Pena signs with Cardinals

Free agent catcher Brayan Pena wasn’t expected to return to the Reds. Not only is his departure official, Pena agreed to a deal that will keep him in the NL Central.

It was announced that Pena signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals to backup Yadier Molina.

Get more information here from reporter Jenifer Langosch.

92 Comments

Seemed like a great guy who couldn t hit and when he did it was when noone was on base alot like Hanigan. Reds seem intent on going with Mesoraco and Barhart.
When is Jocketty going to pull off a trade he seems to move so slowly. Maybe Williams can get him to pull the trigger.

Too bad Pena is leaving. He was a great Red and a definite asset to the Reds team.

Couldnt drive a run in even if his life depended on it. See ya Pena

Pena was one of the few bright spots for the Reds last year, sorry to see him go.

Liked Pena and his positive attitude. Will not forget the trmendous job he did at 1st base in 2014. I wish him the best.

Projected arbitration salaries:
Aroldis Chapman (5.034) – $12.9MM
Zack Cozart (4.084) – $2.9MM
Ryan Mattheus (3.123) – $1.3MM
J.J. Hoover (3.102) – $$1.1MM

Talk about doing a 180 on loyalty. Pena went on & on about how much he wanted to remain a Red, next thing you know he’s talking about how much he idolizes Molina.
Having said that, I can’t blame him for getting a solid # 2 job. Barnhart is a MUCH better defensive catcher, and let’s hope Meso is up to catching 130 games.

Pena was/is a professional and his two tweets thanking the Reds and fans point that out nicely. The Reds didn’t want him and he got a nice 5 million two year contract. His allegiance/ loyality is to who is signing his paycheck now and that sure tain’t the Reds.

Relievers…
While Jordan Zimmermann’s $110 million contract with Detroit and J.A. Happ’s $36 million deal with Toronto indicate there could be some movement in the free-agent starter ranks, several agents and club officials think the reliever market is also likely to heat up over the coming week. Darren O’Day, Ryan Madson, Joakim Soria and Shawn Kelley are among the relievers who are generating a lot of interest, but the market has been slow to develop in part because so many teams are involved in trade talks for closers or elite setup men.

Aroldis Chapman, Mark Melancon, Brad Boxberger, Jake McGee, Jonathan Papelbon, Drew Storen and Ken Giles are all available on the trade market, and that has prompted clubs to wait to start shelling out big money for free agents. But at least a dozen teams are actively engaged in talks with free-agent relievers, and a flurry of pitchers could come off the board between now and the end of the winter meetings on Dec. 10.

Latest On Johnny Cueto’s Asking Price
By Steve Adams | November 30, 2015 at 11:00pm CST

10:46pm: Arizona’s interest in Cueto was and perhaps still is rather intense, according to reports. The organization sent a delegation including GM Dave Stewart, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, and president Derrick Hall to the Dominican Republic to meet with the righty, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. And the D’backs still have interest after the initial offer was rebuffed, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), who adds that the club “realize[s]” that Cueto can command more than a $20MM AAV over six years after Jordan Zimmermann got $22MM annually for five.

Of course, the Diamondbacks aren’t alone in pursuing the veteran. Among the other teams to reach out to his representatives are the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That group of large-market contenders has always figured to factor at the top of the free agent pitching pool.
………………………………..

Not the Cubs…

Best of luck,Johnny. Go to the Red Sox, get out of the N.L. Send Jordan Zimmerman something nice for Christmas after upping the ante for you; maybe some Montgomery Inn ribs.

Amen on not the Cubs.

What possible difference would it make? The Cubs are set to be strong contenders for the post-season the next five years; the only thing the Reds will contend for during that same span of time will be the NL Central cellar, each and every year! Their respective swords will never really go clang in the night…

I knew it was you before I looked. You retain the dubious honor of being the most negative poster on here.Tell me, do you get some sort of sordid satisfaction by being right about something bad happening? It’s certainly an easy thing to do – in the end, 29 out of 30 fall short, so anything short of an unlikely World Championship will always leave you in the “I told you so” position. What a way to live.

You set up a silly strawman and then proceed, triumphantly, to tear it to the ground. Impressive accomplishment on your part!? And you might have a story to tell if it weren’t for the fact that, all along, even in the midst of the 97-win season of 2012, I stood virtually alone on here in calling the kettle black as well: a consistently over-rated collection of players who were capable of running into a fluke or two and playing way over their heads for a stretch but incapable of winning the big ones that really count. Players that choke in the limelight. And now that core is mostly gone, or is about to be, so, yes, it is an easy call to say no contending for the foreseeable future. And, no, I take no delight in these developments. I am aging and my health hasn’t been good for a long while, so the chances to see another championship are dwindling quickly to zero…

Before I proceed, you must know that your reply was sent to the wrong fella. Having said that, I do realize that you were one of the very few who bashed the Redlegs even when they were playoff bound. I do also know that you did tend to be wrong about a few individuals along the way, not to mention that calling a 97 win season a fluke is absurd.
My prayer (which I can picture you vehemently objecting to even as you read), is that you can enjoy many more years of decent health, and that you’ll be able to witness at least 1 parade around Fountain Square in a soon-to-come November.
Why, I’ll even send you a pair of rose-colored glasses for ’16, when the ailing catcher comes back to drive in 120 in the 4 hole, 130 of them courtesy of the CF, who will finally learn how to hit the ball on the ground. Naturally a quick development will be required of our young but talented rotation, perhaps to be mentored by the one, the only, Bronson Arroyo. A few other “ifs” come to fruition, and presto! We shock the world!!!

All silly optimism. And, by the way, on my screen, there was no other place available to craft and post a reply than where I managed to do it, just like this one once again!

…but fun, nonetheless….

Wow…Boston Red Sox…
Price will earn $30MM in each season from 2016-18, $31MM in 2019 and $32MM per year from 2020-22, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter).

ODDS TO WIN 2016 NATIONAL LEAGUE PENNANT (10/31/16)

Chicago Cubs 9/2
Los Angeles Dodgers 9/2
New York Mets 9/2
San Francisco Giants 5/1
Washington Nationals 5/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 13/2
St Louis Cardinals 13/2
Arizona Diamondbacks 20/1
Miami Marlins 30/1
Milwaukee Brewers 30/1
Cincinnati Reds 40/1
San Diego Padres 40/1
Atlanta Braves 50/1
Colorado Rockies 100/1
Philadelphia Phillies 150/1

Odds provided by Sportsbook.ag
Updated Tue, Dec. 1, 5:15 PM ET

Let’s see: 40/1 means $10 nets me $400. Where’s my bookie?

I’m here anxious to take your money. LOL.

But then wouldn’t that put you in a position of rooting against your favorite team, and for a measly 10 bucks at that?

34 year old Ben Zobrist‘s projected price tag “keeps going up,” tweets Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, who hears from clubs involved in his market that the demand for his services has the price sitting at four years and $60MM currently.

The David Price deal shows how Impossible it was for the Reds to keep Cueto, and how wise Johnny was to turn down $120 M last week. Every ratchet turn of the payroll wheel hurts the Reds. Players’ salaries make me despair for the sport. Ever since George Steinbrenner made Claudell Washington the highest paid player in baseball, we’ve been headed down this slope.

Agree. Team loyalty is a thing of the past. It’s about personal greed now.

The Reds will not tender contracts to righty Ryan Mattheus, outfielder Ryan LaMarre, or righty Pedro Villarreal, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports on Twitter and the club has since announced. Of those players, only Mattheus was eligible for arbitration. The 32-year-old, who threw 55 innings and posted a 4.09 ERA last year, projected for a $1.3MM salary. LaMarre, 27, just cracked the MLB roster last year but spent most of the year at Triple-A. Villareal, also 27, notched a solid 3.42 ERA in his fifty frames in 2015, but his strikeout rates fell and ERA estimators did not smile upon the quality of his contribution.

I can live without those 3; that leaves more room for a couple of elite pickups.

We’ve heard plenty of chatter over the last few months about the Astros’ interest in adding at the back of their pen. It appears from the latest notes that the club is still casting a wide net.
Having a preference for long-term control, though, doesn’t appear to mean that the club isn’t seriously interested in otherworldly Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that he sits “on top of the list” for Houston. Interestingly, Crasnick notes on Twitter that Astros owner Jim Crane is reputedly a “big fan” of the Cuban sensation.

Crasnick hears the same that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has recently suggested — that having fallen short on David Price, the Cardinals could turn their attention to Mike Leake on the free agent market. Leake won’t cost near the same amount that the Cardinals were willing to go on Price, but he’d be a strong option to replace the injured Lance Lynn in their rotation in 2016 and would provide value for another four years or so beyond that point.

TOW – I’m not so worried about team loyalty, in either direction. I’m concerned A) the Reds can’t compete in a market in which another team can offer what would amount to almost 1/3 of the Reds’ total payroll to a single player (in this case, David Price); B) that teams’ owners are too stupid to live (anyone remember the Kevin Brown signing?); and C) that baseball payrolls are growing uncontrollably like health insurance premiums, which, if revenue isn’t sustained, will wreck the sport. On the other hand, I’m depressed to live in a country that seriously thinks about paying Les Miles $15 M (!!!!!!!) not to coach the LSU football team. (I offered to not coach the team for $500,000 – seems like a bargain to me – haven’t heard back). Let me ask if anyone knows: Is the money in sports, most of it TV money, gambling dependent? Is that what’s driving the bus? Is TV revenue a bubble that will burst someday? How can we sustain the craziness without an industrial base creating wealth through value-added manufacturing? How can anyone justify paying a 30+ year-old pitcher $32 M a year? Have we all lost our minds? (Not rhetorical questions).

Well said and thought out. Guess what?…..I don’t have the answers either.

The Zimmerman signing with the Tigers really blew the doors off; now we have a good, decent pitcher getting 20 mill. Thus, it was almost expected that a top tier pitcher would crack the 30 mill mark.The Red Sox are in a unique position – they obviously have the money, they also have the most demanding fans. It didn’t matter when they sucked for so long, but once they could compete with & defeat the hated Yankees, well it’s katy bar the door. They want back in the chase-NOW.
Just another example of the rich trying to price small market teams out of the equation. Yet, with great scouting, teams like the Reds can come up with a few young studs to star prior to arbitration, and have a chance. I particularly like what’s going on with the young arms in the rotation.And, please, please, MR. C. no more long term contracts!

The television revenue, of course, is driven by eyeball counts and commercialism, not gambling, which remains, thankfully, a sizable sideshow. Traditional “hard” economics do NOT apply here in this ephemeral realm!

It appears we need to accept the fact that the only way to compete is no long term contracts or renewals. When a player reaches final year arbitration and is going to warrant a premium contract then you trade them before the final year. No waiting for A/S break. In this way you keep turning out new young hungry talent every year that you control for a few years and then you get what you can for them and continue the cycle. If you try to compete with the large markets on their terms, you may have a year or two when things come together, but it can’t last as the huge contracts will tie you up for years as you head downhill to once again rebuild. A vicious and disappointing experience for the fans.

Complements of Theo Epstein; now set for several years into the future…
The team atop our Future Power Rankings heading into this offseason is already a trendy pick to win the 2016 World Series, and there is a good reason for that kind of optimism, as the Chicago Cubs are loaded in every respect. One of the game’s most highly regarded front offices is in the catbird seat right now, even in the majors’ toughest top-to-bottom division, thanks to a potent young offense, two aces already in its rotation and the resources to add another, and a still-strong farm system.

The Cubs’ arrival in 2015 was “ahead of schedule,” but the schedule has a habit of changing without warning, as it did when Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber became productive major leaguers a year ahead of expectations or when Jake Arrieta, already good in 2014, became Cy Young-worthy in his second full season on the North Side of Chicago. There’s a lot of faith in Theo Epstein & Co. in those World Series predictions, and in our rankings here, but objective projections say a lot of the same things: The Cubs are stacked and will be dangerous not just in 2016 but for the remainder of the decade. — Keith Law
The overview
The Cubs arrived a year earlier than expected, and they’re not going away any time soon. This offseason they’ll put the finishing touches on what should be a championship-caliber club in 2016. Team president Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are committed to building a strong rotation after Arrieta and Jon Lester this offseason to improve their playoff chances, and I expect them to be players on the top free-agent pitchers. If they don’t get one, I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded one (or more) of their many highly touted prospects to get a top-of-rotation type of guy. Either way, they’re positioned for a nice run of winning seasons. — Jim Bowden

Impact prospect
Catcher Willson Contreras broke out across the board in 2015, hitting .333/.413/.478 in Double-A with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. The 23-year-old showed he has enough defensive ability to stay behind the plate and a simple, steady swing that explains all of that hard contact. — Keith Law

Mariners sign Aoki…
Aoki will receive a $5.5MM base salary, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). The contract contains a $6MM mutual option that will automatically vest if Aoki reaches an unspecified but “easily attainable” playing time figure (presumably, plate appearances). Aoki can also earn up to $1.5MM worth of incentives in each season of the contract.

One year deal; option for 2017.
Aoki has spent four years in the majors after coming over from Japan. Now entering his age-34 season, he has consistently delivered average (or slightly better) offensive production with a high-contact, low-K, high-OBP approach. All told, he owns a .287/.353/.386 MLB batting line, and has never wavered much from that mark.

CONSISTENCY. A wonderful thing. Hope the Reds can find some in addition to Votto.

Would have loved for the Reds to sign him… That is not a bad deal for what he does at all.

Sad. Reds only focus on Redsfest and 2015 All-Star game as priorities. The Team?? Heck no. Losing will be the New Norm. Maybe they take a huge hit at the gate. That might wake them up to reality. Losing sucks!!! Now they will be the doormat to the rest of the NL. No I dont want to be bribed with 81 bobblehead nights!!! To watch unwatchable baseball. I dont want our FoxSportsOhio broadcasters telling me its fun to go watch losing, or just go to watch the better teams trounce your fav team night after night!!! Feels like 1983 stuck in groundhogs day for the next 3-4-5 years. Yea that will give the Reds a big TV deal huh??? They will get way less than they think they will this team starts losing 100 games every year.

ODDS TO WIN 2016 WORLD SERIES (10/31/16)

New York Mets 8/1
Chicago Cubs 10/1
Houston Astros 10/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 10/1
San Francisco Giants 10/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12/1
Texas Rangers 12/1
Toronto Blue Jays 12/1
Washington Nationals 12/1
Kansas City Royals 14/1
St. Louis Cardinals 14/1
Boston Red Sox 16/1
New York Yankees 16/1
Cleveland Indians 20/1
Detroit Tigers 20/1
Los Angeles Angels 20/1
Arizona Diamondbacks 30/1
Seattle Mariners 30/1
Baltimore Orioles 40/1
Chicago White Sox 40/1
Minnesota Twins 40/1
Tampa Bay Rays 50/1
Miami Marlins 60/1
Milwaukee Brewers 60/1
Oakland Athletics 60/1
Atlanta Braves 100/1
Cincinnati Reds 100/1
San Diego Padres 100/1
Colorado Rockies 200/1
Philadelphia Phillies 300/1

I’ll put 10 bucks out there any day for a chance at one LARGE. Stranger things have happened. ( Well, not many)

Cincinnati Reds: Dick Williams

Dick Williams– Official title: Senior VP and GM<
— Age: 44
— Date of hire: Nov. 4, 2015
— College/education: University of Virginia
— Previous job: Assistant GM and vice president of baseball operations, Reds
— GMs worked under: Brian Cashman, Wayne Krivsky, Walt Jocketty
— Front-office experience (in years): 10
— Playing experience: None.
— Notable achievement: Williams started out in investment banking and worked on George W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2003-04 before joining the Reds in 2006 when Bob Castellini purchased the team. His father and uncle are minority owners of the Reds. He talked up his commitment to analytics when he was promoted last month.
— Does the buck stop with him? Not yet — Jocketty is still in the picture as the Reds' president of baseball operations for a year, and former GMs Kevin Towers and Cam Bonifay are in advisory roles — but Williams was and is the long-term internal candidate to fully take over.

Disappointed to hear Daddy and uncle are part owners. Sounds like nepotism is alive and well in the Reds management. Nothing in his background appears to qualify him for his original hiring. Would have preferred outsider with baseball and analytical experience. But he’s our GM now and I look forward to seeing team improve(only one way to go) under his quasi leadership.

In a shocker, the Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with Zack Greinke, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. The contract is for six years, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. The deal is pending a physical. Greinke will receive an amazing $206MM over six years, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. While that will include some deferred money, the total comes just short of David Price‘s $217MM deal with the Tigers, which was the largest ever for a pitcher. And Greinke’s contract is for only six years, compared to Price’s seven (although Price’s contains an opt-out, and there’s no indication yet that Greinke’s does). Greinke’s $34.33MM AAV will be baseball’s largest ever, blowing away both Price and Miguel Cabrera, who got $31MM. Greinke is represented by Excel Sports Management.

USATSI_8832626_154513410_lowresRosenthal had reported earlier Friday evening that the Diamondbacks were pursuing Greinke, and the Diamondbacks had previously been connected to a number of high-profile arms, including Johnny Cueto, Kenta Maeda and others. Still, the fact that they’re set to sign an ultra-high-end star like Greinke comes as a surprise, particularly since the top two bidders seemed to be two of Arizona’s division rivals, the Dodgers and Giants.

The Dodgers were uncomfortable giving Greinke a sixth year, the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin tweets. The Dodgers offered Greinke about $31MM per year over five years, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (again via Twitter), but they were uncomfortable guaranteeing a sixth year to a pitcher who’s already 32. With Greinke off the board, the Dodgers are expected to bid for Cueto, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets.

With all this $$$$ craziness going on, it would serve the Reds well in spending a great deal of time and analysis to improve their homegrown talent in the Minors. We’re never going to compete financially in the open market.

Diamondbacks executives Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart met with free agent starting pitcher Mike Leake on Thursday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. The Snakes remain interested in signing Leake even after agreeing to terms with Greinke, suggesting that they’ll continue to be active on the market for starting pitching despite the huge splash they’ve already made.

The Giants are still interested in Mike Leake, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets, even after signing Jeff Samardzija. Leake’s market is “now more defined” with so many other top pitchers off the board. The Giants may not be willing to give Leake a Samardzija-esque deal, however, as reported by Andrew Baggarly of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter). This could take them out of the running for Leake given how several other teams also have interest.

By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | @m_sheldon | December 4th, 2015
CINCINNATI — The Reds are a team in transition, as they’ve made it clear they are willing to move veteran players in order to get younger and better for the long-term. One player who should be around to see the rebuilding through to its conclusion is first baseman Joey Votto.

Since signing his 10-year, $225 million extension before the 2012 season, Votto has full no-trade protection. He still has eight guaranteed years and $199 million left, including the $7 million buyout of his $20 million club option for 2024.

Votto made it clear he doesn’t want to leave, and with his leverage, he doesn’t have to.
“I absolutely love playing here,” Votto said during Redsfest on Friday. “When all this trade stuff gets going, it’s natural for a player to have that thought process and what would you consider? I just absolutely love playing here. I really like where I live. I like my team and my job. I like the location of the ballpark and the fans and the clubhouse and the uniform and the number on my back — all the littlest things that people take for granted are very comfortable to me and something I look forward to. I don’t think of myself as anything other than a Cincinnati Red. It’s one of the really cool things about having a no-trade clause. I’m one of the rare players who has that. I get to stay a Cincinnati Red.

“I look at guys in all kinds of different sports and I admire the players that stick with one franchise and do well and ride out the rough times and experience the highs, instead of it being the kind of experience that you consume.”

Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams are shopping several players, and have said no one is untouchable. Players like Aroldis Chapman, Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce have figured prominently in trade rumors.

For Votto, it did not feel weird knowing some of his teammates might not be around when Spring Training starts in February.
“I’m excited. I really am. I’m excited about the future of the organization,” Votto said. “I think that having a new general manager brings a different perspective to the way we’re going to do things. We’ll continue to have Walt around. It’s exciting also because it makes for an easy transition.
“I’m exclusively looking forward to playing with the best players possible.”

The Astros got a taste of the postseason last year, and now the expectations are to go even further in 2016. The Astros have enough talent to do that but now must put the finishing touches on the team. Their primary need is a closer, and they need to land an elite one with Aroldis Chapman of the Reds and Ken Giles of the Phillies their top two trade targets.

The Rangers checked in with the Reds on Todd Frazier, though “nothing came out of [the] conversation.” Frazier, who played some left in the minors, would’ve been used as that first base/left field bat rather than his usual third base spot, which is obviously spoken for by Adrian Beltre. Presumably Frazier would’ve gotten more regular playing time than a regular platooner, and with Beltre a free agent after 2016, Frazier could’ve then been an option to replace him at the hot corner.

By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | @m_sheldon | 3:18 PM ET
CINCINNATI — Two players the Reds’ daily lineup missed the most last season — Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco — were optimistic during Redsfest that they will be all the way back from their injuries when Spring Training begins.

Cozart, the Reds’ shortstop, suffered a severe right knee injury when he slipped on first base while running in a June 10 game vs. the Phillies. The result was season-ending surgery to repair tears in both the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments.
“I don’t consider it an offseason, because I’ve been working out ever since the end of August,” Cozart said on Saturday during Redsfest. “Once I got my brace off, I’ve been gradually getting into my workouts. Technically, I’ve worked out the same amount of time now as I do in a normal offseason. And I still have two more months to work out and get even stronger. I’m doing great.”
Mesoraco, 27, had a left hip impingement in April that limited him to 23 games last season, including only nine starts at catcher. On June 29, after several attempts at rehabilitation and therapy, he underwent season-endoing surgery to repair a torn labrum and remove a spur from a hip.
“I don’t foresee any reason why I wouldn’t be able to go to Spring Training and do everything from Day 1,” Mesoraco said. “I expect to be 100 percent, as normal as the next guy.”
Cozart, 30, saw team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek last week and again on Friday.
“He said everything looked great,” Cozart said. “They said they wanted to see me move and how everything was doing. It went perfect.”
Kremchek fitted Cozart with a new brace that will enable him to advance his workouts to hitting, taking ground balls and making lateral cuts when he runs.
“I’ve got my strength back,” Cozart said. “I’m lifting heavy, probably heavier than I ever have. The strength is there. It’s just a matter of getting the explosiveness back, because I haven’t been able to do that kind of stuff.
“The ACL, even in 12 months, is not going to be healed up and as strong as it would be if it wasn’t hurt. Obviously after 5 1/2 months right now, it’s not perfect. The good news is the muscles around it are strong.”
Before the injury, Cozart was enjoying a nice season for the Reds. He was batting .258/.310/.459 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 53 games. Like Mesoraco, Cozart expected to be in camp without limitations.
“Two months ago, if you had asked, I would have had no clue,” Cozart said. “I still had my aches and pains getting back into everything. Fast-forward to now, I’m telling you I feel as close as I did before. I’m almost there. If I had to put a number on it, I’m 90 percent now. I still have over two months to get ready. I’ll be ready Feb. 23, when I report. I feel like I should be full-go.”
Mesoraco, who lives in Pennsylvania, came to Cincinnati last week and will remain in town to work out until camp opens.
“I’m basically doing everything other than catching drills at this point,” Mesoraco said. “They want to wait until after the new year. I’ve been hitting, throwing and running. All of that is going very well.”
Of course, the biggest test for his hip is squatting. So far, so good.
“A lot of squatting,” Mesoraco said. “I’m just not doing the catching exercises, like blocking and throwing from the squat. I’m squatting with weights. I’m squatting with a [weight] vest, with medicine balls, all kinds of different squatting.”
Despite the injury that robbed him of most of the 2015 season, Mesoraco has treated this as a regular offseason.
“The way we set it up was to make sure everything stayed on track with my offseason program,” he said. “At this point, it has been. Everything is 100 percent normal.”

Johnny Cueto is the top pitcher on the free agent market, but his earning potential remains unclear. Some insiders are surprised he turned down the six-year, $120MM offer previously extended by the Diamondbacks. As Stark points out, Cueto is sixth among active starters with a 3.30 ERA so he would seemingly justify a serious investment. However, concerns about his health and late-season struggles have executives worried. Per one source, “If you told me that, within 24 hours [of arriving at the meetings], all of the big free-agent starters would be signed except Cueto, I’d believe it.“
Former Reds starter Mike Leake, 28, is in demand largely because he’s one of the youngest pitchers on the market. He has a history of durability, but that comes with league average production on the mound. However, Leake is also well-above average as a hitter, boosting his value to NL clubs. Stark expects a “stampede” in Leake’s direction during the Winter Meetings. One source believes Leake will be overpaid by an exuberant market.

Is this a believable scenario?: Reds management foresaw the huge jump in signing requirements for free agent starting pitchers (Greinke, Price and more to come); they knew they couldn’t afford to sign Cueto, and had to choose between Leake and Bailey; they chose Bailey and signed him pre-emptively, at a cost that looked oversized at the time but which may prove to be reasonable or even a bargain. You think maybe that’s what happened?

In your dreams maybe. LOL. Personally I’m not expecting much from Bailey until 2017 if at all.

Heading into the Winter Meetings, Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty says there’s little going on with trade talks for players other than Aroldis Chapman, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes. “We really haven’t had a lot of discussion, with the exception of one player, maybe,” Jocketty says. “Other than that, it’s been pretty quiet. I don’t know what’s going to happen when we get to Nashville. It’s been pretty slow since Thanksgiving.” Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce have recently come up in rumors. Both say they would like to remain with Reds (although, of course, Frazier does not have protection from being traded and Bruce has only a limited no-trade clause).

“We really haven’t had a lot of discussion, with the exception of one player, maybe,” Jocketty says.
HUH????????????????

ESPN.com’s MLB experts have weighed in with some bold predictions on what’s about to go down this week at baseball’s winter meetings in Nashville:
…………………………….

David Schoenfield: Astros will land Chris Davis, Aroldis Chapman

The Houston Astros have been quiet this offseason, but they have the financial flexibility and minor league system to make some big moves. First, they’re going to trade for Reds closer Chapman to lock down those late innings and create more depth. Then comes the big move: They sign first baseman Davis to a five-year, $115 million contract, giving them the big left-handed bat they need. They can then trade first-base prospect A.J. Reed for a young, controllable starting pitcher.
………………………………

Jayson Stark: Nationals will blow up their bullpen

The Nationals will trade Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon this week, capping off their bullpen overhaul by dealing for Aroldis Chapman. The Nationals appear to have plenty of interest in Storen, from a group that includes the Cubs and Astros, but such limited interest in Papelbon that they’re offering to pay a big chunk of his salary. Not sure if this means anything, but the Cubs aren’t one of the teams on his no-trade list, and they had interest in him last summer.
……………………………….
Jerry Crasnick: Mike Leake to St. Louis for four years, $60 million

Yes, the Giants and Diamondbacks are both pursuing Leake. But the Cardinals have more of a crying need for a starter, and Leake would be a solid addition sliding in after Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez in Mike Matheny’s rotation. He’s athletic and durable, and he wouldn’t require the Cards to surrender a draft pick as compensation. He makes sense for St. Louis on multiple levels.

Winter Meetings Primer
Posted on 12/04/2015 by GRANT FREKING
Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings will be held Monday through Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. (For those who haven’t visited the Gaylord, terming this hotel a gaudy monstrosity fails to do that phrase justice. I attended a high school journalism conference at the Gaylord and found myself hopelessly lost multiple times.)

Last season, the Reds enacted bold moves at the Winter Meetings, trading Mat Latos to the Marlins for Anthony DeSclafani and Chad Wallach and acquiring Eugenio Suarez and Jonathon Crawford from the Tigers for Alfredo Simon. At this time, the Reds appear to be big winners in each transaction.

The Reds’ recent track record of big December moves extends back to 2011 and 2012, when Cincinnati acquired Latos from the Padres on Dec. 7, 2011 and picked up Shin-Soo Choo from the Indians on Dec. 12, 2012. (With the trade of Yonder Alonso to the Athletics on Wednesday, all four players the Padres acquired from the the Reds in the Latos trade are no longer with San Diego.) Last month, president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty failed to label any current Red “untouchable,” so additional early December trades for the Redlegs are certainly on the table.

The Reds could (and should) be active in settings separate from the trade market–where the ideal return is young position player talent–with a starting pitcher and at least one starting outfielder needed. But, let’s face it: the trade market is where the Reds will look to make their mark.

Who could the Reds trade?

Aroldis Chapman. The Reds closer seems like the most likely player on the roster to be dealt, and it would be a surprise if the Reds’ brass departs Nashville with Chapman still on the payroll. MLB Trade Rumors projects Chapman, a free agent after the 2016 season, to earn nearly $13 million in his forthcoming final year of arbitration eligibility. The Reds are reported to be targeting current or on-the-cusp major league talent in return for Chapman, and reportedly strive to top the sizable package the Red Sox sent the Padres for four-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel.

The Astros have been connected to many of the market’s available late-inning arms, but USA Today reported Wednesday that Chapman tops the club’s wish list, with Houston owner Jim Crane reportedly a “big fan” of the Cuban Missile, who recently linked up with Marc Anthony’s new agency.

Jay Bruce. The Reds’ everyday right fielder since 2009 is entering his final season under contract with the club that selected him 12th overall in the 2005 draft. Bruce, who will turn 29 at the beginning of the 2016 season, is slated to earn $12.5 million next summer, and has a $13 million team option for 2017. Bruce has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that allows him to block a trade to the Athletics, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Rays, Red Sox, Twins, and Yankees. The Reds reportedly engaged in preliminary talks with the Orioles regarding Bruce a few weeks back. Baltimore acquired Mark Trumbo earlier this week, and although Trumbo can play outfield, it would seem the Orioles intend to slot their new slugger at first base/designated hitter (as a likely replacement for Chris Davis). On paper, the Orioles are a poor match for the Reds because of a dearth of major-league ready position player talent at the top of their farm system.

Brandon Phillips. Coming off a semi-resurgent 2015, Phillips is under contract through 2017, as the 34-year-old second baseman is due $13 million in 2016 and $14 million in 2017. Because Phillips has over 10 years in the majors and has spent the past five seasons with the same club, he has the ability to block any trade. FOX Sports reported on Nov. 11 that the Reds and Diamondbacks had discussions about a Phillips-for-Aaron Hill swap.

Todd Frazier. Frazier, who enters his age-30 season in 2016, is the Reds’ top trade chip–if the third baseman is indeed available, as indicated by ESPN on Nov. 16. Frazier, who is coming off back-to-back All-Star seasons, is owed $7.5 million in 2016 before entering his final season of arbitration in 2017.

A young starter. Much has been made of the trade possibilities of the four aforementioned names–Bruce, Phillips, and Frazier will be in Cincinnati this weekend for Redsfest–but if the Reds are keen to acquire an impact bat–or a player that can become an impact bat in short order–they may have to part with one of their young starters.

As far as the major-league arms, Raisel Iglesias–who is signed on a team-friendly deal through 2020–would seem to be the least likely of the bunch to be traded. But, would anyone be that shocked if the Reds flipped DeSclafani (arbitration eligible in 2018, under club control through 2020), Brandon Finnegan (arbitration eligible in 2019, under club control through 2021), Michael Lorenzen (arbitration eligible in 2018, under club control through 2021), or John Lamb (arbitration eligible in 2019, under club control through 2021)? None of those players are projected to be future aces.

Robert Stephenson, the Reds top prospect and a probable No. 1 or No. 2 starter down the line, is probably untouchable. It’s hard to imagine Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, or 2012 first-round pick Nick Travieso traded unless they are a part of a package bringing back very highly-regarded bats in return. But, pitchers like Keury Mella, Sal Romano, and Tyler Mahle could be available given how far away from the majors each player is and the starting pitching depth in the Reds’ farm system.

What will the Reds primary target be in trades?

Controllable, highly-regarded, and ready/almost-ready-for-the-majors position players. This isn’t news to anyone who frequents this blog or follows the Reds. That doesn’t make Cincinnati’s thirst for this type of rare talent any easier to quench. A grand total of zero elite young position player talent was moved at the July 31 trade deadline–with perhaps the exception being outfielder Brett Phillips, who was sent from the Astros to the Brewers in the Carlos Gomez trade–as teams were quick to hoard any top hitting prospects they own in a pitching-dominated game.

What free agents could the Reds look to sign?

A relatively-inexpensive, innings-eating starting pitcher. Whether this hypothetical pitcher is signed with the intention of being flipped by the next trade deadline or to stick around for two to three years, the Reds should target a starter that is capable of carrying his own weight into the sixth and seventh innings on a regular basis. Possibilities range from former Reds Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang to Doug Fister.

At least one corner outfielder. Steve covered this area pretty well last month, stumping for the Reds to ink Dexter Fowler. (I made the case for the Reds to acquire for Fowler last winter.) Left field is already an open competition, and if Bruce is shipped out, the Reds will have two open outfield spots open. Jesse Winker isn’t ready yet, so expect movement here.

A relatively-inexpensive veteran relief pitcher. The entire bullpen can’t be J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani, and a host of young starters-turned-relievers, though someone like Trevor Cahill, a longtime starter who put up big strikeout numbers after joining the Cubs as a reliever last season, could be a nice addition. The Reds don’t need to venture into a bidding war for someone expensive like Darren O’Day, but bringing in at least one (and maybe just one) reliable veteran arm could help stabilize what looks to be an inexperienced bullpen.

Who won’t the Reds sign?

Any of the big fish. Jason Heyward. Justin Upton. Johnny Cueto. Yoenis Cespedes. You get the drift.

Roster turnover
Posted on 12/03/2015 by STEVE MANCUSO
Twelve players who were on the Reds 25-man Opening Day 2015 roster are no longer with the organization:

C: Brayan Peña
IF: Kristopher Negron, Chris Dominguez
OF: Brennan Boesch, Marlon Byrd, Skip Schumaker
SP: Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Jason Marquis
RP: Burke Badenhop, Kevin Gregg, Manny Parra
Five players who were chosen for the Opening Day roster appeared in few games for the Reds – all had been sent to the minors or released by mid-June:

Brennan Boesch (51)
Kristopher Negron (43)
Chris Dominguez (14)
Jason Marquis (10)
Kevin Gregg (11)
Nine other players are no longer with the organization or cut from the 40-man roster:

OF: Jason Bourgeois, Ryan LaMarre
P: David Holmberg, Pedro Villarreal, Sam LeCure, Collin Balestar, Sean Marshall, Josh Smith, Nate Adcock, Ryan Mattheus
The released relief pitchers made 267 appearances last year.

4:13pm: The Dodgers are discussing a trade with the Reds that would bring Chapman to Los Angeles for prospects, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Obviously, the prospect package likely required to land Chapman would be considerable. The Dodgers do, of course, already have a terrific closer in Kenley Jansen, but having too many great ninth-inning options is an excellent problem to have. A dominant bullpen would also likely help ameliorate any worries the Dodgers might have about their rotation, which just lost Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks.

4:04pm: Reds GM Dick Williams expects that his club will deal star closer Aroldis Chapman, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. There is, obviously, plenty of interest in Chapman, with potential trade partners including the Nationals, Astros and Diamondbacks as well as the Dodgers.

Wow, Dick Williams spoke.

4:57pm: The Dodgers are “making progress” on a deal involving Chapman, Rosenthal tweets.

49m
There is growing confidence in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization that the team will be able to finish a trade for Cincinnati Reds All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman, a source told ESPN’s Buster Olney.

The question is now…who do we get?

Rebuild may crystallize at Winter Meetings
Reds poised to begin offseason dealing next week
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | December 3rd, 2015
CINCINNATI — The Reds have ambitions for reshaping their roster this offseason, but have yet to make any significant moves. Perhaps the direction of their rebuild will become a little clearer next week during the Winter Meetings, which run Monday through Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.

Transactions have historically been kept to a minimum since Walt Jocketty took over the Reds’ baseball operations department in 2008. But that doesn’t mean activity and talks inside the Reds’ suite aren’t taking place. This year, Jocketty is joined by new general manager Dick Williams in negotiating potential deals with teams and agents.

The club often surveys the market landscape, lays the groundwork and acts in the days and weeks following the Meetings.
MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2015 Winter Meetings from the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, with the Network launching 35 hours of live Winter Meetings coverage on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Fans can also catch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, as well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee inductees on Monday at 11 a.m. ET and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.
Club needs
Offense: Cincinnati, which ranked toward the bottom of the National League last season in hitting and runs scored, could use more pop in the middle of the order and a table-setter at the top. Jocketty and Williams are looking for younger players under contractual control to keep costs down. Pending other moves, the team could again use a left fielder — a spot that has been without stability for several years.
Veteran starting pitcher: With Homer Bailey not due back until May from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the Reds lack veterans to take up innings and anchor the staff. The second half of last season featured an all-rookie rotation that took its lumps. There is mutual interest in bringing back Bronson Arroyo to serve as both an innings-eater and mentor to the young guys, but Arroyo has to prove that he’s healthy. He hasn’t pitched since mid-2014 because of his own Tommy John surgery.
Bullpen: Take away Aroldis Chapman and J.J. Hoover, and the Reds had one of baseball’s least dependable bullpens in 2015. Chapman is likely to be traded (see below), and the club especially lacked stability in the middle innings to bridge games from the starter to the eighth inning. While some of the spots could be taken by younger starters that don’t make the rotation, a veteran or two would help with the depth.
Who they can trade if necessary
LHP Chapman: It’s not a question of if, but when the Reds make a trade that moves Chapman. With the team not expected to contend, and the flame-throwing lefty due a large raise in arbitration and a year away from free agency, the time is now. Reports have the Reds asking for a lot in return for Chapman, but there are several potentially contending clubs in need of a closer.

RF Jay Bruce: Bruce, a power-hitting lefty who will be 29 in April, is no stranger by now to trade rumors. What makes him appealing to other teams is his contract. He’s owed $12.5 million in 2016 and has a $13 million club option for 2017, with a $1 million buyout. Bruce does have eight teams listed on his limited no-trade clause, which includes the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics, Rays, Marlins, Twins, Indians and D-backs.
3B Todd Frazier: In some ways, this would be a tougher decision for management. Frazier became a local megastar following his thrilling home-field win of the Home Run Derby at Great American Ball Park, and has become a clubhouse leader. While he hit 35 homers last season, he struggled in the second half — which could hurt his value. On the other hand, he’s owed only $7.5 million in 2016 and is eligible for arbitration for 2017. After that he’s a free agent. Would the Reds keep him, knowing he likely won’t be around when the rebuilding is done and the team is contending again?
Top prospects
Per the MLB.com organizational rankings, the Reds’ top 10 prospects are outfielder Jesse Winker, right-handed starter Robert Stephenson, left-handed starter Amir Garrett, catcher Tyler Stephenson, right-handed pitchers Keury Mella and Nick Travieso, shortstops Alex Blandino and Blake Trahan, left-handed pitcher Cody Reed and right-handed pitcher Antonio Santillan.

Stephenson will compete for a big league rotation spot in the spring, while Winker has a chance to reach the Majors sometime in 2016. Reed, who was part of the haul in the Johnny Cueto trade with the Royals, could also become a factor next season.
Big contracts they might unload
Might is a very loosely defined term because if the Reds unloaded either Joey Votto or Brandon Phillips, it would be a stunner. Both have no-trade protection. Votto has eight guaranteed years and $199 million left on his contract, including the buyout of his $20 million club option for 2024. He’s also shown no inkling of wanting to leave. Phillips, who has only two years but $27 million remaining, had a resurgent 2015 season. It would be interesting to see if clubs are willing to take a shot at acquiring him.

Payroll summary
Including $20 million owed to Votto, the Reds currently have $79 million committed for the 2016 payroll. That does not include arbitration cases pending, like Chapman’s. If the Reds move Chapman, Bruce and Frazier, the number could go down considerably as the club positions itself for more maneuverability for the future with young talent at a lower cost.

Lots of Chapman-to-Dodgers smoke
Posted on 12/06/2015 by STEVE MANCUSO
Winter Meetings start tomorrow in Nashville. Lots of leaks about Chapman-to-Dodgers tonight. Not finished. May be a negotiating ploy to drive up haul from Houston Astros and other suitors. Sounds like it could break tonight.

The Dodgers have struck a deal to acquire one of the game’s most elite bullpen arms, Aroldis Chapman, from the Reds in exchange for a pair of prospects, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Rosenthal adds that the Dodgers’ plan is to keep both Chapman and Kenley Jansen, who instantly team to become one of the game’s most dominant late-inning duos (if not the most dominant late-inning duo). The trade is pending medical reviews.

Buster Olney, ESPN Staff/Senior Writer

Johnny Cueto had the opportunity to be the first among the elite group of starting pitchers to sign, when he got a $120 million offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks. But he passed on that, and since then, the game of musical chairs has played out, quickly.

Jordan Zimmermann signed a five-year, $110 million deal with Detroit.

David Price got a $217 million deal with the Red Sox.

Zack Greinke agreed to a six-year contract with the Diamondbacks, taking some of the Arizona payroll space that would’ve gone to Cueto (and more).

The Cubs grabbed John Lackey on a two-year deal, and Jeff Samardzija landed with the Giants for $90 million over five years.

Cueto is still unsigned, with his future landing spot less murky than a week ago. He’s not going to the Red Sox, for sure. He isn’t signing with the Diamondbacks or the Tigers. The Giants are pursuing another free-agent starter, but for now, they aren’t interested in doling out another huge contract. The Dodgers might have been a theoretical match for Cueto, but giving him anything close to $120 million would present a political problem for the team, following Greinke’s departure, and the Dodgers are closing in on a deal for Hisashi Iwakuma.

The Royals would like to sign another starter, but more along the lines of a three-year deal (with Scott Kazmir, perhaps). The Padres don’t seem to be in the market for a starter. The Braves, Phillies, Brewers and Reds are rebuilding. The Pirates probably won’t dole out $100 million to anyone anytime soon. The Angels’ focus is on position players. The Yankees aren’t targeting free agents. The Mets don’t need starting pitching.

The one major contender with money to spend and a rotation spot to fill is the St. Louis Cardinals, but as Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold discussed on the podcast last week, the ugly feelings about Cueto in the St. Louis organization linger from the 2012 fight between the Cardinals and Reds.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that none of Julio Urias, Corey Seager or Jose De Leon are headed to the Reds in the trade. The Dodgers, though, have plenty of other enticing prospects in their ranks, notably including right-hander Grant Holmes and infielder Jose Peraza as fellow top 100 types.

Peraza’s name did indeed come up in talks between the Dodgers and Reds, tweets Heyman, although he’s yet to confirm if Peraza is indeed heading to Cincinnati in the deal. If that’s the case, he notes, the club could escalate its efforts to deal Brandon Phillips.

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers ETA: 2015
Position: 2B Age: 21 DOB: 04/30/1994
Bats: R Throws: R Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 180 lb.
Signed: July 2, 2010 – ATL

Other Lists: Top 100 Prospects (#24), Top 10 2B Prospects (#2)
Scouting Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 30 | Run: 75 | Arm: 50 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55
Peraza has raced through the Minor Leagues thanks to his feel for the game and his top-of-the-scale speed. As a 20-year-old in 2014, he reached Double-A Mississippi and played in the All-Star Futures Game. He moved up to Triple-A in 2015 and was performing as expected when he was sent to the Dodgers in the huge three-team deal that brought Hector Olivera and others to Atlanta.

Peraza has a quick, short swing and excellent hand-eye coordination. His swing produces minimal power and he mostly tries to keep the ball on the ground to use his considerable speed to his advantage. He’s a threat to steal whenever he gets on base and has swiped at least 60 bases in each of his first two years of full-season ball.

Peraza began his career at shortstop, but had moved to second in the Braves organization because of Andrelton Simmons, even mixing in some outfield in 2015. He’s now rid of that roadblock, but top Dodgers prospect Corey Seager now stands in the way of any return to the left side of second base.

Peraza can also play CF. Has the speed and the arm. If Hamilton falters again, we have a replacement. He is under contract thru 2022 and is not arbitration elgible until 2019. I’m beginning to like this.

OMG. A contact hitter. What would we do with him? However, I would have thought that the Reds would get at least 1 of the top 3 prospects for Chapman, but maybe Peraza fits our needs better. Phillips had a good year, trade him now. Between Peraza and Suarez we should have 2nd base covered.

2:33pm: ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that the Reds are now telling other clubs no trade for Chapman has been agreed upon. Stark certainly implies that the Dodgers believed a trade to be done, adding: “I don’t think [the] Dodgers agree.”

2:13pm: The trade is not yet finished, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon (links to Twitter). Not only that, but Sheldon hears that there are other clubs involved who could swoop in and acquire Chapman at the last minute.

11:11am: Peraza’s name did indeed come up in talks between the Dodgers and Reds, tweets Heyman, although he’s yet to confirm if Peraza is indeed heading to Cincinnati in the deal. If that’s the case, he notes, the club could escalate its efforts to deal Brandon Phillips.

Juuuuuuust a second …
Posted on 12/07/2015 by STEVE MANCUSO
Mark Sheldon, beat writer for MLB.com just dropped this bombshell on Twitter:

That’s what I’m hearing, too, at least the first part.

What that means, who knows? The Dodger position players aren’t a great fit for the Reds. Chapman as a second closer for the Dodgers doesn’t really make perfect sense, either. Maybe the Reds are talking to a different team. Maybe it’s a three-way deal.
While it’s fun to run with the media reports, don’t believe what you read on the internet until you hear it directly from a team involved.

Buckle up.

Jayson Stark (ESPN) implies that the Dodgers may not agree the deal isn’t done.

Angels GM Billy Eppler told reporters that he’s looked into deals for a short-term option in the corner outfield, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. As Fletcher notes, Jay Bruce of the Reds is one player who could meet that description, though it’s not clear that he’s a target for the Halos.

Halos turned away from Bruce at A/S break because he was an inconsistent streak hitter and they were looking for reliability at the plate.

The Cardinals might not address pitching until they know how the Heyward market shakes out, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. He adds that St. Louis is fond of free agent hurler Mike Leake, but only at a certain price. Earlier this offseason, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted that Leake would score a five-year, $80MM deal.

Free agent Mike Leake would prefer to play out west, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes (Twitter links). In fact, the former Arizona State star would “take less” to go to the Diamondbacks, per Rosenthal. That being said, as has previously been reported, the D’Backs appear to be looking at finishing their rotation out on the trade market rather than double-dipping in free agency.

Aroldis Chapman Allegedly Involved In Domestic Dispute
By Jeff Todd | December 7, 2015 at 8:54pm CST

Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was allegedly involved in a serious domestic dispute in late October, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown and Jeff Passan report. The outlet says that it obtained police records relating to the matter.

According to those reports, says Yahoo, Chapman’s girlfriend told investigating officers that he “choked” her and pushed her against a wall. Chapman is also alleged to have discharged a handgun into the garage of his home.

There were no arrests in the incident. Chapmans attorney, Jay Reisinger, said in a statement to Yahoo that he and his client “vehemently deny the allegations as stated.”

The incident is the reason that a reported trade this morning to the Dodgers has been held up, according to Yahoo. Major league baseball will investigate the matter, Brown and Passan further report.

An investigation obviously appears to be warranted under the new domestic violence protocol put in place between the league and the player’s association. Commissioner Rob Manfred can issue any punishment deemed appropriate “in light of the severity of the conduct,” after an investigation. Notably, neither criminal charges nor a conviction are required to support the imposition of discipline.

The commissioner’s office is said already to be investigating fellow high-profile players Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig under the domestic violence policy.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say: “Well Neb, it just goes to show you, it’s always something. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the breakdown: there’s a $500K signing bonus and Madson will earn $6.5MM in 2016 and $7.5MM a year over 2017-18. The deal also includes incentives up to $1.25MM a year based on games finished.

Another obvious display of talent coupled with extreme immaturity…
By Mark Sheldon and Ken Gurnick / MLB.com | @kengurnick | December 7th, 2015 +
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cincinnati Reds All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman is the subject of a domestic violence investigation after an incident in which he allegedly had a physical altercation with his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots into the garage of his Miami-area home, according to a Yahoo! Sports story.

The incident apparently has held up a proposed trade of Chapman to the Dodgers for two prospects.

Based on Miami police reports, the story states that more than a dozen officers were called to Chapman’s home on Oct. 30, but no arrest was made because of “conflicting stories and lack of cooperation from all parties involved.”
Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty declined to comment on the details of the case, and said the club would defer to Major League Baseball.
“MLB has taken over full responsibility and will look into it. Everything public will happen through them,” Jocketty said. “It’s an open investigation. It’s MLB policy when something like this happens, whatever kind of police investigation.”
Under the new domestic violence protocol put in place between MLB and the Players Association, Commissioner Rob Manfred can issue any punishment deemed appropriate “in light of the severity of the conduct,” after an investigation.
Neither criminal charges nor a conviction are required to support the imposition of discipline.

Jocketty felt that trading the four-time All-Star was still possible, but not likely to happen during the Winter Meetings. Teams besides the Dodgers have shown interest.
“We’ve talked to several clubs,” Jocketty said. “I’ve notified them all tonight that we will step back for a couple of weeks or whatever it takes. They were fine.
“This actually came up the last 24 hours. That’s not what held up the trade. We just weren’t able to complete it as fast as we wanted to.”
The police report stated that the incident was triggered by an argument after the girlfriend saw something on Chapman’s mobile phone. Chapman, 27, admitted to police he fired eight shots with a handgun, seven of them lodging in a concrete wall and one penetrating and exiting a window into an open field.
Chapman’s girlfriend accused the pitcher of choking her and pushing her against the wall. She said she ran outside and hid in bushes on the property while calling police “because she was scared for her and her daughter,” who is 4 months old. It is not clear, the Yahoo! Sports story said, whether the child is Chapman’s.
Chapman’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, vehemently denied the accusations to Yahoo! Sports, and Praver Shapiro Sports Management, Chapman’s agency, declined to comment when reached by MLB.com on Monday.
The Yahoo! Sports story said Chapman told police he used his index and middle fingers to poke his girlfriend on the left shoulder, that his girlfriend fell to the floor and started yelling. The girlfriend’s brother came into the room, Chapman said, and pushed him to the ground. Family and friends separated them.
Chapman also told police he punched the window of his Land Rover and cut the knuckle on the pinkie of his left hand, then fired the gunshots and threw the weapon aside. The report quoted assistant state attorney Marcie Zaccor as saying that, “due to conflicting stories, no cooperating witnesses and no physical injuries, there is insufficient evidence to charge Mr. Chapman with simple battery.”
The Yahoo! Sports story included news of a possible burglary at the house a month earlier, in which Chapman told police he believed his girlfriend had taken a key without permission. Chapman also reportedly was cited earlier for a noise-ordinance violation after neighbor complaints of loud music.

Joe Torre Addresses Aroldis Chapman Situation
By Zach Links | December 8, 2015 at 4:04pm CST

4:02pm: Halem says that whether or not an arrest occurs will not be a factor in the investigation, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. He also indicated that the league hopes to complete its look by the opening of Spring Training, as Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post adds on Twitter. That certainly suggests that a resolution may not be forthcoming for some time.

12:23pm: In the wake of the scuttled trade that would have sent Reds closer Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers, many are wondering how much the Reds knew about Chapman’s alleged domestic violence history and, if they were aware of it, when they were apprised. In a press conference with reporters on Tuesday morning, MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre told reporters that the league was not aware of Chapman’s arrest record until Monday evening. That timeline would imply that the league learned of Chapman’s arrest roughly around the time everyone else did, as the Yahoo Sports report was filed roughly around 9pm CT on Monday night.

Obviously, the Dodgers and other fervent Chapman suitors will be holding off on trade talks until we gain more clarity on the closer’s messy situation. Torre, who has an instrumental role in league discipline, indicated that the league will be taking its time in weighing a potential punishment for the soon-to-be 28-year-old.

“As awful as his situation is, there are still rights that have to be protected. So, we’re very careful in making sure that we respect that and get all of the information. Then, we will proceed accordingly,” Torre told the press in Nashville.

Ben Zobrist Choosing Between Mets, Cubs
By Jeff Todd | December 8, 2015 at 5:43pm CST

5:43pm: Zobrist is choosing between the Cubs and Mets, according to Rosenthal (Twitter link). The two have made comparable offers, says Rosenthal, so the decision comes down to which club he’d rather join. The Nationals are now on the periphery of talks, Rosenthal adds.

5:26pm: Heyman tweets that the Mets, Giants and Nationals are all willing to go to four years on Zobrist.

4:36pm: Rosenthal hears the same as Rogers — the Cubs are in on Zobrist, he tweets. However, Chicago would need other moves to come together before signing Zobrist. The Cubs, of course, have reportedly been discussing infielder Javier Baez with other teams. Starlin Castro‘s name, too, has been frequently mentioned in trade rumors over the past several months.

3:39pm: Zobrist has at least one four-year offer in hand and could make his decision within the “next several hours,” Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.

3:34pm: Contrary to prior indications, the Nationals have not met in person with Zobrist and don’t have anything lined up to do so at present, according to reports from Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (via Twitter) and Mark Zuckerman of CSNmidatlantic.com (Twitter link). But they have met with his representatives and the team has made a “nice, hard push” to acquire Zobrist, per a tweet from the Post’s James Wagner.

Janes provides a full quote from Rizzo, on Twitter: “We have plans, not necessarily to meet him face-to-face, but we’ll keep those to ourselves.”

1:46pm: Zobrist is talking over his decision with his wife and a decision could come as soon as this evening, his agent tells Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).

1:03pm: A source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that there’s “no way” Zobrist has received such an offer.

Meanwhile, a source with the Mets says that the team did not make such an offer and wouldn’t match it, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

1:02pm: Free agent infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been as heavily pursued as expected, but his market is apparently reaching heights not previously anticipated. One unidentified team has made him a four-year, $80MM offer, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. He adds that the Mets remain the favorites to land Zobrist.

Needless to say, that’s an incredible figure to hear connected with Zobrist. Most prior estimates have pegged his anticipated value more in the $15MM annual range, give or take a few million. Despite his consistent excellence, Zobrist is no longer posting quite the numbers he did during his heyday and is entering his age-35 season.

One relevant comp that has previously been discussed is Victor Martinez, another older player who was coming off of a big season at the plate when he inked with the Tigers for four years and $68MM. While Martinez had obvious defensive limitations, whereas Zobrist can play just about everywhere, the latter is also not the offensive force that Martinez was. All said, then, there are some general similarities in their market outlook, and going all the way to eighty million would add an additional $3MM annually to what Martinez achieved.

The latest reports all suggest that Zobrist’s decision is coming soon, with the Nationals and Mets said to be leading the way. The Giants and possibly the Dodgers are also said to be in the mix, too. Of course, late-emerging mystery teams have driven up bidding on plenty of previous occasions, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com did tweet earlier today that some believe other clubs could still enter the fray.
………………………..
Not the Cubs…

Too bad. Zobrist to the Cubs, confirmed. Castro to the Yankees confirmed. Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks, confirmed. Reds absolutely nowhere.

Time for a break for me…
I am depressed, I am chagrined, I am very saddened that our team
has an owner that agrees with: our GM, our rookie GM and an
extremely poor Manager…very sad indeed.
Happy Holidays to all Red’s followers!

Ditto to the feelings you expressed. Happy holidays to you too.

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