January 2013

Phillips in WBC?

This tweet just came from the account of Reds 2B Brandon Phillips:

Phillips is one of the best second basemen in baseball, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner. If he has in fact been chosen to represent Team USA, it would be his first WBC.

There has been little news about World Baseball Classic rosters from MLB, but I wouldn’t be shocked if we hear formally about rosters in the next couple of weeks. Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce and others are also possible candidates to play. In the case of Votto, he said he would not play for Team Canada unless his surgically repaired left knee was 100 percent. Regardless, it will be a quirky Spring Training with players departing in March to play for their countries.

Reds Caravan Jan. 24-27

The Reds announced Monday the plans for the 2013 edition of its Caravan. There will be a story on Reds.com, but you can click here to get the full itineraries and players scheduled to appear.

I will be cherrypicking a few stops as I have in year’s past to write stories and such. I haven’t worked out yet where I will be but I hope to see you out on the road.

Uniform numbers

Since I had a couple of people asking, I did some checking on the uniform numbers of some new Reds. Here they are:

OF Shin-Soo Choo will wear No. 17.

INF Jack Hannahan was assigned No. 9.

Utility player Jason Donald has No. 16.

Ass’t hitting coach Ronnie Ortegon has No. 62.

That’s all for now…

Reds camp report dates

Here are some dates to circle on your calendar, Reds fans:

Reds pitchers and catchers report to camp in Goodyear, Ariz., on Feb. 12.

Reds position players report on Feb. 15.

Rolen still undecided

Veteran 3B and free agent Scott Rolen still has not made up his mind about whether he will retire or play in 2013. Rolen, who turns 38 on April 4, has been in periodic contact with Reds GM Walt Jocketty. There is interest in bringing Rolen back if he wants to play. It would likely be in a different role since the Reds seem to be moving forward with Todd Frazier penciled in as the regular third baseman.

“We spoke before the holidays,” Jocketty said. “He hasn’t decided. It could be another week to 10 days.”

Personally, I would not be shocked if it takes longer than that.

There really is no need for Rolen to make some sort of announcement, as long as the club hasn’t set any kind of deadline (it doesn’t appear that it has). A decision now locks Rolen in and likely gives him no opportunity to change his mind. If he says he’s retired, the door on playing is likely closed forever and he could have regrets later if the itch to play returns in February. If he agrees to play now and discovers the desire is gone when it’s time to report to camp, then he’s put the club in a bad position, kept another player from having a spot and it’s kind of a regretful way to close a great career.

I know in the Twitter and instant information era, it’s strange to wait all winter for an answer. You can take it to the bank that Rolen has never worried about his perception on Twitter.

In 92 games last season, Rolen batted .245/.318/.398 with eight homers and 39 RBIs. He missed 34 games on the DL because of an injury to his problematic left shoulder and missed several more games over different stretches because of back spasms. Injuries limited him to 65 games in 2011.

Rolen is a possible Hall of Famer but isn’t the sentimental type. He told me once he had no interest in doing a final lap around the league to say goodbye. My prediction is he already has.

Happy 2013

Greetings and I hope you all had a fun, pleasant and safe holidays…Happy New Year.

The Reds certainly are hoping for bigger and better things in 2013. Do they have what it takes to go far in the playoffs. I tackled that and other questions for the new year in a story you can read by clicking here.

It was a quiet week for the Reds, which made no transactions since I last posted. I wouldn’t be shocked if a couple of more free agents are added now that we’re heading into bargain portion of the Hot Stove season. I’m thinking guys that could be added on Minor League deals with camp invites.

I have a message left with GM Walt Jocketty to see what else the club might be looking into this winter.

The next big issue will be getting the guys eligible for arbitration (Latos, Bailey, Heisey, Leake, Ondrusek and Simon) signed. The date where  salary figures must be exchanged is Jan. 18. Here are some other upcoming key dates for MLB.

Other NL Central teams have been busy lately.

*The Brewers added two lefty relievers in Mike Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny.

*The Pirates landed some young talent after trading closer Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox. Before the break, they also signed LHP Francisco Liriano.

*The Cubs will announce the signing of starter Edwin Jackson this afternoon.

*The Cardinals continued to be awfully quiet.

So that leaves the Reds….how do you feel about the off-season moves already made? Is there anything else they need to do to make you feel better about the club as Spring Training nears?

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