October 2012

Ludwick declines option

As expected, outfielder Ryan Ludwick declined his $5 million mutual option for 2013 with the Reds and became a free agent on Wednesday. For the mutual option to have kicked in, both the club and player had to exercise. (Added info: I neglected to mention that the buyout is worth $500,000)

Ludwick signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Reds in January and became a relative bargain with a bounceback year. He batted .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers and 80 RBIs. He obviously wants to see if he can parlay this year into a multi-year contract at market value.

Therein lies the rub for the Reds. Ludwick is 34 and paying market value for someone of that age for multiple years could be tough on the budget. Both sides have said in the waning days of the season that they wanted Ludwick to remain in Cincinnati. He’s told me before how much he likes the city and the team, but as always with free agents…we’ll have to wait and see how much weight that carries as offers come in.

UPDATE: I spoke with GM Walt Jocketty about Ludwick and have a full version on MLB.com. Read it by clicking here. Jocketty has spoken to Ludwick’s agent as well as the agents for Ryan Madson, Dioner Navarro and Jonathan Broxton. All four players are interested in returning.

“I don’t know if we’ll get to sign all of them,” Jocketty said.

Reds 0-for-6 on GG’s

The Reds had a Major League leading six finalists up for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award on Tuesday.

When it was all said and done, they went 0-for-6. Cincinnati’s finalists were pitcher Bronson Arroyo, first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Zack Cozart, center fielder Drew Stubbs and right fielder Jay Bruce. Managers and coaches do the voting.

Here are your National League Gold Glove winners for 2012:

1B Adam LaRoche – Nationals
2B Darwin Barney – Cubs
SS Jimmy Rollins – Phillies
3B Chase Headley – Padres
LF Carlos Gonzalez – Rockies
CF Andrew McCutchen – Pirates
RF Jason Heyward – Braves
C Yadier Molina – Cardinals
P Mark Buehrle – Marlins

Of all of these winners — Barney beating Phillips is a little stunning. Barney had a 141-game errorless streak and a better fielding percentage than Phillips (.997 to .992). But can anyone really say Barney has more range or makes better all around plays than Phillips?

UPDATE — I will stand partially corrected on Barney. As I noted the other day, he was named a Fielding Bible Award winner last week. And that was apparently based largely on his saving 28 runs this season — the most among all MLB second basemen. But as I put on Twitter, Barney has the stats…and I have eyes. I’ve seen both play, obviously Phillips more. He makes the routine and non-routine plays.

UPDATE No. 2: Courtesy of MLB.com Cubs beat reporter Carrie Muskat, here is Barney on beating out Phillips:

“You don’t expect to pass a guy like Brandon Phillips,” Barney said. “He’s exceptional at what he does. He was the best in the game for a long time, and I can’t sit here and say I’m better than him or anything like that. I had a good season and I think either of us could’ve won it. Fortunately for me, I did. He very easily could have won just as easily as I could.”

Price to stay with Reds

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Marlins manager’s job, a person familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

Price interviewed with Miami on Friday. He will remain on the Reds coaching staff. Price was not available for comment.

Frazier update from NJ

You might remember that Reds 3B/1B Todd Frazier is a native and resident of Toms River, NJ, which is near the Jersey Shore that was hit by Hurricane Sandy on Monday.

Through the Reds, Frazier reported Tuesday that he is doing OK. See below the email from Reds media relations director Rob Butcher.

“Todd Frazier’s home in Toms River withstood the storm with a little damage from flooding and debris. He said he, his home and his family will be fine.”

Gold Gloves revealed Tuesday

Rawlings and ESPN will be announcing the 18 Gold Glove winners across the National and American Leagues on Tuesday night. A Gold Glove Awards show is back again and airs at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. If you remember, they added some drama by announcing “finalists” before revealing the actual winner.

The Reds have a Major League leading six finalists for their 2012 defensive play.

P Bronson Arroyo
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Zack Cozart
CF Drew Stubbs
RF Jay Bruce

Major League managers and coaches vote for the winners each year.

Phillips will be seeking his fourth Gold Glove while Votto and Arroyo could get Gold Glove No. 2. The others are seeking their first. While Phillips would normally seem to be a good bet, the Cubs Darwin Barney appears to be on the inside track after a solid season. Barney already won a Fielding Bible award last week.

Price interviews with Marlins

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price told me that he interviewed for the Marlins managerial vacancy on Friday. But in a text message, he chose not to elaborate.

“That’s all I want to say at this time,” Price said.

This is the second time that the 50-year-old Price has interviewed for a Marlins managerial opening. He has been the Reds pitching coach since 2009.

Mike Redmond interviewed with Miami on Wednesday. Redmond is widely reported to be the frontrunner for the job that opened when Ozzie Guillen was let go earlier this week.

Reds medical staff recognized

The Reds medical team has been recognized for a good season. Check out this release I received from Will Carroll, a reporter that covers injuries in all sports. His Twitter handle is @injuryexpert.

Rotowire is proud to announce the winner of the 2012 Martin-Monahan Award for Best Medical Staff is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds, under the direction of Paul Lessard and Dr. Tim Kremchek, have seen a significant reduction in days lost to injury, salary lost to injury, and have contributed to the Reds team that has won the NL Central two of the last three years.

The Martin-Monahan Award is named for longtime Twins Athletic Trainer Dick Martin and this year, we have added the name of longtime Yankees trainer Gene Monahan to the award as well. These two men symbolize the ideal of all medical staffs – hardworking, loyal to their teams, and at the pinnacle of their profession. The award is selected based on statistics monitored by Will Carroll and given in conjunction with Rotowire.com, the leading site for player news and analysis.

An article detailing the award will be posted Friday afternoon at Rotowire.com. The award will be presented at the Winter Meetings in December.

Marlins interested in Price?

Last night, my MLB.com colleague in Miami – Joe Frisaro – tweeted that the Marlins had Reds pitching coach Bryan Price “in the mix” to fill their just created managerial vacancy to replace Ozzie Guillen. Frisaro noted however that former Marlins and Twins catcher Mike Redmond appeared to be the front runner. Others have reported that as well.

In other words, Price’s being in the mix still could be a long way from him being seriously considered for the job.

Today on the Marlins site, there is a list of all of the potential candidates — including Price. Click here to read.

I reached out to Price today but haven’t heard back, yet.

Price interviewed for a previous Marlins managerial vacancy before he joined the Reds in 2009. But get used to hearing his name being in the mix for any future managerial openings. The Reds had one of the most successful pitching staffs in the Majors this season. Only the Giants and Reds had all five starters make 30 starts this season and it had only been done a handful of times in MLB history. The last time it happened was on the 2003 Mariners, who just happened to have Price as their pitching coach. Cincinnati also had four starters reach 200 innings and needed a sixth starter only once because of a doubleheader. And while Price has deflected credit to others, the rotation was healthy and handled very well to hold up for the entire season. The bullpen led the Majors in relievers’ team ERA. He’s also helped develop Johnny Cueto into an ace, turned around Mat Latos’ season this year after early struggles and helped turn Aroldis Chapman into a closer.

Price is only 50 so he’s far from too old to take on a manager’s gig. He’s been very respected and popular with his pitchers since coming to Cincinnati and he was also highly regarded in stops with Arizona and Seattle. While I have no idea how he’d manage the overall game on the field, he’s very smart and he can do the off-the-field stuff extremely well like talking to the media and relating with fans. All of those ingredients make for an attractive managerial candidate.

Once upon a time, pitching coaches seemed to not fare well as managers with Ray Miller being an infamous example in Minnesota and Baltimore in the mid-to-late 1980s, but that perception has certainly changed. Bud Black is a respected skipper in San Diego and John Farrell just rejoined the Red Sox as manager. He was Boston’s popular pitching coach before getting his first manager’s job in Toronto. The Red Sox actually made a trade to get Farrell away from the Blue Jays just a couple of days ago.

If I hear anything new regarding Price, you’ll be made aware…

Lutz AFL player of the week

The Arizona Fall League announced Tuesday that 1B Donald Lutz is its player of the week.

Last week, Lutz batted a league-best .556 with an .833 SLG, 10 hits, 15 total bases and five runs scored.

Although born in Watertown, N.Y., Lutz grew up in Germany. You can read more about him by clicking here.

Here is more from the AFL press release: The Reds’ prospect enters the season’s third week as the league leader in batting (.517), hits (15), slugging percentage (.793) and total bases (23). The 23-year-old played at three levels (rookie, High-A, Double-A) in 2012, hitting .269 with 22 home runs and  71 RBI. In five minor-league seasons, the 6-3, 235-pound Lutz, who was signed by the Reds as a free agent in 2008, is  a .277 hitter with 51 homers and 203 RBI in 335 games.


Bell joins Cubs coaching staff

The Reds will be looking for a new manager at Triple-A Louisville. On Tuesday, the Cubs named David Bell as the third base coach on their big league staff under Dale Sveum.

Bell, 40, spent four seasons in the Reds organization. His first three were as manager at Double-A Carolina and last season at Louisville, which had a 51-93 record in 2012.

The move doesn’t seem too stunning as it gives Bell a shot at a big league coaching job right now. Since the Reds retained their entire coaching staff for 2013, and manager Dusty Baker for two more seasons, there were no openings for Bell to get a promotion.

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