Good afternoon on this Monday. I’m going to be taking some days off the clock to burn off some unused 2014 vacation days. MLB.com/Reds.com will have all the breaking news and developments.
Before I go, the Reds announced all of their 2014 promotional dates today. You may remember that I recently had some of the bobblehead dates revealed here. This will have the rest of those and more.
Courtesy of the Reds:
Opening Night – Wed., April 8 – Reds vs. Pirates, 7:10 pm
• Reds players and coaches walk the red carpet in the Kroger Fan Zone to meet and greet with fans
• 2015 Reds Team Calendar fan giveaway
• Postgame Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks show
• Every Friday night features a post-game fireworks show from Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks
Super Saturdays: New for 2015 – premium giveaway every Saturday and more bobbleheads (nine) than ever before:
• April 11 vs. Cardinals: Todd Frazier Bobblehead
• April 25 vs. Cubs: Commemorative Nasty Boys Triple Bobblehead
• May 16 vs. Giants: Johnny Bench “Stars of the Queen City” Bobblehead (one of three)
• May 30 vs. Nationals: Billy Hamilton Bobblehead
• June 6 vs. Padres: Barry Larkin “Stars of the Queen City” Bobblehead (two of three)
• June 20 vs. Marlins: Brandon Phillips Bobblehead
• July 4 vs. Brewers: 2015 All-Star Drawstring Bag
• July 18 vs. Indians: Reds T-Shirt
• Aug. 1 vs. Pirates: Devin Mesoraco Bobblehead
• Aug. 22 vs. Diamondbacks: Tony Perez Day, Tony Perez Replica Statue
• Sept. 5 vs. Brewers: Reds Stein (German Heritage Night)
• Sept. 12 vs. Cardinals: “Stars of the Queen City” Bobblehead TBA (three of three)
• Sept. 26 vs. Mets: 2015 Reds All-Star Player Bobblehead TBA
• Enjoy family days at the ballpark with face painters, circus performers and more
• Giveaways for kids on every Sunday, including a series of Reds player posters
• Run the Bases Days for all fans on April 12, June 7 and Sept. 27
• Family ticket offer every Sunday
2015 Reds tickets ON SALE NOW:
• Season Ticket Plans: Want tickets to the 2015 MLB® ALL-STAR GAME® at Great American Ball Park? Guarantee your chance to buy ALL-STAR GAME® tickets by purchasing Reds half-season ticket plans and above starting at under $9 per seat.
• 13-Game Mini Plans: Three to choose from (13 Fridays, 13 Saturdays or 13 Sundays) and each plan includes one ticket to the 2015 T-Mobile All-Star FanFest®
• “Nasty Boys” Pick-6 Plan: Guarantee the new “Nasty Boys” triple bobblehead featuring 1990 relief pitchers Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers when you buy the Nasty Boys Pick-6 plan, presented by McDonald’s®. This six-game ticket plan includes the Sat., April 25 Reds vs. Cubs game (Nasty Boys bobblehead night), six free McDonald’s® Extra Value Meals® and five additional regular season home games of your choice, exclusions apply. Save up to 28% with this first ever Reds commemorative triple bobblehead.
Single game tickets are scheduled to go on sale Feb. 28.
The full 2015 promotional schedule can be found at reds.com/promotions.
To purchase tickets visit reds.com/tickets or call 513-765-7500.
Greetings from an odd location on Friday: Dallas, Texas. Due to a delayed flight out of San Diego Thursday, I missed my connection in Dallas, which was the last flight of the night to Cincinnati. So, myself and MLB.com Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki (in a similar predicament) made the most of it and found a really good Texas BBQ restaurant near the airport hotel that I tried once before during the Reds last road trip to play the Rangers. That’s called making the most of a bad situation, folks. Hope to fly home soon this morning.
Anyway, enough about travel woes.
A lot of chatter was on Twitter and the blog about Thursday’s Reds trades. I think because of the fact GM Walt Jocketty was listening on any and all trade offers — including players like Johnny Cueto — had fans thinking something uber dramatic might happen and these weren’t flashy deals. Because two-fifths of the rotation was moved out, some jumped to a conclusion that a fire sale had started and it was rebuilding. Others were just upset that Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon were gone or they didn’t like the return the trades brought. Some looked at the roster and said the 2015 season is already over.
Yes, others looked at the trades and liked what they saw.
Me? I’m reserving final judgment on the moves because I want to see what the payroll shaving brings in terms of what they can do for left field, the bullpen and future moves this winter. The offseason is not over when the Winter Meetings end. Pitchers and catchers don’t report to Spring Training tomorrow. Especially in recent years, the teams that usually “win” at the Winter Meetings have not had success in the subsequent season.
I will say that I spoke with baseball people that don’t work for the Reds and they thought the Reds did very well with the talent that came back.
There is no dispute that the team bought very low on Simon (2012 waiver wire pickup) and sold high to get two young players back from the Tigers. The scouting reports on the acquisitions is in my main story, click here.
As for Latos, the Reds decided he wasn’t the one they wanted to keep long term and were able to get something for him rather than seeing him become a free agent next winter and get away for nothing.
Now, let’s see what the Reds do with the payroll savings. Latos, Simon and Chris Heisey’s contracts covered around a projected $15-20 million. Unless more trades are made, that still doesn’t indicate that a huge signing will be made for a left fielder. But it gives them room to maneuver.
I'd like to thank the @reds for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to play for such an incredible organization. It was an honor to wear your uniform in my first All Star experience. Thanks to all of the @reds fans for supporting me during my amazing time in Cincinnati. You've given me memories that will last forever.
Just talked to Walt Jocketty about the second trade of the day…
“Mat had a great career with us while he was here,” Jocketty said. “When I spoke to him he was grateful for the opportunity here. We’ll miss him because he was obviously a great pitcher for us. I think he will do well for Miami.
“We think DeSclafani will be a guy that will pitch in our rotation. He made some great strides at the end of the year. He went to the [Arizona] Fall League to work on some things. They say he made a lot of improvement. We see him fitting in the rotation.
“Chad Wallach adds to our catching depth. We really lacked depth in catching and middle infield. This will improve that.”
The Reds traded All-Star starter Alfredo Simon to the Tigers for right-handed pitcher Jonathon Crawford and infielder Eugenio Suarez.
Meanwhile, the Reds dealt power arm Mat Latos to the Marlins for 24-year-old right-hander Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Chad Wallach.
“We’re in a better position to start looking at some other possibilities to improve our club – the hitter we’re looking for and some bullpen depth,” Jocketty said during the press conference to announce the Simon trade.
More to come on MLB.com.
While the Reds haven’t completed any deals yet here at the Winter Meetings, some of their NL Central rivals have been frisky. The Cubs are arguably the “winners” of the meetings by signing pitchers Jon Lester and Jason Hammel and trading for Miguel Montero.
“They’re certainly going to be a lot better than they were last year because of some of the key moves they’ve made,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Wednesday.
The Pirates brought back A.J. Burnett recently and re-signed Francisco Liriano this week and added reliever Antonio Bastardo on Wednesday.
It all points to one competitive division for 2015.
“I think all five teams in our division will be competitive and will probably be in contention most of the year,” Jocketty said. “We’ll probably be knocking each other off all year. I don’t see the winner of our division winning a lot of games. It will be tough to 100 games in our division. Somebody might step up.
“I don’t think the division gets a lot of notoriety for whatever reason. It’s the middle of the country, I guess.”
On Reds.com/MLB.com soon, I will have more on today’s briefing with Jocketty.
It was announced Wednesday at the Winter Meetings that Dick Enberg will be the recipient of the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The 10 finalists were: Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Enberg, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan. In September, Enberg, Kiner and Quinlan emerged from the Museum’s online fan poll for inclusion on the final 10-name ballot as the top three fan poll selections.
Nuxhall has been on the ballot the past several years.
Vote totals were not revealed.
The 20-member electorate, comprised of the 16 living Frick Award recipients and four broadcast historians/columnists, includes Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Eric Nadel, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne and Bob Wolff, and historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC/MLB Network), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).
There has been some buzz at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday that the Reds were listening to clubs seeking trades for Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. MLB.com reported the story about Chapman.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty didn’t exactly deny the rumors. But he is not actively shopping either pitcher.
“I don’t know where the Chapman stuff came from. I got hit with it,” Jocketty said. “I walked into the room today and asked our guys if there was anything on Chapman. I got three texts and a phone call this morning. I’ll listen to anything that makes sense. It was not something we initiated.
“Nobody has given us anything, really. They want to know if the rumors are true. It’s whatever you want to think. I don’t consider, unless we get proposals from clubs, that it’s anything legitimate. It’s just inquiring.”
Jocketty met with no clubs face-to-face but did talk on the phone. Most of the club’s in-person meetings were with agents, including Cueto’s representatives. Jocketty also noted he thought the team was close on a couple of trade this week but thy didn’t materialize a deal and fell apart.
I’ll have more about Tuesday on Reds.com/MLB.com soon.
Some multimedia stuff for you here on Tuesday afternoon at the Winter Meetings.
The first is Reds manager Bryan Price from Monday, discussing Billy Hamilton and the rotation.
Today, I talked with MLB.com about some of the big decisions ahead for the Reds
A source told MLB.com at the Winter Meetings on Monday that the Reds have interest in signing veteran free agent reliever John Axford. No deal is close as of yet and the right-hander is also believed to be drawing interest from four other clubs.
Last season for Indians and Pirates, Axford was 2-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 62 appearances. He also pitched for the Cardinals and Brewers during his career. At Milwaukee, he was the club’s closer and saved a career-high 46 games in 2011 but ran into some struggles over the following two seasons and was traded to St. Louis.
Axford, who turns 32 on April 1, was signed by Cleveland to a one-year, $4.5 million deal last winter with the hopes he could regain his form as an elite closer. He had 10 saves, but early-season struggles led him to be removed from the role in May. Pittsburgh claimed him off of waivers in August.