Reds Insider
From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Johnny B. good

Johnny Cueto (yes, his middle initial is B for Brent) is pitching very well in the Dominican Winter League. He's 4-1 with 2.84 ERA in six starts for Aguilas. He's allowed 31 hits in 31 2/3 innings. Most impressive: 37 strikeouts, seven walks.

Given that the Reds move slowly with young pitchers, I would not expect Cueto to make the club out of spring training. But he seems to be the kind of guy who adjusts to his playing level quickly.

Rick Sweet, the Louisville manager, just raved about the kid. Cueto pitches in the 90-92 range, but he'll throw one 96, 97 when he needs to. It's going to be interesting to see how the Reds handle him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cordero quotes

Dusty Baker made a couple of phone calls to Francisco Cordero during the free agent recruiting process. Those calls and $46 million over four years were huge.

“That showed me they’re not going to rebuild the team, they’re going to try to put together a winning team," Cordero said. "They’re going to put together a team that compete, that not only can to playoffs but the World Series.”

“Knowing Dusty Baker like I know him, watching with the Cubs and Giants, he’s a great manager. I talked to a lot of people who played with him. They tell me I’m going to love to be part of team that Dusty Baker is the manager of. He played a big role.”

The Reds also pressed hard from the start.

“They’ve been calling me since Nov. 13," Cordero said. "They called me, my agent. I got a phone call from Dusty Baker. That said they really want me to be here, they really want me to be a Cincinnati Red. They showed a lot of interest. This is team I wanted to be with.”

But without the money behind the talk, the Reds would have had no chance.

"Obviously, this can't done without the commitment of ownership," Wayne Krivsky said. "I can't say enough about the support I've received from the time I've been here. A signing such as this by Bob Castellini and the ownership group is a tremendous statement to our fans. He's to be commended for this."

Krivsky said the Reds targeted Cordero coming out of the organizational meetings and went after him aggressively.

"This is a huge acquisition, a huge signing," Krivsky siad. "This makes us a tremendous team going into next year and really solidifies the bullpen."

Dusty Baker says he isn't sure who will work the eighth -- David Weathers or Jared Burton.

"I haven't seen Burton," Baker said. "Stormy will be somewhere at the end of the game. He's a team guy. I talked to him (before the signing). He wants to win."

Cordero update: It's official

There's a Francisco Cordero press conference at 5 p.m. That means he's signed and passed the physical. I will update the blog afterward. Buck Coats was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.

Here's the release:

Cincinnati Reds Executive Vice President and General Manager Wayne Krivsky today announced the signing of free agent All-Star RHP Francisco Cordero to a 4-year contract through the 2011 season, with a club option for 2012. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cordero, who underwent a physical examination in Cincinnati earlier today, and Krivsky will be available at 5:00 p.m. ET in the field level interview room at Great American Ball Park. The press conference will be broadcast live on reds.com.

Cordero, 32, in his Major League career has recorded a 3.29 ERA and 177 saves in 470 appearances with the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers. In his previous 4 seasons he averaged 38 saves, 70 appearances, 70 innings and 82 strikeouts. He set club records for saves in 2007 with the Brewers (44) and in 2004 while pitching for the Rangers (49), both years in which he was named an All-Star.

In 2007, for the second straight season Cordero was selected as the Brewers' Most Valuable Pitcher after his 44 saves ranked second in the National League (Arizona's Jose Valverde, 47). He began the season with 22 consecutive saves and converted 44 of 51 chances overall to become just the eighth pitcher ever to record at least 40 saves in a season in both leagues. Cordero held opponents to a .218 batting average while striking out 86 batters in 63.1 innings.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Cordero, OF Buck Coats was designated for assignment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No Cordero yet, and a question

The Reds say that there won't be a Francisco Cordero press conference today.

"Until we've got a deal, there's nothing to announce," Wayne Krivsky said.

That's not as ominous as it sounds. As far as I can tell, it's a matter of getting the physical done and crossing t's and dotting i's. Opening a spot on the 40-man is another thing that has to be done. I would guess we're looking at tomorrow for an announcement.

When the Reds do announced it, there is one big question to ask:

Who pitches the eighth? Jared Burton was lights out in that role in the second half of last year. But David Weathers was good in closer role. So which one pitches the eighth? My guess is Burton stays in the eighth. Weathers could add great value in the sixth and seventh. That and other issues will be addressed when Cordero is officially announced.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cordero implications

One of the interesting things about the signing, or near signing, of Francisco Cordero by the Reds is that the other two teams in the running were also NL Central teams. Milwaukee was obviously one of the clubs. Houston is thought to be the other.

As steep as $46 million for four years is, the fact that Milwaukee was willing to go $42 million for four years shows Cordero's value.

The Reds overpaid a little -- but they had to. It's a risk. But there's probably no other free agent -- other than A-Rod -- who could have helped the Reds more in 2008.

"Our offer was competitive," Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We had ‘Coco' a tad below Billy Wagner. As important as it is to have a closer, we just felt (the bidding) was getting to be too much."

That is wasn't too much for the Reds speaks a lot about the CEO Bob Castellini's willingness to spend money for the right guy.

Cordero update II

Ken Rosenthal of foxsports.com reports that the Reds have reached an agreement on four-year, $46 million deal with free agent closer Francisco Cordero.

GM Wayne Krivsky wouldn't confirm that, but said: "We're having conversations. It takes two sides to get a deal done."

CEO Bob Castellini said: "We have not signed a contract with Cordero."

Have you agreed to a contract in principle?

"We have not signed a contract with Cordero?" Castellini said.

My guess is it's done, pending a physical. The Reds never give long-term contracts without a physical, and Cordero has not come to Cincinnati have one done.

The fact the Reds are even talking to Cordero says they have money to spend on the free agents. A signing like this would put the payroll over $80 million, unless the contract is heavily backloaded.

"I'll let you make that assumption," Krivsky said. "You look at the closer's market and he's one of top guys."

Cordero saved 44 games last year for Milwaukee and had a 2.98 ERA.

Talking to other people with the Reds at the start of free agency, I got an inkling that Cordero was on their list. It makes sense. The club knows it has to upgrade pitching. Cordero would be an instant fix for the bullpen -- at lesser rate than a No. 3 starter. Rosenthal, citing sources, says Milwaukee offered Cordero $42 million for four years.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Baseball America's Top 10

Baseball America, the minor league bible, is out with its list of the Reds top 10 prospects. No surprises at the top. The list shows more depth than in recent years:

1. Jay Bruce
2. Homer Bailey
3. Joey Votto
4. Johnny Cueto
5. Drew Stubbs
6. Devin Mesoraco
7. Todd Frazier
8. Juan Francisco
9. Josh Roenicke
10. Matt Maloney

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nuxie's visitation

I just got back from Joe Nuxhall's visitation. The response to his death continues to be stunning. There were probably 500 people in line at 3 o'clock and the doors didn't open to the public until 4. There was talk visitation will go to at least 10.

The pictures from his career stirred a lot of memories and choked up a lot of people.

John Erardi asked Marty Brennaman if Joe had lived a full life. "Yes, he did. He got his money's worth with no change back."

Well put.

Ken Griffey Jr, Barry Larkin, Sean Casey, Johnny Bench, Tommy Helms, Don Gullett, Jom O'Toole, Chuck Harmon, Doug Flynn, Buddy Bell were among those in attendance.

But the overwhelming thing was the number of everyday fans.

The only way to explain it is the power of kindness. Joe was an extraordarinarily nice man. He was a star who never lost touch with his roots because he never thought of himself as a star. He made everyone feel like they were his favorite.

RIP, Nuxie.

On to the roster

From the Reds:

TODAY’S NEWS: The Reds today added to the 40-man roster RHP Richie Gardner, IF Paul Janish, LHP Tyler Pelland, RHP Ramon Ramirez, C Craig Tatum and RHP Daryl Thompson...today is the deadline for all 30 Major League Baseball teams to file their reserve lists for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, scheduled for December 6 during the Winter Meetings in Nashville...any player eligible for the Rule 5 Draft who is not protected on a Major League 40-man roster may be selected by another team...eligibility for the draft depends on the player’s age during the signing season of his first contract...generally, players who sign at age 19 or older are under a club’s control for 4 seasons, while players who sign at age 18 or younger are under a club’s control for 5 seasons...after today’s deadline, no team can promote a minor league player to its 40-man roster until after the Rule 5 Draft, though it can remove a player from the roster to make room for a Rule 5 draft selection.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Minor league coaches named

From the Reds (Mike Goff was Seattle's bench coach last year):

MINOR MATTERS: The Reds today renewed the contracts of Louisville manager Rick Sweet, pitching coach Ted Power and hitting coach Smokey Garrett; Chattanooga hitting coach Jamie Dismuke; Sarasota manager Joe Ayrault, pitching coach Tom Brown and hitting coach Ryan Jackson; Dayton manager Donnie Scott, pitching coach Doug Bair and hitting coach Darren Bragg; Billings hitting coach Aaron Holbert; GCL Reds manager Pat Kelly and pitching coach Rigo Beltran; field coordinator Freddie Benavides, pitching coordinator Mack Jenkins and hitting coordinator Ronnie Ortegon...named Mike Goff manager and Chris Bosio pitching coach at Chattanooga; named Frank Cacciatore manager and Tom Browning pitching coach at Billings; named Jorge Orta hitting coach at GCL Reds; named Bill Doran infield/baserunning instructor.

RESERVE LISTS: Tomorrow is the deadline for all 30 Major League Baseball teams to file their reserve lists for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, scheduled for December 6 during the Winter Meetings in Nashville...any player eligible for the Rule 5 Draft who is not protected on a Major League 40-man roster may be selected by another team...eligibility for the draft depends on the player’s age during the signing season of his first contract...generally, players who sign at age 19 or older are under a club’s control for 4 seasons, while players who sign at age 18 or younger are under a club’s control for 5 seasons...after tomorrow’s deadline, no team can promote a minor league player to its 40-man roster until after the Rule 5 Draft, though it can remove a player from the roster to make room for a Rule 5 draft selection.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nuxhall arrangements

Public visitation will be Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Fairfield High School Arena.

Private funeral will be Wednesday.

Instead of flower the family asks for donations to Joe Nuxhall Hope Project in care of Fairfield Community Foundation, 5350 Pleasant Ave., Fairfield, Ohio, 45014

Marty on Joe

Marty Brennaman is on a cruise. He was in the middle of the Pacific when he got word of the Joe Nuxhall's death. Brennaman knew how sick Nuxhall was, but he wasn't expecting it.

"I went to bed early. I woke about three o'clock in the morning, and I had a text from Rob Butcher from 12:55 (a.m.) that said "911." It never crossed my mind that Joe had died."

Brennaman was grateful that he got one more day with Nuxhall, shortly before departing on a cruise.

"We played together in a golf match that some had bid on in charity auction. He played at Kenwood Country Club. It was apparent that he was weak and not feeling well. I think he only swung the club about five times. I said, 'Joe, what do you go home.' He said, 'No, it's a beautiful day. I'm tired of laying around.' So he rode along the whole round. He laughed and joked. I feel blessed that I had a chance to spend that time together."

Talking about Nuxie

Dave "Yid" Armbruster, his long-time engineer, summed up perfectly how Joe Nuxhall made guys our age feel:

"He's like the best uncle you ever had. I thought of him like that. I thought of him as almost a father figure later. He was the cool uncle, who would talk to you the way most grownups wouldn't talk to you. That was my impression."

Bob Castellini, John Allen, Tom and Dick Williams, Tom Browning and Chuck Harmon were at the press gathering the Reds held to talk about Nuxie. So was the guy probably as close to Nuxie as anyone in the organization, clubhouse man Bernie Stowe.

"He grew on me like my big brother," Stowe said. "The game would be over. We'd be on the road and he'd say, 'let's go get a beer and a sandwich.' Everybody said how cheap he was. I guess he liked the little guy because he took care of me.

Stowe said through all his recent tough times Nuxie remained upbeat and was at peace.

"He'd say, 'We all got to die. They can't save me forever,'" Stowe said. "What a man."

Nuxie dies

Joe Nuxhall, Reds legend, died last night at 10:55 p.m.

It is with great sadness that I write this. Nuxie was as a good as they come. Humble, caring and always a joy to be around. He'll be greatly missed. Prayers and thoughts to his family.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The last time I talked to Nuxhall in any kind of depth was when word got out that his cancer was back. He was, of course, upbeat.

"I hope I can lick this," he said. "With all the publicity it's getting, maybe others who have it will be encouraged. Maybe people will feel they can beat it, too."

Nux didn't beat it. But others should still be encouraged by how he fought the brave fight, how he never let it get him down. When we had that conversation -- it was Sept. 27 -- Nuxie answered the questions about his the disease, and then quickly changed the subject back to baseball. We chatted a while. Before I left, I asked if he was going to do a book signing he had scheduled in a couple of days.

He said he was.

"I'm not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself," he said.

Of course, he wasn't. Nuxie was of those guys who knew what a great life he had, and he was very thankful for it. I'm thankful that I got to know the man.

From his family:

“On behalf of the entire Nuxhall family we wish to express our deepest gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of prayers, well wishes, cards and messages during this very difficult time. Dad felt that he truly had three extended families during his career....The great City of Hamilton, Ohio where he grew up.....Fairfield, Ohio where he raised his children and Cincinnati, Ohio where he was able to play and broadcast the great game of baseball with the Cincinnati Reds. We will be eternally grateful to the Cincinnati Reds organization and the fans who provided us with experiences and memories of a lifetime. Dad truly loved you all."

Respectfully, Kim Nuxhall

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Harang fourth in the Cy voting

Jake Peavy was the unanimous pick for the NL CY Young. The bigger news is that the national media knows who Aaron Harang is. He finished fourth with 10 votes. He got zero votes a year ago. Rob Butcher, the Reds PR guy, has to be happy. He worked hard to get the word out on Harang.

Brandon Webb got 31 of 32 second-place votes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Talking to Wayne

I talked to Wayne Krivsky this afternoon about free agency. Let's just say I didn't spent a lot of time transcribing quotes.

“We’ve had lots of conversations with a lot of agents,” Krivsky said. “But I’m not going to get into specifics.”

Is the depth pretty good as far as relievers?

“There always good players,” he said. “It’s up to us find a match.”

I mentioned that the Reds got of out the gate quickly last year, signing Alex Gonzalez on Nov. 20. So have the Reds targeted anyone this offseason – not naming names, of course?

“I’m not going to say. We’ll see,” he said.

I'm doing the Hot Stove League with the Steve "The Bad Boy" Stewart tonight from 6 to 7. I'll be able to share all that Krivsky told me with the vast listening audience.
There you have it.

My educated guess is the Reds are targeting relief pitchers. I think they'll at least find out where the bidding starts on Francisco Cordero. But, as you might guess, Krivsky wouldn't say whether they'd be in the market for a free agent closer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free agency II

I get the feeling that the Reds' emphasis for free agency will be on relief pitching because the talent pool is deeper than it is for starters.

The Reds got of the gate early last year by signing Alex Gonzalez. That could happen again -- before the market gets too high.

The question is will the Reds make a run at someone like Francisco Cordero (44 saves, 2.98 ERA), the best closer on the list of free agents not named Mariano Rivera. Cordero's going to get a whole lot of money.

My guess that the payroll would be in the $75 million range may have been low. The club is going get to more in revenue-sharing and luxury tax, so maybe they can shop with the big boys.

Allen resigning (update)

The Reds announced that COO John Allen is resigning effective Dec. 31.

This was Allen's call. "It's time," he said.

Allen will move to Kansas City, where his wife, Anna, has taken a job.

"This was a decision made solely by John," CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement.

Castellini said Allen would not be replaced. I asked Castellini about the possibility of baseball man coming in as club president. I didn't mention Walt Jocketty's name, but Castellini knew what I was talking about.

"I know what you're getting at," Castellini said. "No, that's not going to happen."

Allen made the decision in September. He wanted to stay on until the election in Sarasota was over. Castellini convinced him to stay on as a consultant as the club selects a new spring training site.

Allen has not been popular with fans in recent years. That happens when you're the head of organization that is not winning. But Allen started Redsfest, revived the Reds Hall of Fame and the Winter Caravan. He also started the Reds Community Fund.

Allen started with the Reds in 1995. He ran the club from 1999 until Castellini took over.

Free agency has begun

The free agency sweepstakes is over 12 hours old, and the Reds haven't signed anyone. Or at least, they have told us they've signed anyone. That, of course, is no big deal. No one's signed anyone.

I still think starting pitching should be No. 1 on the Reds' shopping list. But there are some interesting relievers out there. I think the Reds will be cautious -- given what happened with Mike Stanton and Rheal Cormier, i.e., I don't see them going for guys in their 40s.

Here's a list of guys worth considering (Disclaimer: I don't know if the Reds are interested in any of them and they aren't going to say if they are):

--Octavio Dotel, 33: He's had his injury problems. But he struck on 41 on 30 2.3 innings last year.

--Scott Linebrink, 31: He was 5-6 with a 3.71 ERA. He's not the guy he was a few years ago. But a 3.71 ERA looks pretty good in the Reds bullpen.

--LaTroy Hawkins, 34: He had a 3.42 ERA pitching half his games at Coors.

--Kerry Wood, 30: He had a 3.33 ERA and struck out 24 in 24 1/3 innings. He's really intriguing because he's gets fully healthy, he could be a starter again. Tim Kremchek did his surgery, and you've got the Dusty Baker connection.

--Eric Gagne, 31: He had his problems. But he struck out 51 in 52 innings.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

On the payroll

The Reds don't tell you what their player payroll will be. At least, they haven't since the year they moved into Great American Ball Park. They upped it from $45 million to about $60 million that year.

I've stopped asking. But I keep guessing. My guess is they'll be around $75 million for 2008. When you take Eric Milton's $8.5 million off the books, they would seem to have a lot of money to play with going into the free agency season. Not so.

Consider: The club owes its 13 players under contract for next year $59.72 million – Adam Dunn ($13 million), Ken Griffey Jr. ($12.5 million), Aaron Harang ($6.75 million), Bronson Arroyo ($6.5 million), Alex Gonzalez ($4.62 million), Ryan Freel ($3 million), Mike Stanton ($3 million), David Weathers ($2.75 million), David Ross ($2.5 million), Scott Hatteberg ($1.85 million), Javier Valentin ($1.53 million) Juan Castro ($975,000) and Todd Coffey $925,000).

Three players – Brandon Phillips, Matt Belisle and Jorge Cantu – are eligible for arbitration. They’re going to push the payroll to $65 million or more.

The rest of the roster will be made up of guys making around the big league minimum of $380,000. But that will push the payroll to close to last year’s level of $68.9 million.

So I wouldn't expect the Reds to be able to bid for any top-tier free agents -- unless my guess is wrong and the payroll going to be considerably more than $75 million.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Spring home update, free agents . . .

There seems to be some sentiment out there that the Reds should try to stay in Sarasota. That's not going to happen unless someone from Sarasota makes the the first move.

"That's not something we're going to actively pursue," John Allen said. "If they came to us with a package, we'd listen."

Allen said he's spoken to four cities about the Reds relocating there. He declined to name them. But did say he's talked to cities in Florida and Arizona.

As for free agents, teams can begin talking money with free agents other than their own next week. Wayne Krivsky said the Reds had contacted some free agents already.

I see their greatest need as a veteran starter. But beyond Carlos Silva, I don't see a lot of guys I'd throw money at. Silva's not Cy Young, but his numbers -- 13-14, 4.19 ERA -- are about as good as it gets on this year's list.

Josh Fogg (10-9, 4.94 ERA) and Livan Hernandez (11-11, 4.93) might be worth a look. You could hope Jeff Weaver (7-13, 6.20), Matt Clement (5-5, 6.61) or Jon Lieber (3-6, 4.73) have a comeback year.

But a trade may be the best route for finding a starter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Where to?

I spoke John Allen this morning. He was in the Sarasota airport, but he had already gotten an e-mail from one person representing a potential spring training site for the Reds.

Allen didn't want to talk specific about where the Reds will go after Sarasota. My guess is they'll train there this spring and then be somewhere new for 2009.

"It's a blank canvas," Allen said. "We're open to all ideas."

I think you're looking at four scenarios: Vero Beach, Orlando, Lee County (near Fort Myers) or Arizona. I hope against hope that they wouldn't consider Winter Haven.

Where would you like to see them go? Personally I could live with Ed Smith Stadium. It's not great, but it's in Sarasota. For my money, none of other locations comes close. But Allen made it pretty clear the Reds aren't going to stay in Sarasota.

So where?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good-bye Sarasota

The Reds will begin looking a new spring home tomorrow. The referendum for the final piece of funding to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium was voted down. The Sarasota Herald Tribune had it a 4,431 against, 4,206 for.

"The citizens have spoken," Reds COO John Allen said.

That means the Reds' time in Sarasota will come to an end over the next couple of years.

“We’ve been very consistent with our message,” Allen said. “We wanted to stay in Sarasota. When other cities and Arizona approached us, that’s what told them.”

Tomorrow, there will be a new message.

“We’ll start process (of looking for a new site) immediately,” Allen said.
The Reds lease on Ed Smith runs out in October of 2008. But the club has three one-year options to renew.

Allen said there is no way the Reds will stay in the existing Ed Smith complex long-term.

Sarasota vote

Just spoke to John Allen. Twenty-six of 27 precincts are in. The referendum is down by 118 votes. There are also some absentee ballots to be counted. But it doesn't look very good at this point.

WLW, Reds agree

The Reds and WLW agreed to five-year deal. This is new in the sense that Reds will sell most of advertising. The release:

The Cincinnati Reds and 700 WLW Radio have agreed to terms on a 5-year contract extension through the 2012 season. The previous contract expired after the 2007 campaign.

WLW Radio has been the club's radio rightsholder since 1969. The Reds Radio Network is one of the largest in professional sports, with 46 affiliates in 6 states, and each season broadcasts a minimum of 18 spring training games and all 162 regular season games.

"WLW Radio and the Reds have been linked together for almost 40 years, and our fans are passionate about both," said club President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini. "We're excited about continuing one of the best broadcast partnerships in sports."

Under the new agreement, the Reds will sell all but 1 minute of the in-game, 1 minute of the pre-game and 1 minute of the post-game advertising. WLW and the Red will split the inventory for Hot Stove League shows.

The Reds will retain their control over the hiring of broadcasters.

Free agent rumors, Sarasota vote

I guess there's been rumors of free agents visiting the Reds cropping up on websites and in water cooler talk -- most prominently Carlos Silva. The people I talked to with the Reds shot down such such talk. It's against rules: Teams are not allowed to negotiate with or sign free agents -- other than their own -- until 16 days after the World Series.

John Allen doesn't expect to know the results of the referendum in Sarasota until 9 p.m. I'll post as soon as I know. I'm hoping it passes, purely for selfish reasons -- Sarasota is a great place to spend six weeks.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tickets going up, schedule released

From the Reds:

The Cincinnati Reds today announced their full schedule, subject to change, and ticket prices for individual games at Great American Ball Park for the 2008 regular season.

The Reds' home schedule was released last month. Interleague road games are scheduled at New York's Yankee Stadium from June 20-22 (Fri-Sun), at Toronto's Rogers Centre from June 24-26 (Tue-Thu) and at Cleveland's Jacobs Field from June 27-29 (Fri-Sun).

The 2008 season will be the last for both New York stadiums. The Reds play their final series at Shea Stadium, home of the Mets, from May 9-11 (Fri-Sun). They will make their inaugural visit the Washington Nationals' new stadium, Nationals Park, from August 1-3 (Fri-Sun).

Ticket prices for most non-premium seating categories will increase $2, though the price of Bleacher Seats will drop to $7 from $10. There is no change in the price of a Terrace Outfield ticket ($19), while View Level seats will increase from $13 to $14.

Approximately 58 percent of the ballpark seats will be priced at $20 or less.

Premier Games pricing includes the Opening Day game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the interleague series against the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox (June 13-15). Select Games pricing includes games against the Cleveland Indians (May 16-18) and Chicago Cubs (September 5-7).

Season ticket packages purchased in full by January 31 - including current season ticket holder renewals in addition to new accounts - will save up to 23 percent over 2008 individual ticket prices. Season ticket packages renewed or purchased after January 31 will save up to 18 percent over 2008 individual ticket prices.

Deposits on 2008 season ticket packages can be made online at reds.com or by contacting the Reds’ season sales department at (513) 765-7500.

Gift certificates for the 2008 regular season are available in $10 and $15 increments. They can be purchased online at reds.com or by phone at (513) 765-7400. Gift certificates also will be available at Redsfest, scheduled for December 7-8 at Duke Energy Center downtown.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Doran, Browning named

The named Bill Doran minor league infiled/baserunning coordinator and named Tom Browning extended spring training and Billings pitching coach.

Browning had been part of the organization on an informal basis the last couple of years. Doran had spent the last two years as Buddy Bell's bench coach in Kansas City.

Needless to say, these are two guys you want in the organization.

Here's Rob Butcher's Hot Stove release:

TODAY’S NEWS: Today the Reds named Bill Doran minor league infield/baserunning coordinator and Tom Browning pitching coach at extended spring training and rookie Billings...Doran, a Cincinnati native and resident, was an instructor in the Reds’ minor league system from 1995-August 1999, was minor league field coordinator from August 1999-November 1999, was director of player development from November 1999-September 2000, was a special assistant to the general manager during the 2000 season and was the club’s Major League first base coach in 2001...he spent the last 2 seasons as bench coach in KC under manager Buddy Bell...Browning previously worked for the Reds during Major League spring training camp as an instructor.

STARS & STRIKES FOR KIDS: Ken Griffey Jr.’s Stars & Strikes For Kids Celebrity Bowl, held in September at AMF Kingpin Lanes on Beechmont Road, raised $100,000 to benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

UPCOMING EVENTS: From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, Reds Hall of Famers Tom Browning and Lee May will sign autographs at the Furniture Fair location in Fairfield (7200 Dixie Highway, 513-874-5553)...beginning tomorrow, fans can visit any Greater Cincinnati Furniture Fair store and receive 4 free tickets to visit the PETE exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, while supplies last...no purchase is required.

The A-Rod question

The biggest question of the offseason is where Alex Rodriguez will end up. It won't be in Redsland, unless he agrees to finance the Banks and be the closer as well as the shortstop.

But it's hard to see a fit for him anywhere at his price. He's the best player in baseball. But there are a lot of better ways to spend $30 million. The Reds starting eight will make about $33 million in 2008, by the way.

The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox are the clubs talked about. A Miami Herald story says Marlins president Larry Beinfest would not dismiss Florida pursuing A-Rod. With A-Rod, the Marlins would be sure to draw 9,000 for the those late August games.

Where do think he'll end up? The last time around no one was thinking Texas. My guess -- and it's just that -- is the Dodgers.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Griffey and the Braves?

Interesting column by Terence Moore in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the Ken Griffey Jr. and the Braves.

Fred Wren, the Braves new GM, doesn't go into specifics but he does say the Braves are looking for a center fielder and probably won't go the free agent route.

"I would say that going strong in the free-agent market would be our least likely alternative,” Wren said. “I say that just because, with the young players we have coming (in the farm system), it just wouldn’t make sense to go sign somebody for four, five, six years when we have what we think are better players on the horizon. With that being said, the free-agent market probably doesn’t make as much sense as a trade. The trade market is probably the most likely way we’ll fill center field.”

Griffey jumps to mind.

That doesn't mean it will happen. But given what Wren said, it's worth keeping an eye on. Apparently Wren, like John Schuerholz, doesn't talk specifics. Neither does Wayne Krivsky. So it's all speculation at this point -- but interesting speculation.


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