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Reds Spring Training is up and running on this fine Thursday in Goodyear, Ariz. As you can tell, I haven’t been updating the blog much since last season. How much I do in the future remains to be seen.

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33 Comments

Throw us a bone from time to time. I believe many who have been loyal to you are not active facebook users like myself. With all our help, especially Neb our official researcher, I think your blog will remain alive and well.

I understand your feelings and I’m definitely appreciative of the loyalty shown by the you, the readers and commenters. The issue ties to the fact we want all of our content out front on the main sites of MLB.com/Reds.com where it gets more eyes. Facebook and Twitter drive traffic to those sites as well. I’m not going to fully stop blogging but I might not resume much of it until the regular season. It’s kind of up in the air right now. Thanks.

Thanks for the reply. I just hope everyone who has been active remain so.

I agree. Maybe I am too old for Facebook. I look at it like once a year unless I miss then its once every other year.

I don’t Facebook, thanks

Whats facebook?…

Ha – me neither.

This stat shocked me when it was attributed to Iglesias…
He is the first pitcher in Reds history to record at least 10 strikeouts in three consecutive starts.

I am amazed. I would think Maloney would have. Are you sure it wasn’t ROOKIE pitcher to accomplish it.

No, Maloney never did it…but did come close…
1964
4/25 SFG 9
5/2 NYM 10
5/7 NYM 10
1968
9/21 HST 10
9/25 PIT 11
9/29 SFG 9

I immediately thought of Soto…(wrong there too)…
Iglesias accomplished the feat on these dates:
8/23 vs. ARI 13 SO, 7 IP, 1 ER, Reds lost 4-0
8/28 vs. MIL 10 SO, 7 IP, 3 ER, Reds lost 5-0
9/02 vs. CHI 10 SO, 7 IP, 2 ER, Reds won 7-4
Iglesias lost the first two games, no decision in the last one.
………………..
It was Cuetos fate as well as all the great G pitched;
do not see it changing in 2016. We just, flat out, cannot
OBP, then move em along, then get a H to SR…
Just aint in our DNA…

Excerpt from article by C. Trent…

On Friday, newcomer Jose Peraza said he’s ready to play second base, shortstop and center field, and that’s good because that’s exactly what he’ll be asked to do this spring, Reds manager Bryan Price said on Saturday.

“I think you’ll see him moving all over the place,” Price said. “As spring training starts, the guys I know are the regulars most often are typically playing on an every-other-day schedule. So Brandon (Phillips) can play one day and Peraza can play second the other day. Then I can move him around if I give Billy (Hamilton) a day off in center or I can play him over there with (Zack) Cozart since Cozart is going to be eased back. He’s going to get a lot of playing time in the spring, but it’ll just be in varying positions.”
…………………..

Oh, what a shock…milktoast playing Sunday sandlot ball with the highest rated
prospect we traded for in our entire rebuild process.

I gag just thinking of it. I know it’s going to be a long season, but hope it will be in a positive direction. However, with milktoast managing his usual style and with Brandon setting the tone, I don’t think the rebuild gets off the ground till maybe A/S break if at all.

Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds: ‘God knows I’m a Hall of Famer’.
Bet he knows how you hit so many HRs too!

Great response Neb. By the way where is Old Jim. Need all the non millenials we can get commenting here. It won’t make any difference if you’ve been following the Reds longer than the millenials have been alive. They and technology and the need for ratings will leave us in the dust. So please stay active.

TOW…I have been discussing the Reds since the computer came into being. And I will probably continue commenting until my heart or fingers stop working. A few years ago, Mark told us that there were almost 1,000 views on this blog; some years there were a number of posters, other years not so many. I personally post here because it is an opportunity to post about what I love, the Cincinnati Reds. Secondly, I post here because Mark allows us a platform that is friendly and easily accessible, and I would hate to see it go. However, if it were not available I would merely find another platform that would allow me access and continue my finds, rants and comments. This one is by far the easiest and most friendly. I trust and hope that the comments by all bring incredible eyes (numbers) to this blog for the benefit of those that dont have time to scour the internet, the discourse, and of course, for the benefit to Mark who allows us the privilege.

Thanks Neb. That means alot. If that time comes, I hope you will let us know where you gone. I always apreciate (don’t always agree), but respect you for your
thorouhness. With 80% of my day devoted to being my wife’s only caregiver, I am one who doesn’t have time for much research.

NP…you have your hands full; I also did with my Father and Neighbor…toughest job in the world. Now on to the Reds…

Mr. Bruce…
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | @m_sheldon
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Jay Bruce simply could not wait to get to Reds camp.

This, even after a summer loaded with trade rumors and despite a winter of speculation that the right fielder would likely be moved to another team before Spring Training. Bruce got to Arizona on Saturday, reporting to the Reds’ clubhouse to set up his locker at 9:30 p.m., when everyone else was long gone. He was back at the complex first thing Sunday morning to meet a host of new teammates and work out, two days ahead of the full-squad report date.
By the way, this is Bruce’s 11th Spring Training with the organization since he was its first-round Draft pick in 2005.
“Which is kind of hard to believe,” Bruce said of the time moving fast. “I feel great. I did my best not to think about [trade speculation]. Until Opening Day comes and I walk out onto the field in Cincinnati, who knows what’s going to happen? I’m ready to go. I’m a Red until I’m not. It’s business as usual for me.”
But isn’t it a little awkward? Not as far as Bruce was concerned.
“No, not at all,” Bruce replied. “If it were somewhere else, it’d be awkward right now. This is what I know. This organization has been much more to me than just a baseball team. I’ve been here since I was 18 years old, and this is all I know. I look forward to still being here and if something does happen, I completely understand.”

The Reds decided to go into rebuild mode at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last summer, moving Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. Rumors about Bruce percolated right up until the Deadline passed on July 31. They resumed after the World Series, when president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty and new general manager Dick Williams revealed the club would listen to offers for any of its veteran players.
Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier were traded for Minor Leaguers. Brandon Phillips blocked a potential deal with his no-trade rights. The corner outfielder free-agent market dragged late into the winter, which likely affected the trade market.
“I think it’s the terrain we’re in now,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “You’d love to be able to not have it out there. It’s probably good at times for certain players to know — especially guys that have been here, long-tenured players with an organization — what you’re considering doing and why you’re considering doing it.
“It is uncomfortable to have players on your team at the Trade Deadline whose names are out there and are aware of the tenuous situation they’re in. I’m sure it’s very difficult for Walt, [Reds owner] Mr. [Bob] Castellini and now Dick to have it out there as well.”
With about 20 young players he hadn’t met before in the Reds clubhouse, Bruce set about introducing himself and helping rookies get comfortable. As long as he’s with Cincinnati, he hopes he can be a veteran leader:
“I was lucky enough to learn from some really good people how to do that, mainly Scott Rolen,” Bruce said. “He’s a guy I always kind of go back to. I definitely know what it is to be a professional and what professionalism is and taking your job seriously, and representing the name on the front of your jersey as well as the name on the back of your jersey as best you can.”
Bruce, who turns 29 on April 3, is owed $12.5 million in 2016 and has a $13 million club option for 2017 with a $1 million buyout. That affordability will make him an attractive piece for a team, especially if he starts this season strong after two disappointing years. Bruce batted .222/.288/.406 with 44 homers with 153 RBIs in 294 games from 2014-15.
“I’m honest with myself. I don’t try to tell myself a lot of lies or dress anything up. Had I played better the last year and a half to two years, I would have definitely been moved,” Bruce said. “That’s just the way it is. That’s the game. I know good and well that I’m not the player I was last year, and I’m not the player I was in 2014. The only way I can prove that is to go out and actually do that and get back to the real me.”

Left for dead: Sorting out left field for the Reds…
Posted on 02/22/2016 by STEVE MANCUSO
(charts would not transfer)
In his first year as general manager for the Reds, Walt Jocketty traded Adam Dunn to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Remember the Dallas Buck Era? Dunn had become a fixture in Great American Ball Park’s left field.

And while the word fixture might conjure up Dunn’s aptitude playing defense in left field, one thing is for sure – for the seven seasons spanning 2001-2008 Adam Dunn produced runs. Over that stretch, Dunn produced runs at a rate 30 percent above league average. No other Reds player came close then (Griffey Jr. next at 17 percent). To offer context for what it means to produce runs 30 percent above league average, here are a few players who over their careers did just that: Roberto Clemente, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski and Jose Canseco.

Left UnDunn

Since Dunn’s departure, the Reds farm system hasn’t produced a single full-time left fielder. Chris Heisey and Chris Dickerson were the closest. Instead, the Reds year after year have relied on a series of bargain-basement free agents: Jerry Hairston Jr., Laynce Nix, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Ludwick and Marlon Byrd. Those are just the starters. Remember Fred Lewis, Xavier Paul and Skip Schumaker?

Yikes. Adam Dunn averaged 38 homers a year for the Reds. Reds left fielders have hit fewer than 21 per season since. In fact, in 2013 and 2014, years begun with post-season aspirations, Reds left fielders combined for a two-year total of 24 homers. Adam Dunn mashed. His replacements were well below league average.

On defense, Dunn was no Baryshnikov. But the likes of Gomes and Byrd were hardly Gold Glove candidates. From 09-15, Reds left fielders produced -69.6 runs. That dash in front of the 6 isn’t a stray mark, it’s a negative sign.

Whatever one thinks about Adam Dunn’s time in Cincinnati, it’s reasonably clear that left field has been a disaster for the Reds the past seven seasons, with Ryan Ludwick in 2012 the exception to the rule. Filling that roster spot has been an ongoing major failure.

Jesse Winker

But in the spirit of spring training, let’s look forward, not back. What relief is in sight as we charge into the rebuild-reboot-recycle of 2016?

The good news is that the Reds have a Top-50 prospect lined up as the team’s left fielder of the future. The Reds selected Jesse Winker (22) in the first round of the 2012 draft. Last season, Winker hit .282/.390/.433 at AA-Pensacola, with 13 home runs in 123 games. Also encouraging, besides that the guy can hit, are Winker’s plate discipline numbers. His walk rate (14.2%) and strikeout rate (16.9%) are superior to Joey Votto’s minor league stats. While Winker hasn’t demonstrated good power yet, he has the kind of swing and approach that projects more when he matures. Given the similarities in their games, Winker could learn an enormous amount watching Votto play every day.

But when will Jesse Winker put an end to the Reds left field miasma? Does he have a shot to make the roster out of spring training this year?

The front office party line is the Reds want Winker to spend the next year playing at AAA, although Bryan Price recently said, “never say never” about the situation.

As exciting as it would be to see Winker playing left field in GABP this April, it makes little sense for the organization to do that. Votto played a full season in AAA before a September call-up. Jay Bruce had more than 400 plate appearances in AAA, Devin Mesoraco more than 500. Jesse Winker has zero. Let’s say in normal circumstances that service time and arbitration clock concerns wouldn’t trump win-loss considerations for the big league team. But if 2016 really is a season in search of another high draft pick, then leave Winker in AAA to improve, even if he already is the best left fielder in the Reds system.

Non-Winker Options

With Jesse Winker on the Louisville Bats roster, that means Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler, Yorman Rodriguez, Jake Cave and Tyler Holt will compete for major league playing time in left field. Price says that the first three on that list have the inside track going into spring training.

Adam Duvall (27), a native of Louisville, was acquired in the trade that sent Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants. At his age, Duvall is past the point of being considered a prospect, but he has fewer than 150 major league plate appearances. Duvall started 18 games for the Giants in 2014 at 1B and 17 games for the Reds last year, almost exclusively in left field.

Expect Duvall to hit for low average but big power. He will strike out a lot and walk rarely. Duvall hit 5 homers for the Reds in 72 plate appearances for the Reds. He also struck out 26 times. Duvall’s career minor league SLG (.503) and ISO (.235) are excellent. Duvall hit 30 home runs at AAA last year and 27 in 91 games the year before. Duvall bats right-handed and has had a fairly large platoon split in the minor leagues.

Duvall has little experience playing left field. His main position in the minor leagues was 3B, but at that he was awful. On the positive side, it’s said he made no errors in the 24 chances he had in left field last year. But other measurements, like range, pursuit course and arm strength are more meaningful defensive metrics. There’s a good chance Duvall’s defensive liabilities and poor plate discipline will offset most of the value of his power.

Scott Schebler (25) came to the Reds from the Dodgers in the Todd Frazier deal. Los Angeles selected him in the 26th round of the 2010 draft out of the Des Moines Area Community College. Schebler played in 19 games as a September call-up last year for Los Angeles, splitting his time in left and right field.

Schebler has demonstrated power, hitting 55 home runs between 2013 and 2014 with a .568 SLG. His batting slumped, however, to .241/.322/.410 in AAA last season. Schebler was a high school track star. In four of his years in the minors, he had double-digit steals. Schebler projects as having good power and below average plate discipline, with a concerning strikeout rate.

He played right and left field in the Dodger organization, but his arm is considered better suited for left. His speed and route running are positive attributes. Schebler, a left-handed hitter (throws right), exhibited a substantial platoon split in AAA last year.

Yorman Rodriguez (23) was signed by the Reds at the age of 16 out of Venezuela. He played last year at AAA-Louisville, mostly in center and right field. Rodriguez started one game for the Bats in left. He hit .269/.308/.429 in 326 plate appearances. Rodriguez is another option with poor plate discipline (5.2% walk rate and 24.5% strikeout rate).

Rodriguez had 29 plate appearances for the Reds in 2014, but didn’t get a chance to play at the major league level last year because of an injury that ended his season. He did play winter ball in good health in Venezuela. He is out of options, which means Rodriguez would have to pass through waivers unclaimed if the Reds want to send him to AAA to start the season.

The Yankees drafted Jake Cave (23) out of high school in 2011. The Reds acquired him in the Rule 5 draft this winter. If Cave doesn’t make the 25-man roster out of spring training, he goes back to the Yankees with a $25,000 check. You have to assume the Reds did an extensive evaluation of him before they selected him and feel he has a decent chance of earning his way to Cincinnati in April.

Cave played mostly at the AA level in the Yankee system last year, so a jump to the major leagues would be pretty ambitious in most circumstances. In 593 plate appearances, he hit .269/.330/.345 with 17 stolen bases. His walk rate throughout his minor league career has been decent, at 7.7%, his strikeout rate is 19.5.%. Cave has little power. He hits left-handed so maybe the Reds planned on using him off the bench prior to acquiring Schebler.

Tyler Holt (27 on Opening Day) began the 2015 season on Cleveland’s AAA team, then was promoted to the major league club where he got 21 plate appearances over 9 games, playing all three outfield positions. The Reds picked him up off of waivers on September 27 and started him a couple times before the season ended. Holt bats right handed and played CF for the Reds.

Holt’s best attribute is his speed, averaging more than 30 SB/year in the minor league. He has no power at all, with six home runs in six minor league seasons. Holt hit .274/.367/.351 over 2683 minor league plate appearances. Holt has shown impressive skill working the count and getting on base, with a walk rate above 12% and a strikeout rate just 16.5%. He is regarded as a plus centerfielder – good jumps and range, with a strong and accurate arm.

Holt could provide value as a bench player, with versatility to play all three OF positions as a defensive substitute. As a pinch hitter, he would excel at getting on base and could pinch run and steal a base if necessary. In his limited time playing for the Reds last fall, Holt stole a base and walked twice.

What to Expect

In sum, the first five aren’t terribly inspiring. Unless someone emerges … out of left field … none of them will make us forget Adam Dunn, Jesse Winker or even Chris Heisey.

Assuming Winker starts in Louisville, Jay Bruce doesn’t get traded and everyone remains in good health, other than interloping by Devin Mesoraco, Eugenio Suarez and Ivan DeJesus Jr. playing out of position, here’s the most likely scenario concerning left field and the rest of the outfield: (1) Duvall and Schebler start as a platoon pair in left; (2) Holt and Rodriguez are the backup outfielders; and (3) Cave will be sent back to the Yankees.

By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | @m_sheldon | February 21st, 2016
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Jay Bruce simply could not wait to get to Reds camp.

This, even after a summer loaded with trade rumors and despite a winter of speculation that the right fielder would likely be moved to another team before Spring Training. Bruce got to Arizona on Saturday, reporting to the Reds’ clubhouse to set up his locker at 9:30 p.m., when everyone else was long gone. He was back at the complex first thing Sunday morning to meet a host of new teammates and work out, two days ahead of the full-squad report date.
By the way, this is Bruce’s 11th Spring Training with the organization since he was its first-round Draft pick in 2005.
“Which is kind of hard to believe,” Bruce said of the time moving fast. “I feel great. I did my best not to think about [trade speculation]. Until Opening Day comes and I walk out onto the field in Cincinnati, who knows what’s going to happen? I’m ready to go. I’m a Red until I’m not. It’s business as usual for me.”
But isn’t it a little awkward? Not as far as Bruce was concerned.
“No, not at all,” Bruce replied. “If it were somewhere else, it’d be awkward right now. This is what I know. This organization has been much more to me than just a baseball team. I’ve been here since I was 18 years old, and this is all I know. I look forward to still being here and if something does happen, I completely understand.”

The Reds decided to go into rebuild mode at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last summer, moving Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. Rumors about Bruce percolated right up until the Deadline passed on July 31. They resumed after the World Series, when president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty and new general manager Dick Williams revealed the club would listen to offers for any of its veteran players.
Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier were traded for Minor Leaguers. Brandon Phillips blocked a potential deal with his no-trade rights. The corner outfielder free-agent market dragged late into the winter, which likely affected the trade market.
“I think it’s the terrain we’re in now,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “You’d love to be able to not have it out there. It’s probably good at times for certain players to know — especially guys that have been here, long-tenured players with an organization — what you’re considering doing and why you’re considering doing it.
“It is uncomfortable to have players on your team at the Trade Deadline whose names are out there and are aware of the tenuous situation they’re in. I’m sure it’s very difficult for Walt, [Reds owner] Mr. [Bob] Castellini and now Dick to have it out there as well.”
With about 20 young players he hadn’t met before in the Reds clubhouse, Bruce set about introducing himself and helping rookies get comfortable. As long as he’s with Cincinnati, he hopes he can be a veteran leader:
“I was lucky enough to learn from some really good people how to do that, mainly Scott Rolen,” Bruce said. “He’s a guy I always kind of go back to. I definitely know what it is to be a professional and what professionalism is and taking your job seriously, and representing the name on the front of your jersey as well as the name on the back of your jersey as best you can.”
Bruce, who turns 29 on April 3, is owed $12.5 million in 2016 and has a $13 million club option for 2017 with a $1 million buyout. That affordability will make him an attractive piece for a team, especially if he starts this season strong after two disappointing years. Bruce batted .222/.288/.406 with 44 homers with 153 RBIs in 294 games from 2014-15.
“I’m honest with myself. I don’t try to tell myself a lot of lies or dress anything up. Had I played better the last year and a half to two years, I would have definitely been moved,” Bruce said. “That’s just the way it is. That’s the game. I know good and well that I’m not the player I was last year, and I’m not the player I was in 2014. The only way I can prove that is to go out and actually do that and get back to the real me.”

From MLBTR:
By Charlie Wilmoth | February 22, 2016 at 6:03pm CST

6:07pm: Bruce had the Blue Jays on his no-trade list, but he is willing to allow the Reds to trade him to the Jays, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet tweets.

6:03pm: Heyman tweets that the proposed deal between the Jays and Reds actually also involves the Angels, with Saunders heading from Toronto to Anaheim in the deal. The Jays and Reds also discussed a three-team deal with the Athletics, but that trade is no longer being discussed, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets.

5:44pm: Reds outfielder Jay Bruce remains on the trade market, and they could be in the process of trading him to the Blue Jays, Jon Heyman tweets. If the Jays were to acquire Bruce, he would likely play mostly left field, with Jose Bautista in right. Toronto’s top left field options currently include Michael Saunders, who missed most of last season due to injury, and 23-year-old Dalton Pompey

11:15pm: Talks are “dead” for the time being, Olney tweets.

11:06pm: The reason for the holdup is that one of the teams found an issue with one of the players’ medicals, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets, clarifying that the player in question was not Bruce. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, meanwhile, tweets that someone close to the talks believes the problem is Saunders’ knee, an injury to which caused him to miss most of last season.

10:47pm: Some of the parties discussing the deal now doubt it will come to fruition, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. The reasons for the hitch are currently unclear.

8:44pm: The three teams are reviewing medical records of the players involved, tweets Rosenthal.

8:20pm: The deal is nearing completion, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets.

6:36pm: The current deal has Bruce going to Toronto, Saunders heading to Anaheim and prospects going to the Reds, Heyman tweets. That suggests the Angels, who have a very weak farm system, will be providing the prospects.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Jay Bruce three-team trade is “dead.”
The Reds were moving closer to a three-team trade with the Blue Jays and Angels which would have sent Bruce to Toronto and Michael Saunders to the Angels, but the deal hit a snag while medicals were being reviewed. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, a person familiar with the talks believes that Saunders was the cause of the concern after he missed most of last season with a knee injury. Bruce could still be traded, maybe even to the Blue Jays, but it will apparently have to go down a different way.
Source: Buster Olney on TwitterFeb 23 – 12:13 AM

TUESDAY: The medical concerns were in regard to a Blue Jays minor leaguer involved in the deal who was presumably going to the Reds, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). With this trade at least temporarily off, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan wonders if other teams could approach the Reds with offers for Bruce since they seem open to dealing him for a fairly low price.

Passan also reported that the Reds previously engaged in a failed deal with the Blue Jays and the Athletics earlier in the offseason that would have shipped Bruce to Toronto. The following tweet by Passan should make Reds fans cringe/prepare for further Bruce trade speculation:

That said: The Reds have shown a willingness to trade Jay Bruce for a not-so-big return, and other teams could pounce knowing price is low.

What is sad is a total destruction of the Reds. And we fans are asked to still pay big dollars to watch a team that won’t be anywhere close to competition for 5+ years. A minor leauge team in the majors. I guess going after a #1 pick is the Reds world championship. Not what us fans want. The Griffey game and Pete Rose weekend is all the fans have to look forward too. I never dreamed this would ever happen. Its going to feel like 1982-83 for alonggggg while. Sigh!! I cant see this team even winning 58 games. I never dreamed Mike Brown’s Bengals would ever be better run than the Reds. Next we fans will be blamed why they cant afford to compete when we stop going to games. WINNING is more fun than watching fireworks free bobble heads or free pizza. Sadly this front office has no clue.

I have never been bothered by trades. I am bothered by poor timing. Trading Bruce right now unless you are getting a steal for the time and taking advantage of another teams fear of not having enough to enter the season makes zero sense. I am becoming very worried about the Reds. Bruce will have a hot streak as always during the year. You trade him then and he will have a nice option left for the other team. That is a year and a half return which will net some nice prospects. We are not talking about some crazy salary we are trying to get off the books here. His salary is very comparable and maybe a little low for what he can do. The timing this offseason and trade values seem more like the Reds are taking anything. The comment that other teams will probably be looking to deal now that the Reds demand is lower is not a good sign. If you don’t get value then you work with him until you do. It is not like the Reds will actually play the rookies, they will do what they always do, sign a terrible vet for too much money to replace Bruce. I would rather keep him.

Agree. AT the A/S break would be better. If he has a strong 1st half you gain, if not you lose nothing. Phillips is the one screwing up the rebuild, not Bruce.

Zach Buchanan, zbuchanan@enquirer.com 5:26 p.m.
February 23, 2016

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto arrived in camp Tuesday prepared to begin his 10th season with the team. He fully intends to play at least seven more after that.

Votto has eight years left on the 10-year, $225 million deal he signed in 2012, a pact that gives him a full no-trade clause. The Reds have stripped the big-league team of most of the established pieces possible – and nearly traded Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays in a deal that fell apart Monday night – but Votto wants to stay put instead of jumping to a front-runner by allowing a trade.

“I’m not going to buy high – that’s silly,” Votto said. “I’m a buy-low guy. Why would I zag when everyone is zagging? You’ve got to zig when everyone is zagging. I think the future of the franchise is headed in the right direction.”

Though the Reds’ recent sell-off moves suggest a more active search for the bottom, Votto feels the team has already begun its climb back to winning. Saying goodbye to longtime teammates like Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman was difficult, but not as difficult as weathering the disappointing 2015 season.

That campaign “better damn well be the bottom,” Votto said, but the road back to respectability is one he’s willing to trek along with the organization as long as it continues its upward trajectory.

“We rode out some (stuff) last year, if I can ride that out and have a good time and be optimistic, I can handle just about anything,” Votto said. “As long as we continue to head in the right direction, I’m very excited and proud to be a Red. I’m motivated by being a part of the future.”

That future is fresh-faced and populates the Reds’ clubhouse at their spring training complex, and Votto feels a responsibility to make Cincinnati’s host of young, unestablished players feel welcome and ease their transition to big leagues.

He’s also thankful to be entering camp at full health. Last year Votto began spring training rehabbing from a quad injury.

“I did a lot of walking and a lot of sleeping (in the offseason),” Votto said. “The Cincinnati fan base can be excited about the future of my performance, I’m going to be well-rested and practiced walking a lot.”

Orioles, Dexter Fowler Agree To Three-Year Deal…

Reds Notes: Bruce Trade, Votto, Phillips, Peraza
By Steve Adams | February 23, 2016 at 8:48pm CST

Jay Bruce’s name dominated headlines last night as the longtime Reds outfielder was reportedly on the verge of being dealt to the Blue Jays in a three-team trade (also involving the Angels) before the medical reviews of another player involved derailed the would-be deal. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted today that an official involved in the deal told him it’s “doubtful” that a new iteration of the trade will be drawn up, suggesting that the Reds will have to explore other opportunities if they’re still seeking to trade Bruce. Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM tweets that the Reds sought to shed all of the money that is owed to Bruce, adding that the asking price on Bruce is lower than some might expect it to be.

A few additional notes on the Bruce situation (including comments from Bruce himself) and on the Reds…

Bruce openly addressed the trade talk with reporters this morning, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon and the Cincinnati Enquirer’s C. Trent Rosecrans write. Bruce said that his main focus is, to the best of his ability, to prevent the trade rumors surrounding his name from becoming a distraction to his teammates over the course of Spring Training. “I don’t want to have to come in every single day and talk to guys and honestly, answer the same questions,” Bruce explained. “It’s nothing against y’all. Y’all are just trying to do a job, I understand that. We’re in a special situation as it is here with this organization with the team. We have to be focused on the field. We have to focus on the task at hand. I don’t want this to become something every single day.” Bruce added the he would “completely understand” if something ultimately did happen, expressing a recognition of the game’s business component, but repeated that from his point of view, “I’m a Red until I’m not.” Both the Enquirer (link) and MLB.com (link) have video of some of Bruce’s comments.
Even with the Reds rebuilding, Joey Votto hopes to remain with the team for the long haul, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We rode out some (stuff) last year,” Votto explained to reporters. “If I can ride that out and have a good time and be optimistic, I can handle just about anything. As long as we continue to head in the right direction, I’m very excited and proud to be a Red. I’m motivated by being a part of the future.” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick was also on hand and notes that Votto expressed that it was difficult to see so many of his teammates and friends traded over the past year but also looks forward to getting to know new teammates and forming new bonds as his Reds career continues. Votto is owed $199MM over the next eight seasons and has a full no-trade clause included in his 10-year, $225MM contract, so even if the Reds wanted to move him, he’d have plenty of say in the matter.
Brandon Phillips deflected questions when asked about his decision to invoke his own no-trade rights rather than approve a trade to the Nationals, Sheldon writes. “I don’t know nothing about that stuff,” Phillips said. “I’m just here to play this game that I love. I’m just happy to still be wearing this Reds jersey.” Phillips added that he didn’t hear much about talk of prospect Jose Peraza, acquired in the Todd Frazier trade, challenging for playing time. Peraza would’ve been in line to be the team’s everyday second baseman had Phillips been traded, but he’ll see some time at shortstop and in center field this spring in addition to some reps at second base, manager Bryan Price told Rosecrans and other reporters earlier this week.

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