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, January 31, 2008

Belisle agrees to $1.25M deal

From Shannon Russell:

Reds pitcher Matt Belisle will enter the starting rotation mix this spring knowing that he’s got a bit more financial security after agreeing to a one-year, $1.25 million contract with the team on Thursday.

Belisle, who went 8-9 last season with a 5.32 ERA, made $390,000 in 2007. He became arbitration eligible and asked for $1.65 million.

"He’s happy, we’re happy, and we’re looking forward to an even better year this year," said Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky.

"It’s always good when you can avoid the arbitration process and settle a deal that makes both sides happy."

Belisle likely will follow Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo in the rotation.

Other players in the rotation mix include Homer Bailey, Edinson Volquez and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt.

Belisle started 30 games last season and pitched 177 2/3 innings. He gave up 26 home runs.
It was his first year as a starter after spending three years as a reliever.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips is the last Reds player left in arbitration.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm off

I'm heading to Steamboat Springs early tomorrow for a week of skiing. I'll have my trusty iPhone. But unless something major happens, don't expect any posts from me.

The folks in the office will post when news happens and moderate comments.

Feel free to argue among yourselves until I return.

Here's a topic for you: Where do you think the Reds will finish in the Central and why?

Goodyear, Reds ready for next step

The city council in Goodyear, Ariz., will meet Monday to consider an exclusivity agreement with the Reds that would keep either side from negotating with anyone else for 90 days. The Reds would have to sign off on such an agreement, and they likely would.

Obviously, this would be a major step toward making Goodyear the new spring home of the Reds.

The Reds would be willing to enter such ageement because they're worried that other teams will try to work a deal with Goodyear.

Here's the release from Goodyear:

GOODYEAR, AZ – Goodyear’s City Council will meet in a Special Meeting at 6 p.m. ET, Monday, Jan. 28, to consider entering into a 90-day exclusivity agreement with the Cincinnati Reds. Should the City Council vote to approve the agreement, it would go into effect within a day or two, as soon as signatures are obtained by both parties.

The agreement calls for the Reds to immediately stop all negotiations for a future Spring Training facility with any other entity during the 90 days. It also stops Goodyear from seeking any other team to share its sports complex with the Cleveland Indians during that period.

The goal of having an exclusive agreement is to give both parties the necessary time to develop a long-term use agreement that is beneficial to both organizations from a timing and financial perspective.

During the Special Meeting, the Council may adjourn to an Executive Session to receive legal advice on this matter.

Raising Arizona questions

There's a notion out there that there's an MLB rule that requires an even number of teams to be in Arizona and Florida for spring training, i.e., the Reds are using Arizona as a negotiating ploy.

If there is such rule, neither the Reds nor the Katy Feeney, of MLB, have heard about it.

"I don't know of a specific rule," said Feeney, senior vice-president of the scheduling and club relations.

"I'm not aware of any rule," John Allen said.

An odd numbers of teams would create scheduling problems.

"You'd have a lot of off days and split-squad games," Feeney said. "Teams don't like split squads late in the schedule."

It's something that MLB can get around, particularly with increased emphasis on international baseball. This year, in fact, the Boston Red Sox leave Florida on March 19 for a trip to Japan. They follow that with games in Los Angeles to wrap up the exhibition season.

Teams also play college teams.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Talking to Dusty

Dusty Baker held a mini-press conference before the buses rolled on the caravan. The highlights:

On Jeremy Affeldt: "We’re hoping Jeremy can adjust to starting. I talked to him. He’s trying to add a third pitch a changeup, which is going to be a bit of an experiment in spring training. If it doesn't work – I told I’d give him every opportunity – you know he’s qualified as a reliever. Everybody needs that. But everybody’s looking for a left-handed starter. We’re going to train him and prepare him as a start. If it doesn’t work, he can always relieve. It's harder to prepare him as a reliever and then ask him to start."

On the center field situation: "You're asking questions that I'll have to see when I get there. I've never see Norris Hopper play. I've seen Ryan Freel play. At this point, there could be some other guys in the mix. That's a very, very, very important position on our ballclub. Right now, it's Freel and Hopper and we'll see if the other guys are ready. We may get a surprise guy to open some guys."

And Jay Bruce: "I'm going to let the young man be himself. Let him play. Don't put any pressure on him. He's headlines already. I hear the reports on him are very, very good. I've never seen him play. I'm excited and anxious to see him play."

I asked Freel if his knee would be ready by spring training:


100 percent?

"98.6 percent."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

From the La Salle stag

I spent a little time at the La Salle Stag Wednesday night. I left before dinner or Joe Morgan spoke, but here's a few tidbits:

--I asked Brandon Phillips if the Reds have talked to him about a long-term deal. "I ain't going to say nothing about it. Call my agent."

A little later Phillips tracked me down. "The reason I don't want to say anything is I don't want to get in trouble."

I'd take that as they're talking.

--Cool moment: Jay Bruce sheepishly approached Joe Morgan during the meet and greet.

"Mr. Morgan, I'm Jay Bruce."

"I've heard a lot about you, Morgan said.

"I've heard a lot about you, too," Bruce said.

They chatted about growing up in Texas.

--Grant Griesser, the Reds former assistant player development director, has taken a job outside of baseball in town.

Castellini on the spring situation

Reds CEO Bob Castellini is open to continuing to try to work a deal to return to Sarasota. If the Reds do end up leaving, it will be sadness.

"If we leave -- wherever we go -- I would not be upbeat about leaving Sarasota," he said.

That's why the Reds have continued to work to get a deal, despite numerous setbacks.

"This is a big thing for us," Castellini said. "It’s not like we’re trying to leave Sarasota. They've got a tough situation between the city and the county and the economy in all of Florida.

"You have 12 teams in Arizona now, soon to be 14 with the Dodgers and Indians. Most of them have been stolen from Florida. The state is cognizant of that, so they spread around some money to fix up some of the facilities. Ours of is one of those."

But the city of Sarasota and county need to contribute to get the new $41 million deal done. Tuesday, the Sarasota County commissioner could have cemented the new proposal.

“It’s been disappointing,” Castellini said. “But I understand the different crosscurrents.”

The Reds will likely make a call soon -- whether it's to stay in Sarasota or go to Goodyear, Ariz.

“I really feel like the decision has to be made in the next month," Castellini said.

Affeldt will start

The Reds confirmed what we expected all along: Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt will compete for a spot in the starting rotation.

"He has a history as a starter in his career," Wayne Krivsky said. "He signed with the Royals as a starter. He's versatile. He's done both. The idea coming over here is to compete for a spot in our rotation. We're excited about having him here. Our scouts like his stuff fora long time. To add someone like him at this point on the calendar . . . we're very, very pleased."

The one-year, $3 million deal was quickly reached after the Reds approached Affeldt about starting.

"That was key," Krivsky said. "He was very excited about the idea (of starting). When we heard that, now we're excited about the idea."

Affeldt had other offers, mostly as reliever.

“I was going over some of the deals," he said. "I really wasn’t feeling good about them. Wayne gave us a call and asked if I wanted to start. I jumped on it. It’s something I believe I can do.

"This is a fun opportunity."

It's not coincidence that Brett Tomko signed with Kansas City shortly after the Reds reached the agreement with Affeldt. The Reds had been considering Tomko.

The Reds designated outfielder Jeff Fiorentino for assignment to make room for Affeldt on the 40-man roster.

One other note on something lot of you have been asking about: Edinson Volquez does have options. That means all the young pitchers competing for spots in the rotation -- Volquez, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto and Matt Maloney -- have options.

Affeldt official

The Reds announced the Jeremy Affeldt signing. He's going to be available at 2:30 p.m. today. I'll update after talking to him and Wayne Krivsky.

Thoughts about Sarasota

I'm steer away from being political in these musings. But, in the case of Reds and Sarasota, I think the Sarasota County commissioners who are holding up the new proposal -- Nora Patterson and Jon Thaxton -- are being short-sighted.

I understand not wanting to use tax dollars to help build something for a professional baseball team. And I understand things are tight economically. Basically, Patterson wants to take money set aside for the stadium rebuilding for beach maintenance. But if Sarasota County chose to spend the money stadium renovation, it would be a wise investment.

Consider: The Reds are committed to staying for 30 years. They've going to invest $9 million up front. The state's going to kick in $7.9 million. All that is going to generate jobs and taxes dollars.

The Reds are responsible for 8,000 hotel nights in Sarasota in a year. They operate a Florida State League and Gulf Coast League team out of Sarasota, as well as their year-round rehab program.

Watching the commission meeting, I got the impression that commissioners think the Reds don't have alternatives. Goodyear, Ariz., sounds like a viable one to me. And if the Reds leave, Sarasota's chances of getting another team to come are slim. The city manager even talked about the possibility of wrecking Ed Smith Stadium if the Reds leave.

If another company comes to Sarasota next month and offers the kind of economic impact the Reds have, plus $8 million in state money, the city and county are likely to jump on the opportunity to land the deal.

Affeldt today

Jeremy Affeldt is in town today, so the announcement is likely to come today -- as long as he passes the physical, of course.

Wayne Krivsky can answer questions about Affeldt's role then since they will no longer be hypothetical.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sarasota update update

I watched the Sarasota County Commission meeting via the Web. First, I'm very thankful I cover baseball and not county government. Second, I think the Reds chances of staying in Sarasota are very, very slim.

The Commission did not have the votes to approve a proposal to move on the new plan to renovate Ed Smith Stadium, largely because a 4-1 vote is needed to approve the plan. The commission voted 3-2 to move on with the plan. But it would take to a 4-1 vote, so essentially it failed 3-2. The new plan called for the county to contribute in $17.8 million in tourist taxes dollars.

Update: Later in the afternoon, the Sarasota City Commission voted to approve the new plan and continue negotiations with the Reds and the county.

"Unanimously, county commissioners!" Mayor Lou Ann Palmer said after the vote.

So there is strong sentiment to keep the Reds in Sarasota from the city. But they can't do it with the county money. The county wasn't willing to pledge those funds Tuesday. But it's not quite over. To make it a bit confusing, the County Commission also voted:

--To move on with the plan if it's changed to use only $7.9 million in county money (thus matching the State allocation).

--To advertise an ordinance to change the rules that require a super majority to approve a plan. They'll vote on that in two weeks. If that passes, a 3-2 vote would be needed to move on with the plan and commission would likely do that.

--To put the plan to use the $17.8 million in tourist tax for the renovation of Ed Smith Stadium on the ballot.

"In my estimation, the door is still open," commissioner Shannon Staub said.

The meeting was civilized, but there is strong disagreement. Staub and Joe Barbetta strongly support keeping the Reds. Nora Patterson is against using $17.8 million for the project. She was one that brought up matching the state's $7.8 million. Jon Thaxton also opposes the plan. Paul Mercier voted for it, but he wants a project of bigger scope.

While it's not dead in Sarasota, I would think the Reds are going to continue to look elsewhere. Palmer, who made a presentation at county meeting, urged the commission to give a final decision on the new plan. "We can't continue to play games with the Reds," she said. "We need a decision."

I don't think the Reds would accept a $31 million rebuilding job, which is what Patterson's matching proposal amounts to.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Spring update

We should know by early afternoon tomorrow if the Reds have a snowbird's chance in hell of the staying in Sarasota, or Florida for that matter.

The Sarasota County Commission meets at 11:30 in Venice, Fla. They'll likely vote on whether to continue with the new proposal to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium. The county controls the hotel bed tax revenue that would fund $18 million of the $41 million deal.

"It simply comes down to where the county stands," Sarasota mayor Lou Ann Palmer said.

Palmer is not allowed to poll the city commissioners, but her guess is the city commission will vote to carry on with the new plan. So the county vote is key. Two of the five commissioners are on record as not supporting the proposal.

If Sarasota's out, I don't see anyone else in Florida stepping up with a decent offer.

"Cleveland went through a thorough search and ran into some of same issues as Sarasota is having," John Allen said.

The Reds have had preliminary discussions with Orlando and Lee County (Fort Myers), but no one is lining up with a sweetheart deal.

So if the county commission votes no, Arizona is likely the Reds' best option. Allen said the Reds have not had any more talks with Goodyear.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Affeldt agrees to contract

Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt and the Reds have agreed to a contract. Affeldt will come to town next week to have a physical. If he passes, he's a Red.

Ken Rosenthal, of foxsports.com, reported that the deal is for one-year and $3 million.

Affeldt, 28, went 4-3 with a 3.51 ERA with the Colorado Rockies last year. He was used as reliever exclusively as a reliever by the Rockies, but 42 of his 286 major league appearances are as a starter.

Affeldt only gave up 47 hits and three home runs in the 59 innings for the Rockies last year.

I haven't been able to reach Wayne Krivsky but you've got to think Affeldt will compete for a spot in the rotation.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Arbitration numbers for Belisle, Phillips

Today was the day arbitration numbers were filed:

The Reds filed $1 million for Matt Belisle. He countered at $1.65 million.

The Reds filed $2.7 million for Brandon Phillips. He countered at $4.2 million.

Belisle made $390,000 last year; Phillips $407,000. Arbitration is baseball's form of the lottery -- expect every player who is offered it hits the jackpot.

Surgery for Bray (appendectomy)

From Rob Butcher:

TODAY’S NEWS: LHP Bill Bray is recovering from an appendectomy...the 1-hour surgery was performed today in Grapevine, Texas by Dr. Larry Elliott...Bray is expected to begin working out in 7-10 days and throwing again in 2 weeks...also today the Reds claimed off waivers from the Brewers OF Drew Anderson, filling the club’s 40-man roster...Anderson, 26, in 120 apps last season at Class AA Huntsville and Class AAA Nashville combined to hit .291 with 5 HR, 47 RBI and 17 stolen bases...

RED HOTS: The club announced the Indianapolis stop on their Winter Caravan schedule...from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 26 the caravan will stop at Champps Indy Northside...pitching prospect Matt Maloney will join the caravan in Columbus on Thursday, January 24 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Flannagan’s Dublin...special congratulations to long-time Reds clubhouse manager Bernie Stowe and wife Priscilla, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary today.

SPRING TRAINING TICKETS ON SALE TOMORROW: Two-game ticket packages for 2008 spring training games at Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow at the Reds’ spring training complex box office, on-line at reds.com and by phone at (877) 647-7337...tickets for all individual games will go on sale at 9:00 a.m. next Saturday...for information regarding spring training tickets or Premium packages, call (941) 954-4464 or visit reds.com.

ROSTER MANAGEMENT: Reds players eligible for arbitration include Most Valuable Player 2B Brandon Phillips (.288, 30hr, 94rbi, 32sb) and RHP Matt Belisle (30gs, 8-9, 5.32)...arbitration figures were to have been filed today...hearings are scheduled from February 1-20...the Reds haven’t gone to arbitration since 2004, when they won their case against RHP Chris Reitsma.

To clarify: Drew Anderson is not the Drew Anderson already in the Reds organization. This Drew Anderson is a left-handed hitting outfielder. (the Reds apparently cannot have too many of those). The other Anderson is switch-hitting infielder.

Easy Eddie goes deep (update)

Did you see Edwin Encarnacion three-run homer in the Dominican League finals? It made the SportsCenter top ten. The announcer's call is right out the World Cup elongated goal call. Maybe Marty should try it this season.

For the Spanish speaking among us (www.aguiluchos.com):

SANTO DOMINGO -- Edwin Encarnación comenzó la serie final del béisbol dominicano justamente como terminó la del año pasado.

Encarnación pegó cuadrangular de tres carreras en la primera entrada para dirigir a las Aguilas Cibaeñas a una victoria 8-3 sobre los Tigres del Licey, el jueves, en el estadio Quisqueya de Santo Domingo.

El segundo partido de la serie, programada al mejor en nueve juegos, se juega el viernes en Santiago, hogar de las Aguilas. Ambos equipos están empatados, con 19 títulos, como los más ganadores de la liga.

Encarnación, el antesalista regular de los Rojos de Cincinnati en las Grandes Ligas, desapareció un lanzamiento del zurdo Randy Leek (0-1) con dos compañeros en circulación para liderar una primera entrada de cuatro carreras, que fueron decisivas en el triunfo de las Aguilas.

En la serie final del torneo anterior, Encarnación fue el Jugador Más Valioso al destrozar el pitcheo de los Tigres y conducir a los cibaeños al triunfo. El toletero bateó .393 (28-11) con tres jonrones y 7 carreras impulsadas en siete juegos.

And it you want to watch a little Winter Baseball, this from ESPN:

ESPN Deportes to Offer Exclusive Coverage of the Winter Leagues Championship Series from Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela

Coverage Begins Today with Game #1 of the Dominican League Baseball Finals

As the 2007 winter league baseball season comes to an end, ESPN Deportes will present the most extensive coverage of the winter baseball championship series from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuelan. Throughout the next several weeks, ESPN Deportes will televise more than 120 hours of winter league baseball games, culminating with live coverage of the 2008 Caribbean Series. Coverage of the finals begins today with game #1 of the Dominican League Championship series featuring archrivals Tigres del Licey and Águilas Cibaeñas at 6:30 p.m. ET. Tigres del Licey and Águilas Cibaeñas have both won 19 titles in the Dominican League finals. This season the Puerto Rican League recessed from play in Winter League Baseball, therefore the Dominican Republic league will feature two representative teams – Tigres del Licey and Águilas Cibaeñas – in the upcoming tournament. Puerto Rico is expected to re-join the tournament next year.

On Monday, Tigres del Licey advanced to the Dominican League finals after winning the seventh game of the playoffs when pitchers Ervin Santana (LAA), Dámaso Marte (PIT) and Carlos Marmol (CHC) combined to throw a no-hitter against Estrellas Orientales, the first ever no hit game in Dominican League playoff history. Santana pitched six hitless innings, striking out nine and walking two, while Marte tossed an inning and two-thirds, striking out three with a hit batsman. Mámol closed the game by pitching an inning and one-third, striking out two. With this win, Tigres del Licey also secured a spot to the 2008 Caribbean Series.

Tigres del Licey’s archrival, Águilas Cibaeñas, advanced to the finals Wednesday night after defeating Estrellas Orientales 7-6. The Los Angeles Dodger’s Rafael Furcal led the team to their third consecutive Dominican League final going a perfect 4-4 at the plate with three RBI’s. Santiago Ramírez was credited with the win, but closer Randy Choate (MIL) worked out of jam in the 8th inning when he induced h Abraham Núñez (PHI) into a double play to end the game

The Dominican League Baseball commentator team includes Juan Marichal, the only Dominican-born player in the Hall of Fame (analyst), Ernesto Jerez (play-by-play), Kevin Cabral (analyst) and Carlos Jose Lugo (sideline reporter).

Coverage of the Championship Series of the Mexico begins January Tuesday, January 22. The start date for Venezuelan finals will be announced at a later date.

Dominican League Championship Series on ESPN Deportes

Date Time (ET) Teams
Thur., Jan. 17 6:30 p.m. Águilas @ Licey
Fri., Jan. 18 7:00 p.m. Licey @ Águilas
Sat., Jan. 19 6:30 p.m. Águilas @ Licey
Su., Jan. 20 4:00 p.m. Licey @ Águilas
Mon., Jan. 21 4:00 p.m. Águilas @ Licey
Wed., Jan. 23 7:00 p.m. Licey @ Águilas
Thur., Jan. 24 6:30 p.m. Águilas @ Licey
Fri., Jan. 25 7:00 p.m. Licey @ Águilas
Sat., Jan. 26 6:30 p.m. Águilas @ Licey

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Allen on Goodyear

Just talked to John Allen about the Goodyear field trip.

It sounds likes the Reds were impressed. Bob Castellini was there for part of the tour.

“It was great,” Allen said. “It was very informative. They have a good plan.”

The group also went to Surprise, where the Rangers and Royals share a facility, to check out how the two-team thing works.

“Basically, you have a game at stadium everyday. The Royals and Rangers play each other four times, so you don’t have to worry about overexposure.”

In Goodyear, the Reds would share the stadium with Indians, but everything else is separate.

Allen said they didn't talk economic specifics. He said the economics of the Goodyear deal would be different than the new Sarasota plan. And you take "different" as more favorable to the Reds.

The earliest a second team would be able to use the Goodyear facility is 2010. The Indians go there starting 2009.

My early line: There's a decent chance the Reds make the move west. If the Sarasota city and county commissions don't vote to move on with the new plan to rebuild Ed Smith Tuesday, the chances of going west skyrocket.

Pitching pickings slim

With Jon Lieber and Jason Jennings signing, the thin starting pitching free agent class is a bit thinner.

Let's see: Kyle Lohse, Livan Hernandez, Josh Fogg, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Kris Benson, Brett Tomko and Steve Trachsel are still out there.

Signing any of them isn't going to cause a rush on the ticket window at Great American.

I think Lohse will be too expensive. I wouldn't sign Garcia or Colon because of health issues. Signing a veteran who's not ready on Opening Day defeats the purpose because you'd have to begin the year with one of the young pitchers in the rotation any way.

That leaves Hernandez, Benson, Fogg, Tomko and Trachsel. Benson has healthy issues of his own, but he's thrown for scouts and is apparently healthy. Fogg, who went, 10-9 with 4.94 ERA for Colorado has the best numbers of the bunch.

I know the answer but I'll ask anyway: Would you sign any of the above, or go with the young guys?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lieber to the Cubs

Right-hander Jon Lieber has signed with the Chicago Cubs.

The Reds had talked to Lieber.

"We spoke to a lot of clubs, including the Reds," Lieber's agent, Rex Gary, said. "I'm not going to characterize how close it was. You know his history with the Cubs. They were clearly the first choice."

Chicago Tribune reports that Lieber signed a one-year, $3.5, million deal. He can earn up to $4 million in incentives. That helps set the market for second-tier guys.

Sarasota v. Goodyear

Sarasota is making a pretty strong push to keep the Res as you can see in this Sarasota Herald-Tribune article.

But obviously it's not a done deal. We'll know by Tuesday. If the either the city or the county commission rejects the new proposal, the Reds will surely move on.

What happens in Goodyear, of course, affects all this. I'm not sure how you work out a plan to share the facilities with the Indians. I guess they'd play a lot of day-night doubleheaders.

I'll get an update from John Allen after the tour.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Spring update

I spoke John Allen today about the spring training situation. To clarify: He's no longer the Reds' COO, but he's working as a consultant as the the club tries to find a spring home. Thus he's the point man on the trip to Goodyear, Ariz., to check out the facilities there.

I think the club would rather stay in Florida. But I get the impression that no one is willing to build them a facility like the one in Goodyear.

Allen said the Reds have heard from places other than Orlando. "But I'm not at liberty to discuss," he said. My guess is one is Lee County (Fort Myers), where they'd like to add a third team.

As for Sarasota: "We've had some conversations," Allen said. "But they need to bring a deal to us."

This just in: The Sarasota city commission has put on its agenda for next week discussion of alternative funding plan to rebuild Ed Smith.

Reading some of the stuff in the Sarasota paper, it sound like there's some sentiment to give it a try.

"We're getting to time of the year when people make hotel reservations," Allen said. "I think they realize we're going to be missed."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Arizona pitch

John Allen will be in Goodyear, Ariz., Wednesday to hear a pitch about the Reds relocating their spring home there.

As I said in the earlier post, the Reds aren't getting offers from Florida cities. Orlando apparently is the only city trying to land the Reds.

Goodyear built a $75 million complex for the Indians. The town is talking to Reds about sharing that facility.

Allen, the club's former COO, is helping with search on consulting basis.

Again, I see Sarasota coming up with another pitch.

On the (spring) home front, and a rant

Don't be surprised if the Sarasota and the Reds try to work out something to keep the club's spring home there.

It's been 2 1/2 months since the referendum to fund the city of Sarasota's share of the cost of rebuilding the Ed Smith Stadium complex was voted down.

Not much has happened since. No place in Florida has come forth and promised to build the Reds the kind of facility they want. I think Orlando is the best possibility at this point.

Sarasota, meanwhile, is dealing with the reality of losing the Reds who pay a lot of money to maintain Ed Smith.

Arizona is a possibility for the Reds. But the people running the club realize that would not be a popular move with fans -- given the added travel distance.

Anyone who's ever been to Sarasota would agree that it is the ideal place for the Reds to train. If something can be worked out to rebuild the Ed, it's no brainer to stay. Remember, most of the funding was in place before the vote. There's a chance a deal could be put together with tax abatements and the like.

You may wonder why Ed Smith Stadium, which opened in 1989, is out of date. I don't know that it is. But the Phillies, Tigers, Red Sox have better facilities, so the Reds would like to keep up. Things get old very fast these days.

I write this because today was Planned Obsolesce Monday for me. I bought a new computer a couple of months ago. But I haven't been able to get my photo printer working. After a couple attempts to download the driver and the like, I give up and call the printer's maker. I give the guy the model number. He comes back 10 minutes later. "Sir, the printer you have is very old. It's six years old. We don't have the software for it anymore." But for $54, they'll send me a new one. That's half of what I'd pay in a store. I feel honored as I give him my credit card number.

A little later, I call an old friend who has an appliance repair business. Our stove randomly begins beeping loudly and flashing an "F-5" where the time usually is. Give him the model number. "That's usually the clock assembly. I'll call you back." Ten minutes later, he calls back. "They don't make it anymore." So what do I do? I ask. "Get a new stove."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Jocketty Day II

I wrote some more stuff on Walt Jocketty for the Sunday paper. I talked to Jeff Brantley about him. Jocketty traded for Brantley in 1997. Brantley thinks it's a great a hire.

"He's a tremendous talent evaluator," Brantley said. "He sees the positives and negatives."

Brantley also doesn't think Jocketty's ego will get in the way of him doing a good job.

It will be interesting to see how it works out. Jocketty's obviously got Bob Castellini's ear. Castellini is very hands-on. He makes the final call in things like a potential Erik Bedard trade.

I also wrote a Reds Insider, talking about our favorite subject: Will the Reds add a veteran starter? I imagine Wayne Krivsky has or will shortly run the possibilities by Jocketty. I don't think the Bedard trade or a trade for Joe Blanton gets done. Signing a free agent is more likely. Pickings are fairly slim. The Reds have kicked the tires on a lot of guys. We know that's the case with Josh Fogg. It's probably the case with Jon Lieber and Livan Hernandez.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Reds hire Jocketty

The Reds have hired Walt Jocketty as a special advisor to President and CEO Bob Castellini. Wayne Krivsky stays as GM.

Krivsky and Jocketty will be on conference call at 3:30 p.m. More details then.

OK, here's some of what was said in the conference call:

Krivsky: "I'm still the GM. I still report to Bob. Everyone under me still reports to me. Nothing's changed in that regard."

"We're just adding another experienced baseball man. Walt and I have followed similar career paths. He's been a GM a lot longer and had more success than me. It's another set of eyes and ears. We believe in the same things: That you build a club through scouting and player development."

"Nobody has all the answers. I certainly don't. Walt will be part of the discussion. I'll be talking to Walt a lot. We'll work through things and take it to Bob."

Jocketty: "We should be fine. I report to Bob. Basically, I'll be involved in every aspect, working with Wayne. I think Wayne's done a great job in the two years."

"I know the pressure and the commitment of being a GM. Quite honestly, I didn't know if I was ready to step back into that job."

Jocketty said he had offers from other clubs. Three factors led him to take the job with the Red: His relationship with Castellini; the fact that he was reporting directly to the owner; and the St. Louis is close enough that he can keep his residence there (He has a son who's a junior in high school and daughter who's a junior in college).

"I like this role. It was important that I got back in the game because the longer you stay out the harder it is to get back in."

"This club should be in a position to be competitive and stay competitive for a number of years. . . the ultimate goal is get the Reds in World Series."

Here's the release from the Reds:

The Cincinnati Reds today announced that Walt Jocketty, former Senior Vice President and General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, has joined the organization as Special Advisor to President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini.

Jocketty will advise and assist Castellini in every facet of baseball operations, including matters related to the front office, Major League field and support personnel, scouting and minor league and international operations along with training and medical services.

"We are fortunate to be able to add to our baseball department someone who has had as much success in the game as Walt. Clearly, he is a proven winner and his experience will be invaluable to me and to our entire organization," Castellini said. "He wants to keep his hand in baseball this season. When you have the chance to hire someone with his credentials, you have to take advantage of that opportunity. We're doing everything we can to improve our franchise."

A 33-year veteran of professional baseball, including the last 13 with St. Louis as general manager, Jocketty's Cardinals teams went to the playoffs seven times. He won the National League Central Division six times and the 2001 NL Wild Card while earning two National League championships and the 2006 World Series title. The Cardinals have produced winning seasons in seven of the last eight years.

While general manager in St. Louis, Jocketty was named Major League Baseball's Executive of the Year by The Sporting News in 2000 and 2004 and by Baseball America in 2000. In 2004, he also received the Rube Foster Legacy Award from the Negro Hall of Fame as National League Executive of the Year.

Jocketty said, "I look forward to the challenge of helping Bob and the entire Reds organization continue to develop a plan to build a consistent and winning baseball team in Cincinnati."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On the starting pitcher front

After speaking to some baseball people the last few days, I'd say the Reds will likely go to spring training with what they've got as far as starting pitchers.

Nothing new has happened on the Erik Bedard front: The Orioles want more than the Reds are willing to give. As far as free agents, the Reds have talked to some agents for some of second-tier guys. Josh Fogg is one I know of. But unless someone can be had at a reasonable price, the Reds aren't likely of sign any of them.

All that is subject to change, of course.

Remember, the Bronson Arroyo trade didn't happen until March 20. Teams have a better sense of their needs toward the end of spring training than they do now. If Ryan Freel shows he's healthy, it gives the Reds another chip to trade, particularly if Jay Bruce wins the center field job.

Set the DVR

From Fox Sports Ohio:

Re-live the Cincinnati Reds greatest memories, as FSN Ohio brings back the classic games of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. FSN Ohio will air nine games, going back to the Big Red Machine of the 1970’s. Other classic games will include Pete Rose, breaking the all time hits record, Playoff and World Series games of the 1990’s, Tom Seaver’s no hitter, Tom Browning’s perfect game and more.

Hosted by Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley, Reds Classic Rewind airs on the following dates and times on FSN Ohio:

Air Date Air Time Event Date Event
1/14/08 8:00pm 9/11/1985 Pete Rose 4192 Game vs. San Diego
1/21/08 8:00pm 10/12/1990 NLCS Game 6 vs. Pittsburgh
1/28/08 8:00pm 10/20/1990 World Series Game 4 vs. Oakland
2/4/08 8:00pm 6/16/1978 Tom Seaver’s no hitter vs. St. Louis
2/11/08 9:00pm 6/30/06 Reds comeback vs. Cleveland
2/18/08 8:00pm 9/16/1988 Tom Browning’s perfect game vs. Dodgers
2/25/08 8:00pm 10/14/1975 World Series game 3 vs. Boston
3/3/08 8:00pm 10/21/1975 World Series game 6 vs. Boston
3/10/08 8:00pm 10/22/1975 World Series game 7 vs. Boston

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Caravan announced

From the Reds:

CINCINNATI - The 2008 Reds Winter Caravan, in partnership with CincinnatiUSA.com, is scheduled to make 28 stops in 25 cities and towns in four states covering four days and more than 1,500 miles. The caravan kicks off Thursday, January 24 and will include 12 fan stops that will be open to the public and 13 Hot Stove stops at Reds on Radio affiliates. The Caravan will visit two hospitals, King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky. and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis. The Reds Community Fund has field renovation dedication ceremonies scheduled for Columbus and Louisville.

The 2008 version will consist of two separate caravans touring simultaneously. The 12 stops open to the public will be free. At each stop (not including the field renovations) the Reds will raffle off two tickets to the 2008 Opening Day game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Fans can visit www.reds.com/caravan for up-to-date information, maps and photos from the 2008 Caravan.

The very popular Reds Winter Caravan provides fans with the opportunity to interact with new Reds manager Dusty Baker, executive vice president and general manager Wayne Krivsky, current and former players, broadcasters and other members of the front office staff. At each stop, the group will field questions from fans, sign autographs and pose for photographs. Sales representatives will be on hand to discuss season tickets and group sales, while the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, the Reds Community Fund and Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network also will attend selected stops.

Scheduled to appear in stops on the Northern Leg are Krivsky, second baseman Brandon Phillips, pitcher Todd Coffey, Reds Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Browning, Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman and Reds mascot Gapper.

The Southern Leg group includes Baker, outfielder Ryan Freel, Reds Minor League Player of the Year Jay Bruce, Reds broadcasters Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley, senior vice president of business operations Phil Castellini and Reds mascot Mr. Redlegs.

NORTHERN LEG FAN STOPS (free and open to the public)
Thursday, January 24

Columbus, Ohio, Flannagan’s in Dublin, Ohio, 7 to 9 pm
Friday, January 25
Columbus, Ohio Columbus Parks and Rec at Driving Park, 10 to 10:30 a.m.
Lima, Ohio Lima Mall, 6 to 8 pm
Saturday, January 26
Muncie, Ind., Stoops Automotive Showroom, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Indianapolis, Location TBA, 6 to 8 pm
Sunday, January 27
Dayton, Ohio, Fricker’s in West Carrollton, Noon to 2 pm

SOUTHERN LEG FAN STOPS (free and open to the public)
Thursday, January 24

Marietta, Ohio, Location TBA, 6 to 8 p.m.
Friday, January 25
Charleston (WV), Charleston Towne Center, 3 to 5 p.m.
Huntington, W.Va., Huntington Mall, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 26
Lexington, Ky., Faytette Mall, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 27
Louisville, Metro Parks at Wyandotte Park, Noon to 12:30 pm
Louisville, Louisville Slugger Museum, 1 to 3 pm

Bad Boy to Royals

Steve Stewart has been hired by the Kansas City Royals. He'll do their pre- and post-game radio shows, as well as play-by-play on select games.

All the best to the Bad Boy.

And a reminder about tonight:

HOT STOVE LEAGUE AT HOF: Wednesday’s Hot Stove League show on 700 WLW Radio will be broadcast live from the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum...the 1-hour program begins at 6:00 p.m. and also can be heard via the internet at reds.com...legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman will host...the show is open to the public...admission to the Hall of Fame and Museum is free after 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Reds interested in Fogg?

I heard today that the Reds have been talking to free agent right-hander Josh Fogg. Wayne Krivsky would not confirm that.

Fogg, a 31-year-old right-hander, was 10-9 with 4.94 ERA for Colorado last year. It was the fifth time in six years he's won at least 10 games. But he's never pitched 200 innings.

Fogg made $3.625 million last year, so the Reds might be able to get him at a relatively reasonable price.

Krivsky did say the Reds remain hopeful about landing a veteran for the rotation. He just won't name names, of course.

Gossage gets in the Hall

Goose Gossage was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. I voted for Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson and Dave Concepcion. Concepcion comes off the ballot. Here's the release from the Hall:

Rich “Goose” Gossage, who tormented batters as one of the game’s most intimidating relief pitchers over a 22-season career, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting verified by Ernst & Young. He will be inducted into the Hall July 27 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Gossage will be honored along with one of his former managers, Dick Williams, who was elected last month by the Veterans Committee. Former owners Walter O’Malley and Barney Dreyfuss, former commissioner Bowie Kuhn and former manager Billy Southworth, all deceased, will also be enshrined at the ceremony that will include the presentation of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing to the late Larry Whiteside. The Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting will be announced on February 19.

In the BBWAA election, 543 ballots, including three blanks, were cast by members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service. Players must be named on 75 percent of ballots submitted to be elected. This year, 408 votes were required.

Gossage was listed on 466 ballots (85.8%) to win election in his ninth year on the ballot, a gain of 14.6 percent over his percentage in 2007 when he finished 21 votes shy of the necessary 75 percent.

His election brings to 286 the number of elected members of the Hall. Of that total, 199 are former major-league players, of which 106 have been through the BBWAA ballot. Gossage is the 61st pitcher overall elected to the Hall and the fifth reliever, joining Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley and Bruce Sutter.

Gossage, 56, compiled a 124-107 record with a 3.01 earned run average and 310 saves in 1,002 games for nine clubs with his best seasons coming with the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. The hard-throwing righthander led the American League in saves three times, twice won the Sporting News’ AL Fireman of the Year Award and was selected to nine All-Star teams.

The closer on the Yankees’ 1978 World Series championship club, Gossage also pitched in the 1981 World Series for the Yankees and the 1984 World Series for the Padres. He had a 2.63 ERA and two saves in 13 2/3 World Series innings. Primarily a closer in his career, Gossage did make 37 starts during his first five seasons with the White Sox and had 16 complete games.

Finishing 16 votes short of election was former Boston Red Sox slugger Jim Rice, who was named on 392 ballots (72.2%) in trying to become the first left fielder elected to the Hall since former teammate Carl Yastrzemski in 1989. Rice has one more year remaining on the ballot. Players remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive at least five percent of the vote.

The only other players to be listed on more than half the ballots were outfielder Andre Dawson with 358 votes (65.9) and pitcher Bert Blyleven with 336 (61.9). Rounding out the top 10 were pitchers Lee Smith, Jack Morris and Tommy John; outfielder Tim Raines, first baseman Mark McGwire and shortstop Alan Trammell.

John, like Rice, also has one year remaining on the ballot. This year’s election marked the 15th and final try for former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Dave Concepcion, who received 88 votes (16.2%) and will eventually come under review by the Veterans Committee.

Of the 11 newcomers to the ballot, only Raines received sufficient support of five percent (28 votes) or more to stay on the ballot, with 132 votes (24.3). The list included pitcher Jose Rijo, who previously appeared on the ballot in 2001 before coming out of retirement to pitch in 2001 and ‘02. Rijo received one vote in 2001 and none this year.

Other holdovers who will remain on the ballot are Don Mattingly, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy and Harold Baines.

The vote: Rich “Goose” Gossage 466 (85.8%), Jim Rice 392 (72.2%), Andre Dawson 358 (65.9%), Bert Blyleven 336 (61.9%), Lee Smith 235 (43.3%), Jack Morris 233 (42.9%), Tommy John 158 (29.1%), Tim Raines 132 (24.3%), Mark McGwire 128 (23.6%), Alan Trammell 99 (18.2%), Dave Concepcion 88 (16.2%), Don Mattingly 86 (15.8%), Dave Parker 82 (15.1%), Dale Murphy 75 (13.8%), Harold Baines 28 (5.2%), Rod Beck 2 (0.4%), Travis Fryman 2 (0.4%), Robb Nen 2 (0.4%), Shawon Dunston 1 (0.2%), Chuck Finley 1 (0.2%), David Justice 1 (0.2%), Chuck Knoblauch 1 (0.2%), Todd Stottlemyre 1 (0.2%), Brady Anderson 0, Jose Rijo 0.

Mackanin to Yankees

Pete Mackanin has accepted a job as a scout with the New York Yankees, according to scout.com. Mackanin had hoped to get on on-the-field job.

“We had a nice discussion,” said Mackanin to scout.com about the Yankees’ interest. "Fortunately they were looking for somebody, and I fit the bill."

The Yankees also hired Tim Naehring, the Reds former minor league field coordinator as a scout.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Nuxie auction

From the Reds:

TODAY’S NEWS: Some of Joe Nuxhall’s memorabilia will be auctioned off as part of a charity event on April 3 at Jungle Jim’s Oscar Center on Dixie Highway...proceeds will benefit the Joe Nuxhall Hope Project...the annual Joe Nuxhall Golf Outing has been scheduled for June 16.

COOPERSTOWN ANNOUNCEMENT TUESDAY: At 2:00 p.m. tomorrow the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2008 will be announced...Dave Concepcion, Dave Parker and Jose Rijo are on the ballot...in December, the Veterans Committee elected managers Billy Southworth and Dick Williams along with executives Barney Dreyfuss, Bowie Kuhn and Walter O’Malley.

HOT STOVE LEAGUE AT HOF: Wednesday’s Hot Stove League show on 700 WLW Radio will be broadcast live from the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum...the 1-hour program begins at 6:00 p.m. and also can be heard via the internet at reds.com...legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman will host...the show is open to the public...admission to the Hall of Fame and Museum is free after 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Nuxie had an incredible collection of memorabilia. John Kiesewetter did a story on it a few years ago. Top of the line stuff. I don't know what they're auctioning off, but they'll have a lot to select from.

Clemens react (update II)

Did you see Roger Clemens on the 60 Minutes? I thought he sounded believable at first. But when he danced around the lie detector question, admitted he had been injected (with B-12 and painkillers) and talked about how much suing would cost him, I thought he lost a lot. The guy made $22 million in '06, I think he could find a lawyer to take the case for flat rate of $1 million or so.

Update: Clemens filed a defamation suit against Brian McNamee Sunday night in Harris County.

Update II: Just watched Clemens' press conference. To his credit, he's taking the offensive. I don't know if the tape of the phone conversation between McNamee and Clemens that they played helped or hurt Clemens' cause. When McNamee kept asking Clemens "What do you want me to do?" it seemed like a good time to say: "Tell the truth."

Clemens said he is going to testify before Congress.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Reds add six players

From the Reds:

TODAY’S NEWS: Today the Reds claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles OF Jeff Fiorentino, increasing their roster to 39 players...also today, the club agreed to terms on minor league contracts and invited to Major League spring training camp RHP Jim Brower, IF Jolbert Cabrera (pronounced HOLE-bert), IF Andy Green, LHP Adam Pettyjohn and IF Andy Phillips.

I talked to Wayne Krivsky today for my Sunday Insider -- it's going to be on Jay Bruce, thus the previous post -- I asked him if the Reds were in on talks with any of the remaining free agent starters.

"You can assume that," he said.

The two I mentioned were Jon Lieber and Livan Hernandez. The thing that signing either would do is move Matt Belisle back into competition for a spot. Right now, Belisle's pretty much guaranteed a spot. I expect Belisle to be better this year, but his ERA was 5.32 last year and he gave up 212 hits in 177 innings.

Of the guys signed Friday, Phillips is the one to watch. He played 61 games with the Yankees last year and hit .292 with two homers and 25 RBI. He is one of 21 players to hit the first of his major league career out. His went over the Green Monster in Fenway in Sept. 14, 2004.

Matching names to numbers

.300 average, 28 doubles, 7 triples, 22 HRs, 80 RBI, 63 BBs, 81 SOs, 16 SBs
.281 average, 29 doubles, 1 triple, 16 HRs, 79 RBI, 100 BBs, 101 Ks, 24 SBs
.294 average, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 11 HRs, 65 RBI, 46 BBS, 76 SOs, 15 SBs
.319 average, 46 doubles, 8 triples, 26 HRs, 89 RBI, 47 BBs, 135 SOs, 8 SBs.

Those are the numbers that four players in the Reds organization put up as 20-year-olds. Any guess as to names that match the numbers? The 46 doubles are a dead give-away to those who follow the minors closely.

It's interesting to look at how you did at 20 projects for the future.

The players are Ken Griffey Jr. in 1990 with Seattle; Adam Dunn in 2000 with low A Dayton; Edwin Encarnacion in 2003 with Chattanooga and high A Potomac; and Jay Bruce in 2007 with Sarasota, Chattanooga, then Louisville. The original post was a quiz, thus the comments below.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Reds announce spring schedule

The Reds announced the spring schedule today, as well as new way to get more money out of people who want to see the top games.

Here's the release from the Reds:

Two-game ticket packages for Cincinnati Reds 2008 spring training games will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, January 19 at their spring training complex, on-line at reds.com and by phone at (877) 647-7337. Tickets for all individual games will go on sale at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, January 26. The Reds' spring training site will be in Sarasota, Florida for the 11th season.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to the City of Sarasota Sports Complex on February 16, and position players are due in on February 19. An intra-squad scrimmage tentatively is scheduled for February 26 at Ed Smith Stadium.

This spring there will be seven Premium games at Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium, including afternoon exhibitions against the Cleveland Indians (March 4), New York Yankees (March 6, March 14), Atlanta Braves (March 8) and Detroit Tigers (March 17) in addition to the Reds’ home night games against the Philadelphia Phillies (March 13) and Toronto Blue Jays (March 24).

From Saturday, January 19 through Friday, January 25 fans only can purchase any or all of four two-game ticket packages that include the Yankees (March 6) & Pittsburgh Pirates (March 7), Braves (March 8) & Houston Astros (March 11), Yankees (March 14) & Phillies (March 16) and Tigers (March 17) & Pirates (March 18). All single-game tickets will go on sale at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, January 26.

On January 19, tickets will be sold at the third base ticket booth on the east side of the ballpark, located at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue in Sarasota, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. Beginning January 21, the ticket booth will be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.. The ticket booth is closed Sundays, except on gameday. Tickets also can be purchased any time online at reds.com or by phone at (877) 647-7337. For information regarding spring training tickets or Ed Smith Stadium, call (941) 954-4464 or log on to reds.com.

Ticket prices for Reds 2008 spring training games are the same as in 2007, including $14 for box seats, $12 for reserved seats and $7 for general admission. There is an additional $2 charge per ticket for each of the seven Premium games. The Reds’ 34-game Major League exhibition schedule opens February 27 and includes 17 games at Ed Smith Stadium.

(Schedule & Times Always Subject To Change)
Day Date Opponent Site Gametime
Wednesday February 27 Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater 1:05 PM
Thursday February 28 MINNESOTA TWINS SARASOTA 1:05 PM
Friday February 29 TAMPA BAY RAYS SARASOTA 1:05 PM
Sunday March 2 Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 1:05 PM
Monday March 3 Minnesota Twins Ft. Myers 1:05 PM
Wednesday March 5 Boston Red Sox Ft. Myers 1:05 PM
Pittsburgh Pirates (SS) Bradenton 7:05 PM
Sunday March 9 Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg 1:05 PM
Monday March 10 New York Yankees Tampa 7:15 PM
Detroit Tigers (SS) Lakeland 1:05 PM
Wednesday March 12 Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater 7:05 PM
Friday March 14 Pittsburgh Pirates (SS) Bradenton 1:05 PM
Saturday March 15 Boston Red Sox Ft. Myers 1:05 PM
Wednesday March 19 OFF DAY
Thursday March 20 Minnesota Twins Ft. Myers 7:05 PM
Friday March 21 Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 1:05 PM
Saturday March 22 Houston Astros Kissimmee 1:05 PM
Tuesday March 25 Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater 1:05 PM
Wednesday March 26 Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 7:05 PM
Friday March 28 Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg 1:05 PM
Saturday March 29 TAMPA BAY RAYS SARASOTA 1:05 PM

State of the bullpen

An emailer or a commenter on the blog wanted to know if I thought the Reds should add a veteran to the bullpen mix.

I would not.

I think the young relievers they've added to inventory will be enough now that the Francisco Cordero signing moves David Weathers and Jared Burton back.

I liked what I saw of Marcus McBeth last year. Jon Coutlangus is a serviceable lefty. If Bill Bray can stay healthy, he'll help out a great deal. Brad Salmon has the stuff to be effective.

But you know about those guys. Two guys you may not know about who could be in the mix before the years done are right-hander Josh Roenicke and left-hander Pedro Viola.

Roenicke was 10th-round pick in 2006. He's a converted outfielder, out of UCLA. He throws up to 98. He was 2-1 with 3.25 ERA and 16 saves at Sarasota last year and 1-1 with 0.95 and eight saves at Chattanooga last year.

Viola is 23. He signed late for a Dominican player, so last year was his second pro season. He went from Dayton to Sarasota to Chattanooga last year. His combined numbers: 3-2, 1.42 ERA, 1.86 opponent average, 94 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings. He got beat around early in Arizona Fall League, but he ended with four scoreless outings.

Clinic at Champions

Champions Baseball Academy is putting on a pitching and catching clinic Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. They've put together a pretty good lineup of current and former players: Jeff Shaw, Aaron Cook, John Van Benschoten, Chris Welsh and Greg Zaun. Reds bullpen catcher Mike Stefanski and medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek will also participate.

The clinic is open to players 10 and older. The cost is $99.

For more info: 513-247-9511.


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