January 2012

Madson deal finalized

 The deal between the Reds and closer Ryan Madson is now official. It’s a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2013. The club did not reveal the terms.

But as previously reported last week, Madson is guaranteed $8.5 million by earning $6 million in 2012 and a $2.5 million buyout on an $11 million mutual option for 2013. Some of the money in the deal will be deferred.

I expect some sort of conference call today or tonight. Will have more later on Reds.com/MLB.com and this blog.

UPDATE — Here is the final story with quotes from Madson and GM Walt Jocketty

Odds and ends

The additions of the Reds’ new Ryans — Madson and Ludwick — remain unofficial to this point and still pending physicals. Ryan Madson appears to be scheduled to have his physical on Friday. And Ludwick is slated to come to town next week.

I had a chat with Ludwick on the phone late this afternoon. There is a story up now on reds.com and MLB.com. Here is one of the quotes:

“Any time you’ve been counted down and out like I have for a year and a half, it’s tough on you mentally,” Ludwick said. “I’ve been busting my butt to get back to where I was. I’ll try to open some eyes, be a good teammate and help the club win. I think having another World Series in Cincinnati would be unbelievable. I’d like to get back to the playoffs myself. It’s been since 2009 for me.”


In some former Reds news —

*SS Orlando Cabrera announced his retirement on Wednesday while on a Colombian radio station. That eliminates one more free agent shortstop but when I last checked on him, the Reds had no talks with Cabrera about coming back.

*OF Jonny Gomes appears close to signing with the A’s, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. If that is the case, Oakland should be a nice move for Gomes. He is from nearby Petaluma, Calif.

Bailey, Janish signed

Homer Bailey and Paul Janish joined Bray to avoid arbitration by signing one year contracts today. The AP is reporting that Bailey got $2.4 million in his deal. That’s a rather nice jump in pay from the $441,000 he earned last season.

Jose Arredondo and Nick Masset are the only remaining Reds players eligible for arbitration. Numbers were exchanged today.

Arredondo is seeking $875,000 while the club counter offered at $725,000. He made $480,000 last season.

Masset is seeking $2.9 million while the Reds offered $2.1 million. He made $1.825 million in 2011.

Bray avoids arbitration

The Reds and lefty reliever Bill Bray have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract on Tuesday. Terms were not immediately known.

“Contract is done…thanks to the @reds and my agents @OctagonBaseball. My family and I are extremely pleased,” Bray tweeted.

Bray made $645,000 in 2011.

Tuesday is the day that clubs and arbitration eligible players have to exchange salary figures. Besides Bray, Cincinnati also has relievers Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo, starting pitcher Homer Bailey and shortstop Paul Janish eligible for arbitration.

Another solid addition

 Will the addition of OF Ryan Ludwick tip the scales and give the Reds firm control of the NL Central over the Cardinals and Brewers? Probably not. However, this is a good solid signing (pending a passed physical) for what is likely a reasonable cost in a one-year deal. And it comes on the heels of other strong additions (Madson, Marshall, Latos).

GM Walt Jocketty told me on Friday that the Reds were seeking a guy with some power for left field/the bench. They wanted a character guy in the clubhouse. From what I’ve heard, he brings that element with him to Cincinnati.

The Reds only had budget room for a smaller-level signing. A guy like Cody Ross had them interested earlier in this season but Ross was seeking a multi-year deal, Jocketty said last week. That all but  priced Ross out of coming here.

Ludwick is a long way from the salad days of smacking 37 homers and driving in 113 runs like he did for St. Louis in 2008. Last season, he dipped to .237 with 13 home runs last season in a combined 139 games with the Padres and Pirates.

But remember that Ludwick played 101 games for San Diego and a large amount of those were at Petco Park, which is known as a vast pitchers’ ballpark. He had a .674 OPS for the Padres while his career OPS is .787.

In 30 games at GABP, Ludwick has a .921 OPS to go with a .276 average, nine homers and 21 RBIs. And we all know that GABP is as hitter friendly as Petco isn’t.

Last season Ludwick batted .264 vs. left-handed pitchers and .228 against right-handers, yet he has been better over his career vs. righties (.272) than lefties (.237).

Dusty Baker has had praise for Ludwick the past couple of seasons. That doesn’t mean Chris Heisey should clean out his locker — far from it. This is a move that improves depth since there were only three true outfielders on the 40-man roster with big league experience.

I can envision an unconventional type of platoon in LF this season for Heisey and Ludwick and opportunities for Ludwick to spell Jay Bruce at times in right field.

Reds land Ludwick

MLB.com has learned via a source Monday night that outfielder Ryan Ludwick has agreed to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2013. The dollar figure remains unclear, but the Reds weren’t expected to spend a lot to fill their opening for a fourth outfielder.

Ken Rosenthal at FOX and MLB Network was first with the story.

Ludwick, 33, batted .237 with 13 home runs last season in a combined 139 games with the Padres and Pirates. He has a history with Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, having played for him with the Cardinals. Ludwick spent the 2007-09 seasons in St. Louis and hit a career best 37 homers with 113 RBIs in 2008.

The deal is pending a physical. No word from the Reds yet. Here is the link to my story on MLB.com/reds.com

Navarro signed

The Reds on Monday signed veteran catcher Dioner Navarro to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp as a non-roster player.

Navarro, 27, spent last season with the Dodgers, where he batted .193/.276/.324 in 64 games. He’s also previously played for the Rays and Yankees.

The Spring Training roster is now at 53 players.

Mahay and Zavada signed

Two transactions from the Reds:

A pair of left-handers, Ron Mahay and Clay Zavada were signed to Minor League contracts and invited to big league camp as non-roster players. There are now 14 non-roster players invited to camp. Also, Mark Riggins has been named the Reds’ minor league pitching coordinator to replace Mack Jenkins, who earlier this month was promoted to assistant pitching coach

Mahay, 40, has a 3.83 ERA over 14 seasons with a multitude of clubs — the last in the Majors being the Twins in 2010. He split 2011 in the D-Backs and Cardinals organizations but was mostly in Triple-A.

Zavada spent all of last season at Arizona’s Double-A club in Mobile, going 3-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 44 games. In 49 big league games over his career, all in 2009, he was 3-3 with a 3.35 ERA. Had Zavada been signed in the 1970s or the 1980s by the Reds, especially during the Marge Schott regime, he would have had quite the dilemma. Take a look at the picture below and see if you can determine why:

More camp invites

The Reds have invited the following Minor Leaguers to Spring Training as non-roster players: RHP Nick Christiani, RHP Daniel Corcino, LHP Donnie Joseph and C Tucker Barhart.

Add these guys to the invites announced last week, that brings the total to 12 non-roster invites to camp this spring

Madson – updated figures

A formalized contract between the Reds and prospective new closer Ryan Madson might take several days.

A source told MLB.com on Wednesday that Madson will get a one-year guaranteed contract that pays him $6 million in 2012 with an $11 million option for 2013 that carries a $2.5 million buyout. So that’s $8.5 million guaranteed. Some of the money will be spread out over four years.

One of the issues holding up a deal being formalized is that Madson is on vacation and has yet to be scheduled for a physical. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty is currently attending the owner’s meetings in Phoenix and could not be reached for comment.

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