Tag:Matt Maloney
Posted on: October 31, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 6:21 pm

Reds pick up Phillips' option, decline Cordero


By Evan Brunell

The Reds picked up the team option on second baseman Brandon Phillips and declined closer Francisco Cordero's option, the team announced.

In addition, the Twins claimed left-handed starter Matt Maloney off waivers from Cincinnati. The moves altogether will drop Cordero and Maloney from the Reds' 40-man roster.

Phillips' option is for $12 million, and exercising the option has been expected for months, However, the two sides are discussing a long-term deal, although the Reds may not be able to meet the price Phillips is setting. The second baseman hit .300 for the first time in his career, adding 58 extra-base hits, scoring 94 and driving in 82 runs. The two-time All-Star is also a finalist for his third Gold Glove. All told, the 30-year-old could fetch a significant price in free agency, whether this year or next year. And Phillips knows it, saying, "This is my last contract,” in September. “There is no homeboy hookup. I just want to be paid what I am worth.”

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Earlier in the month, Phillips addressed the option specifically, saying he wanted a new deal instead of just exercising the option -- but hadn't heard anything from the team.

"I've always said from Day 1 that this is where I want to be at," Phillips said. "I thought there might be some talks going on during the season but I haven't heard anything all year. I was very disappointed about it. It hurts bad that this is where I want to be at and I've paid blood, sweat and tears for this organization, but the only thing I can do is thank them very much for giving me a second opportunity. I can't really trip about anything that much. I came here and got my career back to where it should be going."

GM Walt Jocketty has displayed an interest in extending Phillips, but it's also no surprise that he chose to wait until after the season. Many teams prefer not to discuss contracts during the year and with the plum option working in the Reds' favor, there was no hurry to get Phillips inked. However, Phillips fired a warning shot when talking about the chance of his option being picked up with no new deal.

"If they just pick my option up and don't extend me, I feel like that's a slap in my face," he Phillips. "If the team wants you, they will make room. They will show you they want you here, period. They did it for some of the other guys."

Whatever happens, the Reds will have an All-Star second baseman opening the season in Cincinnati. Past that, who knows?

One thing's for sure -- Phillips likely wont have Francisco Cordero as a teammate next season. Cordero's $12 million option was declined, handing the righty a $1 million buyout. This move is a bit surprising, as Cordero saved 37 games in 2011 with a 2.45 ERA. While Cordero turns 37 next May, he has 194 saves over the last five seasons, the last four with Cincinnati, and his option would have only tied him to the team for one more season, which can be a luxury when dealing with relievers and their maddening inconsistency. Oh, and Aroldis Chapman is being transitioned to a starter, so there's that much less depth behind Cordero.

However, while Cordero's walks plunged this year to its best rate since 2007, he also struck out far less batters. In fact, on a rate basis, it was a career-worst. In that way, Cordero's newfound control could be misleading -- he's always been one to walk hitters but makes up for it by throwing gas. This year, his average fastball velocity dropped to 93 mph, far below his career mark of 95 mph. In fact, last season's 94.5 mph was the first time his average velocity fell below 95. When velocity drops, pitchers can easily command their pitches more, which could explain Cordero's ability to limit walks. But that is misleading, and it becomes clear why the option was declined. The Reds simply don't have confidence that he can live up to the money he would receive and fulfill his role as the team's closer.

There will be a handful of closers on the free-agent market, so the Reds should be able to find a better option out there than Cordero. There is also the trade route, or promoting an internal reliever. Nick Masset makes the most sense in that role. They won't be able to consider Matt Maloney for the role, though. The 27-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Twins after Maloney's forgettable season with Cincinnati resulted in a 9.16 ERA in 18 2/3 innings, making two starts. However, he had a 2.99 ERA in Triple- A and will give the Twins depth. Minnesota also claimed reliever Jeff Gray off waivers from Seattle.
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Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2011 11:08 pm

3 Up, 3 Down: Bring on the power

By Matt Snyder

Giants' offense. Brandon Belt hit a home run in the fourth inning, which marked the third straight game in which he'd hit a bomb. So I was all ready to have him here alone. But then starting pitcher Matt Cain went deep for just the fifth time in his career. Then Pablo Sandoval hit his second home run of the inning and all of a sudden it was an eight-run inning. The Giants had a 10-1 lead and would go on to win 12-5. Mike Fontenot and Brandon Crawford also homered while the Giants pounded out 13 hits. So the Giants scored 35 runs in a four-game series. This is a team that entered the series dead last in the NL in runs scored. They've won eight in a row and are only four out in the NL Wild Card race.

Erick Aybar, Angels. I always hesitate to use the term "career day" because it quite literally means it's going to be the best day of a player's career. In light of that, it's a term that is overused, frankly. I think we can at least think about doing it here, though. In a much-needed victory for the Angels, Aybar was 4-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI and five runs scored. The five runs tied an Angels record for a single game while it was the first time in Aybar's career that he hit more than one home run in a game. Oh, and Aybar's two non-homers were doubles. He also drew a walk. So he came to the plate five times, scored five times, made zero outs and accrued 12 total bases. Yes, that's a day he won't soon repeat. I'll say it was a career day.

Dodgers' offense. Yeah, the West Coast teams decided to pack some punch Sunday. This particular game was ugly. It was 11-0 Dodgers through three innings. It ended 15-1, as the Dodgers piled up 23 hits. James Loney, who seems to have flipped some sort of switch here in the past four weeks, was 5-for-6 with a double, three RBI and two runs. Juan Rivera was 3-for-4 with a double, three runs and four RBI. Jerry Sands was 4-for-6 with a home run and four RBI. Matt Kemp was 3-for-4 with a double, home run, three runs and two RBI. Dee Gordon was 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs. Perhaps the most amazing stat? They left 14 men on base.

Also note: There just wasn't enough room here for the power-hitting display Sunday. White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Blue Jays DH Adam Lind and Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig all hit two home runs, respectively.

Jonny Venters, Braves. Rough outing for one third of O'Ventbrel (that's a combination of O'Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel, for those unaware of the Atlanta moniker). Venters walked three -- including one with the bases loaded -- while allowing two hits and two earned runs in the eighth. He made a one-run lead into a one-run deficit and the Braves ended up losing the game 7-5. Venters now has a 6.30 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and two blown saves in his past 11 outings. 

The Pirates. Pirates pitchers faced 53 hitters. Thirty reached base. You can't win a game in the majors where more than half the batters reach base. That's just embarrassing. Oh, and Dodgers starter Chad Billingley hadn't won a game in six weeks, but he shut the Pirates down. Remember when they were above .500? The Pirates are 68-85 now.

Matt Maloney, Reds. He wasn't supposed to start, as Dontrelle Willis was a late scratch. Maloney was then forced into action, but the Brewers made sure Maloney wouldn't hang around for long. They torched the lefty for nine hits and seven runs (six earned) in just 1 2/3 innings of action. This included two home runs. The Reds lost 8-1 and were swept by the Brewers.

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 5:39 pm

Reds demote Volquez

Edinson Volquez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edinson Volquez, the Reds' opening day starter, is now a Louisville Bat. The Reds optioned Volquez and reliever Jordan Smith to Triple-A Louisville before Monday's game with the Phillies.

Volquez gave up seven runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 innings and has struggled mightily in the first inning this year, allowing 21 first-inning runs in 11 starts. Overall, he's 3-2 with a 6.35 ERA and a 4.16 xFIP, suggesting he's been better than he's pitched. In 51 innings, he's recorded 53 strikeouts but also 38 walks to go along with his 47 hits. He's also given up nine homers, including one to Asdrubal Cabrera on Sunday.

However, his greater sin may have been with his mouth, not his right arm. After the Reds' 12-4 loss to the Indians, Volquez called out the team's offense, which is second in the National League in runs scored.

"Everybody has to step up, score some runs," Volquez told reporters after the game. "In the last five games, how many runs have we scored? Like 13? That's not the way we were playing last year. We're better than that."

It was actually 12 runs in the last five games, which saw the Reds go 1-4, including four straight losses. But Volquez, who hasn't pitched more than six innings this season, is hardly the one to talk about a lack of run support. The Reds have scored 53 runs in his 11 starts -- nearly five an outing -- and the offense is why he has a winning record. The Reds have trailed in each of his 11 starts, with the offense picking him up to win six of those games.

The Reds acquired Volquez (along with left-handed reliever Daniel Ray Herrera) after the 2007 season from the Rangers in exchange for Josh Hamilton. With the Rangers, Volquez was seen as something of a problem child, being sent down from the majors to Class A Bakersfield to work his way back to the big leagues. However, he responded well and made his way back, before the Rangers traded him for the future MVP.

As well as Hamilton played with the Rangers, there was early debate over which side got the better of the deal as Volquez made the All Star team in his first season with the Reds, going 7-1 with a 1.33 ERA in his first nine starts in Cincinnati. He finished the season 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA but struggled in 2009 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Last season he served a 50-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs but didn't miss any time because he was able to serve his suspension during his rehab, making his debut on July 17. Voqluez finished the season with mixed results, going 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA. He started Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Phillies but was knocked out after 1 2/3 innings while his opposite, Roy Halladay, pitched a no-hitter.

It will be interesting to see if Volquez gets the message again this time, or if he goes off and blames someone else (again). The Reds' brass will certainly be watching how he reacts in Louisville, but it should be noted that Volquez is being placed into the hands of some of the Reds' most trusted employees: Louisville manager Rick Sweet and pitching coach Ted Power. Both are well-respected by the team and well liked by most everyone, including players. If Sweet and Power can't handle Volquez and his talented arm, the Reds may have a bigger problem on their hands.

Volquez has always had ace-like stuff, but his head has often gotten in the way of him breaking through to become a real No. 1.

While the Reds' have certainly been on the losing end of the trade with the Rangers, they may have gotten lucky with Volquez this offseason. Volquez was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, and the team offered him a deal to buy out the rest of his arbitration years. Instead, he signed a one-year deal worth $1.625 million and gambled that he'd have a good year and get a better deal from Cincinnati later on. Right now, it appears that won't be coming anytime soon, and the Reds may have saved themselves some money.

Coming up is Maloney, who will likely replace him in the rotation. Maloney appeared in five games for the Reds this year, making one start, lasting just two innings while giving up eight hits and three runs in two innings against the Cardinals -- although that was hardly a regular start. Maloney was the starter of record, even though Volquez warmed up and was the scheduled starter. After a two-hour rain delay, Volquez was scratched before he threw a pitch, and Maloney was the starter of record. Last season, Maloney was 0-2 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts and 2-2 with a 3.05 ERA overall.

Frazier was the team's top prospect in 2010 before it signed Aroldis Chapman, but he struggled last season and saw his ranking drop. He can play all over the infield and has also played the outfield. He's hitting .293/.366/.579 with 11 homers at Louisville.

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 6:22 pm

Volquez's spot in rotation in jeopardy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edinson VolquezThe Reds are "mulling" Edinson Volquez's spot in the rotation after not only his bad start on Sunday against the Indians, but his even worse choice of words following the game, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

After giving up four first-inning runs and seven runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 inning on Sunday, Volquez attacked the team's offense.

"Everybody has to step up, start to score some runs," Volquez said after the game. "In the last five games, how many runs have we scored? Like 13? That's not the way we were playing last year. We're better than that."

He's not wrong -- well, except that it's 12 runs in the last five games -- but he's not exactly earned the right to bring that message.

The Reds have trailed in all 11 of Volquez's starts this season and he's given up 21 first-inning runs this season. He's usually settled down (as his total of 38 runs allowed shows). On Sunday he didn't, allowing another run in the second and two more in the third.

Reds manager Dusty Baker said the team may consider demoting Volquez from the rotation.

"We're mulling that around now," Baker said (via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.) "Last time, he was a lot better. This outing, he didn't start off well again. We've got to discuss what to do."

Sam LeCure has excelled as a long-man for the Reds and pitched better in relief than as a starter. At Triple-A, the team has Matt Maloney, who is 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts, Mike Leake who is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in one start since being sent down and Dontrelle Willis, who is 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA. Willis left his outing Saturday when he was struck in the leg by a batted ball.

Volquez does have options remaining, so he could be sent down if the team wishes to do that.

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 5:50 pm

Volquez to start against Cardinals tonight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edinson VolquezEdinson Volquez will make the start for the Reds tonight against the Cardinals, two days after he was scratched from his start following a rain delay. Jake Westrbook starts for the Cardinals.

Reds manager Dusty Baker was upset with some deception and gamesmanship by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Friday, when the Reds-Cardinals game was delayed by rain just two batters into the game. Because the home team controls the start time, La Russa started reliever Miguel Batista for those two batters before coming back with scheduled starter Kyle McClellan more than two hours later. After Volquez warmed up for the regular game time, Baker decided to put long man Matt Maloney in after the delay to protect the arm of Volquez.

The Reds listed the starter for Sunday night's game as TBA yesterday before announcing Volquez would start today.

Right-hander Sam LeCure, whose spot in the rotation was coming up on Sunday, will instead pitch Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Volquez has struggled in first innings this season, so that will be something to watch when he does make his start. His ERA in the first inning this season is 29.75 and 1.93 afterward.

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Posted on: August 25, 2010 2:45 am
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Posted on: August 25, 2010 2:41 am
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Posted on: August 25, 2010 2:38 am

Reds may shut down Leake

Mike Leake was one of the good stories of the early season for the Cincinnati Reds, but after being moved to the bullpen in hopes of limiting his innings, the team is now considering shutting him down for the season.

"We're addressing it now," Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay following Tuesday's 16-5 loss to the Giants. "It seemed like he was getting hurt on his slider. He's rolling it up there. It's not sharp."

Mike Leake Leake made his second relief appearance of the season in the game, allowing six hits and six runs while retiring just a single Giants batter. Leake gave up two home runs, a two-run shot to Juan Uribe and a three-run homer to fellow rookie Buster Posey.

Leake's ERA jumped from 3.85 to 4.23 with the appearance.

Leake was taken out of the rotation following his Aug. 14 start against the Marlins, when he picked up his eighth win of the season. Because he'd thrown 135 2/3 innings at that point, the Reds moved him to the bullpen to protect the 22-year old's arm.

He made his first relief appearance Saturday in Los Angeles, allowing two runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings.

For the season, he's now thrown 138 1/3 innings.

The Reds' first-round pick in 2009, Leake skipped the minor leagues, making the rotation out of spring training. Leake won his first five decisions, netting a 2.22 ERA in his first 11 starts.

In his next 11 starts, he went 3-4 with a 5.60 ERA.

Leake threw 142 innings at Arizona State, plus 19 2/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League.

When rosters expand in September, the Reds could shut Leake down as a pitcher, but still use him as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. As impressive as his stats as a pitcher are for his rookie season (91 strikeouts 51 walks), Leake was even better at the plate. In 58 plate appearances, Leake hit .348/.423/.370 with three RBI and six sacrifices.

Fellow rookie Travis Wood was battered about by the Giants, allowing seven runs on seven hits in four innings. The team has Aaron Harang close to returning from a rehab assignment, although the team had been considering using him out of the bullpen. Left-hander Matt Maloney is currently in Triple-A, but is 0-2 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts for Cincinnati this season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com