Three Gold Glove finalists

Rawlings announced Thursday that three Reds — 2B Brandon Phillips, 3B Todd Frazier and CF Billy Hamilton — were National League Gold Glove finalists. The winners will be announced on Nov. 10.

Phillips is a four-time Gold Glove winner (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013). The other finalists at second base this year are Dee Gordon from the Marlins and DJ LeMahieu of the Rockies. LeMahieu won the award in 2014, when Phillips was also a finalist.

Hamilton was a finalist in 2014. This year — he’s up against the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Pollock of the D-backs.

Frazier, a first-time finalist, is joined by Nolan Arenado of the Rockies and Matt Duffy of the Giants.

Voting was completed near the end of the regular season by Major League managers and coaches. That and calculations from the SABR Defensive Index are used to determine the winners.

Reds have work cut out for them

I’m freshly back from covering the Cubs and Cardinals in the NLDS. As you know, the Cubs put on quite a display to overrun the Cardinals in four games. While I was generally focused on helping with Cardinals coverage, one thought frequently surfaced.

The Reds have a long way to go to catch these teams … and the Pirates, too.

Winners of 97 games in the regular season, Chicago is simply stacked with young hitters that will be around for a long time — Bryant, Schwarber, Rizzo, Soler, Russell, Baez all factored in the series. The Cubs went all in on offense and were willing to sacrifice some defense to do it Schwarber, a catcher, wasn’t always smooth in left field but manager Joe Maddon wasn’t afraid to use him to keep his bat in the lineup while Miguel Montero caught. The starting pitching could be improved (besides Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester) and the bullpen has some gaps, but the Cubs have money to spend to improve both.

Meanwhile, the 100-win Cardinals were beat up by injuries but aren’t long in the tooth. Stephen Piscotty had a great series with three two-run homers but fellow rookies like Randal Grichuk and Tommy Pham and younger players like Kolten Wong also contributed. Jason Heyward will be a free agent, but he’s only 26. If St. Louis can re-sign him, they could have a potent outfield for up to a decade.

The Pirates won 98 games but went out in the Wild Card round to the Cubs. Polanco, McCutchen, Cole and more will be back.

Just before the end of the season, Reds first baseman Joey Votto acknowledged the strength of the NL Central.

“We have really, really stiff competition in our division,” Votto said. “That’s what we have to recognize. We can’t go in with a half effort because of how good those three teams are. Three of probably the best five teams in all of baseball are in our division. These teams are really well put together, well rounded, really dangerous. They’re good it seems at every aspect of the game. We have to exceed them.”

The Reds have some promising young pitching and Votto certainly is back to producing at around 2010 levels, but the club needs offensive help and doesn’t have much money to spend. It will have to find a way to accumulate young hitters much like they’ve piled up with young power pitchers the past few years.

To exceed Chicago, St. Louis and Pittsburgh — well, that could take a while. It certainly won’t happen overnight.

Game 162: Reds at Pirates

Bourgeois 8
Suarez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Duvall 7
Pena 2
Smith 1

Thanks for following along all season. It certainly has not been a year for the time capsule but many of you kept coming back. I’m not sure how much blogging will happen in the offseason. As always, follow along on for all your winter Reds news. You can also follow me on Twitter @m_sheldon or like my Facebook page by clicking here:

Price to return in 2016

Here’s the story… a final version will post on this link soon.

Game 161: Reds at Pirates

Bourgeois 8
Suarez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Frazier 5
Bruce 9
Duvall 7
Barnhart 2
Finnegan 1

2016 catching depth

Over on, I wrote a story on Friday that caught up with Brayan Pena. The veteran Reds catcher will be a free agent after this season and has let it be known he would like to return. Click here to read the story:

Despite his relatively inexpensive market, Pena seems like a long shot for returning to me. The Reds are counting on Devin Mesoraco to be healthy and Tucker Barnhart has shown he can handle himself well in the big leagues. Barnhart entered Friday batting .251/.321/.326 in 79 games with three homers and 18 RBIs. Ramon Cabrera has also demonstrated his skills as a September call-up.

I asked manager Bryan Price about the depth the Reds will have behind the plate next season.

“I think we certainly know that Barney can run a pitching staff up here,” Price said. “He’s done a terrific job with investing in all the essential preparation to call a good ballgame. He’s a terrific catch and throw guy, that’s no secret. He’s handled the bat better than I anticipated for a guy that’s spent really his first full season in the big leagues. He’s done some really good things. He’s definitely a guy that not only can, but has picked up the slack in a season without Devin.

“Ramon is just a guy that earned his way to the big leagues a lot like [Kristopher] Negron did last year, a lot like [Ivan] De Jesus did this year. He just went out and performed and was our next best option for a third catcher in September. All he’s done is call a good game, throw adequately and have a nice offensive approach. He’s definitely somebody we’d like to have in the mix next year if there were any issues with Devin’s health.”

Game 160: Reds at Pirates 

Holt 8,
Votto 3
Frazier 5
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Suarez 6
Duvall 7
Cabrera 2
Sampson 1

Game 159: Cubs at Reds 


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Successful first bullpen for Moscot

Reds pitcher Jon Moscot, who is working his way back from a dislocated left non-throwing shoulder, threw a session the bullpen on Wednesday. It was his first time on a mound since he was injured. Up next is going to instructional league to keep throwing.

“He came out of it feeling really good,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He will transition to Arizona, I believe he will fly [Thursday]. He have roughly a three-week workout/bullpen regimen slated for Arizona until they are through.”

On June 15 at Detroit, Moscot hurt his shoulder while diving to tag a runner and needed surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Moscot began a throwing program on flat ground a couple of weeks ago.

“I think we have to look at this as if he’s starting Day One of a throwing program in the offseason,” Price said. “He’s accommodated the long-toss portion of that and transitioned into bullpens. Now he’ll transition as if he’s getting ready for his first Spring Training game.”

Price loathes finding the silver linings in bad situations but he inadvertently found one when discussing Moscot’s injury and recovery.

“If you really breakdown the fundamentals of pitching, you really don’t want an aggressive front side,” Price said. “Having that injury makes that front side a little bit more of a passive movement. Not that he probably thinks about it but as an old pitching coach, it’s a neat thing actually.”

Game 158: Cubs at Reds

Votto gets a rest because of soreness in the back and shoulder area. Frazier still needs to test his Achilles by running but said it felt OK to hit. He’s in here as of 4 pm.

UPDATE at 5:49: Frazier was scratched.




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