Today is the last day before Reds Spring Training starts and I’m making my way to Arizona. I’m currently in Chicago, connecting for a little bit.
*There were a couple of things I didn’t get to on Wednesday. Many readers are wondering about RHP Brett Marshall, who was claimed off of waivers from the Cubs. Marshall was with the Yankees organization until December. Reds GM Walt Jocketty said that Marshall is added depth at the Triple-A level.
“I talked to him and he sounded like a good kid,” Jocketty said. “We had good reports on him. He had one of the best changeups in the Yankees organization. He’s a sinkerballer with a good slider. He’s got a couple of [Minor League] options left.
*Marshall was assigned No. 41.
*Many fans were dissatisfied about the Reds’ off-season. I can’t argue your feelings because the team did not address the holes it wanted to fix. But if there was one team that fared worse, it had to be the Pirates. Their winter worsened some more when rotation stabilizer A.J. Burnett decided to not retire or return to Pittsburgh and then agreed to terms on a one-year contract. with the Phillies worth $16 million. Ouch.
I will have something later, perhaps, from the Reds complex in Goodyear –if the rest of the trip is smooth. I never assume smooth, however.
The Reds made another roster move Wednesday just prior to Spring Training. Right-handed pitcher Brett Marshall was claimed off of waivers from the Cubs. To make room on the roster, infielder Henry Rodriguez was designated for assignment.
A starting pitcher in the Minors, Marshall never played for the Cubs, which claimed him off of waivers in December from the Yankees. Chicago needed a spot after it signed pitcher Jason Hammel.
A 23-year-old, Marshall appeared in three games for the Yankees last season and posted a 4.50 ERA in 12 innings. He allowed 13 hits and seven walks with seven strikeouts.
In 25 games, all starts, last season for Triple-A Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Marshall was 7-10 with a 5.12 ERA. In 138 2/3 innings, he allowed 144 hits and 68 walks while striking out 120.
The Reds still have 59 players in camp, but now will have 31 pitchers when they report on Friday.
Rodriguez batted .174 (4-for-23) in 21 games over parts of two seasons with the Reds. He batted .274/.319/.335 with four homers and 41 RBIs last season for Triple-A Louisville.
Earlier today, I had a conversation with former Reds manager Dusty Baker and we got to catch up for a few minutes on the phone. Click here for the story.
Since his dismissal in October, Baker has been traveling a lot and staying busy with numerous enterprises. He also has his home winery in Sacramento. Of course, he’d like to be back in baseball but was not successful in landing a managing job when the other vacancies came open in Detroit, Washington and Seattle. But he’s found other things to do to fill some of the void. This will be only the second time in 21 years he does not have a Spring Training to oversee as a manager.
“Hey, life goes on,” Baker said. “I’m spending time with my son [14-year-old Darren]. It’s been nice watching him play basketball and now he’s getting ready for baseball. I’ve had eight months worth of honey-dos to make up. I’m trying not to think about baseball. It still hurts some. You find other avenues for the time.”
This quote wasn’t in the story, but I also asked Baker if he had been keeping up with the Reds activities, or any their players, this winter.
“Somewhat. You follow the guys and some of the signings,” Baker said. “I’m not glued to the TV watching MLB [Network] like I’d be doing if I were still managing and it was the off-season or during the season. It doesn’t do much good now. You have to go on with your life.”
Since I did something last week when the Reds truck was loaded up in Cincinnati for Spring Training, I may as well make mention that it was unloaded in Goodyear.
In a few days, we will have more tangible Reds topics to discuss because there will be dozens of actual Reds to talk about topics with directly at Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report on Friday and of course, I will be there.
Naturally with a miserable winter it’s been in Cincinnati, the thoughts of just being warm again supersede almost everything else. One look at the five-day forecast is exciting enough, and there will be baseball too. I’m actually stunned it will be in the high 80s and even touch 90 on Friday. In past years, it’s started off much cooler (50s and 60s) before zooming into the 80s and 90s closer to the end of camp.
*A few days after I get to Goodyear, I hope to update my annual Spring Training dining guide with a few new entries and the removal of some old ones. I’ve gotten good feedback each year from doing it and I hope it’s useful for those who make the trip. I know Florida was the preferred destination for many Reds fans, but has anybody given thought of heading out to Arizona? From year one out there in 2010, I’ve been a huge fan of Spring Training in the Cactus League. I believe if others try it out, they will see what I see.
*My 2014 Spring Training preview is on Reds.com. It provides a quick primer on the team and issues. The reporters for all 30 clubs have previews up as well. Be sure to check them out.
*Jamie Ramsey is an early arrival to Reds camp and he has already posted numerous pictures on his blog.
*In another good piece, Anthony Castrovince tackles the use of advanced stats in baseball, namely in regard to how Joey Votto is evaluated.
Numerous media reports from Jerry Crasnick to Ken Rosenthal and MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert are reporting late Friday afternoon that free agent Bronson Arroyo finally has a new team — the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s a two-year, $23.5 million contract with a club option for 2016.
Arroyo probably didn’t get the dollars he was hoping when he began this process but he at least got the two years at what appears to be market value. By comparison, the Giants signed free agent Tim Hudson (age 38) to a two-year, $23 million deal in November.
Despite some talks here and there, the Reds never expressed serious interest in retaining Arroyo after eight mostly solid seasons. The lack of interest on their part was never about the body of work or the person, it was all dollars and cents. The club didn’t want to give him a multi-year deal, even to a 200-inning consistent and never injured workhorse like Arroyo mostly because he is a pitcher who will soon be 37. Not when they have young talent like Tony Cingrani ready to go, more young arms like Robert Stephenson just around the corner and other veterans like Mat Latos, Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto who will need contracts before escaping as free agents.
Arroyo was easily one of the most accessible players I’ve ever covered and it was certainly appreciated. After a good game or a bad one, he is always available. He always speaks with candor, is very smart about the game and gets the big picture. He was also fun to watch pitch, especially when he had his good stuff.
Best of luck to him in Arizona.
Fox Sports Ohio announced today that it will carry one Reds exhibition game — March 24 vs. the Indians at 4 p.m. ET from Goodyear Ballpark. Thom Brennaman and Chris Welsh will be calling it.
This isn’t the first time that FS Ohio has done a lower number of games. By comparison, SportsTime Ohio is carrying eight Indians games this spring.
What FS Ohio is doing — will be a nightly Reds Spring Training show called “Reds Live — Spring Training 2014,” a 30-minute show every weeknight at 10pm ET starting Monday, March 3. Jim Day and Chris Welsh will host from Goodyear with appearances by Jeff Brantley, Jim Kelch, Thom Brennaman and others.
I asked Kate Zalasko, the spokesperson from FS Ohio, why there is only the one game on TV and she pointed out that the network is doing the nightly show instead, as its done the past couple of seasons. The Indians will have more games but no nightly wrap-up show.
I’m sure other Reds games will be televised on MLB Network — but there is currently no schedule, yet.
Eight days from now, Reds pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz. As in past years, there will be a plethora of stories, news items and features flowing from the clubhouse, practice fields and ballparks over the 45 or so days that follow.
I have a general game plan going in each year and get more specific with my planning once I get there. Sometimes, the timing of stories depends simply on who is at their locker on a given day and who isn’t. Some days, I have a feature planned out and will work on it for a few days until it’s ready. Some days, I call an audible and come up with something on the fly. Some days, a specific story has been assigned to me and I get it done. Some days, I just punt and do the best I can. And some days, there is breaking news like a signing, a trade, an injury, etc. that trumps all previous plans or story ideas.
No matter what happens in Reds camp, I hope to have it covered for you on MLB.com/Reds.com, this blog, Twitter, etc.
Yet another snow storm (aka “The White Death”) is approaching Greater Cincinnati. That means more school closings, messy roads, cabin fever and plenty of TV news live shots from salt piles and icy highways. The playbook hasn’t changed much since I worked at a TV news assignment desk. Every snow storm, we sent reporters to the salt pile, highways and groceries for “stocking up on supplies.” Thankfully, those days are behind me.
In a few days, winter will be behind me as well. I just returned from GABP where clubhouse manager Rick Stowe had the team’s equipment truck loaded for Goodyear, Ariz. The truck leaves Thursday and it will take three days to reach its destination. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 14 and I will be there. Click here for my story on the truck load on Reds.com/MLB.com.
*Because of tonight’s expected snow storm, the Reds announced that the Hot Stove show will be held in-studio instead of at the Holy Grail on the Banks.
*Evening baseball and softball clinics at the Reds Urban Youth Academy are canceled because of the approaching weather.
*Everybody stay safe if you have to go out tonight or Wednesday.
*Anthony Castrovince ranked MLB’s top 10 rotations. The Reds made the cut, as they should have.
*You may remember reliever Nick Masset, who had the misfortune of shoulder injuries keep him out for the past two seasons. This week, Masset signed a Minor League deal with the Rockies. Hopefully he can get his career back on track.
*MLB.com Angels beat writer Alden Gonzalez is doing an overview of all six divisions in baseball on his blog. That included his look at the NL Central.
*Over on Fangraphs.com, Dave Cameron takes a look at the free agent class of starting pitchers for next winter. That group, of course, includes Homer Bailey.
*On The Hardball Times, a really good accounting about what the life of a baseball beat writer can be like. Trent Rosecrans from the Enquirer was one of the writers who participated in the well-written piece. I can relate to much of it — both the good and bad. Even as I enter season No. 14 as a beat writer (No. 9 covering the Reds), I am very grateful to have this job and still very much enjoy it.
The Reds made another late off-season free agent addition Friday when outfielder Roger Bernadina was signed to a Minor League contract and invited to Spring Training as a non-roster player.
Bernadina, 29, split the 2013 season with the Nationals and Phillies and batted .181 in 112 games. Washington released him on August 19 and he was picked up by Philadelphia two days later.
The decline in production came after a strong 2012 season for the Nationals, where Bernadina batted .291/.372/.405 in 129 games with five home runs, 25 RBIs and 15 steals.
After they were rebuffed last week by Grady Sizemore, it appears that Bernadina will be the protection behind Billy Hamilton in camp.
**UPDATE: If Bernadina makes the Reds out of camp, he will earn a $1 million salary in 2014. The deal does not come with incentives but contains out clauses on March 18, March 28 and July 1 if he has not been added to the 25-man roster. Click here for the full story on MLB.com
*The Reds now have 59 players in big league camp for Spring Training.
*Got some uniform numbers for the recently signed players.
15 Roger Bernadina
27 Chris Nelson
7 Ramon Santiago
*Here is the full list of non-roster players at Reds camp.