Good day from San Diego, everyone…
The Winter Meetings are underway and the lobby here at the Manchester Grand Hyatt is filled with baseball scouts, executives, managers and of course, media. Plenty of mingling going on. Of course, a lot more stuff is happening out of sight in the suites with the club GMs, agents, etc.
Reds beat writers will be meeting with GM Walt Jocketty at 5 p.m. PT today for a briefing. Manager Bryan Price is available to all media at 2 p.m. PT.
Other tidbits thus far:
*I just ran into former Reds bench coach Chris Speier in the lobby. Speier, who was on Dusty Baker’s staff, spent 2014 as a special assistant to Jocketty but is now looking for a new job. He’s hoping to land something that puts him back on the field but isn’t ruling out any position that might present itself.
*The Indians acquired OF/1B Brandon Moss from the A’s for a Minor Leaguer infielder. Moss is another outfielder that might have been a good fit for the Reds. He’s under club control through 2016 and not very expensive.
*Last night Reds director of Minor League administration Lois Hudson was the recipient of the seventh annual Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award. It’s presented “to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development.” Hudson has worked for the Reds organization the past 27 years.
*UPDATE: No one got into the Hall of Fame today via the Golden Era committee. Former Reds GM Bob Howsam was among the candidates but received three or fewer votes from the 16-person committee. Twelve votes were needed for election.
I’ve written a lot of stories from Redsfest — all of which are on Reds.com/MLB.com. You’ll find stuff on Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, Todd Frazier and more.
Got some odds and ends, mostly pertaining to injury updates from manager Bryan Price.
*Mat Latos, who had a stiff elbow at the end of the season and was shut down, is doing well.
“He just had a little bit of elbow stiffness in the back and soreness in the back of the elbow at the end of the year and we just decided not to pitch him,” Price said. “He’s feeling excellent.”
*Bailey (flexor mass tendon surgery) is rehabbing and feels about week ahead of schedule.
*Catcher Brayan Pena has some loose bodies in his elbow that were removed at the end of the season.
*LHP Manny Parra had a procedure to remove a bunion from a big toe. He’s doing fine.
I’ll be in San Diego, starting Sunday evening, for the Winter Meetings. Hopefully, I will have some news to report from there.
The Reds new Advanced Class A affiliate in Daytona, Fla., has a new name and logo. The former Daytona Cubs are now the Daytona Tortugas.
Click here to see their new look and web site.
Fans will get to decide the new Tortugas mascot’s name via a vote in the local newspaper.
The five name options:
I guess I’m partial to Shelldon for obvious reasons. Just change the spelling slightly, ok?
The Duke Energy Center is being transformed into a Reds Mecca for Redsfest, which begins Friday afternoon.
Reds catcher Brayan Pena was on hand to talk to reporters and is on a media tour around the city all day.
While he was wearing his No. 29 jersey, you could see a slight — and expected — uniform modification for the 2015 season.
The latest free agent outfielder to sign a contract — Torii Hunter — is having a press conference in Minneapolis as I type this blog entry. Hunter, 39, was signed to a one-year, $10.5 million contract to return to the Twins. I wrote last week that Hunter would have been a good fit for the Reds. Even though Cincinnati was not in the running, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty apparently was thinking the same thing.
“We had a lot of interest in Hunter,” Jocketty said on Wednesday. “He would have been a kind of dual role for us – leadership in the clubhouse and his abilities on the field. That was one of our targeted guys.”
The search will continue for a starting left fielder.
“We’re still hopeful of getting something done,” Jocketty said.
To this point, there hasn’t been progress towards signing two other target free agents, Nori Aoki and Michael Morse.
“Nothing yet,” Jocketty said.
Tuesday’s trade of Chris Heisey to the Dodgers added to glut of outfielders in Chavez Ravine.
“I think they see a role for him there, eventually,” Jocketty said. “We wanted to make sure we got some quality in return. We picked a good one, we think, with [pitcher Matt] Magill.”
Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have been viewed as tradeable for Los Angeles. Don’t expect the Heisey deal to be a precursor to another trade between the Reds and Dodgers. Kemp is owed $107 million over the next five years. Crawford will make $62.25 million over the next three years and Ethier is due has $56 million over the next three seasons.
“That’s too expensive,” Jocketty said.
With a few hours to go before the non-tender deadline, the Reds have traded outfielder Chris Heisey to the Dodgers, MLB.com confirmed on Tuesday. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick first reported that a deal was made. It’s not yet clear who is coming back but it will likely be a pitcher.
In 119 games last season, Heisey batted .222/.265/.378 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs. His wins-above-replacement number (WAR) was 0.9. His four pinch-hit homers led the Majors, however, and his 10 career pinch-hit homers are three shy of the team record. His best season was 2011, when he hit 18 homers with 50 RBIs in 120 games.
UPDATE – Reds announced the deal at 9 p.m. ET. They acquired RHP Matt Magill. A 25-year-old, Magill has six games pitched in the big leagues for the Dodgers in 2013 and a 6.51 ERA. Last season at Triple-A, he was 7-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 36 games, including 12 starts.
The club also announced that RHPs Logan Ondrusek and Curtis Partch were non-tendered contracts. They become free agents.
More to come on MLB.com.
Good Monday afternoon —
A few things to get the week started.
*Delino DeShields was officially named manager at Triple-A Louisville. DeShields, who managed Double-A Pensacola last season, replaced Jim Riggleman after he was promoted to be the Reds third base coach. Pitching coach Ted Power and hitting coach Tony Jaramillo are returning to Louisville as well.
*At Class A Dayton, Jose Nieves will be back for his third season as manager. Luis Bolivar is returning for his second year as the Dragons hitting coach and former Reds pitcher Tom Browning has rejoined the affiliate as pitching coach after he served in that role for Dayton in 2012. Browning was at Billings in 2013 and High-A Bakersfield in 2014.
*At the Reds’ new high Class-A affiliate in Daytona, Eli Marrero was named manager with Tony Fossas as pitching coach and Kevin Mahar as the hitting coach.
*UPDATED: At Pensacola, veteran Minor League skipper Pat Kelly was named as DeShields’ replacement as manager. Kelly, 59, managed last season at high Class-A Bakersfield and has served the organization since 2006 at a variety of levels. Alex Pelaez and Jeff Fassero will return as the team’s hitting and pitching coaches, respectively.
*According to reports out of the Dominican Republic, free agent OF Nelson Cruz agreed to a four-year, $57 million contract with the Mariners. What does that mean to the Reds? Well, they certainly weren’t in the running for Cruz but Seattle becomes one less team seeking a left fielder. That could possibly help the Reds if the trade market shifts in terms of their pursuits of the likes of Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes.
*Also — a reliever I thought my fit for the Reds is off the market. RHP Jason Frasor was re-signed by the Royals over the weekend to a one-year, $1.8 million contract with a mutual option for 2016.
The Reds have signed veteran outfielder Brennan Boesch to a Minor League contract and invited him to big league camp at Spring Training. According to MLB.com transactions, this signing was completed on Nov. 21.
Boesch, 29, is a career .256/.309/.412 hitter over five seasons for the Tigers, Yankees and Angels. His best year was with Detroit in 2011 when he batted .283/.341/.458 with 16 homers and 54 RBIs. A lefty hitter, he has struggled at the big league level the past three seasons.
Last season was spent mostly in the Minors. Boesch hit .332/.381/.636 with 25 homers and 85 RBIs in 95 games for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate in 2014.
Incidentally, Boesch and another recent Reds signing, infielder Josh Satin, both attended Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles.
The Reds announced Tuesday that a “Nasty Boys” Pick-6 plan of tickets will go on sale on Monday. The pre-sale email went out today to many fans who have bought plans in previous years.
Buying this Pick-6 plan includes:
*Guaranteed Commemorative Nasty Boys Triple Bobblehead on Sat., April 25 vs. the Cubs
*Five additional games of your choice (excluding Opening Day and Postseason)
*Six McDonald’s Extra Value Meals
*Savings of up to 28 percent off regular ticket prices
Included in the email was a list of just some of the “Super Saturday” promotional dates for 2015, including bobbleheads. I can’t recall a year where this many bobblehead dates were held.
April 11 vs. STL — Todd Frazier bobblehead
April 25 vs. CHC — Nasty Boys triple bobblehead of Myers, Charlton and Dibble
May 16 vs. SF — Bobblehead TBA
May 30 vs. WAS — Billy Hamilton bobblehead
June 6 vs. SD — Bobblehead TBA
June 20 vs. MIA — Brandon Phillips bobblehead
July 4 vs. MIL — MLB All-Star Game bag
July 18 vs. CLE — T-shirt giveaway
Aug. 1 vs. PIT — Devin Mesoraco bobblehead
Aug. 22 vs. ARI — Tony Perez statue
Sept. 5 vs MIL — Reds beer stein
Sept. 12 vs. STL — Bobblehead TBA
Sept. 26 vs. NYM — All-Star logo bobblehead
For more information on the Pick-6 plan, click here
The Reds formally announced the additions of Kevin Towers and Jeff Schugel to the baseball operations department on Tuesday. Towers will be special assistant to the general manager in charge of player personnel while Schugel will be a special assistant/pro scout.
Towers, 53, was the D-backs GM for the past four seasons and the Padres GM from 1996-2009. He’s also a good friend of Reds GM Walt Jocketty. Towers had been connected to the Reds in a couple of weeks and was with the club in an unofficial capacity during the recent GM meetings.
MLB.com reported the hiring of Schugel a couple of weeks ago. The 53-year-old spent last season as a special assistant to former Braves GM Frank Wren and has 31 years in baseball overall.
Also — Reds VP of baseball operations Dick Williams is now the vice president and assistant general manager for the club.
Full story, and other front office moves are on the MLB.com: