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Cincinnati Reds Blog

A day-to-day record of the mind of a Cincinnati Reds fan.

Updated: 2017-02-20T17:14:47.247-05:00


2017 Roster Preview Part 7: Dixon, Duvall, Elizade


We finish letter D and start into E with three position players.

Brandon Dixon is a 25-year old who was drafted by the Dodgers in the third round in 2013 out of the U. of Arizona.  Dixon came along with Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler in the Todd Frazier deal.  He's got a non-roster invite to major league spring training after a decent year at double-A Pensacola, where he hit 16 homers and stole 15 bases.  His slash line of 260/315/434 is not real impressive.

The Dodgers him out as a pro at third base, then moved him to second, and began playing him in the OF.  He got a double-digit number of starts at second, center field, and right field, with a few more at first base, third base, and left field.  The idea seems to be that he won't hit enough to be a regular, so they will make him a multi-position sub.  He seems pretty good in the infield but is still rough in the outfield.  He reminds me a bit of Kristopher Negron.  He might grow into a bench job but I wouldn't count on it.

Adam Duvall took advantage of a chance to play regularly in Cincinnati and hit 33 homers while driving in 103 runs.  He's a late bloomer at 28, and will turn 29 in September.  He ended up on the All-Star team as an injury replacement.  Surprisingly, Duvall ended up a contender for the Gold Glove award as a left fielder.  We knew he had power, but he ended up more athletic than expected.

Duvall continued to show some contact issues, with a 241/297/498 slash line that showed his excellent power but trouble with getting on base.  He will be valued in the field, but needs to improve his batting eye to maintain his offensive value as pitchers will be more aware of his weaknesses and more prepared to exploit them.  He will have to show that 2016 was not a career year and avoid a sophomore slump.  Duvall will start 2017 as the cleanup hitter.

Sebastian Elizalde is a 25-year old lefty-hitting outfielder from Mexico and non-roster invite to major league spring training.  He began his pro career at home in the Mexican leagues and was signed by the Reds in 2014.  Last year he played right field for double-A Pensacola and hit for a 297/324/387 slash line with 5 homers and 54 RBI in 111 games.

Elizalde had a good batting average last year but did not show great power or speed, and has not impressed on defense either.  He's still young but there's not a lot here than says anything other than "organizational player."  Perhaps the Reds think he can be more than that.

2017 Roster Preview Part 6: Davis, DeSclafani, Diaz


It's on to the letter D.

Rookie Davis is exactly what that nickname indicates.  His given name is William Theron Davis, and he is a 23-year old right-handed pitcher from North Carolina, who will turn 24 at the end of April.  The Reds picked him up from the Yankees' system in the Aroldis Chapman trade, and he was 10-3 with a 2.94 ERA at double-A Pensacola last year, then struggled in four starts at Louisville to end the season.

Davis didn't get a lot of attention on prospect lists this year, probably because he doesn't have a high-speed fastball.  He's a big guy but throws in the low 90s, though he is said to have good movement on the fastball and good command.  He also works with a curve and a change.  Though he was successful at double-A his strikeout rate wasn't impressive.  He'll go to triple-A Louisville this year, and if things go well he'll get his shot in the majors soon.

Anthony DeSclafani has become the ace of the Cincinnati staff by default.  He's a 26-year old right-hander who will turn 27 in mid-April.  He started 2016 on the disabled list but returned to make 20 starts and post a 9-5 record and 3.28 ERA.  With Homer Bailey on the shelf to start the season he's the odds-on favorite to make the Opening Day start.

DeSclafani alternates between a four-seam and a two-seam fastball.  The hummer averages about 93 mph, with the four-seamer a little faster but the two-seamer getting sinking action.  He also mixes in a nice slider as his main off-speed pitcher, and has mostly junked his standard changeup in favor of a knuckle-curve.  The mix seems to be working for him.  His true talent level is about a #3, but for now he is the best guy in the Reds' rotation.

Jumbo Diaz is not quite as large as he once was, but he is still a large man.  He's a right-handed reliever who will turn 33 at the end of this month.  Diaz struggled a bit early on and got sent to the minors but returned and got his ERA down to 3.14 by the end of the season.  He has occasional problems with walks, and has a bad habit of giving up too many home runs.

Jumbo brings heat, throwing his fastball at about 96 mph and working off it with a sharp slider.  He will infrequently mix in a changeup for show.  The heat is nice but sometimes shaky command makes him a home run risk, which limits him to the middle innings.  He's handy to have there, and is likely to fill that role in 2017.

2017 Roster Preview Part 5: Arroyo, Coleman, Cozart


This time around we will go back and get a late addition, then finish up the letter C.

Hey, look who's back!  Bronson Arroyo, one of the best pitchers in team history, has signed a minor league deal with the deal.  He's about to turn 40 so the guy is no spring chicken.  He also hasn't pitched in the majors in two years, and has pitched only two games in the minors (with limited success) in that time.  Still, what the heck?

The slim right-hander posted a 105-94 record for Cincinnati in eight seasons, from 2006-2013,  ranking 17th on the all-time career list for wins.  He's 9th in starts and 17th in innings.  He does hold the team record for most home runs given up.  He delivered at least 199 innings in each of his years with the Reds, a tremendous record of durability.  Whether he's got anything left is anybody's guess at this point, but it doesn't cost a lot to find out.

Louis Coleman is 30, will turn 31 early in April, and is in camp as a non-roster players after six seasons with the Royals and Dodgers.  The right-handed reliever worked in 61 games for the Dodgers last year, pitching 48 innings with a 4.69 ERA.  He was dropped by the Dodgers, after being released by the Royals the year before.

He has a 2.23 ERA as a minor leaguer, including 2.35 at triple-A.  He relies mostly on his slider, as his 89 mph fastball does not impress.  That seems to work all right in the minors but hasn't worked as well in the majors.  He's probably the Louisville closer this year as he waits for another shot.

Zack Cozart was a major trade target last year until he got hurt and missed the last month and a half.  He's back this year, but probably only until he proves he's healthy, and a contending team's shortstop gets hurt.  Cozart is a strong defensive shortstop with some pop but is a streaky hitter who on balance does not get on base enough to be effective offensively.

At age 31 (32 in August) Cozart is not part of the Reds' long-range plans.  He can become a free agent after this year and will probably not re-sign with Cincinnati, which will look for a younger SS.  He set career highs in homers with 16 and walks with 37 last year.  The team would like to deal him and play their younger infielders.  In the meantime, Cozart will work hard as always.

Bill James Says (brief interlude)


In a column currently up at Bill James Online, the dean of sabermetrics says that as part of his current research, the 2016 Reds pitching is the worst ever.  I think we covered something like this a few months ago, but here it is again.  Things can't get worse, can they?

2017 Roster Preview Part 4: Castillo, Chacin, Cingrani


In the fourth part of our series, we look at three pitchers.

Luis Castillo is a 24-year old Dominican right-hander just obtained from Miami in the Dan Straily deal.  He signed in 2012, spent two years in the Dominican developmental league, then began pitching stateside in 2014.  That's gone pretty well, as he has a 2.45 ERA in high-A ball the last two years.  In 2016 he went 8-4 with a 2.07 ERA in 21 starts in the Florida State League, then struggled a bit in three double-A starts, with an 0-2 record and 3.86 ERA.

Castillo is ranked by ESPN's Keith Law as the 94th best prospect in baseball.  He throws very hard, showing a high-90s fastball that can reach 100 mph when he really gets going.  He's also got a good changeup, but hasn't been able to find the right breaking pitch, with his slider not fooling many.  So, his strikeout numbers look pretty mediocre for a guy who throws so hard.  Expect the Reds to send him to Pensacola to work on that slider, and if he finds the touch he could move up very quickly.

Alejandro Chacin is a 23-year old Venezuelan right-hander in camp as a non-roster player.  He'll turn 24 in June.  Chacin was the closer for double-A Pensacola last year and had a big year with 30 saves, a 5-2 record and 1.78 ERA, thus the invite to camp.  He struck out 75 with 26 walks in 61 innings.

He's had success everywhere he's gone in the minors, with excellent strikeout rates and decent if a bit high walk rates.  He's a sinker/slider guy with a nearly sidearm motion.  He'll be in Louisville to start the year and if he keeps having success will soon be pitching in Cincinnati.

Tony Cingrani is a 27-year old left-handed pitcher, will turn 28 in July.  He's our only guy today with major league experience, and he has 269 innings for Cincinnati under his belt.  Cingrani came up through the system as a starter but doesn't really have the stuff to be successful in that role in the majors.  He pitched in relief for the full year in 2016 and served as the closer for awhile, notching 17 saves.  In 63 innings he struck out 49 and walked 37.

Cingrani's fastball played up last year in relief use, averaging 94 mph, but he uses it almost exclusively.  He relies on a deceptive delivery that makes the pitch difficult for the batter to pick up.  He throws a slider about 10% of the time, but that's it...which also made starting a difficult career path.  A workable changeup would really make Cingrani a much more effective pitcher, because as he stands right now he has a middle relief profile.

2017 Roster Preview Part 3: Bonilla, Brantly, Brice


The third part of our roster preview finishes the letter B.

Lisalverto Bonilla is a 26-year old right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic.  He'll turn 27 in June.  The Reds picked him up off waivers just a couple of days ago.  He pitched in the majors in 2014 for Texas, going 3-0 in three starts with a 3.05 ERA.  Then he got hurt and missed all of 2015.  He pitched in the Dodgers' system in 2016 and went 5-7 with a 3.97 ERA.

Scouts say he has a low-90s fastball that moves, a decent slider, and a good changeup.  He struck out 118 batters in 111 innings last year,with 40 walks, so he could help out as he will be one more year away from his ligament replacement surgery.  He's been bouncing around on waivers, meaning he has no options left, and must go through waivers to be sent to the minors.  He stands a good chance at getting a long relief spot and could contend for the rotation if he looks good in the spring.

Rob Brantly is a 27-year old catcher from the San Diego area and a left-handed hitter.  He has some big league experience with the Marlins and White Sox, a .225 career average in 112 games.  He hit .244 in 85 games at Tacoma last year.  He is in camp as a non-roster player.

Brantly has some power but has had contact issues at the triple-A and major league levels.  His defense is all right, and if Devin Mesoraco is hurt during the year he stands a chance at some major league time.  He is a perfectly serviceable journeyman catcher.

Austin Brice is a  24-year old right-handed pitcher born in Hong Kong but raised in North Carolina.  The Reds picked him up this offseason in the Dan Straily trade.  He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins in 2016 with a 7.07 ERA but a 4.50 FIP, so he was that bad.  Brice has a good fastball that comes in about 94 mph, a decent slider, and a change that is still a work in progress.

Brice has had command issues but that seemed to improve with last year's conversion to the bullpen.  That also would help with the "no real third pitch" problem.  He'll get a good look for the bullpen in the spring, and it would not be a surprise for him to spend some time in Cincinnati in 2017.

2017 Roster Preview Part 2: Astin, Bailey, Barnhart


We continue our look at the 2017 spring training roster of the Reds, three players at a time.

Barrett Astin is a 25-year old right-handed pitcher and native of Arkansas drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft by the Brewers.  The Reds picked him up in late 2014 in the Jonathan Broxton trade.  Cincinnati protected him on the 40-man roster after his strong 2016 season at double-A Pensacola.  He was 9-3 with a 2.26 ERA as a swingman, with 11 starts and 26 relief appearances.

In 103 innings Astin struck out 96 and walked 25.  He works mostly with a low-90s fastball and a slider, and has had trouble adding a third pitch to become an effective starter.  The fastball also plays up in shorter outings, as usual.  Astin had a good showing in the Arizona Fall League to earn his roster spot and will get a look in spring.  He's a longshot to make the Opening Day roster, but a solid showing again will likely earn his some big league team for 2017.

Homer Bailey got some more bad news, undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow which will keep him out until at least June.  He was just put on the 60-day disabled list to make some roster room to bring in another pitcher.  Bailey is 30 and will turn 31 by the time he pitches in Cincinnati.

In trying to come back from 2015 elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John) surgery, he made six starts in 2016, with a 2-3 record and 6.65 ERA.  He had three good starts and three bad ones before being shut down.  When healthy Bailey throws a 93 mph fastball, a slider, a changeup, and has been working in a knuckle curve.  He's signed through 2019, and the Reds need him to come back and be the staff ace.

Tucker Barnhart is a 26-year old catcher from Indiana drafted by the Reds in the 10th round of the 2009 draft.  He makes an excellent backup catcher, but got called into regular duty last year and was stretched beyond his ability.  Barnhart is a solid defender with a decent bat but not much power.  He's below average as a regular.

He hit .257 in 115 games with a .323 on-base and a .379 slugging, hit 7 HR and 51 RBI.  He threw out 33% of opposing basestealers.  He threw out the most stealers in the NL, but also allowed the second most stolen bases.  That has a lot to do with the large numbers of baserunners the pitching staff allowed, but it also shows teams thought they could run on the club.  Barnhart doesn't bring enough other stuff to the table to overcome that weakness.  To be better in 2017, the Reds need Devin Mesoraco to be back as the regular catcher, and push Barnhart back to part-time work.

2017 Roster Preview Part 1: Adleman, Alcantara, Aquino


With today being report day for pitchers and catchers, we will begin our annual look at the players invited to major league camp, with a brief scouting report and a best guess at their role for the upcoming season.  We'll go over all the guys on the 40-man roster plus the non-roster invites to the major league camp in alphabetical order.  So we begin with the letter A and Tim Adleman, Arismendy Alcantara, and Aristides Aquino.

Tim Adleman is a 29-year old right-handed pitcher born in Staten Island, but went to high school in Raleigh, NC and to college at Georgetown.  So he was well-traveled, at least on the east coast, even before he went into pro ball.  He was drafted by the Orioles in 2010's 24th round so he did not hit the pros as a hot prospect.  He was all right that year but had a terrible 2011 and Baltimore released him.  He went into independent league ball.

The Reds signed Adleman for the 2014 season.  That went pretty well, and they put him in the double-A Pensacola rotation for 2015.  He posted a 2.64 ERA there, then a 2.38 mark at triple-A Louisville in 10 starts in 2016 earned him a call to the big club.  In 13 starts with Cincinnati he went 4-4 with a 4.00 ERA.  His FIP was less encouraging at 5.30.

Adleman throws a sinking fastball at 91 mph and uses a curve and a change as offspeed stuff.  His repertoire is not very impressive but his only real problem at the big league level was the home run ball.  His 20 walks and 47 strikeouts in 70 innings were fine, but the 13 homers wasn't.  Adleman has a real chance at the big league rotation this spring and could sew up the #5 spot with a solid March.  If he can keep the ball in the park he might even last the season and earn himself future paychecks.

Arismendy Alcantara is a 25-year old outfielder from the Dominican Republic.  He's not very big but has speed and some power, and a lot of defensive versatility as he also plays infield.  He was picked up on waivers from the A's after the season, and is out of options so he has to go through waivers if he is not on the major league team.

Alcantara strikes out a lot and doesn't walk much, which has given him trouble at higher levels.  He got a good bit of playing time for the Cubs in 2014, playing center field more than anyone else on the team that year with 48 starts.  He was 22 and that wasn't a very good team, but he did play solid defense though he batted just .205.  At this point his best bet is to make a team as a utility player, or to learn to hit a slider (or at least lay off ones in the dirt).  He's got a chance to make the team as a 25th man.

Aristides Aquino had to be protected on the 40-man roster this year or exposed to the Rule 5 draft.  He is a 22-year old Dominican native signed as a teenager.  He's still filling out but got to high-A at Daytona in 2016 and hit .273 with 23 homers and 79 RBI in 125 games, so Cincinnati figured they needed to protect him or risk losing him.

Aquino obviously has solid power with that many homers in the Florida State League, plus 26 doubles and 12 triples.  The issue is 34 walks versus 104 strikeouts at that level.  He'll have to get more selective as he moves up.  He has settled in as a right fielder and should be fine there if he doesn't fill out too much and lose all his speed.  Aquino is listed as the Reds' 13th best prospect by ESPN's Keith Law, and 10th best by John Sickels on  Both cite impatience at the plate as his weakness.  He'll go to double-A Pensacola this year, and needs to learn to take a pitch.

Reds Deal Brandon Phillips


The Reds have dealt longtime second baseman Brandon Phillips, acquiring two pitchers.

Phillips has been the Reds second baseman for eleven years, almost as long as I've been writing this blog.  He has played 1614 games in a Cincinnati uniform, being selected for the All-Star Game three times in that span.  He won four Gold Gloves during his tenure.  Phillips was also known for his ready smile and his willingness to engage with the fans in person and on social media.  Perhaps thousands of Reds fans have posted pictures of themselves with the smiling infielder.

The Reds dealt the 35-year old keystone sacker to make room in the infielder for youngsters Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera.  The trade sends Phillips to Atlanta, where he grew up.  Cincinnati will pay $13 million of his $14 million salary for 2017.

The two pitchers acquired are Andrew McKirihan and Carlos Portuondo.  McKirihan is a right-handed pitcher from Texas originally drafted by the Cubs in the 21st round in 2011.  He pitched 27 games in relief for Atlanta in 2015 with a 5.93 ERA but a 3.79 FIP.  McKirihan missed all of 2016 with his second ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery, and will be rehabbing in 2017.  He's 27 and may be somewhat useful.

Portuondo is a right-handed pitcher from Cuba, age 29.  2016 was his American debut and he posted a 3.63 ERA in 34 2/3 innings between high-A and triple-A ball.  He may also be useful, but the true purpose of the trade is to clear playing time for Peraza and Herrera.

Reds Sign Feldman


The Reds have signed pitcher Scott Feldman to a one-year contract.

Feldman will turn 34 in a couple of weeks and is a 12-year major league veteran.  He's been a starter for most of his career the Reds figure to deploy him in the rotation.  In 2016 he pitched mostly out of the bullpen: he pitched in 26 games, 5 of them starts, for Houston, then made 14 relief appearances for Toronto.  His record for that was 7-4 with a 3.97 ERA.  For his career he is 71-77 with a 4.40 ERA.  For most of the last 12 years he has been roughly an average pitcher.

Feldman relies mostly on three pitches; an 88 mph cutter, a 90 mph fastball, and a curveball.  The fastballs are mostly of the two-seam, sinking variety.  He's known more for command and control than for stuff.  The record's not bad, but he won't overpower anybody.

Feldman is a decent add for a team like the Reds, looking for a veteran to soak up some innings and buy time for youngsters to develop.  Word is he gets $2.7 million plus incentives, so it's also not an expensive gamble.  It's a big pay cut for him after making $8 mil last year.  He's hoping for a good year to get one more big payday.

Dan Straily Dealt


The Reds have traded pitcher Dan Straily to Miami for three prospects.

Straily, 28, out of Marshall University, was originally a 24th round pick for the A's in 2009.  Cincinnati got him off waivers just before the 2016 season began, with a plan to use him as a long reliever.  After just three relief appearances he was put into the rotation, and finished with a 14-8 record and a 3.76 ERA.

That lines up well with his 10-8 record and 3.96 ERA for the A's in 2013, but there were a lot of bad times in between.  Plus, with a so-so walk rate and a high homer rate, plus a low batting average on balls in play at .242 (or, good hit-luck) he was a strong candidate for regression.  Especially so because his fielding-independent pitching was 4.88.  He's a great guy and I will miss him, but 2016 was likely his career year.  Sell high, man.

Three prospects come back from the Marlins.  None is a sure thing, but all are interesting for the future.

Austin Brice, 24, is a right-handed pitcher drafted by the Marlins in the 9th round in 2010 by the Marlins.  He got to the majors as a reliever this season, though that didn't go real well.  He's a hard thrower with some control issues that got better when he went to the bullpen.  Brice will get a chance to make the team as a middle reliever this spring.

Luis Castillo, also 24, is from the Dominican.  He's the best prospect of the group because he throws really hard.  Last year he pitched very well in the Florida State League, but struggled at the double-A level.  That was just three starts.  Chances are the Reds send him to double-A at Pensacola to start the year and promote him quickly if things go well.

Isaiah White is the third guy, an outfielder who was a 3rd round pick in 2015.  He's just 20.  The first pro experience in the Gulf Coast League went pretty well, but he struggled last year in the New York-Penn League.  He hit just .214 in 51 games for Batavia, playing LF and CF.  White has tools but doesn't really know what to do with them yet.  He may start the year in Dayton.

No sure things here, but this is the kind of risk you take when rebuilding.

In addition, Steve Selsky was designated for assignment to make room on the roster.

Reds Sign Drew Storen


Cincinnati has signed reliever Drew Storen to a one-year deal with a $3 million salary and a possible $2 million in incentives.

Storen is 29 and is from Indiana, the same Indianapolis suburb as Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart, which is unlikely to be a coincidence.  He was a first-round pick by Washington in 2009, the 10th overall choice in that draft.  He debuted in the majors less than a year later, and became one of the best relief pitchers around.

Storen  has swung back and forth between closing and setup work.  In 385 2/3 major league innings he has 369 strikeouts and 109 walks, with just 94 unintentional walks.  After six years with the Nats, he was traded to Toronto for outfielder Ben Revere before the 2016 season.  Things didn't go that well with the Blue Jays; in his 38 games he posted a 6.21 ERA.  The Jays swapped him to the Mariners for Joaquin Benoit; things went much better for him in Seattle, a 3.44 ERA in 19 games.

He's coming to Cincinnati to try and rebuild his resume and get a bigger contract next offseason.  His major problem in 2016 appears to be a drop in velocity, going from 94 mph on his fastball to 92 mph last season.  His best pitch has been a wipeout slider, but he needs to velocity to set it up.  Storen also throws a changeup to battle lefty batters.

If Storen can recover his lost velocity he will be effective.  If not, he'll have to learn to adjust his pitching style to compensate.  The question is what this does to the Reds bullpen plans.  Does this make Storen the closer, with Raisel Iglesias and Mike Lorenzen, the two best pitchers on the staff (aside from a healthy Homer Bailey) as regular setup men?  Or are Iglesias and Lorenzen still to be multi-inning, pitch when the stakes are high guys?  It would be a shame to waste one of them as a "7th inning guy."

Easy Come, Easy Go


The Reds picked up two players on waivers while losing one.  The 40-man roster now stands at 40.

Tyrell Jenkins was claimed off waivers from the Rangers.  He's a right-handed pitcher, age 24, originally drafted by the Cardinals in the supplemental round (50th overall pick) in 2010.  He pitched 14 games for Atlanta in 2016, starting 8, posting a 2-4 record and 5.88 ERA.  His triple-A stats include a 12-7 record and 2.86 ERA.  He throws a 91 mph fastball plus a curve and change.  The stuff is good but the control is very shaky.  He comes in as a possible starter for 2017.

They also claimed 3B-1B Richie Shaffer off waivers from the Phillies.  Shaffer has played 51 games in the majors for Tampa Bay in 2015-16, getting 122 ABs with a 213/310/410 slash line.  His triple-A slash is 243/338/445 in 188 games.  He's got some power and draws walks, but has contact issues.  He's 25.  Has a shot at a bench job.

Cincinnati also lost Juan Graterol on waivers, making roster room for these guys.  Graterol, 27, is a light-hitting catcher picked up on waivers a few weeks ago.

More Roster Notes


The Player to be Named for the Rule 5 deal with the Padres has already been named.  That was fast.  The Reds get IF Josh Van Meter.  Van Meter has been moved around, playing second, short, and third during his four pro seasons.  He has hit .261 as a pro.  Van Meter profiles as a utility infielder in the majors, but is just 21 and could become more.

The team also announced the 19 minor league players invited to big league camp in the spring:

Rule 5 Shenanigans


The Reds were busy in the Rule 5 draft this morning, though the picks were hard to explain.  They selected two catchers in the major league phase; Luis Torrens from the Yankees organization, and Stuart Turner from the Twins organization.  Both are defense-first guys with suspect bats.  Then, they dealt Torrens to the Padres for cash (presumably to cover the cost of the pick itself) and a player to be named later.

Turner is 24 and hit .239 with 6 homers in double-A this past season.  He might make the team as a backup depending on Devin Mesoraco's health.

In the minor league phase, the Reds took Jose Adames from the Marlins organization, while losing Art Charles and Jefri Hernandez.  Both Charles and Hernandez were recent minor league signings who have not played in the Cincinnati organization, so it's a net money gain for the Reds.  Adames, a 23-year old from the Dominican, was 1-5 with an ERA of 6.00 in class-A ball last year.  He throws pretty hard but has no control.

There was some speculation the Reds might lose a guy in the draft, especially Ismael Guillon, but it didn't happen.

Renda to Louisville: Roster at 38.


The Reds outrighted Tony Renda to Louisville, putting the current major league 40-man roster at 38.  This gives them a couple of spaces to sign a free agent or draft someone in Thursday's Rule 5 draft.

Love Me Non-Tender


The Reds today announced they were not tendering a contract to Ramon Cabrera or Keyvius Sampson (both designated for assignment this week) and Gabriel Guerrero (recently picked up on waivers).  This makes all three free agents.  It also leaves the roster at 39, giving the team the opportunity to select someone in the Rule 5 draft next week.

Roster Shenanigans, End of November Edition


The Reds cut two and added two off waivers to begin this last week of November.

Ramon Cabrera and Keyvius Sampson were designated for assignment.  Cabrera, 27, served as backup catcher in 2016 and hit .246.  Him being cut comes as somewhat of a surprise.  Sampson, 25, was 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 18 games, mostly in relief.  He's a useful if limited arm.

The players added were Juan Graterol, a catcher formerly with the Angels, and Gabriel Guerrero, an OF previously with the Diamondbacks.

Graterol, 27, was 4-for-14 in limited action for the Angels.  He hit .300 in 68 games at Salt Lake City.  Hard to see him as a step up over Cabrera, but someone seems to like him better.

Guerrero, 22, hit just .234 in the minors in 2016, but it was all at double-A and triple-A so he was playing with a lot of older guys.  He had power and speed but may have been moved up too quickly.  Or, he might just not be able to hit a breaking ball.  He's been mostly a right fielder.

40-Man Additions


The Reds today announced seven players being added to the 40-man roster.  The seven are minor league prospects who had to be placed on the 40-man or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft to be held soon.  Today was the deadline to made additions to the 40-man.

Added were OF Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin, and Jesse Winker, and pitchers Barrett Astin, Keury Mella, Jackson Stephens, and Nick Travieso.

That still leaves a few guys who could be drafted not on the roster.  A risk you have to take sometimes.

Stan Musial Award


The BBBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) has announced the winners of the Stan Musial Award for top player in each league.  Link to the article.

More Roster Clearing


The Reds made some more roster-clearing moves.  Josh Smith was claimed off waivers by the A's, and Ivan DeJesus, Jr. was outrighted to Louisville.  Cincinnati has a lot of young players that must be protected or risk the Rule 5 draft.  The future must be protected!

Lamb Dealt


John Lamb had back surgery and will not be ready for spring training or the start of the season.  The Reds had designated him for assignment to take him off the 40-man roster, since he is out of options.  Now word comes that Lamb has been dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash.

Lamb came to the Reds from the Royals in the Johnny Cueto trade.  He had some minor league success, but was 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA for the Reds in 2015 and then 1-7 with a 6.43 ERA in 2016.  He'll look for a fresh start in another organization.

Roster Moves: Late October Edition


The Reds have announced some roster moves over the last couple of days.  This is a matter of getting the 40-man roster set in time for the Rule 5 draft at the upcoming Winter Meetings.

First the team activated from the 60-day disabled list those who were on it, which includes Caleb Cotham, Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, and Yorman Rodriguez.  No one can be on the DL (60-day or 15-day) when the winter roster is set.  Alfredo Simon was placed on the 60-day DL, but this is a numbers move:  he comes off when the World Series is over and he becomes a free agent.

Ariel Hernandez was placed onto the 40-man major league roster.  Hernandez was chosen in the minor league part of the Rule 5 draft last year.  He throws very hard and has an amazing curveball, but also have serious problems throwing strikes.  He did that better than before in 2016, and the Reds hope he can become a bullpen force.

The Reds also outrighted to the minors Cotham, Rodriguez, Hernan Iribarren, and John Lamb.  All can become free agents, and may well, but are likely to re-sign with the Reds to minor league deals.  Lamb just had back surgery that means he will not be ready for the start of the season.  This clears roster space.

Abel de los Santos was also outrighted, but claimed off waivers by the Angels.

The Reds had earlier outrighted Tyler Holt, Matt Magill, Jon Moscot, and Raffy Lopez.  They will now have to decide who of their minor leaguers to protect, and whether this means needing to cut anyone else.

2016 Season Review: Bullpen


The Reds bullpen was a horror show in 2016.  The tools to do better are present, but they might need some or most of those arms in the rotation.  Here's what happened in the season past, in order of relief appearances.

Blake Wood pitched in 70 games even though he missed some time with injury.  The 31-year old was 6-5 with 1 save and a 3.99 ERA.  He's miscast as the setup guy they used him as in 2016, and is better cast as a middle reliever.  He's cheap so he'll be around.

Tony Cingrani spent much of the year as the closer and finished with a 2-5 record and 14 saves in 65 games while posting a 4.14 ERA.  He'll also be around but may end up also in middle relief or as a lefty specialist.  He's 27.

Ross Ohlendorf is now 34 and probably won't be back.  He was 5-7 with 2 saves in 64 games and a 4.66 ERA.  He was one of the contributors to the homers given up record, allowing 14 in 65 2/3 innings.

Jumbo Diaz pitched in 45 games at age 32, just a 1-1 record and 3.14 ERA.  He's still a useful arm.

Michael Lorenzen pitched in 35 relief games at age 24, delivering a 2-1 record and 2.88 ERA.  Lorenzen was the second-most effective pitcher on the team behind Raisel Iglesias.  He may be used as a starter next year.

Iglesias, who we also looked at last time, was 3-2 with 6 saves and a 2.53 ERA in 32 relief appearances and five starts.  He may also start in 2017.

Josh Smith made 30 relief appearances and two spot starts.  He was 3-3 with a 4.68 ERA and is a perfectly acceptable long/mop-up man.  He may get that job again.

J.C. Ramirez was in 27 games and was 1-3 with a 6.40 ERA.

Caleb Cotham was in 23 games and was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA.

J.J. Hoover pitched in 18 games and was 1-2 with a save and a 13.50 ERA.

Those last three guys are likely to be cut loose.  And that's the list of those who pitched in more than 10 games.

2016 Season Review: Starting Pitching


In this installment, and in the spirit of late October, a look at the very scary Reds starting pitching crew of 2016.To open the season, the Reds used this starting rotation in this order; Raisel Iglesias, Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson, Alfredo Simon, Iglesias again, and Tim Melville.  That lasted 11 games, then Jon Moscot and Dan Straily got starts.  In all seven pitchers would start at least ten games for the Reds, fifteen would start at least one game.Iglesias, 26, was the team's most effective pitcher in 2016 but would make only five starts before going to the sidelines.  He returned to make 32 relief appearances and finish with a 3-2 record, six saves, and a 2.53 ERA.  The question to team now faces is whether to try Iglesias as a starter again, gambling with his health, or shift him permanently to the bullpen.Finnegan, 23, made 31 starts and posted a 10-11 record and 3.98 ERA.  That answered questions of whether the small-framed lefty could last a full season as a starter.  The next question is whether he can cut down on the 29 homers he gave up in 172 innings.  If he can, he could be a solid mid-rotation guy.Stephenson made two early starts, went back to the minors, then later came back up and made six more.  The 23-year old had a 2-3 record and 6.08 ERA due largely to shaky command.  He has ace potential if he can throw enough strikes.  He walked 19 in 37 innings and gave up nine homers when he felt the need to come in with a fat strike.Simon, 36, was a disaster from start to finish, posting a 9.36 ERA that reflecting an inability to soak up the innings the team needed from him.  He will not be back, which improves the pitching immediately.Melville, 27, made two starts (and one relief appearance) and posted an ERA of 11.00.  He won't be back either.Moscot, 25, made five starts with an 0-3 record and 8.02 ERA.  He has a lot to prove before getting another chance.  Most especially he has to prove he is healthy.Straily, 27, was used as a long reliever for the first two weeks and then inserted into the rotation in desperation.  He finished the year as the team's top winner at 14-8 with a 3.76 ERA.  His peripheral stats do not give one confidence about his ability to repeat that, but in 2016 he was a rotation saver.And there are four guys who started a double-digit number of games we haven't named yet.  They didn't start early in the season because of either injury or youth, Now we come to Anthony DeSclafani, John Lamb, Tim Adelman, and Cody Reed.DeSclafani, the most effective starter of 2015, started the year on the disabled list.  The 26-year old was effective when he returned, making 20 starts with a 9-5 record and 3.28 ERA.  He was the team's best starter once again.Lamb, 26, looked overmatched in his 14 starts.  He posted a mere 1-7 record and 6.43 ERA.  Lamb has more potential than that but needs a reset to get going again.Adelman, 28, was not overpowering but was often effective.  In 13 starts he was 4-4 with a 4.00 ERA.  He figures to get a chance to show he can repeat that performance at the back of the rotation.Reed, 23, also looked overmatched in his 10 starts.  He was 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA and seemed to get worse each time out as his confidence waned.  The kid has too much stuff to shunt aside, but will need to work on his consistency.T[...]