The Reds traded Minor League corner infielder Neftali Soto to the White Sox on Monday in exchange for cash considerations.
Although he batted .302/.350/.406 last season for Triple-A Louisville, Soto wasn’t able to take advantage of big league call-ups in both 2013 and ’14. In five stints for Cincinnati over those seasons, he batted .071 (3-for-42) with one RBI.
Soto, 26, was viewed a rising prospect in the Reds system a couple of years ago who was blocked by Joey Votto at first base. He was tried at different positions, including third base and catcher but never found a home anywhere defensively.
It was telling that the Reds did not make Soto a September call-up last season. On Oct. 28, he sent outright to Louisville and off of the 40-man roster. Declared a six-year free agent, he signed a Minor League deal with the club in December and was invited to big league camp at Spring Training.
In four spring games, Soto was 2-for-7 and he was part of the Reds’ first wave of camp cuts on March 10.
Press release from MLB Network about Monday night’s game:
The Cincinnati Reds at Texas Rangers Spring Training game tonight will be available on MLB Network in the Cincinnati television market live at 9:00 p.m. ET. MLB Network’s Spring Training games schedule, which features more than 200 games and live baseball every day through Saturday, April 4, can be viewed here: http://atmlb.com/17STpA4.
In a Triple-A game on Sunday, Homer Bailey threw two scoreless innings with 29 pitches/20 strikes. He allowed one hit and a walk with two strikeouts.
Overall, there were no issues.
“My elbow felt great,” said Bailey, who had September surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon. “We started with two innings. We’ll just kind of go from there.”
Bailey will pitch next on Friday vs. the Brewers in a big league game.
I’ll have much more soon on Reds.com/MLB.com.
In all seven of his games this spring, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has batted second. In six of his 11 games, second baseman Brandon Phillips has batted third. In four of their games together, Votto has batted second with Phillips behind him in the third spot. (It will be five after Sunday’s game)
“I can’t commit to that at this point in time,” Price replied Sunday when asked if these would be the regular season lineup spots for Votto and Phillips. “You know, I’m just moving guys around a bit. Joey has stayed in the second hole. Brandon has been second, third and I think I’ve hit him fourth. Right now it’s moving pieces and coming to some conclusion as to what’s our best order is to start the season.”
In the 923 games he’s started over his career, Votto has batted third in 757 of them and second in only 31. Phillips has batted in multiple spots over his career but has been vocal over the years about his desire to bat third.
I don’t get too concerned about lineup construction in general, but seeing Votto bat second seems to work for me. I’d have batted Devin Mesoraco or Todd Frazier third and projected before Spring Training to have Phillips in the seventh spot. But based on what we’ve seen thus far, it’s doesn’t seem likely.
I will have more from Price on this later today on Reds.com/MLB.com.
During the Reds win over the Giants on Friday, both starter Anthony DeSclafani and fellow prospect Michael Lorenzen ran into some issues in their outings.
DeSclafani walked a couple of batters during his 4 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs (one earned) with five hits and struck out three. He said last night that he never really felt comfortable out there or liked his mechanics.
Lorenzen walked six batters in his two innings, including four in a row in the seventh inning with one out. He only gave up one run however.
DeSclafani seems destined to make the rotation while Lorenzen is seeking to earn a bullpen spot.
Reds manager Bryan Price expressed confidence in both pitchers on Saturday morning.
“Yesterday was a struggle for [DeSclafani] but he’s historically been a strike-thrower with plus stuff, especially fastball-slider and a developing changeup and curveball,” Price said. “I think as we do organizationally, we look at what we feel our prospects as typically starters first and relievers second. Even with yesterday’s struggles, he hasn’t lost my confidence in his ability to start at this level. I just think he’s just accomplished everything he needs to have accomplished in Triple-A. We’ll see. We still have a couple of weeks of Spring Training left. Even though it may seem like everything is mapped out and our bench is made and our starting rotation is made, it’s not. We have our contingency plans if we get to closer to opening day and feel like we have to make some adjustments. He hasn’t disappointed me. I anticipate guys coming out here and periodically struggle.
“Michael Lorenzen walked six in two innings and I haven’t lost one ounce of confidence in his ability to be an outstanding Major League pitcher. But I’ve seen a lot of these Spring Trainings. The guys know that the heat is turned up right now. We’re two weeks away from being out of here and being in Montreal in our tuneup for Opening Day. Guys know that the outings may have a little bit more meaning right now. That’s good to see. It’s not going to get easier on Opening Day for these guys. It’s not going to get easier to compete on opening day than it is right here. You have to play and play well. Like I’ve said, it doesn’t always mean statistically. We have to look at the stuff, look at the swings and look at the defense and base running and evaluate than and not solely the box scores.”
The Reds sent out three more players Friday afternoon…
OF/1B Kyle Waldrop and RHPs Keyvius Sampson and Matt Magill were optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
Waldrop, a lefty hitter, looked impressive at the plate this spring as he batted .273 with one homer and five RBIs in his 12 games. The organization’s Minor League hitter of the year in 2014, he could be intriguing call-up down the road this season should there be a need.
Sampson looked decent as he had a 2.25 ERA with six hits, one walk and four strikeouts over eight innings in four games.
Magill, who came over the Chris Heisey trade with the Dodgers, had two scoreless innings in two appearances.
There are now 42 players remaining in camp.
From Sunday through Thursday, I’ll be taking a little break from camp. The blog won’t be updated at all but we’ll have full coverage maintained on Reds.com/MLB.com.
In the meantime, be sure to listen and subscribe to our MLB.com Reds podcasts.
Also — Fox Sports Ohio’s Jim Day and I had a chat about the 2015 Reds that you might enjoy.