Everyone here, all smooth

All 62 players reported for the full squad workout on Tuesday and are all fine heading into Wednesday. There will be stories on Reds.com coming today that update you on Zack Cozart’s health and more. Lou Piniella arrived in camp on Wednesday as well as I’m hoping to get him for a couple of minutes.

Reds manager Bryan Price talked about the early camp thus far.

“It’s been good,” Price said. “We’ve had some many guys show up early before the pitchers and catchers showed up. I think we had every catcher in camp early. We had 13 or 14 guys a day on the lower fields hitting. I think there’s a great sense of opportunity here. There is an excitement about young guys coming from organizations where they may not have felt like they had the same opportunity. They’re coming to the Reds feeling there are some positions open, with a real chance to get to the big leagues over the course of the next year or two. Everybody wants that optimism, right? I think a lot of these guys are taking it to heart.”


Being a Reds fan for over 60 years I always find these type of seasons very interesting. I have been through many of them, just part of the game. I can’t wait to get to GABP when the weather is warm and see some of this young talent play. I usually see them in Louisville but didn’t get down this last year. I learned long ago in baseball that predictions mean nothing as the final test is between those white lines. I absolutely loved Homer’s comments about predictions last night on channel 5, totally agree with him.

Completely agree. I cant wait to get the park. I am excited to take my kids because they don’t know yet about all the craziness of fans and just love watching the game. It is an absolute joy watching it through their eyes.

Reds Notes: Bruce, Trades, Rebuilding
By Mark Polishuk | February 24, 2016 at 9:50am CST

We published one set of Reds Notes last night, and now here’s some more news out of Cincinnati…

The Reds would like to trade Jay Bruce within the next week, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter link). If a deal can’t be completed within that timeframe, the “odds increase that he’ll start [the] season in Cincinnati.”
The proposed and apparently abandoned three-team trade from Monday that would’ve sent Bruce to the Blue Jays and Michael Saunders to the Angels reportedly fell apart due to a medical issue with a prospect Toronto had ticketed to the Reds. The prospect’s health, however, was just one of many issues that caused the trade to be scuttled, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. In his subscriber-only column today, Olney also noted that the prospects involved in the trade weren’t top-tier names and not major components in the deal, so injury concerns alone wouldn’t have been a big problem.
Also from Olney in his column from yesterday, the Reds are having some concerns that they won’t be able to trade Bruce at all. The club has been shopping the outfielder for months, coming close on the Toronto trade and in a deadline deal that would’ve sent Bruce to the Mets, so there’s at least some interest in Bruce’s services. Still, it has to be something of a tough sell given Bruce’s struggles over the last two seasons and the minimum $13.5MM ($12.5MM salary, $1MM buyout of his 2017 option) owed to him for 2016.
As Reds fans prepare for what could be a long year, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown looks at how the team could approach its rebuild.

From MLB Trade Rumors…
Reds manager Bryan Price hopes speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton can grow into a leadoff role, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Hamilton is just a career .242/.287/.324 hitter. Despite excellent base running, including 126 stolen bases in 1,087 plate appearances, few players could earn regular reps with that triple slash. With Hamilton, his elite defense guarantees him a regular role, per Price. Now it’s just a matter of finding where his bat plays. FanGraphs’ WAR metric agrees with Price. Hamilton has compiled 6.1 WAR putting him on a 3-4 WAR pace per full season.

By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | @m_sheldon | February 24th, 2016
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — A relaxed Lou Piniella was clearly enjoying himself back at a Major League Spring Training again. For the first time since 1992, he was wearing a Reds uniform. On his right hand, he wore his 1990 World Series ring.

A veteran skipper of 23 seasons, does Piniella miss managing?
“No! I really don’t,” Piniella said emphatically. “You know, I’ve had a few chances to get back in since I retired in 2010, but I enjoy watching the game. I enjoy watching it from just a fun aspect of enjoying the talents of the players and the competition on the field. But I don’t miss being involved in it on an everyday basis at all.”

On Feb. 5, the Reds hired the 72-year-old Piniella as a consultant and senior advisor to baseball operations. The decision came after he returned to Cincinnati for Redsfest in December and was wooed by CEO Bob Castellini and president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty. He will spend a few weeks with the club at Spring Training.
Piniella managed the Reds from 1990-92, leading the club to a World Series championship in his first season. In his three seasons with Cincinnati, he was 255-231. Overall, he posted a record of 1,835-1,713 for the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays and Cubs.
“I’m going to help Walt a little bit with the evaluation of these young players, and there’s a plethora of them here. Also, maybe get involved a little bit with [hitting coach] Don Long and the hitting,” Piniella said.

Piniella will also be a resource for current Reds manager Bryan Price. From 2000-02, Price was Piniella’s pitching coach with the Mariners.
“Look, I’m here for whatever he needs me to do,” Piniella said. “I don’t have anything specific in mind. I don’t think Bryan does, either. I’ll talk to him from time to time and help him any way I can. He’s a good baseball man. There’s no question. He’s a young manager. I think having an experienced bench like [Jim] Riggleman will help him. He’s got a good coaching staff.”
Earlier this month, Piniella was named the grand marshal for the 97th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade.
“I look forward to that,” he said. “Cincinnati, the Reds are bigger than life there. I didn’t realize that until I became the manager of the Reds in 1990 with the parade, the Opening Day — it’s just a wonderful, wonderful experience.”

Cubs Re-Sign Dexter Fowler…Orioles may now up the ante on Bruce.

I hope they get something instead of giving him away like it sounds like they are willing to do.

I agree. But, you have to balance what the Reds are trying to do (rebuild/reduce cost) versus holding on to a guy that will just play out his contract…the rebuild is still the reality. In other words, A complete makeover is taking place; the Reds have resigned themselves to not being competitive in 2016…therefore, why pay anyone that doesnt fit the bill for anything they dont have to? Also, if you are not in the plans moving forward, why have the player taking up important space in the rebuild; other newbies need playing time in order for the team to decide moving forward.
Bottomline: Phillips and Bruce are taking up rebuild space…and of course, salaries that we dont need to pay as there is no expected nor wanted return.

Williams said:
Williams said the Reds will certainly be spending money — even if it’s not on splashy free-agent signings. The Reds shed the contracts of Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier, ultimately trimming nearly 18 million from their payroll for the pair. The team could also save more money if a trade of Bruce goes through before the start of the season.
The rebuild and plan makes a great deal of sense; lets hope it continues to its end and the follow through is as advertised. The rebuild isnt successful unless it is complete and 100% thorough. Also, personally, and I know many of us on this board differ…I applaud the teams change in sports science relative to analytics. I realize that this is a very debated issue.

C. Trent Rosecrans, crosecrans@enquirer.com 5:24 p.m. EST February 25, 2016

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Reds general manager Dick Williams says there’s “nothing imminent, nothing to comment on” when asked about the rumored three-team trade that would have sent Jay Bruce to the Blue Jays.

He said the same about the reported signing of Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez, who has not signed with the Reds, despite a report in January saying the team had agreed to a deal worth $6 million.

That reported signing would have used all of the team’s international draft pool money, as well as cost them a 100 percent tax on his signing bonus and limit them in the next two international signing periods. However, Williams said the Reds still have money in their pool and do not expect to exceed it.

“We would be — and a lot has been written about the strategy of exceeding your pool, and it makes sense in the right situation,” Williams said. “We’ve certainly considered that strategy and would be willing to do it for the right player. We have not exceeded our pool in this signing period based on the information I have now, the scouting, I don’t think we’re going to exceed our pool this year, but I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Williams said the Reds will certainly be spending money — even if it’s not on splashy free-agent signings. The Reds shed the contracts of Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier, ultimately trimming nearly 18 million from their payroll for the pair. The team could also save more money if a trade of Bruce goes through before the start of the season.

“Yes, it will (be reinvested in the team) — 100 percent,” Williams said. “We plan on investing where we can, we’re not saving to create a profit, we’re saving to invest in the future, for sure. We’ve got the biggest amateur signing pool this year when you combine domestic and international. We want to take full advantage of it. Obviously there’s a lot of operational investments we’ll make as well. I talked about investing in the anal and sports science. We’ll be investing in personnel, scouting personnel, newytics player development initiatives. I’ll be talking a lot about that over the course of this year as we roll things out, but we’ll put that money for work for sure.”

Williams said the team is investing heavily in its analytics department and hired three full-time employees this offseason. That’s an area Williams is interested in and could see further growth next year when he fully takes over for Walt Jocketty, the president of baseball operations. Jocketty is still in charge in 2016, but will step aside at the end of the year and hand over decision-making duties to Williams.

“That’s certainly one of the advantages of having a transition period is that I’ve got the benefit of Walt and I can work on a lot of the daily GM duties together and does free us up — I can also work on a strategy for the futures and, quite frankly, get his input, get Bob (Castellini’s) input,” Williams said. “Having both of us here, instead of a cleaner break, gives us more resources so we are able to spend time planning a strategy.”

Mike Hartsock: Barry Larkin, the teacher; Jay Bruce, the student
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — The workout had ended more than an hour ago, but two guys were still on one of the practice fields Wednesday at the Reds spring training complex.
Jay Bruce, the student, and Barry Larkin, the teacher, were hard at work on the finer points of hitting. Larkin is in camp as a special assistant to the general manager and he was sharing some tips on hitting with the Reds right fielder, who has struggled at the plate the last couple of seasons (.217 battling average in 2014 and .226 in 2015).
Bruce was at the plate with a ball on a tee while the Hall of Fame shortstop was 10 feet away behind a screen throwing pitches. Bruce alternated hitting the pitch thrown and followed by hitting one to the opposite field with the ball on the tee. The pair was later joined by Eric Davis and the session lasted well into the afternoon with the Arizona sun baking down.
Larkin, who work for several years as a TV analyst for ESPN, was hired by the Reds in May as a minor league instructor. He seems better suited wearing a Reds uniform and frankly looks like he could still compete at the highest level.
Many believe Larkin would be an ideal big league manager, but Barry doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to climb that ladder. One of the many things he learned as a player was a second language. Larkin speaks fluent Spanish, which is a huge asset when working with Latin players.
Wednesday there was no problem. Larkin, Bruce and Davis were all fluent in the language of hitting.
Have to smile…we have talked for several seasons now about getting a prior-pro
and have sessions with players that have struggled at the plate; one on one. Hamilton, Bruce and others. Now, after two poor seasons at the plate, Bruce is
coached by Larkin. Why so late? Another late-to-the-party…Piniella. He wasnt sought after, he was at one of the Reds affairs and hit it off with Jocketty. Why wasnt he searched out and retained some time ago? Our management tier is reactive but seldom pro-active; from Price to Williams to Jocketty, and sorry to say, to Castellini.
Our farm system is depleted and if not for a rebuild, we would be sorely behind the eight ball. Bottomline: until this issue is resolved we will continue to just move the chess pieces all around the table.

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