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Viciedo unlikely for Reds

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty downplayed a report that his club was pursuing free agent outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who was released by the White Sox earlier this week.

“We talked to his representative but I don’t know if we have a fit for him,” Jocketty said. “They’re looking for more playing time. With our outfield the way it is, I don’t see it as a good fit.”

Viciedo, 25, could have been a fit in other ways. He would still under club control for three more years and would be a right-handed power bat off the bench that hit 25 home runs in 2012. He hit 21 homers last season for Chicago but batted .231/.281/.405 in 145 games.

*Talks are continuing with the two remaining Reds arbitration players — 3B Todd Frazier and closer Aroldis Chapman.

“We’re going to keep working on it this weekend and see if we can make some progress,” Jocketty said. “Until it’s over, we don’t really know.”

*Jocketty wasn’t expecting any more signings before the Reds open Spring Training on Feb. 18.

“I don’t think so. I think we’re pretty much done,” he said. “We’ll see if things pop up here the last week or so but I think we’re pretty well set.”

*If you care about uniform numbers, Badenhop was assigned No. 25 and Gregg will get No. 37. Paul Maholm, signed earlier in the week, was given No. 46.

Update: Skip Schumaker switched from No. 25 to 55.

Badenhop, Gregg added to bullpen

Reliever Burke Badenhop was signed Saturday by the Reds to a one-year, $1 million contract with a $4 million mutual option for 2016. If either side declines the option, it can be bought out for $1.5 million. He can also earn $250,000 in performance bonuses.

Also, veteran right-gander Kevin Gregg agreed to a Minor League deal with an invite to big league camp.

A groundball specialist that turns 32 on Sunday, Badenhop posted a 2.29 ERA in 70 games last season for the Red Sox. Over 70 2/3 innings, he had a 61 percent groundball rate with 70 hits, 19 walks (five intentional), 40 strikeouts and one home run allowed.

One of better arms remaining on the free agent market, Badenhop has a lifetime 3.71 ERA in seven seasons in the big leagues with the Marlins, Rays, Brewers and Red Sox.

“He’s able to pitch a lot,” Jocketty said. “He has very good numbers. He is a groundball pitcher that throws a lot of sinkers and sliders. He’s a very good fit for our ballpark.”

A specific role for Badenhop was not identified.

“We can use him a lot of different ways,” Jocketty said. “I think he can do anything. We will see how he fits. He is very versatile.”

Gregg, 36, pitched in 12 games with the Marlins last season after signing in June. He struggled, though, allowing 10 earned runs in nine innings. Gregg was better in 2013, when he saved 33 games and posted a 3.48 ERA in 62 appearances with the Cubs.

In a corresponding roster move, left-handed pitcher Ismael Guillon was designated for assignment.

Jocketty on MLB Network

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty appeared on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” Thursday morning. Topics ranged from the status of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, the feasibility of re-signing Johnny Cueto and the offseason in general.

Latos loses in arbitration

This isn’t really a Reds story anymore, but still one I found interesting. Former Reds starter Mat Latos — now with the Marlins — reportedly lost his arbitration hearing on Thursday.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick broke the story and MLB.com Marlins writer Joe Frisaro confirmed it. Latos will earn $9.4 million in 2015 but was seeking $10.4 million and earned $7.25 million last season. He can be a free agent after the season. The Marlins have not made any announcements as of yet.

Click here for Frisaro’s story:

http://m.marlins.mlb.com/news/article/108437686/marlins-reportedly-win-arbitration-case-with-mat-latos

Injuries, I’m guessing, hurt Latos’ case. Conversely, Mike Leake avoided arbitration last month and will earn more than Latos at $9.775 million this season. Leake also missed no starts and pitched 214 1/3 innings.

Latos was limited to 16 starts last season. After having October 2013 surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, he suffered torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee just before camp opened and needed surgery. He then had some setbacks that included a strained flexor mass tendon in his right forearm. After making his 2014 debut in June, he finished 5-5 with a 3.25 ERA but also ended his season early when his right elbow had a bone bruise.

In December, the Reds traded Latos to the Marlins for RHP Anthony DeSclafani and Minor League catcher Chad Wallach.

Ludwick signs with Rangers

Some quick former Reds news. Free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick signed a Minor League contract with the Rangers and will be in Spring Training as a non-roster player at big league camp. He will compete for a spot in left field and DH with Texas.

Ludwick, 36, played for the Rangers in parts of the 2002-03 seasons. He was with the Reds from 2012-14 and batted .258/.324/.441 with 37 home runs and 137 RBIs in 275 games. Most of the big production came in 2012, when he had 26 homers and 80 RBIs. The 2013 season began with a separated right shoulder suffered on Opening Day and Ludwick never returned to the power threat he was the final two seasons in Cincinnati. There was no expectation that he would return when last season ended.

Click below for T.R. Sullivan’s story:

http://m.rangers.mlb.com/news/article/108356872/veteran-outfielder-ryan-ludwick-signs-minor-league-deal-with-rangers

Reds, Louisville sign extension

During a press conference to formally introduce new manager Delino DeShields, the Reds and Triple-A Louisville revealed Wednesday that they agreed to a two-year extension of their player development contract. The original affiliate agreement was to end following the 2016 season.

Louisville and the Reds have been partnered since the 2000 season. The Bats play their games at Louisville Slugger Field in the city’s downtown.

Only about 90 minutes south of Cincinnati, Louisville has been a pretty good situation for the Reds to get players when someone is needed to be called up in a pinch. It’s also been the last rung of development for many of the team’s stars including Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton.

Reds sign LHP Maholm

The Reds have signed left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm to a Minor League contract and invited him to big league camp at Spring Training.

Maholm was 1-5 with a 4.84 ERA in 30 games for the Dodgers in 2014, including eight starts. He’s also pitched for the Pirates, Braves and Cubs during a 10-year career.

This is the second veteran pitcher signed by Cincinnati in the past two week to a Minor League deal. RHP Jason Marquis was signed on Jan. 21 and will compete for a rotation spot. UPDATE: General manager Walt Jocketty said Maholm was signed to compete for a rotation spot as well. That would add him to the list of guys competing for the final two spots — which include Marquis, Tony Cingrani, Anthony DeScalfani, David Holmberg, Raisel Iglesias and Dylan Axelrod.

Maholm could also be added left-handed bullpen depth for the Reds, which already has Manny Parra and Sean Marshall on the 40-man roster and Jose Mijares as a non-roster invite. Marshall is still trying to return from shoulder surgery however.

Pena’s Patriots prediction

Last week before Reds Caravan kicked off, I encountered backup catcher Brayan Pena knowing he would have a view on the upcoming Super Bowl between the Patriots and Seahawks. Pena is an enthusiastic Patriots fan as you may guess from the quotes that follow.

“New England, baby, they’re definitely going to win it,” Pena said. “Seattle had trouble with Green Bay. New England is a much better team than Green Bay. I still believe Seattle just got lucky, to be honest with. On the onside kick, if they missed the ball, it would be a totally different game. With New England, that’s not going to happen.

“We have too many weapons to use. We can run the football. We have wide receivers. We have [Tom] Brady. We have the defense. It’s too much.”

How did Pena, who hails from Cuba, become a supporter of the Patriots?

“I’ve been a Patriot fan for years, ever since 2000 when I got here to the States,” Pena said. “The first professional athlete I met was Tom Brady. He was so humble and so kind. I had a man-crush on the guy. And his wife is Giselle — you can’t go wrong with that.”

Pena’s predicted score for a Patriots win in Glendale?

“I would say 27-20, definitely,” he said.

On Sunday during the Reds’ Select-a-Seat event at GABP, a fan asked Pena about the “deflategate” scandal that hovers over the Patriots. His reply?

“I don’t speak English,” he said, getting a laugh from the crowd.

Sheldon on MLB Now

I was invited to do a live shot Wednesday on MLB Network’s MLB Now show. We covered topics you’re likely familiar with as Reds fans — Mesoraco, Cueto, the rotation and Votto. But feel free to take a look anyway.

Details on Mesoraco contract

Full story on MLB.com: click here

Here are some details on the four-year, $28 million contract signed Monday by Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco:

Year-by-year breakdown:

2015: $2.4 million
2016: $4.9 million
2017: $7.2 million
2018: $13.0 million

Signing Bonus: $500,000

Playing Time Incentives: For every season 2015 through 2017 Mesoraco reaches 502 plate appearances, the 2018 season salary escalates $400k (maximum cap of $1.2 million)

Incentives: Mesoraco’s 2018 salary can reach an additional $150,000 for every All Star selection, Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove, an additional $200,000 for a top five in MVP voting, an additional $150,000 for placing 6-10 in MVP voting, $100,000 for placing 6th through 15th in MVP voting and $50,000 for 16-20th (maximum cap of $800,000)

The total maximum cap of escalators for the 2018 salary is $2 million — which means the deal could be worth $30 million.

One percent of his total salary ($230,000 over four years) benefits the Reds Community Fund.

Extra quotes about the signing:

“This is the only organization that I’ve ever known. It’s always been a pleasure to be part of the Reds. This was definitely something I was very excited to really go forward with.” — Devin Mesoraco

“It’s another example of the organization trying to step up and reward a young player we’re very proud of. We Drafted him out of high school. He has overcome some setbacks during his career, but not many. He’s worked really hard. It’s an example of a guy that’s worked extremely hard, has a good work ethic and the type of guy we want to build our organization around.” — Reds GM Walt Jocketty

“When he hit the way he did and caught the way he did [last season], we thought we better get him signed as soon as we can. I think it was a breakout year for him. I saw him when I first got over here and first saw him in Sarasota. When I saw him in Lynchburg, I could see he was really starting to make some change, really progressing and start to come into his own. Watching him grow through the organization is kind of the fun part of our job and develop into one of the best young catchers in the game. You try to lock those guys up and keep them part of your organization as long as you can.” — Jocketty

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