October 2013

Bruce up for Hank Aaron Award

Here is some company-related business for MLB.com that should be of specific interest to you, the Reds fan. Jay Bruce is the Reds’ nominee for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award.

Click here for the ballot of all 30 nominees.

Below are some details from a Reds press release:

Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media announced that RF Jay Bruce was named the Cincinnati Reds’ nominee for the 2013 Hank Aaron Award. Fans can vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites. For the fourth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.

Bruce was the only player in the Major Leagues in 2013 with at least 43 doubles, 30 home runs and 109 RBI. He ranked among the National League Top 10 in HR (3rd), RBI (T2nd), total bases (4th), doubles (T3rd), extra-base hits (2nd) and outfield assists (13, T3rd) while leading all Major League right fielders in HR, RBI, doubles and extra-base hits.

Over the last three seasons Bruce produced 105 doubles and 96 homers, numbers matched only by Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera. Bruce’s 208 RBI the last 2 seasons lead all National League batters and tie for sixth-most in the Major Leagues. He is 1 of only 15 players in Major League history to produce at least 20 HR in each of his first 6 seasons and is only the sixth player in Reds history to produce 30 home runs in 3 straight.

The Hall of Fame panel led by Aaron includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time –Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers – who combined for 17,629 hits, 8,278 RBI and 1,723 home runs – have all been personally selected by Hank Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.

Through October 10, fans will have the opportunity to select one American League and one National League winner from a list comprising of one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2013 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2013 World Series.

“It is a great honor that Major League Baseball recognizes the most outstanding offensive performer in each League with an award in my name,” said Hank Aaron. “The game is full of so many talented players today that I am thankful my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans assist in selecting the much deserving winners.”

Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include: Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012), Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011), Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.

Players react to Baker news

I reached out to several Reds players today and got some reaction to the news that Dusty Baker is out as Reds manager. Most were surprised or had heard only minutes before I reached out. Todd Frazier, for example, saw it on the news ticker on his television.

Click here for the full story I wrote.

Here is a snippet of a text message from Jay Bruce:

“It’s obviously a bit shocking,” Bruce said. “I understand that it’s a business and when teams don’t accomplish what’s expected of them there are changes, but any way you slice it, Dusty was an integral part of turning the organization around. The Cincinnati Reds became relevant again with Dusty at the helm, and that’s something people should never forget.”

Baker out as manager

The Associated Press first reported on Friday morning that Dusty Baker is out as Reds manager after six seasons, citing a person familiar with the situation.

The change in the dugout comes after the Reds were defeated in the National League Wild Card Game by the Pirates. Baker has a two-year contract through 2014. It was unclear whether he was dismissed or resigned.

UPDATE: I have confirmed the AP report that Baker is out.

Click here for the story on MLB.com

**UPDATE No. 2 at 10:40 am: The Reds made it official. Below is the press release:

Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty has announced the team will make a managerial change heading into the 2014 season.

The new manager will replace Dusty Baker, who went 509-463 in his 6 seasons in Cincinnati. There was no announcement regarding changes on the coaching staff.

“This was a very difficult decision to make. Dusty played an important role in the recent success of this organization, and we thank him for his contributions during his time here,” Jocketty said. “We feel a change is necessary, however, if we are to continue to move the organization forward.”

Baker, 64, originally was signed by the Reds to a 3-year contract in October 2007.

Going home…

Hello from Pittsburgh International Airport, where instead of waiting for a flight to St. Louis, I’m nearing a departure to CVG.

I hope you read the coverage of the Wild Card game on MLB.com/Reds.com so I’m not going to repeat anything here.

On the main site, there will be a wrap up of the season in the coming days and an outlook towards 2014. Here on the blog, and on Reds.com, things will quickly shift to offseason mode. So keep on coming back please for the latest hot stove news and information.

In the meantime, thank you again for continuing to visit and read this blog. Thank you also to the regular commenters, like Curt, Neb, maxblue and others for keeping he conversation going and for keeping it civil.

Until next time, take it easy…

Latos or Bailey for NLDS G1?

We’re about an hour from first pitch at PNC Park. Both batting practices are completed. The Reds were predictably booed off of the field when they finished their rounds of BP.

Obviously if the Reds win, they move on to St. Louis for the NL Division Series. Asked who would start that still potential Game 1 for his club, Dusty Baker said this:

“It would probably be between Homer [Bailey] or [Mat] Latos,” Baker said.

Latos was moved back from starting tonight because of arm soreness that was revealed by X-rays to be a bone spur. It sounded like Latos was feeling better.

“Oh, it’s been a miraculous improvement,” Baker said.

Wild Card lineup

Reds lineup vs. Pirates

Choo 8
Ludwick 7
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Frazier 5
Cozart 6
Hanigan 2
Cueto 1

Wild Card roster set

Here is the breakdown of the Reds’ 25-man Wild Card roster:

Catchers: Ryan Hanigan, Devin Mesoraco.

Infielders: Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Jack Hannahan, Cesar Izturis

Outfielders: Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Ludwick, Chris Heisey, Xavier Paul, Billy Hamilton, Derrick Robinson

Starting pitchers: Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake

Relievers: Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover, Alfredo Simon, Sean Marshall, Manny Parra, Logan Ondrusek, Zach Duke

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