November 2012

Reds add to 40-man roster

Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. ET is the deadline for Major League clubs to protect players on 40-man rosters from the Rule 5 Draft. The Reds added six players.

RHP Carlos Contreras from Class-A Bakersfield.
RHP Daniel Corcino from Double-A Pensacola.
LHP Ismael Guillon from Class-A Dayton.
RHP Curtis Partch from Double-A Pensacola.
RHP Josh Ravin from Double-A Pensacola.
OF Yorman Rodriguez from Class-A Dayton.

Cincinnati’s 40-man roster currently stands at 39. That means the Reds could add a free agent without making a corresponding roster move or possibly make a selection at the Rule 5 Draft. I will have more details on the players added soon on Reds.com/MLB.com.

Update: Click here for the full story.

Back to blogging

Greetings once again…

You may have noticed a lack of action on the blog the past week. That was because I was on vacation, or staycation actually. I did have a few stories while out on Reds.com/MLB.com but other than that, I tried to maintain a low profile.

I wanted to catch up on a few things…

*Top prospect Billy Hamilton is OK after slamming into the wall trying to make a catch in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday. Click here to read the story from Jonathan Mayo.

*I wasn’t surprised to see Reds ace Johnny Cueto finish fourth in the NL Cy Young Award race. He didn’t have a very good first part of September and R.A. Dickey seemed to be the runaway choice. But I would like to submit this — if the numbers of Reds hitters are frequently discounted because of playing in GABP, why aren’t Reds pitchers’ numbers weighed more heavily for pitching well there? Cueto gave up very few homers and his ERA at home was almost identical to his ERA on the road.

*You may recall a couple of weeks ago that I did a story on the Reds seeking a closer so Aroldis Chapman could be moved into the rotation. My colleagues Matthew Leach and Jim Duquette debated that topic recently in this video:

*This story I did on Jay Bruce wanting a contract extention garnered a little buzz last week. From talking to the general manager, I don’t expect a lot of movement or negotiating this off-season. But you never know…

*On Tuesday, teams have to set their 40-man roster and protect eligible players from the Rule 5 Draft. I will have that story when we know what the Reds decide. From what I’ve heard, I could envision the club not filling up to the 40-man limit and possibly taking a player this year. No, I have no idea who. The Rule 5 Draft is on Dec. 6, the final day of the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

*Find out all you need to know about Redsfest by clicking here. I will be at the Duke Energy Center covering on Dec. 7-8.

Bray, Valdez become free agents

Reds reliever Bill Bray and infielder Wilson Valdez refused outright assignments and elected to become free agents. Both were eligible for arbitration this winter.

Bray, 29, was limited to 8 2/3 innings and 14 appearances this season because of groin and back injuries. He wasn’t very effective when he did pitch in 2012 as he had a 5.19 ERA with 14 walks and seven strikeouts. About to be second-year arbitration eligible, he earned $1.4 million in 2012.

The last remaining piece that arrived in a blockbuster trade that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to the the Nationals in 2006, Bray had a lot of injury filled years in Cincinnati. His best season was a healthy 2011 when he made a career-high 79 appearances and posted a 2.98 ERA.

Acquired from the Phillies last winter, the 34-year-old Valdez batted .208 with 15 RBIs in 77 games as a backup. He played 2B (22 games, 8 starts), SS (33 games, 27 starts), 3B (14 games, 5 starts) and CF (5 games, 4 starts). He made $930,000 in 2012.

Bruce wins Silver Slugger

Reds RF Jay Bruce was named a National League Silver Slugger winner on Thursday. Like the Gold Gloves, voting is done by the league’s managers and coaches.

Bruce, 25, batted .252/.327/.514 with career bests in homers (34), RBIs (99) and doubles (35).

No Reds outfielder has won a Silver Slugger since Eric Davis in 1989. There have only been two winners from the club since Barry Larkin was winning them regularly in the 1990s — SS Felipe Lopez won one in 2005 and 2B Brandon Phillips claimed one last year.

Bruce was the only Red to win a Silver Slugger this year. Below is the complete list of winners:

1B – Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals
2B – Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks
3B – Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
SS – Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
OF – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
OF – Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
C – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
P – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

The one that actually surprised me a little was Strasburg beating out Reds fifth starter Mike Leake.
Leake batted .295/.306/.443 with two homers and three RBIs. Strasburg batted .277/.333/.426 with one homer and seven RBIs.

Click here to read Bruce’s reaction in a story on MLB.com/Reds.com.

Baker, Frazier are awards finalists

In the first-ever announcement of BBWAA awards finalists, the Reds have two.

After the Reds won 97 games and a division title, Dusty Baker is a finalist for National League Manager of the Year. With Baker are Davey Johnson from the Nationals and Bruce Bochy of the Giants. Baker is a good bet for leading his team through the adversity of losing Joey Votto to injury but Johnson helmed a surprise Nats club to the best record in baseball.

Todd Frazier is a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year. You may recall that Frazier won a Players Choice award already this week as the NL outstanding rookie. That award was selected by big league players. Like the Players Choice, Frazier is joined by the Nationals Bryce Harper and D-backs Wade Miley as finalists. One difference that could hurt Frazier is the writers turned in their ballots at regular season’s end while the players did Players Choice balloting in mid September. Harper had a strong finish while Frazier faded.

Reds 19-game winner Johnny Cueto was not named a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award. It is instead the Mets R.A. Dickey, the Nationals Gio Gonzalez and the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw. Cueto deserves consideration but those three-straight losses in September had to have hurt his chances.

The BBWAA will reveal the Rookie of the Year winner on Monday at 6 p.m. ET and Manager of the Year on Tuesday at 6 p.m. All of next week’s awards will be carried by MLB Network.

Don’t forget that the Silver Slugger Awards will be revealed tomorrow (Thursday) at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. I can envision 2B Brandon Phillips and P Mike Leake winning some bats.

Grandal suspended 50 games

Catcher Yasmani Grandal is no longer part of the Reds, but this is still interesting news that crossed on Wednesday: Grandal was given a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball for a positive test of testosterone.

You may recall that Grandal was a major part of the the 4-for-1 trade with the Padres last December that brought starting pitcher Mat Latos to the Reds. Also sent to San Diego were Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez.

Grandal was also a first-round pick of the Reds in 2010.

Click here for the full story from MLB.com Padres beat reporter Corey Brock.

Frazier NL’s outstanding rookie

Reds infielder Todd Frazier on Monday earned a MLB Players Choice Award from his peers as he was named the National League’s outstanding rookie winner. Frazier beat out OF Bryce Harper of the Nationals and LHP Wade Miley from the D-backs.

The award was announced on MLB Network at their New Jersey studio and Frazier, a NJ native, was able to accept in person.

The Players Choice Awards have been around since 1992. Balloting is done entirely by the players and were turned in around mid-September.

In 128 games during his first full season in the Majors, the 26-year-old Frazier batted .273 with 19 home runs and 67 RBIs and was among the leaders in several categories among National League rookies.

The NL Rookie of the Year voting by the BBWAA is on Monday.

More soon…

UPDATE: Frazier discussed winning the award, and about Hurricane Sandy. The story is posted on MLB.com and can be read by clicking here.

The awards season

The Gold Gloves were handed out last week, but the meat of the end-of-season awards is about to commence.

It starts on Monday with the Players Choice Awards, as determined by the MLB Players Association.

All of the awards presentations will be carried live by MLB Network and are listed in eastern time.

This week:

Players Choice Awards: Monday at 8 p.m.
(Todd Frazier is a finalist for NL outstanding rookie, Johnny Cueto is a finalist for NL outstanding pitcher and Ryan Ludwick is a finalist for the comeback player award)

Silver Slugger Awards: Thursday at 6 p.m.

Next week:

Rookie of the Year: Monday Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.
Manager of the Year: Tuesday Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.
Cy Young Award: Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.
Most Valuable Player: Thursday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.

Hamilton’s nice catch

Reds prospect Billy Hamilton had quite a catch in centerfield at the Arizona Fall League Future Stars game Saturday. Check it out:

Hamilton also had a bunt single that scored a run and created an error and scored a run in game.

Click here for the box score.

New stadium for Bakersfield

The Reds Class A affiliate at Bakersfield is getting a new ballpark built, with an expected completion in time for the 2014 season. The Blaze currently play at one of the oldest facilities in the Minor Leagues. Sam Lynn Stadium open in the 1940s and has the unique issue of having the sun set behind center field and right in the batters’ eyes.

This new stadium is a positive for the Reds development system, assuming they keep Bakersfield as an affiliate or a few more years. The organization would have modern ballparks at every stop from Class A Dayton and higher. And the player development/Spring Training complex at Goodyear is only three years old.

UPDATE: The Reds’ affiliate agreement with Bakersfield goes through the 2014 season.

Here is a portion of the press release from the Bakersfield Blaze:

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (November 2, 2012)—In a major boost to the local sports landscape, the Bakersfield Blaze is moving forward with plans for a new, state-of-the-art ballpark at Bakersfield Commons, the planned mixed-use community located at the intersection of Coffee and Brimhall Roads, where northwest and southwest Bakersfield come together.

Bakersfield Commons also plans to advance its first phase of retail development in connection with the ballpark. Groundbreaking for the stadium is expected in the first quarter of 2013, with the park set to open in 2014. The surrounding retail center is in the planning stage and construction is anticipated to start in 2014.

The new ballpark will have approximately 3,500 fixed seats, and will include modern amenities such as luxury suites and special event space for groups and families, picnic areas, and a children’s playground. The ballpark will be built on 15 acres at the northern end of the Bakersfield Commons site, and the Blaze will relocate from Sam Lynn Ballpark, where Bakersfield baseball has lived since 1941.

Blaze Manager Ken Griffey, Sr. believes the new stadium will have a positive impact on the team. “I can’t tell you how valuable it will be to play in a facility that offers the best experience possible for our players and fans,” he said. “Filling the seats with excited Blaze fans will mean a lot to the team. This new stadium will create a lot of pride for everyone in Bakersfield.”

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