Blog Archives

June 6, 2014

Grading the draft’s first day

Howard pitches for the University of Virginia

Nick Howard, the first pick by the Reds for the 2014 draft.

The first round of Major League Baseball’s 2014 amateur player draft happened yesterday, and Jesse Spector of The Sporting News graded each team’s selections.

Spector begins with a disclaimer.

Here’s the thing about draft grades, though: 10 years ago, the draft featured eight first-round picks who never played a day in the major leagues, including No. 1 pick Matt Bush and No. 8 Wade Townsend. Mark Reynolds, a three-time 30-home run hitter, went in the 16th round.

What follows, then, is a series of grades that are stupid, but that also come with the knowledge of their stupidity.

And how did the Reds do?

Nick Howard (No. 19) is part of the Two First Names Club, so there are some people who will not trust him, but this is part of the Reds’ philosophy, as they selected Philip Ervin in the first round last year. Hopefully he’ll be able to avoid Tommy John surgery. Stanford shortstop Alex Blandino (No. 29) is the compensatory pick for Shin-Soo Choo, so, hey, no pressure, right?

Yay! The Reds got an “A”! I’m sure we’ll all look back on this grade in 10 years time and nod with satisfaction. Especially if Howard avoids Tommy John surgery.

May 1, 2014

Hello Chapman, Goodbye Cingrani

Tony Cingrani mowing down Marlins batters.This has not been a lucky year so far for the Cincinnati Reds. Not in terms of wins or in terms of health. And another one went down today.

Tony Cingrani was sent to the disabled list following his four-inning start against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. He wasn’t happy about it.

“I don’t know why they do a lot of things. I don’t agree with it,” he said. “But if they don’t want me to injure myself, I understand. I think I can keep throwing, but they’re exercising caution.”

I can’t say that I’m happy about him being disabled either, although it’s for different reasons.

There is one good spot of news for the Reds. Aroldis Chapman made his first rehab appearance today. And he did well.

Chapman’s expected back in less than two weeks. Hopefully, no more Reds fall before then.

February 20, 2014

Bailey signs long-term deal with Reds

Looking like an adult at age 25It went down to the wire, but the Cincinnati Reds avoided arbitration with their final player, homegrown starting pitcher Homer Bailey.

Bailey has agreed to a six-year, $105 million deal. Since this season was Bailey’s final one before becoming a free agent, this is effectively a five year extension. He will be 34 once the contract is up, and assuming he spends the entire time with the Reds, will have spent 13 years with one club. That sounds fitting for the first starting pitcher the team drafted and developed since Tom Browning.

As for the deal’s details, ABC News has that.

Bailey gets salaries of $9 million this year, $10 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $19 million in 2017, $21 million in 2018 and $23 million in 2019. In an unusual twist, much of the annual salary will be deferred until the November after each season.

Bailey will be paid in-season amounts of $3 million this year, $4 million next year, $11 million in 2016, $12 million in 2017, $14 million in 2018 and $15 million in 2019.

If he is traded, his new team would have to pay all of the salary amounts during the season. Also, the $5 million buyout would be paid when either side decides not to exercise the option rather than having it deferred until November 2020.

The November deferment is something I’ve never heard of a team doing before. Whatever makes it easiest for the team.

Overall, this seems like a good, fair-market deal. Bailey has improved every year in the majors, and he’s entering the prime years of his athletic career. With two no-hitters already behind him, I’m optimistic he can accomplish more. Plus, it’s nice to see the Reds actually do something, even if it is sign a player they already had.

January 22, 2014

Reds arbitration update

Homer Bailey smiles as he leans in for a forbidden photo with a fan.

Homer Bailey smiles as he leans in for a forbidden photo with a fan.

Going into this off-season, the Cincinnati Reds had 6 players eligible for the arbitration process: Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Heisey, Mike Leake, Sam LeCure, and Alfredo Simon. Currently, the club has reached agreements with everyone except Bailey and Chapman.

LeCure and Chapman are both in their first year of the process. LeCure, though, signed a two-year deal with the club that will not have him dealing with arbitration again until his final team-controlled year. His deal is worth $3.05 million.

Chapman and the club have exchanged salary figures, with the Reds offering $4.6 million and Chapman requesting $5.4 million. With as close as those numbers are, it’s likely the two sides will reach at least a one-year deal before the arbitration hearing arrives.

Heisey, Leake, and Simon were all in their second year of arbitration eligibility, and all have signed one-year deals. Heisey will be earning $1.76 million, Leake will be earning $5.925 million, and Simon will be earning $1.5 million.

Chapman pitching against the OriolesThat leaves Bailey, in his final year with the Reds before he’s eligible for free agency, is asking for a lot more than the Reds are offering: $11.6 million to $8.7 million. At the very least, I’m confident the Reds will sign Bailey to a one-year deal. General manager Walt Jocketty is working on getting a longer-term contract, but Bailey seems quite interested in testing the free agent market. He is a guy who’s thrown two no-hitters already and has improved each of his years in the big leagues. I can’t blame him for getting as much money as he can get.

There have been rumblings of trading Bailey this year if the team can’t sign him to a long-term deal, but I think that’s unlikely, at least at the beginning of the season. Of course, once it becomes obvious to Jocketty that he’s assembled another third-place team, maybe he’ll see what kind of prospects he can get for Bailey.

December 5, 2013

Ryan Hanigan traded

Ryan Hanigan before he drove in an insurance run.

Ryan Hanigan before he drove in an insurance run.

More than a month after signing Brayan Pena to be the backup catcher for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014, the Reds finally addressed their catching surplus and traded Ryan Hanigan to the Tampa Rays.

The deal was a three-team deal that also involved the Arizona Diamondbacks. In return, the Reds received 22 year-old lefthander David Holmberg. The pitcher has some potential as a back-of-the-rotation starter, which is an area the Reds were very weak in last season.

This also signals to Devin Mesoraco that it’s time for him to step up.

“(Manager Bryan Price) and I talked about it a lot,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We felt he was ready to take the next step. We still have a high regard for his talent. He’s matured as a catcher and offensively the last two years. We think he’s ready to be a frontline guy.”

I hope so, too. Mesoraco’s shown slow, but steady improvement, which is kind of expected from the catching position. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s up to the challenge.

As for the trade, it seems a good one. The Reds traded from a surplus and addressed a weakness. Holmberg isn’t an ace-level prospect, but the Reds don’t need that. Hanigan had one more year before reaching free agency. Basically, the Reds turned that year into several more years of a 4th or 5th starter. Very nicely done.