November 2012

Span to Nationals in trade

Thursday on Reds.com/MLB.com, I wrote a story about the Reds needs heading into next week’s Winter Meetings now that Jonathan Broxton was signed. Click here to read it.

Of course, the primary need is a leadoff hitter for the team that had the second-best record in baseball last season. Well, the team that had the best record in baseball just scored one as the Nationals traded for CF Denard Span. Only one Minor Leaguer went back to Minnesota in the deal, but it was a very coveted one in RHP Alex Meyer, Washington’s No. 2 prospect and No. 50 overall.

Meyer was in Class A ball last season and not big league ready. The Twins are desperate for Major League pitching….and the Reds have some young pitching talent that is closer to being ready for the Majors. Twins GM Terry Ryan and his people must have really liked Meyer to make the deal for him.

I figure free agents Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, and possibly Shane Victorino to be too expensive for the Reds. Span was someone they pursued before the Trade Deadline and couldn’t get. I hadn’t heard his name connected to Cincinnati at all in the off-season though. Either way, the board of possiblities seems to be dwindling before the Winter Meetings has even started…but there is a long off-season left and possibilities.

Madson on missed time with Reds

As expected and on the day the Reds signed Jonathan Broxton, closer Ryan Madson and the Angels formally signed a one-year incentive-laden contract Wednesday worth a base salary of $3.5 million . My colleague Alden Gonzalez has the details, click here.

The fact that Madson could not fullfill his one-year, $8.5 million contract with the Reds has seemingly once again been a hot button issue on this blog. Folks, that’s baseball and that’s business. Contracts are guaranteed in this game and that’s just the way it is. The Reds, at the time, got a bargain when they signed Madson who slipped through the cracks after a proposed mega-deal with the Phillies collapsed. There are no “givebacks” because he got hurt. That’s not how it works. Everyone had their eyes wide open when entering into this contract. This isn’t the NFL and it really is time to get over it and move on.

Anyway, here is what Madson had to say today about his lost 2012 season and looking ahead to 2013:

“If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a pleaser. I want to please to whatever I need to, in any fashion I can. For me, it’s the baseball field, and I wasn’t able to do that for the Reds. They gave me a great opportunity, just like the Angels have this year, and it just didn’t work out. I was emotional, and I wasn’t even connected with the team yet, it was in Spring Training. It was one of those things where I felt my dedication to the team already and I wasn’t able to act on it. But this year, I’m doing everything I can to not let that happen again. It’s just all about the opportunity now. I don’t really look back on it for anything. I just now look back on it like it was an extended offseason and just put it behind me. That’s how you move forward.”

Pitching situation: Now what?

Now that the Reds have Jonathan Broxton available to be the closer and Aroldis Chapman seemingly headed to the rotation, the Reds definitely have a surplus of young starting pitching. No doubt, general manager Walt Jocketty will get enticed with offers to fill other needs (namely the leadoff spot) by including one or more of these pitchers.

Most directly affected, of course, is 2012 fifth starter Mike Leake. But waiting in the wings are top-tier prospects like RHP Daniel Corcino and LHP Tony Cingrani. Before assuming any of these guys are getting traded, remember that it never hurts to have rotation depth. The Reds may have gotten through a whole season with all five of their starters healthy, but that is usually the exception and not the rule.

Don’t forget that Bronson Arroyo is headed into the last year of his contract.

While I support the idea of Chapman starting, don’t forget no one knows how many innings his arm can handle in 2013.

Leake is first-time arbitration eligible but shouldn’t be too expensive to keep around. He can also come off of the bench to hit. Corcino and Cingrani wouldn’t be harmed by more time in the Minors.

Also don’t forget that only a couple of seasons ago that Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey were both injured during Spring Training and that Edinson Volquez got off to a slow start after visa issues delayed his arrival to camp.

The Reds can only remain competitive long term if they have sound starting pitching. It’s good to have trade chips but it’s not good if they use them all up to trade for a leadoff hitter.

Broxton signs three-year deal

The Reds have re-signed veteran free agent reliever Jonathan Broxton to a three-year contract worth $21 million on Wednesday morning, a source told MLB.com.

The deals carries a $9 million club option and has a limited no-trade clause. If he is traded, it becomes a $22 million contract with a mutual option. Broxton has already passed his physical.

The Reds have not made an announcement about a deal.

More soon…

UPDATE — The Reds announced the deal a short time ago. There will be a conference call with Broxton and Reds assistant GM Bob Miller at 11 a.m. ET.

UPDATE No. 2 — Here is the full story on Broxton, with quotes from the reliever and assistant GM Bob Miller.

Madson, we hardly knew thee

Multiple reports, namely from CBS Sports.com have free agent reliever Ryan Madson close to signing with the Angels to be their closer. Madson, as you know, was with the Reds in 2012 but never threw one pitch in a game. He missed the entire season after he blew out his elbow during Spring Training. After having Tommy John surgery, he did his rehab near his Southern California home under the supervision of the Angels medical staff. Perhaps that was what helped smooth the talks…

Here is more from MLB.com Angels beat writer Alden Gonzalez.

The need for the Reds to sign Madson lessened as they appear close to re-signing Jonathan Broxton for a multi-year contract to be their closer.

‘Serious talks’ with Broxton?

FoxSports.com/MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting Monday afternoon that the Reds and free agent reliever Jonathan Broxton are in serious talks about a three-year contract. The story is based info from anonymous sources.

I have calls out to Reds GM Walt Jocketty and BB Abbott, the agent for Broxton. Last season, the reliever earned $4 million on a one-year contract.

By signing Broxton to a long-term deal, the path would be paved for the Reds to move current closer Aroldis Chapman into the rotation — something that they wanted to do in 2011 before injuries crushed the bullpen during Spring Training. If Chapman was unsuccessful in the transition, he could always return to closing and Broxton can go back to setting up for Chapman.

Broxton, 28, was acquired by Cincinnati from the Royals on July 31. Overall in 60 appearances totaling 58 innings, he posted a 2.48 ERA, 56 hits, 17 walks and 45 strikeouts. While Chapman missed 10 days with shoulder fatigue in September, Broxton stepped up and was 4-for-4 in save chances.

**UPDATE — Source told me tonight that talks could move quickly as there is substantial interest on both sides. A deal could be done by the end of the week. Here is my story on MLB.com

Hamilton, Gregorius recognized

Reds OF prospect Billy Hamilton and SS Didi Gregorius were named to the 2012 Arizona Fall League’s Top Prospects team on Monday. AFL managers and coaches make the selections. Both players were with the Peoria squad.

Hamilton batted .234/.306/.328 in 17 games this fall.

Gregorius batted .284/.333/.392 with one homer and eight RBIs in 20 games.

Below is some of the info on both players, supplied by the AFL:

OF Billy Hamilton

Finished one behind the league lead with 10 stolen bases … hit .333 in 27 at-bats with runners on base … hit .400 when ahead in the count … three RBI vs. Salt River on 10/24 … four multi-hit games … stole two bases vs. Phoenix on 11/06 … three RBI vs. Salt River on 10/24 … stole three bases vs. Salt River on 10/17 … three hits at Phoenix on 10/12 … Rising Stars Game starter, notching 1 hit, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases …

SS Didi Gregorius

Hit .309 against right-handed pitching (55 at-bats) … struck out only four times in 74 at-bats, the best ratio in the league … six-game hitting streak to end the season … 6-for-11 (.545) in three night games … four multi-run games … four multi-hit games … four hits at Scottsdale on 10/13 …

A few signings

Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend…

A few things to catch you up:

*The Reds signed INF Emmanuel Burriss to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. If Burriss makes the team, he will earn $750,000 in 2013. If he is not on the 25-man roster by June 1, Burriss can get his release and become a free agent.

*Also inked to a Minor League contract was Mike Hessman, a 1B/3B and PH-type of guy. Hessman, 34, has only 109 games of big league experience spread over three teams, most recently the Mets in 2010. He’s a .188 career hitter with 14 home runs. The 2011 season was spent playing in Japan and all of last season was in Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Astros organization. Hessman batted .231/.301/.531 with 35 homers and 78 RBIs in 2012. He would earn $505,000 if he is in the Majors and can get a release on July 1 if he isn’t on the roster.

*RHP Todd Redmond, who was the lone Reds pitcher to make a start that wasn’t in the regular starting five in 2012, re-signed with the club. It’s a Major League contract and pays $490,000 for one year.

*While none of those deals were eye-popping in any way, shape or form…here’s a deal that is: the Rays extended 3B Evan Longoria for an additional six years through 2022 in a deal worth $100 million. Longoria was signed to a six-year, $17.5 million deal that had him locked up through 2016. I mention this because I recently had a story on Jay Bruce, who is seeking an extension. Bruce is also signed through 2016 to a better deal than Longoria had, but the Reds were not looking to do a deal right now.

*Friday at 11:59 p.m. ET is the deadline to tender 2013 contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Now that Bill Bray and Wilson Valdez are already off of the roster, the Reds have seven players this deadline affects: RHP Homer Bailey (2nd year), OF Chris Heisey (super 2), RHP Mat Latos (1st year), RHP Mike Leake (1st year), RHP Logan Ondrusek (super 2), RHP Alfredo Simon (1st year) and OF Drew Stubbs (1st year).

*MLB announced the size of the 2012 postseason player shares. For making the NL Division Series, the share for the players pool was $2,124,312.75; with the value of each of full share: $37,865.12). The Reds awarded 45 full shares, 7.46 partial shares and 20 cash awards. Players usually have a vote on who gets full and partial shares.

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday weekend!
May you all get to eat good food, have a great time with family and see good friends.

Reds close to signing infielder

It appears that the Reds are dipping their toes into the free agent waters for the first time this off-season.

It’s nowhere near the deep end of the pool, however.

MLB.com has learned that the Reds are close to signing infielder Emmanuel Burriss to a Minor League contract. Baseball America was first to report a deal is in place, but the club has yet to make an announcement.

Burriss, 27, was cut loose by the Giants as he was first-year eligible for arbitration this winter. In 60 games during 2012, he batted .213. In parts of five big league seasons since 2008, he is a .243 lifetime hitter.

Defensively, Burriss has primarily played second base but can also play shortstop, third base and left field.

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