Nelson Cruz not happening

The Reds held their final Caravan event back here in Cincinnati on Sunday with a season ticket “select-a-seat” event at Great American Ball Park. Like the other caravan events on the road, fans were invited to ask questions of the group.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty was asked about the potential of signing free agent Nelson Cruz to boost the offense.

“I would say no,” Jocketty replied. “We don’t want to give up the draft pick. I like the way our club is now.”

Jocketty’s response is pretty consistent with something I wrote in last week’s Reds Inbox. Cruz is the top free agent on the market and even a reduced contract would be too much of a hit to the payroll. Add in the fact that Ryan Ludwick is owed $7.5 million in 2014 to play the same position of left field, Cruz’s 50-game PED suspension and the loss of the first-round Draft pick for signing him, and to me — it just doesn’t make sense for the Reds to get him.


Notice Walt’s reason: the draft pick. Not ” We’re very confident with Ryan Ludwick as our LF” Your comment, Mark?.

I didn’t take it that way.

Mark I have never been so disappointed with a Reds’ offseason. I see little reason to be excited about the upcoming season given the lack of improvement on the club, and it just seems the Reds lack the desire to make a splash. Maybe I’m wrong but I see a third place team, at best

It’s not a question of ‘desire’ that keeps the organization from making a splash. It is the lack of resources to do so in most instances as a small market club with a niggardly media revenue stream, most significantly, and lacklustre attendance even compared to a place like Milwaukee.

MLBTR Originals
By Edward Creech [January 26 at 9:27pm CST]
Grady Sizemore told Zach Links he chose to sign with Boston because of his familiarity with some members of the coaching staff, their medical game plan for him, and “I thought the Red Sox gave me the best opportunity to succeed and that’s why I went with these guys.”

ESPN 1530
Lance McAlister
Pitching, pitching, pitching
Should the Reds commit the years/dollars to Homer Bailey to lock him up long-term?
Does something in the neighborhood of 6-years, $120m work for this franchise?
This is the final year of club control with Bailey. He becomes a free agent at the end of the season. What if the two sides can’t agree on a long-term deal? As Jim Bowden said Sunday on MLB Radio, “If Homer wins 15-18 games and drops his ERA below 3.00 this year, he hits the lottery this coming offseason.
The Reds could:
A. Let Bailey walk after this season and take the draft pick compensation
B. Keep Bailey until the trade deadline and evaluate their playoff chances
C. Trade Bailey now
D. Sign Bailey long-term
What about Mat Latos? Can the Reds afford $15-20m a year deals for both Baily and Latos?
What if the Reds have to pick Bailey or Latos? Who do you invest in?
Staff/year-by-year $$
Bailey: (Age 27) Asking for $11.6M in arbitration, Reds offering $8.7M, then FA ’15
Latos: (Age 26) $7.25M this year, Arbitration ’15, free agent ’16
Cueto (Age 28): $10M this year, $10M(800K buyout) ’15, free agent ’16
Leake: (Age 26) $5.925M this year, arbitration ’15, free agent ’16
Other future $$$ per Cot’s Baseball
Bruce: $10M ’14, $12M ’15, $12.5M ’16, $13M/club option ’17
Votto: $12M ’14, $14M ’15, $20M ’16, $22M ’17, $25M ’18-’23, $20M ’24
Phillips: $11M ’14, $12M ’15, $13M ’16, $14M ’17
Ludwick: $7.5M ’14, $9M (mutal/$4.5M buyout) ’15
Marshall: $5.5M ’14, $6.5M ’15
Broxton: $7M ’14, $9M ’15, $9M (club option/$1M buyout)
Chapman: Asking $5.4M arbitration, Reds offering $4.6M, ’15 and ’16 arbitration
Hannahan: $1M ’14, $4M (club option/$2M buyout) ’15
LeCure: $1.2M ’14, $1.8M ’15, arbitration ’16, FA ‘ 17
Heisey: $1.76M ’14, arbitation ’15-’16, FA ’17
Simon: $1.5M, arbitration ’15, FA ’16
Pena: 2 years/$2.275M
Schumaker: $2M ’14, $2.5M ’15, $2.5M/500K buyout ’16
Parra: $2M ’14, $3.5M ’15
Ondrusek: $1.35M, arbitration ’15-’16
Pre arbitration: Cozart, Frazier, Mesoraco, Hoover, Cingrani, Hamilton
Bailey taking contract talks one day at a time
Mark Sheldon,
“There is [interest], but it has to be something that works out for both ends,” Bailey said on Sunday before a Reds Caravan event at Great American Ball Park. “That’s kind of tough to do. You see a lot of the signings that are going on, so, of course, it’s going to raise eyebrows on my behalf. Obviously, with a mid-market team, it’s tougher for them, also. We’re just going to have to see how everything goes.”
Jocketty on Hamilton: ‘We think he’s ready’
John Fay, Enquirer
If the season started today, Hamilton would be hitting leadoff and playing center field. That’s a lot to ask of a 23-year-old with a grand total of 19 big league at-bats.
“We think he’s ready,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said.
Quiet offseason will haunt Reds
Sports Illustrated
The Reds’ inaction this winter (which extends to their still-unsettled arbitration cases with stars Aroldis Chapman and Homer Bailey, the latter of whom is entering his walk year) leaves their 2014 season heavily dependent on Billy Hamilton’s bat and Johnny Cueto’s right shoulder. Neither is a particularly strong bet. This is still a good team, but one that has taken a clear step backward this winter.

Homer Bailey was cautious in his remarks about signing a multi-year contract with the Reds, according to’s Mark Sheldon. “There is [interest], but it has to be something that works out for both ends,” said Bailey. “That’s kind of tough to do. You see a lot of the signings that are going on, so, of course, it’s going to raise eyebrows on my behalf. Obviously, with a mid-market team, it’s tougher for them, also. We’re just going to have to see how everything goes.” Bailey, who is represented by Excel Sports Management (the agency which negotiated lucrative long-term deals for Clayton Kershaw and Masahiro Tanaka this offseason), is arbitration eligible asking for $11.6MM while the Reds countered with $8.7MM.
Sounds like we either will trade him or keep him and get a draft pick. Don’t see us signing him with Latos also in need of a long term deal. And, I personally would rather keep Latos.

We need to let Walt retire early since it’s his LAST contract year too, and BS on NOT HAVING THE $$! We lost Arroyo’s 11mill , so we could AFFORD Cruz at 8-10 million per year for 2-3 years & not rely on a has been 36 yr old that will have ZERO P(power)& P(production) this year AGAIN! Eat the Luddy $ & give us a RH power bat to bat 4th that we so much need for this team. 1 pick will NOT RUIN US WALT! …. but you will! Gooooo Reds!

Mike, Arroyo’s $11M was easily absorbed by the rest of the club’s salaries, which crept or leaped up for ’14. I don’t think payroll will be down.
Neb, do you really think Bailey will get something to the tune of $20M/yr for 6 years? That seems like a big number to me, but I think I’m always amazed by the money that these guys get. If I had to choose, I think I’d aim to keep Latos over Bailey, but that’s assuming that Cueto proves healthy over the season and that Cingrani and Leake keep on keeping on. If any of those things doesn’t happen, then I’d be more likely to offer Bailey the money he’d want in order to stay. Maybe the smart move is to try to sign Latos long-term while Bailey is still on the table, because if Bailey moves on, then Latos becomes more valuable to the team. I think I’d be happy to let Bailey go at the end of the year, get our 1st rd pick, and let Stephenson move up the ladder in 2015. That would still leave a potentially awesome staff in place for a more reasonable price tag.

6 years for $120m?…sounds a bit high to me, however, he is still very young and just now learning how to pitch. With the NY and LA money around these days, he should pull down a huge contract if he can use this season as a launching pad. I’d love to trade the guy for a quality player and clean up hitter, but then how do we pay for that guy? If we could do that, why not keep Bailey AND Latos. No, the Reds are a stuck with rising SP prices and rising super star prices, while trying to maintain their rising regular players in a world of big bucks and big contracts. It basically only works for a complete remake of youngsters for a very few select years. We keep harping on it but it’s the reality of our team and franchise, we are a small market team EVEN though we just increased our payroll by over $20m to $106m. In summary, I am afraid it makes the Reds an…..’also ran’. And, we can’t blame Castellini or Jocketty as their hands are tied because of the financial dynamics of the team (ie: attendance, tv rights, etc.). So, we do the best we can and try to catch lightening in a bottle, ala 1990!

One other point…not only can we not contend financially with several other NL teams, but I am very concerned with Cueto and his health given the price tag the guy is dragging down. Three times he has had problems. We are told that he has changed his delivery to prevent a recurrence, but if he goes down and Cingrani has more problems with his back, we could find ourselves in a world of hurt. One thing is to have to contend with big money contracts, or the lack thereof, but to pay money that sits in hot tubs and lays on locker room tables every day or every other day while not being able to perform, well, as they say, ‘that’s the ballgame!’.

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