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.