November 2013

Parra re-signs with Reds

MLB.com has confirmed that Reds left-handed reliever Manny Parra is back with the Reds after he signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract on Wednesday. Parra will earn $2 million in 2014 and $3.5 million in 2015. He has already passed his physical.

The Reds have yet to make an announcement. (UPDATE: It could be a while until we hear this announced. With the 40-man roster being full, a corresponding move is needed to take someone else off to make room for Parra.)

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported it first.

Signed last winter as a free agent, Parra was 2-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 57 games. The 31-year-old walked 15 and struck out 56 in 46 innings of work.

Parra credited then-pitching coach Bryan Price for helping him with his turnaround as Price and assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins developed his slider. Price is now the Reds manager, of course.

Click here for the story I wrote on MLB.com.

Schumaker done; Robinson DFA

The Reds and utility player Skip Schumaker finalized their two-year contract on Tuesday. To make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Derrick Robinson was designated for assignment.

Schumaker, 33, played for the Dodgers last season and batted .263 with two home runs, 30 RBIs and a .332 on-base percentage in 125 games. From 2005-12, he was a member of the Cardinals and batted .288 with a .342 on-base percentage over eight seasons.

Robinson batted .255 in 102 games as a rookie for the Reds this season. He was called up the first time after Ryan Ludwick went on the disabled list after Opening Day.

UPDATE: This is a $5 million contract for Schumaker. He will make $2 million in 2014, $2.5 million in 2015 and there is a $2.5 million club option for 2016 with a $500,000 buyout.

Click here for the MLB.com story on Schumaker.

Tuesday stuff

*The Reds posted their latest updated attendee list for Redsfest on Dec. 6-7. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman Todd Frazier and manager Bryan Price are among those already set to appear. One of the names still missing is Brandon Phillips.

*The 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was revealed on Tuesday. Only one player with primary Reds connections is on it in Sean Casey. Here are all of the players on this year’s ballot:

Moises Alou, Jeff Bagwell, Armando Benitez, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Sean Casey, Roger Clemens, Ray Durham, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Mike Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Kenny Rogers, Curt Schilling, Richie Sexson, Lee Smith, J.T. Snow, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.

Writers must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Results will be announced at 2 p.m., ET, on Jan 8, 2014.

*On Monday night, the Braves announced new members of their Minor League coaching staff. The group included Ronnie Ortegon, who was the Reds’ assistant hitting coach last season. The story from Mark Bowman says that Ortegon is replacing Don Long, who left to become the Reds’ new hitting coach. Of course, the Reds haven’t formally named their coaching staff as of yet. No word yet on when that is coming out. Last week, former Reds hitting coach Brook Jacoby took the assistant hitting coach job with the Rangers.

*Also on Monday, I wrote about Shin-Soo Choo and the pros and cons of trying to sign him. The biggest obstacle for Cincinnati is, of course, money. Choo will be getting lots of it as one of the most prized free agents on this winter’s market.

Cardinals keep improving

In a span of a weekend, the Cardinals took care of their two biggest needs — center field and shortstop. On Monday, the second piece of that puzzle was done when free agent Jhonny Peralta was signed to a four-year contract reportedly worth $52 million.

Click here for the story. I think you’ll recognize the name of the reporter filling in for the vacationing Jen Langosch.

In the NL Central, the pennant winners certainly haven’t stood pat.

“In the end, it all lined up nicely for us,” Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Monday. “There are still some things we could look at. There are still some opportunities for us over the next six, seven weeks as we progress to the Winter Meetings. But, if the clock stopped today, we’d be pretty happy with our club.”

Meanwhile, it’s been rather silent in Reds land other than the signing of catcher Brayan Pena. The Skip Schumaker deal still hasn’t been made official. I’m of the belief it’s because some juggling needs to be done to clear a spot on the full 40-man roster. I wouldn’t freak out about the lack of Reds activity. December seems to be GM Walt Jocketty’s time to pounce. Both the Shin-Soo Choo trade last year and the Mat Latos trade two years ago were done shortly after the Winter Meetings.

Also long in wait — a formal announcement of the 2014 coaching staff. I’ve heard rumblings from a couple of places that longtime first base coach Billy Hatcher will remain and be on new manager Bryan Price’s staff. I tried to reach Hatcher but was unsuccessful.

Check back here for any developments on all things Reds related.

Cardinals make a trade

As the Reds have made recent free agent moves and have more transactions to contemplate ahead, the NL Champion Cardinals made some potential improvements on Friday with a trade.

St. Louis sent hometown World Series hero and 3B David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas to the Angels for center fielder Peter Bourjos and a top 5 prospect, outfielder Randal Grichuk.

MLB.com reporter Jenifer Langosch broke down the implications for the team she covers. Obviously anything that improves a NL Central rival will have an effect on Cincinnati once the 2014. season gets going.

And from Anaheim, Alden Gonzalez covers the Angels side of things. Moving forward, they are looking to part with a second baseman and trying to improve their pitching.

As Jamie Ramsey pointed out on Twitter earlier, Freese was an opponent some Reds won’t likely miss much. Freese is 8-for-16 in his career vs. Mike Leake, with a home run and two doubles. Freese is 6-for-20 with two home runs against Homer Bailey. In 53 games vs. the Reds overall since debuting in 2009, he is hitting .312/.380/.514 with eight homers and 29 RBIs.

Salas has 2.21 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 21 games and 20.1 innings against the Reds (.205/.266/.329).

Even Wild Card games pay

Major League Baseball announced the amounts of the postseason shares that were distributed from the 2013 playoffs.

For being in the National League Wild Card Game, this is where the Reds landed:

(Share of Players’ Pool: $940,259.50; value of each of full share: $15,284.85) – The Reds awarded 48 full shares, a total of 12.24 partial shares and 12 cash awards.

By contrast, here is how much more it pays to get to the World Series….

WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
BOSTON RED SOX (Share of Players’ Pool: $22,566,228.05; value of each of full share: $307,322.68) – The Red Sox awarded 58 full shares, a total of 14.895 partial shares and 21 cash awards.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (Share of Players’ Pool: $15,044,152.03; value of each of full share: $228,300.17) – The Cardinals awarded 56 full shares, a total of 9.798 partial shares and two cash awards.

Thursday thoughts

Lots of baseball news went down on Wednesday and in some ways, it relates to the Reds. (Not the A-Rod stuff though).

*A blockbuster trade sent 1B Prince Fielder from the Tigers and $30 million to the Rangers for 2B Ian Kinsler. Mammoth deal indeed. Only two years ago, Detroit signed Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million contract. From that deal, seven years and $168 million remains. Many, including myself, have noted how difficult it would be for the Reds to move Brandon Phillips because he has four years and $50 million remaining on his contract. While the odds are still tough, the Fielder-Kinsler trade shows big contracts can be moved with some creativity and of course, if there is a match.

Detroit now no longer needs a second baseman and would have been one of the teams that could have taken on a Phillips’ sized contract. The Reds can’t afford to lose too much more offense, if Shin-Soo Choo departs, so they would have to be very prudent in getting a quality return.

*The Reds have yet to make the Skip Schumaker deal official as we’re still in the “pending physical” phase for the moment. I discussed the merits of the deal on SOE Live, which can be heard below. The basic gist is this signing is a boost for the Reds’ bench as Schumaker can backup Phillips and also be insurance in center field for Billy Hamilton. Schumaker has good numbers vs. right-handed pitching and might be a solid platoon option, if needed.

*In NL Central news, the Cardinals extended manager Mike Matheny for three more years through the 2017 season. Matheny, who was signed already through 2014, has done a very good job in his two seasons. Also, Reds nemesis and rotation ace Chris Carpenter formally retired from baseball. Carpenter pitched in only three games over the last two seasons but was a big thorn in the Reds’ side for several years. He had a 14-5 record and 2.55 ERA lifetime vs. Cincinnati in 24 starts with 30 walks and 153 strikeouts. His success included three complete games and one shutout.

*Thursday is Ken Griffey Jr.’s 44th birthday. Junior has a new Instagram account going with some pretty cool pictures.

Four added to 40-man roster

Ahead of tonight’s midnight ET deadline to protect players on the 40-man roster, the Reds added four players:

C Tucker Barnhart, OF Juan Duran, OF Ryan LaMarre and RHP Chad Rogers.

The 40-man roster is now at 40, which at the moment, means the club has no room to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft. It also means someone will have to come off of the roster at some point soon when the Skip Schumaker signing becomes official.

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or clubs risk exposing them to other organizations to being taken in the Rule 5 Draft. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons.

More to come soon on Reds.com

Jacoby joins Rangers’ coaching staff

There has yet to be a formal announcement about the Reds’ 2014 coaching staff, but one coach from the team has already found work elsewhere. Former hitting coach Brook Jacoby is joining the Rangers’ staff under manager Ron Washington as that team’s assistant hitting coordinator.

Prior to his seven seasons in Cincinnati, Jacoby was a hitting coach in the Texas organization — including two months at the big league level in 2006.

Teams interested in Arroyo

Free agent pitcher Bronson Arroyo appeared on MLB Network Radio on Monday. The longtime mainstay of the Reds rotation isn’t expecting to be back in 2014 and appears to be getting some at least preliminary interest from various clubs.

“Yeah, it’s definitely in the early stages,” Arroyo said. “Nobody’s really put a dollar bill in front of me but I have, I think, the Phillies, the Dodgers, the Angels, the Giants, the Twins, maybe even the Orioles, I think all those teams have called, you know, just to say that they are interested. I’m not really sure how interested, you know? I think the Giants called back a couple of times and so did the Twins. But nobody really wants to put any money down on the table yet. It’s a new process for me. It’s the first time I’ve been through it. I figured it could take a while. And there’s other guys, I think, in the market.

“I might not be the first choice for some teams and I think there are some guys on the market that are going to affect how everybody else kind of plays out in the game. So I’m just sitting back and waiting to see who is interested in me. I’m 36. I’m going to pitch [at] 37 next year, but I’ve never missed a start, I feel like I’ve got as much energy as anybody at the ballpark on an everyday basis. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting.”

To hear the full interview with Arroyo, click here.

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