January 2012

New uniform numbers

Earlier today, I provided some salary numbers.

Now without further adieu, here are some uniform numbers for new Reds players:


Andrew Brackman: No. 50
Josh Judy: No. 56
Mat Latos: No. 55
Ryan Madson: No. 46
Sean Marshall: No. 51

Position players:

Ryan Ludwick: No. 48
Denis Phipps: No. 23

Non-roster pitchers/players:

LHP Ron Mahay: No. 58
LHP Clay Zavada: No. 82
C Dioner Navarro: No. 30

Still missing are a couple of guys, like Willie Harris and Jeff Francis. And I noticed Carlos Fisher still had No. 46 also. There could be some changes between now camp opening and then again Opening Day. So if I were you, I might hold off ordering a new jersey, just in case.

Dollars and cents

Below you will find some detailed contract information about some recently signed Reds players with the salary figures, bonuses, etc.

Not included are the contracts for OF Ryan Ludwick and LHP Jeff Francis. The Reds still have a roster move pending to add Ludwick to the 40-man roster. Francis is still due to take a physical before signing his contract.

RHP Jose Arredondo:

Two years, $2 million
$800,000 in 2012, $1.2 million in 2013
Will donate $5,000 to club charity.

RHP Homer Bailey:

One year, $2.425 million
Performance bonuses: $25,000 for 162 ip, $25,000 for 170 ip, $25,000 for 180 ip.

RHP Andrew Brackman:

One year, $480,000 …. $500,000 in Majors.

LHP Bill Bray:

One year, $1.417 million

IF/OF Willie Harris:

Minor League contract for $2,500/mo. Major League contract for $800,000.
Performance bonuses: $50,000 for 200 plate appearances,$50,000 for 300 PA, $50,000 for 350 PA
Major League invitation to Spring Training.

SS Paul Janish:

One year, $850,000
Performance bonuses: $15,000 for 100 games, $15,000 for 120 games.

RHP Ryan Madson:

One year, $8.252 million, $11 million mutual option for 2013. ($2.5 million buyout)
$6 million in 2012, with $2 million deferred without interest.
Performance bonuses: $25,000 for All Star game; $50,000 for LCS MVP; $100,000 for World Series MVP; $100,000 for Rolaids relief winner ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd)

RHP Nick Masset:

Two years, $5.5 million
2.4 million in 2012, $3.1 million in 2013.
Base salary in 2013 increases by $50,000 for 25 games finished in 2012; $100,000 for 40 GFs in 2012; $200,000 for 50 GFs in 2012; $200,000 for 60 GF in 2012. Plus in 2012-2013: $50,000 for 77g pitched. Plus in 2013: $50,000 for 25 GF; $100,000 for 40 GF; $200,000 for 50 GF; $200,000 for 60 GF.

IF Wilson Valdez, who avoided arbitration with the Phillies on Jan. 17 before his trade:

One year, $930,000.
Bonuses: $25,000 for Gold Glove, $25,000 for Silver Slugger, $25,000 for All-Star.

UPDATE — I left one guy out earlier today…

C Dioner Navarro:

Minor League contract for $15,000/mo. One year, $800,000 in Majors.

Performance bonuses: $50,000 for 250 plate appearances; $50,000 for 300 PA; $50,000 for 350 PA; $50,000 for 400 PA. Major League invitation to Spring Training.

Notes from the Caravan kickoff

 A few odds and ends to report after the morning Reds Caravan kickoff…

*There has been no formal announcement as of yet from the Reds on Ryan Ludwick’s signing. Ludwick was in town yesterday to take his physical, which I assume he passed. However, with the Wilson Valdez acquisition filling the roster at 40 players, somebody has to go to make room for Ludwick. When I know something, I will let you know.

*Check out the story here with Bob Castellini talking about the possiblity of a Joey Votto contract extension. The Reds have to show that will make this effort, even this early, and can’t just write off losing Votto. Clearly, the finances are a tough obstacle — especially after looking at the deals Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols signed this winter. While I don’t think Votto is one who will easily give back money or take a “home team discount,” I don’t totally rule out Cincinnati for him long term after his current contract expires after 2013. He likes it here and has developed a comfort zone. Many assume he would simply go to his hometown of Toronto — but I’m not so sure. As someone who values privacy more than any player I’ve come across personally, he should at least place a call first to someone like Ken Griffey Jr. about the pitfalls of playing at home. I doubt he’d get much privacy in Toronto as one of Canada’s (and Ontario’s) native sons.

Alas, there will be other suitors. Especially in light of a Jon Heyman report today that the Dodgers pushed hard to land Fielder, I could see them being a factor for Votto a couple of years from now. — especially with new ownership. And keep this in the back of your mind: Lance Berkman, at 35 years old, isn’t a very long-term solution for the Cardinals at first base.

*There is nothing new on Brandon Phillips’ contract negotiations, according to Phillips.

*I found it impressive that Mat Latos flew all the way here from San Diego late last night just to be at the Caravan kickoff this morning, even though he was not on the bus tour itself. Latos and his wife are flying right back this afternoon. Invited by GM Walt Jocketty, Latos wanted to meet Castellini, Jocketty, the front office and the players going out on the caravan. Not surprisingly, Latos is excited to be on his new team and liked the fact the club valued having him and its willingness to give up four players to get him. Here is a video clip from Latos talking this morning.

*With the rash of transactions made by the Reds, has the club noticed an uptick in season ticket sales as of yet? (Individual ticket sales haven’t started yet)

“A lot of interest, more interest than we’ve had in the last few months,” Castellini said. “All of a sudden the last month or so, people have been really interested. Yes, our sales are up. They are on target.”

*Marty Brennaman emceed the Caravan kickoff event this morning at the Reds Hall of Fame. He is among the crew going on the Southern leg of the caravan — with Brandon Phillips, Lee May, assistant GM Bob Miller and Better of Red’s Jamie Ramsey, who has taken to dubbing this particular gang over the years as the “Rock Star” leg of caravan. Marty seemed to endorse that notion in the photo below.

Francis gets Minor League deal

And the Reds were not quite done…

LHP Jeff Francis and Cincinnati reached a deal on a Minor League contract, Jon Heyman of MLB Network and CBSSports.com reported late Wednesday.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty told me last week the Reds were interested in adding Francis for rotation depth.

The left-handed Francis was 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts last season with the Royals.  The 30-year-old was with the Rockies from 2004-10 and was a 17-game winner in 2007. Lifetime, he is 61-66 with a 4.78 ERA in 181 games (180 starts).

Moves done? No Oswalt?

Remember at the beginning of the month when I said it could be a busy January for the Reds? I don’t think I was wrong.

Now, are they done yet?

“I think so, yeah,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said.

But in talking to Jocketty about the Wilson Valdez trade and Nick Masset signing, he left the door open for some smaller moves.

“The only other things I might look for is for starting pitching and outfield depth on the Major League club,” Jocketty said. “In case of an injury, we’d have somebody. Other than that, we’re pretty much done.”

There’s been some speculation lately by media and fans that former Astros ace/Phillies star/Reds nemesis Roy Oswalt could find a home on the mound in Cincinnati since he is still out there on the free agent market. Jocketty seemed to drop a blanket on that small fire.

“They called us. I still don’t know how we can do it quite frankly,” Jocketty said. “We haven’t had any dialogue. I told them it would be hard financially to put a deal together and left it at that.”

Valdez trade, Masset signed

Bypassing the free agent market for backup infielders that can play shortstop, the Reds executed a trade Wednesday that brought utility infielder Wilson Valdez from the Phillies for left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst.

Valdez spent the last two seasons in Philadelphia and batted .249 with a .294 on-base percentage, one home run and 30 RBIs over 99 games in 2011. A lifetime .243 hitter, the 33-year-old Valdez has also spent time with the White Sox, Mariners, Padres, Dodgers and Mets

Out of Valdez’s 342 career big league games, 190 have been played at shortstop where he owns a .980 fielding percentage. Many might remember him doing the Reds in as the winning pitcher of the May 25, 2011 game that lasted 19 innings at Citizen Banks Park. With his team out of pitchers, Valdez moved from second base and pitched a scoreless top of the 19th inning.

Also — Nick Masset signed a two-year contract to avoid arbitration. UPDATE: AP reports that it’s a $5.5 million deal. Masset will get $2.4 million in 2012 and $3.1 million in 2013. There are performances bonuses and an escaltor for the 2013 salary if he reaches certain goals.

Does Fielder deal affect Votto?

Lots of reports, led by Yahoo’s Tim Brown and CBS Sports.com/MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, have Prince Fielder going to the Tigers on a nine-year $214 million contract.

(Cue shot of Krusty the Clown doing the backstroke in a pool of money and lighting cigars with dollars on The Simpsons)

What does this mean for Joey Votto after the 2013 season when he can hit the market? Nothing new, really. Votto will get paid handsomely if he becomes a free agent. It also doesn’t make it any harder, or easier, on the Reds than before. It already was a tough task to begin with to retain Votto whether Fielder did this deal or not — hence the urgency seemingly being placed on 2012 success in Cincinnati.

While he may have signed late — and with an unexpected club — the market rose to the level that many expected for Fielder this winter. 

*So Prince Fielder is not only out of the NL Central, he’s out of the NL — period. But he’s not done with the Reds quite yet. Detroit comes to Great American Ball Park June 8-10.

*In other ex-people from the NL Central news, MLB announced that former Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa will still manager the NL squad at the 2012 All-Star game in Kansas City. This will mark the second time that a retired manager will lead an All-Star squad.  Hall of Fame manager John McGraw retired following the 1932 season and managed the N.L. squad in the first Midsummer Classic in 1933.

Camp is around the corner

Good day all…

It’s less than a month until the Reds pitchers and catchers report to camp on Feb. 19 and all is almost set with the roster…almost.

The 40-man roster is at 39 players. That final spot would seem to be reserved for when Ryan Ludwick’s signing is formally announced. Barring a trade, or someone being punted from the roster, that means any additions would be via the Minor League contract. I could envision a few more of those coming.

I don’t think the Reds are done looking for that extra shortstop. It doesn’t mean it will happen though.

I’ve seen emails and comments wondering why guys like Willie Harris, or potentially Jeff Francis, are brought in on these Minor League deals with camp invites and what it means for the existing guys on the team. It’s about adding depth in case of inevitable injuries, and a low financial risk to see what happens or what the guy has left. But it also creates competition at some spots. Teams in general don’t want some of their players, especially the younger ones, to be too comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with guys having to prove themselves in camp. Unless you’re a Joey Votto or Brandon Phillips or similar, nothing should be guaranteed.

*I will be covering a couple of the Reds Caravan stops this week. It looks like I will be in Hamilton on Thursday and Columbus on Saturday. Hope to see or meet some of you there, although I doubt two cameo caravan appearances will earn me billing on one of Jamie Ramsey’s posters over on his nickel and dime blahhhg, “Better off Red.” (Big EPL game this Friday for you, Jamie…I heard it’s airing online.)

*Caravan is really like the reaching the final turn of the off-season with Spring Training very much in sight. I’ve already booked my flight to Arizona, my rental car and my lodgings were just locked down the other day.

*At some point early on in camp, I will revive last spring’s blog entry about where to eat and play while attending Spring Training. There was some nice feedback about it and I’d like to make it an annual thing. If you are a Phoenix native, or have frequented Reds camp the past two years, and have recommendations, please pass them along. Just avoid chains that can be found in Cincinnati, so that means no Chic-Fil-A, Five Guys, (although both are delicious), Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang’s, etc.

*Check out the story I wrote on Reds scoreboard operator Rich Linville, the club’s representative competing on MLB Network’s new “Baseball IQ” game show. I learned today that Rich’s first episode is slated to air on January 31 (next Tuesday) at 9 p.m. ET.

Willie Harris signed

The Reds agreed to terms with utility player Willie Harris on a minor league contract, two sources confirmed to MLB.com on Monday.

Harris, who will be invited to camp as a non-roster player, can earn an $800,000 base salary if he makes the club and his overall salary can reach $1 million with incentives.

Last season with the Mets, Harris batted .246 with a .351 on-base percentage, two home runs and 23 RBIs in 126 games while earning $800,000. A left-handed hitter that has played 11 big league seasons for the Orioles, White Sox, Braves, Nationals and Mets, Harris is a lifetime .240 hitter with a .330 OBP.

Harris, 33, can play all three outfield positions, second base and third base. He does not, however, play shortstop — having just eight games there out of 825 in his career. General manager Walt Jocketty had indicated all winter he was looking for added shortstop depth. Unless another player is added, the club will be set at the position with rookie Zack Cozart and Paul Janish.

For more information on Harris and his career numbers, click here

Reds exploring more trades

The Reds have added a closer, a left fielder, a starting pitcher and a lefty setup man. What’s next?


The free agent market with infielders that can play shortstop and backup rookie Zack Cozart is rather thin. It’s thin enough that Reds GM Walt Jocketty is thinking trade rather signing someone from the open market.

“We’re still talking to a couple of clubs,” Jocketty said late Friday. “We’ll know something by next week, hopefully. I don’t think there’s a lot of guys out there free agent wise.”

Jocketty did not divulge which clubs he was chatting with.

Of the free agent shortstops, there’s only Ryan Theriot, Miguel Tejada and former Red Edgar Renteria. In recent days, ex-Red Orlando Cabrera retired and Jack Wilson signed with the Braves.

Jocketty said that there has been some interest shown to Theriot.

“We’ve talked to him, had some conversations,” Jocketty said.

Asked if he was optimistic something could get done, Jocketty responded “not today.”

*If the Reds sign nobody and don’t pull off a trade, Jocketty said he’d be comfortable going with what is already in house. That would mean Cozart and Paul Janish would be the team’s shortstops, with Cozart on the inside track to start.

*The Reds are continuing to look at adding to their depth with possible Minor League contract offers. One player they’re taking a look at, Jocketty confirmed, is pitcher Jeff Francis. The left-handed Francis, 30, was 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts last season with the Royals.  He was with the Rockies from 2004-10 and was a 17-game winner in 2007.


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