January 2013

Ondrusek signs two-year contract

The Reds announced Thursday night that they signed RHP Logan Ondrusek to a two-year contract that avoids arbitration. Terms were not immediately revealed. Teams and arbitration eligible players were scheduled to exchange figures on Friday.

“It feels good,” Ondrusek said. “They talked to my agent and there wasn’t a lot of disagreement. It all went really smooth as far as I was concerned. It was nice to be able to sit back and focus on what I need to do for this upcoming season and not be worrying or having to go through arbitration. It took away a lot of pressure.”

In 63 games last season, Ondrusek was 5-2, with a 3.46 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings, the 27-year-old gave up 51 hits and 23 walks while striking out 39.

Overall, Ondrusek stranded 38 of his 42 inherited runners, including a season high 17 straight from June 9-Aug. 8. But he struggled for much of the month of August and was optioned to Triple-A Louisville for 10 days when Dioner Navarro needed a roster spot as Devin Mesoraco served a two-game suspension.

No big league Reds on int’l squads

The rosters for all 16 teams in the World Baseball Classic rosters are out. Brandon Phillips of Team USA is currently the lone Reds player partcipating.

For now at least, no Reds players from the Majors or Minor Leagues were selected to play for the other countries. That could change since these are only provisional rosters. Final 28-man rosters are not submitted until Feb. 20.

Correction: Team Netherlands pitcher Loek Van Mil (a 7-foot-1 right-hander) was a Minor Leaguer signed by the Reds this winter. Team China has Ray Chang, a Minor League infielder signed by Cincinnati in the off-season, too. Double-A Pensacola LHP Chris Manno was selected to play for Team Spain.

The one name that could be added is 1B Joey Votto as Canada has only 26 players on its provisional roster. It was reported in Toronto last week that Votto’s omission was because he needed to clear some extra insurance issues related to his left knee injury last season. Votto said if he was 100 percent, he would play. But if he wasn’t, his first priority was to get ready for the Reds regular season.

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Phillips on Team USA

The American roster for the World Baseball Classic was just announced.

Reds second baseman Phillips was one of 27 players named on Thursday to Team USA’s provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic. He will be the lone Reds player on the American squad.

A two-time National League All-Star and three-time NL Gold Glove Award winner, the 31-year-old Phillips batted .281 with 18 home runs and 77 RBIs in 2012 for the Reds. This will be his first World Baseball Classic.

Here is the full 27-man roster:

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Speedy Hamilton

Since it is a fully functioning multimedia experience on this here blog, I will post a video clip. MLB.com’s Jim Duquette and Matthew Leach discussed the merits of Reds prospect Billy Hamilton and his upcoming first big league camp. Duquette, a former GM with the Mets and Orioles, made some pretty good points.

If nothing else, there’s plenty of video of Hamilton running to keep your interest.

Reds players officially file

According to a press release from the MLB Players Association, these Reds were among the 133 in the league to officially file for salary arbitration:

Bailey, Homer CI SP
Choo, Shin-soo CI OF
Heisey, Chris CI OF
Latos, Mat CI SP
Leake, Mike CI SP
Ondrusek, Logan CI RP
Simon, Alfredo CI RP

No surprises here at all. The next step is for clubs and players to exchange salary figures on Friday.

Reds camps registration now open

Freshly posted on the Reds web site is information about 2013 Reds baseball and softball summer camps. The camps are open to both boys and girls from ages 6-14. They have five-day camps that run Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and are held throughout the summer in different cities around the region — Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington, Dayton and Indianapolis.

Among the features, besides instruction from qualified coaches, will be a guest appearance by a top name current Reds player – such as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo or Aroldis Chapman. Each camp will also receive instruction from a current Reds coach. There is also a VIP day at Great American Ball Park, four tickets to a choice of one of three Reds home games and a full Reds uniform for the camper.

To register, or just get more information, click here for the camp’s page on Reds.com.

You can also contact Tim Rappe, the executive director of Reds baseball camps at trappe@reds.com or by calling 855.846.7337.

WBC rosters announced Thurs.

UPDATE: The reveal of the rosters for the World Baseball Classic is Thursday. MLB.com will be streaming the video live.

MLB Network sent out this press release:

The Team USA Provisional Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be announced on MLB Network’s Hot Stove this Thursday, January 17 live at 10:00 a.m. ET. Co-hosted by Matt Vasgersian and Bill Ripken, who was part of the 2009 Team USA coaching staff, Hot Stove will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET and break down Team USA and feature an interview with Team USA manager Joe Torre.

Later in the day, the remainder of the Provisional Rosters for the 16-team field will be announced on MLB Network during a World Baseball Classic Roster Special live at 4:00 p.m. ET. Co-hosted by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and Heidi Watney with Dan Plesac and Bill Ripken, the one-hour special will analyze the entire 16-team field, look back at the history of the World Baseball Classic and feature interviews with Team USA pitching coach Greg Maddux and Team USA member and New York Mets third baseman David Wright. The show will also preview the tournament schedule as MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language broadcast partner for all 39 games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic in the United States from March 2-19.

***

I’m expecting we’ll hear that Brandon Phillips is with Team USA, and possibly that Joey Votto is back with Team Canada. Johnny Cueto, Jose Arredondo, Shin-Soo Choo and others are good bets to be representing their countries in the World Baseball Classic during Spring Training.

What else is going on, new #’s

I spoke with Reds GM Walt Jocketty Monday evening about myriad topics, including stories for down the road. As for the here and now, besides the non-roster invites and Cesar Izturis signing, there isn’t much new with the club.

“Absolutely nothing,” said Jocketty from his home in Arizona. “I had a conference call with my staff today. The biggest two things right now is we’re trying to have everything ready for Spring Training, like the logistical stuff. We’re also checking if there are any unsigned guys we like and if their demands have lowered, but there is nothing new on that front.”

There hasn’t been much progress on negotiations with the players eligible for arbitration — Homer Bailey, Mat Latos, Shin-Soo Choo, Mike Leake, Chris Heisey, Alfredo Simon and Logan Ondrusek. The deadline for both sides to exchange salary figures is Friday.

“There’s no movement on that,” Jocketty said. “I don’t know if we’ll get anybody signed before we exchange the figures. We hope to sign everybody before arbitration hearings but you never know. You try not to go if you don’t have to.”

On the new Spring Training roster that included the camp invites were the full list of uniform numbers, which I know has become a popular thing. Here are some notables:

Closer Jonathan Broxton switched to No. 51 from No. 50. Broxton wore 51 when he was with the Dodgers and Royals.

LHP Sean Marshall vacated the No. 51 he had last season and took over No. 45, which was his old number with the Cubs.

OF Billy Hamilton will wear No. 6 in camp, which previously belonged to Drew Stubbs.

SS Cesar Izturis will wear No. 3.

INF Emmanuel Burriss was assigned No. 78.

Izturis signed, camp invites

The Reds on Monday announced 15 Spring Training non-roster invites. One of the more newsworthy is they signed veteran SS Cesar Izturis to a minor league deal.

Here is the full list: RHP Nick Christiani, LHP Wilkin De La Rosa, RHP Justin Freeman, RHP Drew Hayes, RHP Chad Rogers, C Nevin Ashley, C Tucker Barnhart, C Corky Miller, IF Emmanuel Burriss, IF Cesar Izturis, IF Kristopher Negron, OF Billy Hamilton, OF Ryan LaMarre, OF Denis Phipps and OF Derrick Robinson.

Izturis will compete for a backup middle infield spot with Burriss and Jason Donald.

“He adds competition, mainly defensively and he provides insurance,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of Izturis. “With [Didi] Gregorius gone, we’re trying to add more depth there.”

A well-traveled former All-Star, Izturis is a lifetime .255 hitter over 12 seasons. He spent last season with the Nationals and Brewers, batting .241/.254/.343 in 62 games. He turns 33 on Feb. 10 and has also played for the Blue Jays, Dodgers, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals and Orioles. Izturis has played 1,120 games at SS, 52 games at 3B and 48 games at 2B.

Also a big name on this list, but not a surprise, is top prospect Billy Hamilton. It will be Hamilton’s first big league camp and first Spring Training as an outfielder.

28 days

Good Monday morning all…28 days until pitchers and catchers report to Reds Spring Training.

I wish I had scads of Reds news to deliver this morning but as Jamie Ramsey noted last week, these are the barren weeks of the off-season where any writer and blogger (and in my case both) needs to really earn their page views and clicks by coming up with content….any content. I will be making some phone calls and texts to see what’s going on but for now…I will just provide some quick links.

Over at MLBTradeRumors.com, they evaluate Mat Latos’ potential haul from the arbitration process. The writer believed it was possible that Latos could set a new record in one-year contract salary for first-time arbitration eligibles.

Team Canada unveiled its provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic over the weekend. As I tweeted on Saturday, Joey Votto is not on the roster, yet. According to reports out of Canada, his omission has to do with insurance signed off because of his left knee injury last season.

Last week, Brandon Phillips tweeted his excitement about being contacts by WBC Team USA manager Joe Torre. Some more player names are surfacing as members of the American squad.

By the way, the World Baseball Classic rosters will be announced Thursday on MLB Network.

In a cool story from my colleague Corey Brock in San Diego, Padres Minor Leaguers are making ends meet in the off-season by getting “regular” jobs.

And finally after the lockout ended, the NHL revealed its 2013 regular season schedule. If nothing else, it means the chance to take in some Phoenix Coyotes games during Spring Training. If you’re making a trip out this year to see the Reds, it wouldn’t be a bad evening diversion.

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