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Price for a Beer
3/25/15: The Cincinnati Reds are putting the final touches on their 2015 roster these days. It looks like pitchers Raisel Iglesias and Jason Marquis have made the starting rotation, while Paul Maholm will be doing something else. The Reds also pulled Tony Cingrani from the rotation and have put him in the bullpen. Cingrani is said to be 'disappointed and angry' with the move, but that is the life of a border line starter. The Reds have their work cut out for them as the entire NL Central looks strong this season. However, with a bit of luck and health, they can compete with the likes of the Cardinals, Pirates and Brewers.
3/18/15: By all accounts, serious injuries to key players ruined the Cincinnati Reds' 2014 season. That happens to many teams (just look at the Texas Rangers in 2014, and possibly 2015). The hope is that history does not repeat itself, though. Unfortunately, outfielder Jason Bourgeois will now be out of action for four to six weeks with a shoulder fracture. This threatens the Reds outfield and likely means that Brennan Boesch may be on the Opening Day roster. Bourgeois had been hitting pretty well with a .368 average and.895 OPS in seven spring training games, and that kind of production will be hard to match.
2/25/15: Perhaps most outside of Cincinnati have never noticed, but the team (particularly their star players) never seem to be good enough for their local broadcaster. The latest flame-up was when broadcaster Marty Brennaman noted that the team would be in "deep trouble" if Joey Votto was content with being first in the league in on-base percentage. The flip side to that is to wonder if Votto and the team would be better served by him not getting on base. Votto does not seemed pleased with this notion. Votto understands he makes big money and has not lived up to the contract in recent years, but the notion of not getting on base seems senseless.
2/18/15: The Cincinnati Reds should once again be a competitive team in the National League Central, and that is saying something considering the the division is once again stacked. The Reds struggled through much of last season as they dealt with several injuries to key players. With the team healthy, they should be a good match up for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Closer Aroldis Chapman looks to be closing again, and he has developed into one of the better closers in the National League. He came to terms with the Reds last week on a one year deal, so he will avoid arbitration.
2/11/15: MLB teams are getting ready for pitchers and catchers to report early for spring training, but this may be the last one for ace Johnny Cueto. Cueto has developed from a promising talent to a dominating force on the mound over the past few seasons. But that success may just price him out of Cincinnati's price range once he is a free agent. Cueto has said that he will not continue negotiating after Opening Day, so the Reds only have two more months to work something out. He was runner-up in the Cy Young voting last season and will probably command over $20 million per year.
1/7/15: The Cincinnati Reds, if they can stay healthy, should be a factor in the NL Central race in 2015. The 2014 season was basically destroyed by injuries. They are loaded with talent and just traded with the Philadelphia Phillies for Marlon Byrd. One knock on the Reds is their lack of depth, especially compared to teams like St. Louis or Los Angeles. One major casualty last season was slugger Joey Votto. Votto missed most of the last three months of the season with a quadriceps strain. There is good news, though. The 31 year old first baseman (who is still owed $213 million over the next nine seasons) will be able to go into spring training with 'no limitations'.
11/12/14: The Reds may still be looking for answers as to what went wrong in the 2014 season, though much of that has to do with injuries to many key players. So it seems that Cincinnati is at a bit of crossroads. They still have a good deal of talent on their roster, but those players are getting older and more expensive. They may be considering rebuilding. Which brings up an interesting report that speculates that the team may look to trade pitchers Johnny Cueto and/or Mat Latos. It is conceivable that if the Reds get off to a slow start they make some moves and get some quality prospects in return.
11/5/14: It is impossible to tell how good the Cincinnati Reds would have been in 2014 if not for all the injuries that derailed the season. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, you name a key player and he was probably injured at some time for some significant portion of the season. Except Johnny Cueto. Cueto was superb in 2014. He pitched 244 innings with 242 strikeouts. More importantly, his ERA was 2.25 and opponents only hit .192 against him. In a no-brainer move, the team exercised their $10 million option on him for 2015. If the rest of the team can stay healthy, then this is a powerful lineup next season.
10/29/14: Kevin Towers is unemployed no longer. Towers was the General Manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks before making several questionable trades and watching Arizona tumble to the cellar of the NL West. While his talents may not be best served as a GM, he is still a highly respected baseball man, particularly when it comes to scouting talent. The Cincinnati Reds now have his services as an assistant or advisor to General Manager Walt Jocketty. Do not be surprised if the Reds have an outstanding draft next year, one that can pay dividends well into the future.
10/22/14: The Reds, like every other team in Major League Baseball, need pitching. Ace Johnny Cueto has developed into a top end hurler (to go with his top end kicking prowess) and closer Aroldis Chapman is simply a dominant flame thrower who can overpower most batters when he is accurate. But otherwise, there are not too many big names on that roster. The Reds are set to lose Trevor Bell to free agency. Will they miss him? Well, Bell only pitched two-thirds of an inning last season due to elbow inflammation, so this probably will not affect anything at all.
10/8/14: If there is any good news about the Reds season (other than it is over), it is that they should be able to return a full lineup next season. There is no question that major injuries to key players like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips had a direct result on the team finishing 76-86, a full dozen games out of a wild card spot. But the Reds do not have any pending free agents on the roster. They will probably let Ryan Ludwick walk, but do not have to worry about trying to hold on to any of their stars. GM Walt Jocketty has a two year extension, and do not be surprised if he tries to lure a big name or two in the offseason.
10/1/14: The Reds are packing up their clubhouse and getting ready for an offseason to search for answers of what went wrong. The quick answer to that, which will not require an expensive consultant's fee, is that key players got injured for long stretches of time and the team could not overcome those losses over the long term. The team will also have to make some personnel decisions, like with utility man Ryan Ludwick. The team is likely to buy him out rather than pick up his $9 million option. Ludwick is 36 and wants to keep playing, but realizes that it may not be in Cincinnati and it may be in a reduced role.
9/24/14: Mercifully, the Reds season is almost over. The season started up with so much promise, but was put to rest around mid-summer due to so many injuries to key players. There is not much left to play for - other than avoiding the disgrace of losing in the standings to the Chicago Cubs. Fittingly, Mat Latos was scratched from his latest start and is unlikely to pitch again this season. The upside is that the Reds know they have a talented roster when healthy, and with no pressure, they can afford to let their prospects have a few games at the big league level.
9/17/14: All of the injuries that the Reds have had to deal with this season finally caught up with the team a few weeks ago, and they faded from playoff contention. The rate of the fall had some wondering if the Cubs could catch them in the standings. But Cincy has pride, if not a healthy roster. They are now embracing the role of 'spoiler' as the season winds down. Indeed, they took three of four from St. Louis, chipping away at the Cardinals' lead in the division. Johnny Cueto threw 8 flawless innings in a 1-0 game, which gives hope for the future.
8/28/14: As the season winds down and the contenders are being phased out, the injuries and blowouts seem to take on extra importance. The Reds had a miserable time in St. Louis and left the Gateway to the West in worse shape than when they arrived (even if they finally got second baseman Brandon Phillips back). It was worse in Atlanta in game one of the series. Trailing 8-0 in the ninth inning, manager Brian Price did a smart thing and saved his bullpen. Instead, he trotted out outfielder Skip Schumaker to work the final inning. Schu had a scoreless inning and even hit 91 MPH with his fastball. Good work by him on that long night.
8/21/14: The Reds continue to fight for their playoff lives, but the hill keeps getting steeper. The team has been without all-star first baseman Joey Votto since early July. He has been moved to the 60 Day disabled list in a procedurally move and will be eligible to be activated on September 4th. Additionally, starting pitcher Homer Bailey was put on the 15 Day DL with a strained flexor tendon and a bulging disc in his neck. The Reds promoted Dylan Axelrod to take Bailey's spot in the rotation for now. That seems to be the story for the Reds this season - a lot of talent in the trainer's room trying to get healthy enough to play.
8/14/14: The Reds are still hanging around the fringes of the NL Central chase, though they sit in fourth behind Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. A good 10 game stretch by any of those teams could be enough to take the division this season, but time is running out. In the meantime, the Reds unveiled the logo for the 2015 All-Star Game (in Cincinnati), and it is a beauty. It features an old-time façade and script - and has a moustache; a nice tip of the hat to the Reds mascot. Well done Cincy and MLB, well done.
8/7/14: The Reds were a curious omission from much of the activity during the non-waiver trade deadline. Cincy has fallen in the standings over the last couple of weeks, but is still in a position to win the NL Central or a wildcard spot. The team has a strong starting rotation and closer - that much is certain. But with both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips injured, the team could use a bat (or two). So it was curious that the Reds did not make any deals to bring some offense into the lineup right now. Perhaps they are expecting to tread water until Votto and Phillips return.
7/31/14: Its been a tough week or so for the Reds as they have gone 2-8 in their last ten games. The slide has knocked them clearly into fourth place in the NL Central. It is possible that all the injuries have finally caught up to the team. At least there is some good news as the tam is ready to activate infielder Jack Hannahan from the 60 day disabled list. Hannahan had offseason shoulder surgery that has taken much longer to recover than expected. He could be useful down the stretch with experience at all infield positions.
7/24/14: The Reds certainly have the roster to win the NL Central. At least, they have the roster on paper. Of course, many of the Reds' key players have come down with injuries this season, and maybe that is why they are in third place and not first. The team is hoping to get outfielder Skip Schumaker back soon from the concussion list. He did not heal as fast as hoped during the All-Star break. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are still on the mend as well. The good news is that the Reds are in striking distance of first place, and a couple of good weeks could get them on the top of the division.
7/17/14: The Reds have been one of the hottest teams in all of the major leagues. They have taken a huge deficit and turned it into a manageable situation. But just as the Reds have gotten hot, the team has faced a lot of injures. And not just to backup guys, but to starters like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. The All-Star break is this weekend, and that should help some. At the same time, some guys are going to be out for a while. So now it is up to the depth of the Reds to keep them in the running and catch the Brewers and Cardinals.
7/10/14: The big name pitchers get all the publicity when it comes to racking up wins and posting strikeouts. That list is predictable: Adam Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, etc. But the Reds have a guy that no one is talking about and keeping up with the top pitchers in Major League Baseball. No, it is not Johnny Cueto. Alfredo Simon tied the National League lead for wins by picking up his 11th on the season last Saturday. He allowed six hits and two runs in 7.1 innings against the NL Central leading Brewers. The Reds are certainly in the playoff hunt and they will need Simon to keep up the strong pitching to get there.
7/3/14: Slowly but surely, the Reds are starting to play better baseball, and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The only problem is that the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers are still playing great and went 8-2 in that same span. Cincinnati has closed the gap to just one game behind he St. Louis Cardinals. While they may not be able to catch the Brewers, they are certainly in position to grab a wild-card spot. In other news, the team signed Cuban pitcher Rasiel Iglesias to a $30 million deal over seven years. The Reds are expected to make him a full-time reliever, possibly as the set-up man for Aroldis Chapman.
6/26/14: Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has made his fair share of enemies during his time in Cincinnati - most notably with the entire city of St. Louis for some extremely derogatory comments he made about the town and the Cardinals a few years ago. So he probably expects to get heckled. He was so in Pittsburgh last week on a rainy night that sent most of the fans home. He heard the jeering from one particular fan and sent an signed baseball to him that read "Dear Drunk Guy". He then met the fan and posed for pictures and everyone had a good laugh. Who says baseball can't be fun?
6/19/14: Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos made his long-awaited season debut last Saturday, and pitched very well. He threw 87 pitches through six innings left the game with a 1-0 lead over the Milwaukee Brewers. He retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced and it was unfortunate that the bullpen did not hold up for him. Ryan Braun hit a late home run to give the NL Central division leaders the lead, and ultimately the win. But it was a good start for Latos. The Reds are not out of contention in the Central Division, and Latos return looks to bolster the starting rotation for the remainder of the season.
6/12/14: Well this is a sight for sore eyes. The Reds finally activated star first baseman Joey Votto off of the disabled list. He is back in the lineup yet, and that should help the Reds. Votto was on the 15 day DL for a knee injury. To make room for Votto, the Reds optioned outfielder Donald Lutz to triple-A Louisville. Votto is confident that he will play well in his return, and that is exactly what the team needs right now. Milwaukee is threatening to run away with the division and the pesky Cardinals are always a threat.
6/6/14: The Reds have compiled a pretty good roster over the past few years and that has been proven by a division championship and a few playoff appearances. But the team seems to lack depth, so when one of their big guns goes down, it can have a major effect. Such is the case with Joey Votto. Votto can come off the DL, but is not ready to return from a strained left quad. The Reds have been 'vague' about his return, so there is speculation that the injury is not all that it appears to be. Speaking of lack of depth, with Votto out, backup catcher Brayan Pena has been playing first base.
5/29/14: There is certainly no love lost in Cincinnati for the St. Louis Cardinals, and that was on display in the weekend series at Great America Ballpark. Even the concessions are anti-Redbird as their special (which they do for every team) was 'Stuffed Cardinal'. It was actually quail, but still. The Cardinals have owned this series over the past few years and the home fans booed lustily every time St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina took to the plate. Molina seems to be better when that happens as he had two key hits and the game winning home run in the second game of the series. If nothing else, it is great for baseball when true rivalries form, and the Cardinals and Reds have one.
5/22/14: The Reds do not need this right now, but it is the hand they have been dealt. Star first baseman Joey Votto is on the disabled list and will be out for a while. The Reds started the season very slowly, but have crept up in recent weeks. Starting ace pitcher Johnny Cueto has been among the best in the league so far with an ERA of only 1.43. Fellow starter Mat Latos should return at some point, and that will further bolster their rotation. But, like the rest of the NL Central not named the Brewers, the Reds must mount some sort of winning streak or Milwaukee will run away with the division.
5/15/14: The Reds started off very slowly this season, but then rebounded to get back to the middle of the pack in the NL Central. Milwaukee is off to a great start so far this season, leaving the Reds five games back already. But things are looking up in the Queen City. The team activated closer Aroldis Chapman off of the DL and are getting him back into games. Chapman, of course, took a line drive straight to the head in spring training and was lucky to avoid serious injury. That is good news for the Reds, and bad news for the rest of the division.
5/8/14: The Reds are too talented to stay down for long. The team got off to a terrible start, one that had them below even the Cubs in the standings at one point. But the team has clawed their way back and are not far away from reaching .500. And with that being said, there is more good news. Closer Aroldis Chapman has been throwing well in his rehab, and should be returning to the team very soon. Milwaukee has a big lead in the NL Central, but there is a very good chance that the cream will rise to the top, and this will be a race with the Reds prominently involved.
5/1/14: After a very tough start to the season, it looks like the Reds are finally getting their legs underneath of themselves and playing quality baseball. Through four weeks of the season, they got themselves out of the cellar of the NL Central and are now in third place, though that is still a big seven games behind division leader Milwaukee. Help appears to be on the way, though, as closer Aroldis Chapman is now throwing live batting practice. He will probably get a another session before starting out on a rehab assignment. Chapman suffered a gruesome injury when he was struck in the face by a hit in spring training.
4/24/14: Not that they need it, but the Reds got a little more bad news last week. Second baseman Brandon Phillips left Friday's game against the Cubs early with a back injury. Apparently, he tweaked his back during a swing at the plate in the first inning. The Reds have struggled throughout the early portion of the season. Outfielder Jay Bruce, whom the team is relying upon for significant run production, has been missing in action, and the team cannot really afford to have more problems as they are already well behind the leaders in the NL Central.
4/17/14: The Cubs started 4-8 (record after last weekend), and that was about what every one expected. But the Reds also have started at 4-8 and it could be cause for concern. The Reds are already six games out of the division lead (Milwaukee Brewers are in first), and have to go through St. Louis and Pittsburgh to get to the top. While it is good news that closer Chapman is throwing again, the Reds have struggled since the last week of last season, which includes the one game playoff loss to the Pirates. Cincy has the talent to compete, but needs to turn things around in soon before they get too far back.
4/10/14: The first week of the season was not too kind to the Cincinnati Reds. They opened up the regular season at home against the defending National League Champions and long-time rival St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis took the opener and the closer of the season (despite a great outing on Opening Day by staff ace Johnny Cueto). But it actually got worse from there. Against the Mets last Saturday, Ike Davis hit a walk-off grand slam home run to give the Mets a 6-3 win. The Reds will be in contention for a playoff spot in six months - they are too talented not to be there. However, this is a tough start to the season.
4/3/14: The Reds played well enough to win their season (and home) opener against the St. Louis Cardinals last Monday, but just did not get the bounces or offense they needed. Cincy started ace Johnny Cueto to square off against Redbirds' ace Adam Wainwright. Both pitched seven strong innings and fanned eight. The only difference was St. Louis' Yadier Molina getting a hold of a pitch for a solo home run. The Cardinals ended up winning on Opening Day 1-0. It is a long season and the Reds will see the Cardinals several more times. And, by most accounts, it should be another three way race between St. Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
3/27/14: Very scary news out of Reds camp last week when closer Aroldis Chapman was struck in the face by a hit ball. Chapman is one of the hardest throwers in the league and it is estimated that the ball that struck him was traveling over 130 miles per hour. Chapman suffered a broken orbital bone, lacerations, and a concussion. He will undergo surgery to repair the damage. The good news is that he never lost consciousness and should, in time, make a full recovery. At this point, there is no timetable for a return to baseball.
3/20/14: Everyone in the majors knows that Reds' outfielder Billy Hamilton is fast. He was clocked running from home to first in just 3.3 seconds. That is not the issue. The issue is that he has not been a very good hitter. He is hitting well in spring training this season and if he can just manage, say a .275 batting average, then he figures to get a lot of chances to steal bases and score runs this season. That would be a much needed lift for the Reds, particularly in the high-octane NL Central. A few extra runs a week can easily be the difference between playoffs and home for the winter.
3/13/14: Cincinnati Reds' starting second baseman Brandon Phillips has rarely been shy to speak his mind. That being said, he has decided to be quiet with the Cincinnati media in retaliation for their collective critique of his play. Specifically, some in the local news outlets cite that he is declining as a player, and Phillips has taken exception to that charge, citing how he hit over 100 RBIs last season. Of course, his batting average, OPS and slugging percentage have all dropped dramatically since 2011, so there is a case to be made by the media. Of course, Phillips has no problem discussing this with the national media, making the non-story a story of its own.
3/6/14: The Reds and their rotation are off to an ominous start in the early portions of spring training. Mike Leake was scratched just before his first scheduled start due to an abdominal injury. It seems that Leake suffered the injury a month ago in a workout and it has come back up. The injury appears to be a strain and had not caused any problems with his bullpen sessions or lifting. It then sounds like the Reds are being cautious with the injury and hoping to get it under control now, and not later on in the season when it really matters. Leake was a solid contributor last season with a 3.37 ERA in almost 200 innings.
2/27/14: There are a lot of ways to score runs in baseball. It does not have to be focused on generating extra base hits and home runs alone. New Reds' manager Bryan Price seems to understand that and wants his team to be more aggressive on the bases this season. Playing 'small ball' may not be as exciting as consistently knocking in dingers, but can be as effective. For proof, look at the Cardinals in the mid-80's. They had one power hitter in Jack Clark, but otherwise lived off of speed from Vince Coleman, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith. The Reds had a franchise low since 1971 of stolen bases, so getting more aggressive would seem to benefit them.
2/20/14: A very interesting article about Reds closer Aroldis Chapman came out recently, and it highlighted his typical offseason day. Those days are spent in his Florida mansion where he sleeps until 4:00 PM and chain smokes. That is not the typical regimen of a top flight athlete, and may end up getting him trouble with the team or fans. For his part, Chapman can still bring the heat and is one of the best closers in the game when he is on. He will be returning to a very good Reds team, so he should have plenty of chances to pile up saves this coming season.
2/13/14: Starting pitcher Homer Bailey has been a key rotation piece for the Reds the past several years and has provided a measure of consistency. The 27 year old pitcher struggled in his first two MLB seasons, but has come on the last two seasons and has thrown not one but two no-hitters. He is seeking a long-term deal from the team, but looks headed toward arbitration right now. The two sides are very far apart on their arbitration number, with Bailey requesting $11.6 million and the team offering $8.7 million. Bailey will be a free agent next offseason, and may command $100-plus. By that token, there is a school of thought to trading him now and saving the money.
2/6/14: This will be a pivotal year for the Reds. The team has committed a lot of money to both first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips. They have loads of talent and a new manager. But the question for the Reds is how long can they keep up the money race? St. Louis has a bevy of talent in the minors who would start on many teams and much deeper pockets to make crucial free agent or trade acquisitions. While the Reds stumbled to the finish line last season and were eliminated in the Wild Card round, they are still a deep ball club that has the talent on hand to win the World Series this coming season.
1/30/14: Like so many other players and teams, relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman and the Reds were able to avoid arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal. Chapman will be paid $5 million for his service in 2014, which is the difference between what he asked for ($5.4 million) and what the Reds offered ($4.6 million). Chapman signed a five year deal in 2010, but there was a clause that allowed him to be arbitration eligible this offseason. Chapman has found a niche as a reliever, where he can freely throw his fastball and not worry about tiring out late into the game.
1/23/14: There has been a lot of speculation on the future of Homer Bailey in Cincinnati. He is a reliable starting five pitcher, but is entering the final year of his contract. He asked for $11.6 million in arbitration, while the team offered $8.7 million. Reds GM Walt Jocketty conceded that keeping him would be 'difficult'. Now comes works that the two sides are discussing an extension. If they cannot come to an agreement, then the arbitrator will decide his 2014 salary. The Reds have a lot of money locked up in Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, but they would be better if they can keep Bailey as well.
1/16/14: The press has known about this for some time and even Reds' GM Walt Jocketty commented recently that keeping pitcher Homer Bailey for the 2014 season would be a difficult task considering his salary. But give Bailey credit for at least saying the right things. He says that he does not want out of Cincinnati. Chances are that he will be out of Cincy sometime in the near future. He is in the last year of his contract and his next one may be north of $100 million. The Reds do not have that kind of money lying around, so their best bet may be to trade Bailey now and get something out of it.
1/9/14: The Reds' starting rotation appears set, but there are always tweaks needed in every lineup. That may prompt the Reds to trade starting pitcher Homer Bailey, thereby freeing up some payroll space to sign a free agent. It is unknown who that free agent would be. The biggest names still available are Nelson Cruz (Texas) and Steven Drew (Boston). The problem with each of them is that they have draft pick compensation attached to them because their teams tendered them previously. So, the Reds would surrender their first round pick if they signed either Cruz or Drew.
1/2/14: The Reds officially lost the services of centerfielder Shin Soo Choo last week, as he signed a $130 million deal to spend the next seven years with the Texas Rangers. The Reds never really had a chance to keep Choo, especially having big commitments to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Choo's departure speeds up the timeline for prospect Billy Hamilton to break into the majors. Hamilton is lightning fast and will be a threat when on base. However, he is a a very light hitter, so he may have trouble getting on base - kind of like Willy Mays Hayes.
12/26/13: The Reds may have been holding out hope that they could get a Christmas miracle and somehow re-sign Shin Shoo Choo, the star outfielder. However, the Grinch stole this one and Choo is on his way to Dallas to play for the Texas Rangers having signed a $130 million deal for seven years. Speaking of the Reds, while hall of fame catcher Johnny Bench came out in favor banning home plate collisions, his former teammate Pete Rose is defiantly against the ban. Rose believes that it is part of the game. He is also the guy who ran over Ray Fosse in the All-Star Game decades ago, so his sentiment is of little surprise.
12/19/13: Major League Baseball is considering a ban on homeplate collisions. It is a move designed to protect both the catcher and the player barreling into the catcher. Traditionalist may emphasize that it has always been a part of the game. However, you can count former Reds' catcher and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench as a supporter of the proposed rule. Bench was on a national sports talk show last week and emphatically endorsed the rule change. There have been several instances of injury due to these collisions, which can break bones, cause concussions, and end careers over a single run.
12/12/13: Second baseman Brandon Philips remains on the Red's roster today, but many expect him to be traded soon. Philips has made no secret that he is disappointed in his five year, $75 million deal in comparison to the deal given first baseman Joey Votto (of course it is hard to feel bad for someone's pay when they bank $15 million per year). GM Walt Jocketty said that the Yankees leaked rumors that there were discussions between the teams about Philips to use as leverage in their Robinson Cano negotiations. Cano signed with Seattle, so perhaps there will be real trade rumors about Philips soon.
12/5/13: The Reds made a move to keep their bullpen in tact by re-signing Manny Parra to a two year, $5.5 million contract. Parra started his career as promising starter but lost that opportunity due to injuries and general control issues. The Brewers gave up on him, but he has been pretty solid for the Reds in a set-up role as a middle reliever. Over the past two seasons, he posted 4.30 ERA with a 117/50 strikeout to walk ratio over 105 innings. So its not a big signing, but stability in the bullpen is always a need for every MLB team.
11/28/13: Walt Jocketty has struck again. Jocketty, the General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds, was previously the GM of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a key player in building the team through much of the early 2000's and seems to have an affinity for his former Redbird players. It was announce last week that Reds signed second baseman and outfielder Skip Schumaker to a two year, $5 million deal. Previously, he has brought in former Cardinals Scott Rolen and Ryan Ludwig. Schumaker gives the Reds some flexibility at second base, particularly if the Reds trade Brandon Phillips.
11/21/13: When the Reds reached an agreement a couple weeks ago on a two year deal with catcher Brayan Pena, speculation immediately surfaced that meant the end of Ryan Hanigan's tenure in Cincinnati. Fast forward to the present and that speculation now seems like a certainty. Apparently, there is some interest from multiple teams and the Reds think they can get a quality prospect in return. Many may ask why would anyone trade a top prospect for a backup catcher. Fair question, but it is possible that many teams view him as an everyday player rather than a backup.
11/14/13: The Reds have added some depth at the catcher's position by signing Brayan Pena to two year deal. Pena has been a back-up catcher his whole career and likely would take the same role in Cincinnati. He spent last season with the Detroit Tigers and posted a .297/.315/.397 batting line in 243 plate appearances. That is a little above his career average, but enough of a sample size to demonstrate that he can get on base. The Reds also have Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hannigan on the roster, but may lose Hannigan in arbitration. The Reds are still trying to figure out what went wrong this last season and may be making a lot of moves this winter.
11/7/13: It may be hard to believe but Cincinnati's favorite cornrowed starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo has been with the team for eight years. He is probably pitching elsewhere next season and reportedly would consider the New York Mets. Arroyo would be expected to bring veteran leadership to a young staff that just lost their ace (Matt Harvey) for the 2014 season with a torn elbow ligament. The Mets expect to be busy this offseason and have a lot of money coming off the books and available to spend on free agents. Arroyo is 36 and wants a two year deal, which he should be able to find.
10/31/13: The Reds search for a new manager is going forward. The team fired Dusty Baker after they faltered in the final week and were knocked out of the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Many thought that the Reds underachieved all year, and that was enough for GM Walt Jockety to cut his losses. The team is also still rumored to be trying to move second baseman Brandon Phillips. Phillips is one of the best second basemen in the league for defensively and offensively. He is also considered a bit of a disruption for his outspoken nature and antagonizing ways. He has a big price tag, but someone will undoubtedly want him during the offseason.
10/24/13: There are many in the league, as well as fans, who simply do not like Reds' second baseman Brandon Phillips. Phillips is a terrific player, and no one disputes that, but his brash, outspoken nature rubs many the wrong way, including (reportedly) people in his own organization. The Reds also may be interested in Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero. So it would figure that there is speculation that Reds may trade Phillips. One of the biggest challenges would be getting someone to take the four years and $50 million contract - which Phillips has complained about because of the contract Joey Votto got from the Reds.
10/17/13: After the Reds were eliminated from the postseason by the Pittsburgh Pirates in Wild Card Game, star second baseman Brandon Phillips said the team choked. Add to that the loss to the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 divisional series after the Reds went up 2-0, and it is easy to see why the team fired manager Dusty Baker. Now the team is trying to find Baker's replacement. Jim Riggleman may be at the top of the list at this point, for reasons unknown. In any case, expect GM Walt Jocketty to take his time to find a suitable replacement.
10/10/13: Just a few days after receiving the dreaded 'vote of confidence', the Reds fired manager Dusty Baker. Baker had one year remaining on his two year deal, so he will probably get a nice severance package. The Reds underachieved this season after winning the NL Central in 2012 by over 9 games. Cincinnati did earn a wild-card spot, but they also dropped their last five games of the season. Baker may manage again.He actually has a good record throughout his career, but that may be because he had teams loaded in talent. The Reds' managerial search may include Joe Girardi, Jim Riggleman, and even Tony LaRussa - though TLR says he is finished with managing after leading the rival Cardinals to the World Series in 2011.
10/3/13: The Reds picked a poor time to stumble. They were swept by the Pirates in the final series of the year, meaning Pittsburgh earned the home field for the Wild Card Game. Then they dropped that game ending the season. It is a far cry from the 9 game lead they had as NL Central Division champions last year. Though they are eliminated, it was not a poor year by any means. The Reds did win over 90 games again and should be considered a contender in 2014. The team also announced that Dusty Baker will return as manager next year.
9/26/13: The Reds are back in the playoffs, as are the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. St. Louis leads the NL Central by two games but there is still time for either the Reds or the Pirates to catch them. Speaking of which, while the Pirates are happy to make the playoffs, the Reds are not celebrating yet. They want to win the division and avoid the wild card game. It will be great to watch the positioning as the teams finish up the regular season. The Reds still have three more games against the Pirates and need to sweep and hope for the Cardinals to stumble to snag the NL Central crown again.
9/19/13: The up and down nature of the National League Central is great theater but must be stressing out the fans of the Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals. The three seem to be waging a war of attrition against each other. When one moves up, another follows the next day. The Reds are only a couple games back of the Cardinals and Pirates, but have had trouble making up ground. That will all change in the next couple of weeks as the Reds will play the Pirates before the season ends. All three teams must look out for the Washington Nationals, who are quietly creeping up for a late season run at the playoffs.
9/12/13: The Reds currently sit in third place in the NL Central and own the second wildcard spot, but that does not mean they are out of the running for the division crown by any stretch. The team is playing their best baseball of the season. They went into L.A. and swept the Dodgers - the same Dodgers that have been the best team in baseball for the past two months. The sweep put them one game behind the Pirates and two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. All three teams will likely make the playoffs but the race is who can avoid playing in the wild card game and just advance to the divisional round.
9/4/13: The Reds are still pushing for a playoff spot and currently hold a six game edge over Arizona for the final wild card position. However, they are only about three games out of first place, which is shared by the Cardinals and Pirates. The good news for the Reds is that Ryan Ludwick is returning to lineup. Ludwick is a former all-star who can hit a little bit. Also, the Reds have the most home games left of any of the three contender. Included in their final portion of the schedule is nine games against Pittsburgh, which will go a long way into determining the NL Central champion this season.
8/29/13: The Reds refuse to go gently into the abyss, and are only 2.5 games out of the NL Central lead. They have not had much good news on the injury front - set-up man Johnathan Broxton is done for the year and who knows when ace pitcher Johnny Cueto will return (possibly not until next season). But that is not stopping the Reds from staying in the pennant chase. They will likely make the playoffs as a wild-card team and would face a one game play-in game, probably against the Cardinals or Pirates. The NL Central race is the best in baseball, and the good thing is there is still another month to play.
8/22/13: Don't count out the Reds just yet. While most of the focus on the National League Central Division has been on the Pirates and Cardinals, the Reds are right in the mix. Cincy is only 3.5 games back of the Pirates and 1.5 games behind St. Louis. Right now, they hold the second wild card spot with a comfortable five game lead over Arizona and 8.5 game lead over Washington. The Reds, Pirates, and Cardinals all have the talent to win the division and all deserve to be in the playoffs. It is most likely that all three will be in, and then the games will really start.
8/15/13: If the Reds do not watch themselves, they could be in danger of missing the postseason all together. Cincinnati had a great chance to make up some ground on St. Louis, who is second in the NL Central and leads the wild card standings. But the Reds struggled as well, and dropped two of three to the Cardinals. Cincy now sits 6 games out of first and two back of St. Louis. They still have a 4.5 game lead over the Diamondbacks, but that could change if Dusty Baker goes into panic mode. The Reds had a comfortable lead this time a year ago, and we do not know if the team has the make up to rally from a deficit.
8/8/13: The Reds have been struggling since the All-Star Break, and it may be time now to hit the panic button. The team is still in third place in the NL Central - and they trail both the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals and Pirates are in a virtual tie for the division with the Reds 5.5 games out. They still hold a wild-card spot, but the Diamondbacks are only 3.5 games behind. This normally would be the time for manager Dusty Baker to panic. And it probably will be soon. If nothing else, the Reds need to get set up man Johnathan Broxton back in a hurry before the season slips away.
8/1/13: The Reds have just a couple months to show the league that they should be in the playoffs. Cincy has tremendously under performed this year, though they have been without starting pitcher Johnny Cueto and set up man Jonathan Broxton for long stretches. Unfortunately for the Reds, the road gets tougher. They had a relatively light first half, but play better teams the second half. They still own the last wild-card spot, but are in danger of losing that to any number of teams as the season heads towards the playoffs - in short, they need to get healthy and show they can beat quality teams.
7/25/13: The Reds really do not want this to become a distraction, but it easily could be. Last week, star second baseman Brandon Phillips said he was a bit discouraged that first baseman Joey Votto got a 10 year $225 million deal, while he only got a five year, $75 million deal. He was also upset that the team did Votto's deal first, when Phillips was set for free agency. It is tough to commiserate 'only' $75 million - which is far more than most people will see in a lifetime (much less five years). Again, the Reds really hope this does not become a distraction - they already have enough hurdles to climb to make the playoffs.
7/18/13: The Reds celebrated Homer Bailey's no-hitter a week ago, but in the baseball world, that is an eternity. Aside from that gem, the Reds really struggled in the last few weeks leading up to the All-Star Break. The team has chased the Cardinals all season, but then the Pirates got hot and have put the Reds in third place. As it stands, the Reds are 5 games back in the NL Central (4 behind the Pirates). The good news is that they are in striking distance still and also hold the second wild-card spot currently. This means there is a really good chance that that there may be three NL Central teams in the playoffs.
7/11/13: The Reds should be at the top of the NL Central. They are certainly the most talented team in the division and coasted to a 9 game division title last year. For some reason, however, they have not been able to put it all together this year. Injuries take some blame, especially with set up man Johnathan Broxton and their closer serving time on the DL. Johnny Cueto has been hurt as well. But the team does not seem to be playing with the same urgency as last season. They are still withing range of capturing the division again, but they have an uphill fight against the Cardinals and Pirates to do so.
7/4/13: It is the start of new month so that means only one thing for the Reds: Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is back on the disabled list. Cueto re-aggrevated his lat recently, so the Reds will shut him down for 15 days or so. It is the same injury that has put him on the DL twice already this year. The Reds need Cueto to be healthy. They are currently in third in the NL Central and hold a wild card spot. However, they have had a fairly easy schedule to date, whereas the Cardinals and Pirates have been playing against the elite teams in the league. Without Cueto, it is hard to imagine the Reds making a serious playoff push.
6/27/13: Most baseball analysts expected and predicted the Reds to be at the top of the NL Central this season, just as they were last season. So far, the Cardinals have been the best team in MLB, with the Reds and Pirates as close seconds. It does seem that these three teams are in a class by themselves, but the numbers show something different. The Cardinals have been OK against mediocre teams and been great against strong teams. The Reds have beaten up on the creampuffs (which they have had many series against so far), but have struggled against the good teams, including St. Louis. This may well be the Reds Achilles as the season goes on. Well, that, and Dusty Baker.
6/20/13: The Reds are trying to rebound after the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals came to town and reminded them of who owns the division. Cincinnati is only 2.5 games out of first, and still is fighting off a spunky Pittsburgh squad that refuses to fold so far (just wait till the All-Star Break). The Reds are setting up for a series against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers, and could take that to springboard themselves back towards the top of the division. In any case, it looks like two of the three best teams in the National League reside in the Central, so both should make the playoffs.
6/13/13: As strong as the Reds have been this year, they just can't catch up to the one team they need to - the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds hosted the Cards for a three game series over the weekend with both trying to establish their spot in the NL Central. The Cardinals led the Reds by three games on Friday and left Sunday night leading by four. The Reds won the Saturday game 4-2 by rallying to win. However, on Sunday - in a nationally televised game, the Reds made several mental errors and generally played sloppily. The game went into extra innings tied at 4 apiece, but three quick runs followed by a Matt Holiday grand slam gave St. Louis the 11-4 win.
6/6/13: The Reds keep winning, but they are only keeping pace with the St. Louis Cardinals and their staff of rookie pitchers. Depending on the day, the Reds are between a game and three games back. The two teams combined for the best records in May, and along with Pittsburgh, are leading the MLB standings. But the Reds are getting a reputation as a dirty team. Johnny Cueto's kick to the face of a Cardinals' catcher a few years ago may have been the start, but now it looks like they are headhunting. It is unnecessary because the Reds have so much talent on their roster.
5/30/13: Cincinnati is living up to the hype for the season. They were pegged as the team to beat in the NL Central and figured to have a strong chance to make it to the World Series despite the obvious handicap of having Dusty Baker as their manager. The Reds are playing great ball right now, and had the best record in the month of May through Memorial Day. Unfortunately for them, the Cardinals have been playing just as well and keep winning. Pittsburgh is just behind the Reds, and the three teams, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh (in order) make up the three best teams not just in the division but in all of baseball.
5/23/13: For the first time since opening day, the Cubs are not in last place. Milwaukee's slide has dropped the Brewers into last, with a gleeful Chicago laughing at them. This is probably short-lived, but it gives the 1908 Club something to be happy with. The Cubs did claim Eduardo Sanchez off of waivers. Sanchez was a hero in 2011 when he helped solidify a Cardinals bullpen in the second half of the season. The Cardinals went on to win their 11th World Series title that year - most in the National League, and second only to the New York Yankees.
5/16/13: Reds' starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, he of the barrel chest, dreadlocks, and filthy left shoe cleat, will make his comeback to the Reds very soon. Cueto is scheduled to make a rehab start with the team's single A affiliate the Dayton Dragons soon. Cueto was scheduled to make an appearance in Pensacola, Florida earlier, but had soreness from his oblique - the same injury that limited him in the playoffs last year. Reds fans must be feeling pretty anxious about his return. The Reds are 2.5 games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, and only have their toughest games ahead of them now.
5/9/13: Incredibly, the Reds' starting rotation did not miss any starts last season. That unprecedented health help lead them to a 9.5 game margin in the NL Central. That kind of luck cannot be expected every year, it is just too much to ask. Starter Johnny Cueto (aka: the kicker) strained his lat on April 15 and was placed on the DL. Aside from Cueto, several other players have been bit by the injury bug, including pitcher Manny Parra, catcher Ryan Hanigan, and left fielders Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey. The injuries may be the reason that the Reds are in fourth place in the NL Central.
4/25/13: The NL Central is already heating up, just as many suspected. The Reds, on paper, are the class of the division; they won the division by nine games last season. So far, all of the teams in the NL Central (except the Cubs) are still in the mix and over .500. The Reds have been able to build up eleven wins so far with the help of an easy early schedule - they have played the Pirates, Phillies, Marlins, and Cubs. Things should get a bit more interesting when they go up against tougher competition like the Nationals, Giants, and Dodgers later on in the season.
4/11/13: Leave it to the Reds to ruin a national institution - Opening Day in St. Louis. The Cardinals came home from a league mandated difficult start against the Diamondbacks and World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. They were rewarded by playing arguably the best roster in the National League. The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-2 lead. Then they apparently quit. The Reds broke open a 4-4 game in the top of the ninth by dropping nine unanswered runs on the home team. Relief pitcher Sam McClure took home the win, while Mitchell Boggs gets credit for the loss.
4/4/13: Tough start for outfielder Ryan Ludwick. He injured his shoulder on opening day and now needs surgery that could keep him out for the next three months. For the fans who think they should bring up Billy Hamilton to replace Ludwig - Reds management does not agree with you. Hamilton hit only .192 in spring training and only has 175 at bats beyond Class A ball. So the Reds are going to let him work on his game before he gets called up. To make matters worse, the Reds lost the game to the Anaheim Angels 5-4 in 13 innings.
3/28/13: The Reds will open the 2013 Major League Baseball season as the favorites in the NL Central. Cincinnati's line up is stacked, thanks to the work of former Cardinals GM and current Reds GM Walt Jockety. The Reds easily won the division last season, coasting to a 9 game lead over the Cardinals - who made the post season as a wild card team. But there is unfinished business in the Queen City. The Reds won their first two playoff games on the road (which shouldn't happen because they were the second best team in the NL), only to drop three straight to the eventual champion San Francisco Giants. But this is a new year, and the team has championship on their mind.
3/21/13: It looks more and more like the Reds are going to make the smart decision regarding speedballer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was brought up to be a starter, one that could hit 105 mph. He was moved into the bullpen last year, starting out as a set-up man and assuming the closer role. He took to it like a fish to water because he provided a major change of pace from previous pitchers and closed out games with ease. The Reds were expected to make him a starter this year, which would be a mistake. But Chapman wants to close, and it does look like he will get his wish.
3/14/13: The Reds have fully decided to move Aroldis Chapman from the closer role to the rotation, which threatens Mike Leake's spot as a starting pitcher. Chapman was dominant last season as the closer, bringing 100+ mile per hour heat in the ninth inning. The concern around Cincinnati is that Chapman does not have a full repitoir of pitches and will expend himself throwing fastballs as his primary pitch early in games. Word out of spring training is that Chapman's breaking pitches are improving, but it is unknown how he will fare in real competition during the regular season.
3/7/13: Since Tony LaRussa is no longer around, Dusty Baker had to find someone else to fight with. It appears that person is Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. The two engaged in a heated discussion prior to a spring training game, apparently because Baker wanted to play with a DH and Gibson wanted standard National League rules. As the home team in the game, the D'Backs had the decision and Baker did not like it. Gibson did not fold, angering Baker enough to refuse to shake Gibson's hand after the game. It will be fun to see how this plays out in the regular season.
2/28/13: The Reds return stacked this year. Most of their core is back for another shot at the NL Central, and many experts expect they will repeat as division champions. The Reds won the NL Central by a whopping nine games last year. However, their regular season success did not translate into playoff glory. After winning the first two games (on the road) against San Francisco, the Reds dropped three at home to get knocked out in the first round. The biggest change so far is that Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to be a starter this year instead of the closer. Should be a good season for the Reds.
2/21/13: Cincinnati has all the ingredients to win the World Series this year. First, they should make the playoffs by winning the NL Central Division. Sure, St. Louis has a good team, but not nearly as talented as the Reds. Second, they return their core that won 97 games last sesason. The X-factor is Aroldis Chapman. He excelled as a closer this year, coming in late and blowing batters away with a 102 MPH fastball. The question is if he can be just as effective as a starter who is counted upon to go seven innings. If he can, then look out for the Reds.
1/24/13: Major League Baseball is finally rewarding the city of Cincinnati for building the Great American Ballpark by awarding the Reds the All-Star Game in 2015. It has become customary in recent times to reward cities and franchises who build new stadiums with premiere events, and now it is the Reds' turn. Cincy last hosted the All-Star Game in 1988, in a rain-hampered affair where Oakland Catcher Terry Steinbach drove in both runs in an AL 2-1 victory. If the Reds can hold on to their core for another few years, then the Reds may have four or more representatives in the summer classic.
11/29/12: The Reds continue to fortify their ranks and resign their own. This time the Reds have a contract for at least three years with releiver Johnathan Broxton, who was a trade deadline acquisition from Kansas City. Former reliever Ryan Madson is off to L.A. after he refused the Reds option offer. Where Broxton fits is a question mark, though. Aroldis Chapman filled in superbly for Madson last year, and could be the closer for years to come. But the team may want to put him in the rotation and give him the chance to be a top end ace.
11/22/12: No question the Reds had a great season in amassing 97 wins and the NL Central crown. The first round playoff meltdown to the eventual World Series Champion Giants is still a raw subject, but the Reds are in good position moving forward. The pitching situation is enviable. The team has both Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey under contract for three more years, and both are only 26 years old. The team also has Latos (age 24) for four years, and he may have Cy Young Award talent. The Reds could choose to lock up all three for a longer term, ensuring dominant pitching for the better part of the next decade.
11/15/12: Cincinnati Reds youngster Todd Frazier finished third in National League Rookie-of-the-Year voting this week. Not surprisingly, Washington Nationals wunderkind Bryce Harper took the award (equally unsurprising, Anaheim Angels star Mike Trout won in the American League). Harper beat out Wade Miley by just seven votes, with Frazier finishing a distant third. Since Scott Rolen will likely not return to the Reds next year, Frazier will probably be the starting third baseman. The infield of Joey Votto, Brandon Phllips, Frazier, and a shortstop to be name later will easily be among the tops in the National League next season.
11/8/12: In unsurprising moves, both outfielder Ryan Ludwick and pitcher Ryan Madson declined their options to rejoin the Reds next season, opting instead to test the free agency waters. Madson missed the entire 2012 campaign due to Tommy John surgery, and received a $2.5 million buy out from the club. After Madson suffered the injury, Aroldis Chapman was named as the closer, and has cemented his position. Madson is looking for a team in need of a closer. Ludwick had a great second half and could sign a lucrative deal for anyone seeking outfield depth and a strong bat.
11/1/12: The Scott Rolen era with the Cincinnati Reds, and pro baseball, may be over. The 37 year old third baseman had a wonderful career, but injuries and age are catching up. The Reds may not resign him, or if they do, it may be to a cheap, bench player deal. The Reds have Todd Fraizer ready to take the position, but they may opt to trade for Mets third baseman David Wright instead. Wright is a career .300 hitter who will also smack 20-30 home runs a year. But before Reds fans get excited, Wright will be expensive and the team did sign Joey Votto to a $250 million deal last year.
10/18/12: The Reds have to be wondering what happened. After taking the first two games with ease in San Francisco, the team returned to the Queen City and the forgiving confines of Great America Ballpark only to be swept in three straight games.
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Next 20 Games
|Jul 5, 2015||Milwaukee Brewers vs Cincinnati Reds|
|Jul 6, 2015||Cincinnati Reds vs Washington Nationals|
|Jul 7, 2015||Cincinnati Reds vs Washington Nationals|
|Jul 8, 2015||Cincinnati Reds vs Washington Nationals|
|Jul 9, 2015||Cincinnati Reds vs Miami Marlins|
|Jul 10, 2015||Cincinnati Reds vs Miami Marlins|
Scores and Schedule
|Jun 26, 2015||Cincinnati Reds - New York Mets||1 - 2|
|Jun 23, 2015||Cincinnati Reds - Pittsburgh Pirates||6 - 7|
|Jun 20, 2015||Miami Marlins - Cincinnati Reds||5 - 0|
|Jun 19, 2015||Miami Marlins - Cincinnati Reds||0 - 5|
|Jun 16, 2015||Cincinnati Reds - Detroit Tigers||5 - 2|
|Jun 15, 2015||Cincinnati Reds - Detroit Tigers||0 - 6|
|Jun 14, 2015||Cincinnati Reds - Chicago Cubs||1 - 2|