroyo extension close?’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Bronson Arroyo’s extension could get completed this week and be for two years. Including the option that was picked up on Thursday, the three-year total of the deal could be worth $36-$39 million. Rosenthal did not indicate whether he had a source that provided this information.

As many of us know, this extension has been in the works since early October, as GM Walt Jocketty indicated during the playoffs. The amount sounds in line with what Arroyo has been earning the past couple of seasons.

Talking to Arroyo’s agent, Terry Bross, Monday morning, there was no tipping of the hand that the deal would be done soon. In fact, he said very, very little but here is the quote anyway.

“There have been discussions but I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic or pessimistic,” Bross said. “It’d be premature to comment that anything is imminent or not imminent.”

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Awards schedule

Below is the schedule for the main postseason awards that will begin to be handed out next week.

I expect Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce to be Gold Glove contenders. Dusty Baker should have a decent shot at NL Manager of the Year, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if the Padres’ Bud Black gets it. Joey Votto might want to clear his schedule for Nov. 22 when the NL MVP is revealed but Carlos Gonzalez and Albert Pujols will certainly be in the hunt.

Tues., Nov. 9th: Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for the American League, 3:30 p.m. (ET), ESPNEWS

Wed., Nov. 10th: Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for the National League, 3:30 p.m. (ET), ESPNEWS

Thurs., Nov. 11th: Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards, 6:00 p.m. (ET), one-hour special on MLB Network


Mon., Nov. 15th: AL & NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards.
Tues., Nov. 16th: NL Cy Young Award.
Wed., Nov. 17th: AL & NL Manager of the Year Awards.
Thurs., Nov. 18th: AL Cy Young Award.
Mon., Nov. 22nd: NL Most Valuable Player Award.
Tues., Nov. 23rd: AL Most Valuable Player Award.
All BBWAA awards are announced at 2:00 p.m. ET.

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Sparky Anderson passes away

We got the word that Sparky Anderson has died. I had the good fortune to speak with him on the phone once about three years ago when Dusty Baker was hired by the Reds. Sparky was a prince. He didn’t know me at all, but we spoke for about 30 minutes and it couldn’t have been a more pleasant conversation.

Look for plenty of stories today on and

A statement from the family of Sparky Anderson:

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Hall of Fame Baseball Manager Sparky Anderson died today at his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 76 years old. Mr. Anderson died as a result of complications from dementia.

Mr. Anderson is survived by his wife, Carol; sons Lee and Albert; daughter Shirley Englebrecht; and nine grandchildren.

At the request of Mr. Anderson, there will be no funeral nor memorial service. The family requests all media inquiries to be directed to family spokesperson Dan Ewald.

The family also requests any donations be made to CATCH, Sparky’s charity for children in Detroit, or the charity of one’s choice.
Donations to CATCH may be made online at or mailed to:
223 Fisher Building
3011 West Grand Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48202



No surprises on Reds options

The Reds picked up the $11 million club option for 2011 on RHP Bronson Arroyo and the $1.75 million option on OF Jonny Gomes Wednesday. Not picked up were the $4 million option on SS Orlando Cabrera ($1M buyout) and the $12.75 million option on RHP Aaron Harang ($2M buyout). Both Cabrera and Harang become free agents.

None of these moves come as a shocker. Arroyo has been one of the Reds’ most consistent pitchers since he joined the club in 2006. He won a career high 17 games this season and has 200 innings pitched in six-straight seasons.

Gomes drove in a career-best 86 RBIs while batting .266 with 18 homers.

I have a call into the voice mail of GM Walt Jocketty. I expect he will still pursue Cabrera at a lower price, which he indicated he’d do when asked last month. There’s no word yet on progress towards a contract extension on Arroyo.

As for Harang,who was 18-38 in the last three seasons after he was 32-17 over 2006-07, this is the expected end of the line of his long tenure in Cincinnati. He certainly seemed to see this coming as he was emotional following a final start on the last day of the season.

UPDATE — I just got off the phone with Jocketty about the different decisions. Here are some of the quotes:

On Arroyo:

“We’ll certainly continue to work on doing a multi-year extension with him. I don’t want to go into the season negotiating. We’ll try to [get it done] before the start of the season.”

***I got a text back from Arroyo, who said he was “definitely” optimistic an extension could still get done with the Reds.

On Cabrera:

“It was a tough decision. We’re trying to protect ourselves with payroll and all the arbitration guys we have and the things we need to do. We’re not ruling out the possibility of bringing him back but it will be a while before we know.”

Jocketty said that Paul Janish stands to be the regular shortstop at this point, but obviously that would depend partially on what becomes of Cabrera.

***I talked to Jonny Gomes, who is at his home in Arizona. He was very pleased to know he would be returning to the Reds

“This saves my forehead,” Gomes said. “Last off-season, I banged it into every wall of my house being confused.”

Gomes was referring to being non-tendered and unemployed all of last winter until he signed the day the full squad reported to Spring Training.

“I have six years in [the Majors] but last year was my first time with 500 at-bats,” Gomes said. “Hopefully, I get another opportunity to do back-to-back years. It’s looking like it. Every year has been a battle with nothing guaranteed. I’ve always had a camp invite or a split contract. I’ve had pretty good numbers and success without a job guaranteed. I will battle for a spot at Spring Training and keep putting the pedal to the metal.”

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Louisville coaching staff returning

From a Louisville Bats press release:

Manager Rick Sweet and his entire coaching staff will return for the 2011 season with the Louisville Bats. Last season, Louisville finished with a 79-64 record, and won their third consecutive IL West Division Championship.

Sweet, 58, is 466-394 in six seasons as the Bats skipper and is the all-time winningest manager in Louisville franchise history. Following a nine-year playing career (1975-83) as a catcher, including three seasons in the majors with San Diego, New York-NL and Seattle, Sweet began managing in 1987 and owns a career mark of 1,515-1,449 in 22 seasons. His 1,515 wins rank fifth on the active Minor League manager’s win list.

“We are all happy to be back,” said Sweet. “This will be my seventh overall season in Louisville and the last three have been outstanding. Louisville is the best place to be and I’m looking forward to possibly moving there and becoming a full-time member of the community.”

Adrian “Smokey” Garrett returns for his ninth season as Louisville’s hitting coach.  Garrett played 19 years of professional baseball (1961-79), including parts of eight seasons in the majors with Atlanta, Chicago-NL, Oakland and California. 

Former Redbird Ted Power will enter his sixth season as Louisville’s pitching coach.  Power enjoyed a 13-year Major League career, including five seasons (1983-87) with Cincinnati. 
Tomas Vera returns as head trainer for his third season in Louisville, while Gabe Moreno returns as strength and conditioning coach for his fourth season.

The 2011 season will mark the 12th year at Louisville Slugger Field and the 12th season as an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Bats open their 2011 season at home on Thursday, April 7 vs. Toledo at 6:35.

My take: Rick Sweet is about as nice and positive as they come and he really knows the game and understands young players. Every player I’ve met that’s had him as a manager on their way up have only had high praise. This is a plus for the Reds to retain Sweet and the whole staff. 

Sparky Anderson in failing health

Sad news out of California this morning…

A Message from the Family of Sparky Anderson:

          Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson has been placed in the care of hospice for complications resulting from dementia at his home in Thousand Oaks, CA.
          The Anderson family, which consists of wife Carol, sons Lee and Albert, and daughter Shirley Englebrecht, wishes to express appreciation to all friends and fans for the support and kindness they have shown throughout Sparky’s career and retirement.

Option decisions soon

Another new rule change for this off-season is that player or club options must be resolved within three days of the World Series ending. That means Thursday.

For the Reds, that affects these four players:

SS Orlando Cabrera ($4 million mutal option, $1 million buyout if club declines, $500K if he declines)
OF Jonny Gomes ($1.75 million club option)
RHP Aaron Harang ($12.75 million club option, $2 million buyout)
RHP Bronson Arroyo ($11 million, but could be $13 million based on No. of innings pitched — I don’t have that number handy)

There could be an announcement as early as Wednesday.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good idea but I want to go through it one more time,” general manager Walt Jocketty said from Arizona on Tuesday. He was also planning to watch some Fall League games this week.

Jocketty said during the playoffs the Reds already planned on picking up Arroyo’s option, and might even try to extend his deal. The club was leaning towards retaining Gomes. As for Cabrera, Jocketty previously revealed he wasn’t inclined to bring him back for $4 million but had interest at a cheaper price.

I personally envision no possiblity of the Reds picking up Harang’s option, especially at that price.

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Free agency begins

And so it begins…the Hot Stove season.

At the very moment of Brian Wilson recording the final strikeout to give the Giants the World Series win over the Rangers, 142 players automatically became free agents late Monday night. Under new rules, they no longer have to file for it…it just happens.

The new rules also shorten the exclusive negotiating period for free agents from 15 days to five days. After the fifth day, free agents can negotiate and sign with any club.

As expected, these are the Reds free agents from the list provided by the MLBPA:

Bloomquist, Willie               
Cairo, Miguel                      
Edmonds, Jim                       
Hernandez, Ramon                
Lincoln, Michael              
Rhodes, Arthur               
Springer, Russ

From this list, expect the Reds to make attempts to bring back Hernandez, Cairo and Rhodes. Edmonds was contemplating retirement but I could envision his potential return if he wanted to keep playing and was healthy enough to give it a go. 

Also — be sure to bookmark this blog link — — it will be our MLB-wide blog of transactions, rumors and breaking hot stove news during the winter.                

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