Tag:Walt Jocketty
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:01 am
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Hernandez could go even if Reds don't sell

Ramon HernandezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Reds were just swept by the Mets in Cincinnati and welcome the defending champions to Great American Ball Park this weekend, but general manager Walt Jocketty told reporters the team still considers itself a buyer.

"We are not selling," Jocketty told reporters, including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.

The Reds enter Friday in fourth place in the National League Central, 6 1/2 games behind Milwaikee and five games behind both Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The Reds have six games left with the Pirates and three each with the Brewers and Cardinals, but just 19 of their remaining 54 games are against teams with winning records, and only six games in August are against teams currently with a winning record.

Even if the Reds do consider themselves still in the race despite the mountain ahead of them, that doesn't preclude a trade at the deadline that sends off a member of their roster.

The Giants are reportedly interested in Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez, a free agent after the season. Jocketty said he hasn't listened to offers for Hernandez -- yet.

"I haven't no, and I don't know if I would," Jocketty said. "I still think he's a guy that can help us with this year. I think his value is greater to us now than if we were to move him. You're not going to get the value in return for him that he gives our club. That's why we would hold on to him."

Of course, the Cardinals had no plans on moving Colby Rasmus, either. At this time of the year, anything a general manager says should be taken with a grain of salt -- it can always be a smokescreen or something he wants other to hear. Even if the Reds are buying and not selling, that doesn't necessarily rule out a Hernandez deal.

Hernandez, 35, is having a fantastic season offensively for the Reds, hitting .308/.368/.500 with 10 home runs. That's a vast improvement over Giants catcher Eli Whiteside (.225/.312/.370) and Chris Stewart (.211/.294/.276).

And as good as he's been, he's expendable because the Reds not only have one of the game's top catching prospects, but that prospect is knocking down the door of the majors. Devin Mesoraco is hitting .305/.376/.496 with 10 home runs and 59 RBI at Triple-A Louisville. The team also has veteran Ryan Hanigan at the big-league level, who is a good defensive catcher and under contract through 2013 for just $3.25 million over the next two seasons. Hernandez is a free agent after the season for the Reds.

But if the Reds do deal Hernandez to the Giants, they may wait until right at Sunday's 4 p.m ET deadline, as Cincinnati hosts San Francisco all weekend and wouldn't want to a lineup that had Hernandez in it instead of either Whiteside or Stewart. Hernandez has also caught every inning Sunday's starter, Johnny Cueto, has thrown this season. The teams play at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted the Reds want pitching in return for Hernandez -- and a San Francisco official said "That, we got a lot of." Keep in mind the Reds could likely get compensation for Hernandez if he left as a free agent. One name to keep an eye on, left-hander Eric Surkamp of Double-A Richmond. Surkamp is 8-3 with a 2.05 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 114 innings for the Flying Squirrels. He's also a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Moeller High School, the alma mater of former Reds Barry Larkin and Ken Griffey Jr.

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Posted on: June 18, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2011 7:57 pm
 

Reds, Phillips haven't discussed extension

Brandon Phillips

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Reds are expected to pick up Brandon Phillips' $12 million option for next season, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes.

The team hasn't spoken to Phillips about an extension, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said, but didn't rule it out.

"He's got an option," Jocketty told Fay. "That's what options are for. We might try to get something done later."

Earlier this week, Phillips told Amy K. Nelson of ESPN that it would be "hard to keep me here," when asked about his future in Cincinnati. He added, "I'm not trying to break the bank. I'm just trying to be fair. I don't want Jayson Werth money or CC Sabathia money."

That's a little different than what Phillips has repeatedly told the Cincinnati media for the last couple of years. When speaking to Cincinnati people, he's always said he wants to stay in Cincinnati and follow in the footsteps of his boyhood idol, former Reds great Barry Larkin.

He reiterated his desire to finish his career as a Red when speaking to Fay on Saturday.

"I told the Reds and the whole world this is where I want to be," Phillips said. "If it doesn't happen, I'm going to be very, very disappointed. I feel like I've made this a second home. I bought a house here. This is where I want to be, man. The fans just took me in. I feel like I need to stay here and give back.

"Hopefully, it happens. If it doesn't happen this year, I feel in my head and my heart, it's not going to happen."

Phillips has not only made himself a fan favorite through his use of Twitter, but has also donated enough money to help rebuild a local youth baseball field through the Reds Community Fund. He's backed his talk up with actions off the field, to be sure.

Atlanta signed second baseman Dan Uggla to a five-year, $62 million deal this past offseason. Uggla has more power than Phillips, but Phillips is a better all-around player. Philips won his second Gold Glove last season and has been even better defensively this year. His batting average and on-base percentage are about the same as they were a year ago -- and better than his career averages -- but his slugging percentage has taken a dip, as he's hitting .280/.338/.387 this season with five home runs. He hit 30 homers in 2007 and his home run numbers have dropped each season since. 

Phillips will be 30 later this month, so any extension will take that into consideration.

Last year the Reds showed they are willing to pick up a questionable high-priced option when they picked up Bronson Arroyo's $11.5 million option before spinning that into a three-year, $35 million extension.

Phillips will probably be looking for something similar, although he's possibly worth more.

Uggla's contract will be one comparison, but the Reds could point to Rickie Weeks, who signed a four-year, $38.5 million extension heading into this season. Weeks has outperformed Phillips at the plate this season (although, Phillips is much, much better defensively). Phillips has also been much more durable than Weeks, who has played more than 130 games just once in his career, while Phillips has played at least 140 games in every season since coming to the Reds in 2006.

Phillips has the second-highest salary in the game for a second baseman, trailing only Chase Utley.

The Reds' payroll is at $80 million this season -- but they have Francisco Cordero's $12.125 million coming off the books after this season. The team also has raises coming to Arroyo, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce. Votto's signed through 2013, his last season before he's eligible for free agency. He gets a $4 million raise for 2012 and $7.5 million raise to $19 million in 2013. Bruce also has an increased salary for each of the next five seasons.

Reds owner Bob Castellini has said he could afford to keep the core of his team only if the team's attendance picked up after their National League Central run of a season ago. So far this season, the Reds are averaging 24,230 fans a game at Great American Ball Park, which is actually down from last season's average of 25,438. The average should increase as school lets out for the summer, but if there's a big enough increase in attendance for Castellini to keep his word is still to be seen.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Reds putting Bailey on DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Homer BaileyAll offseason we heard about the Reds' pitching depth and it won't take too long this season to put it to the test.

With Johnny Cueto already expected to miss his first start and Bronson Arroyo being tested for valley fever, the team said Friday it will be putting Homer Bailey on the disabled list to start the season with a right shoulder impingement.

The team hopes Bailey will miss just two starts.

"It's nothing to be alarmed about," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said (via the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay on Twitter). "If we didn't take care it now, it would bother him all year."

Sam LeCure will take his spot in the rotation, along with Edinson Volquez, Arroyo, Mike Leake and Travis Wood. LeCure, 26, was 2-5 with a 4.50 ERA last season with the Reds in 15 games, six starts. As a starter, he went 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA.

The National League Central has been hit hard with starting pitching injuries this spring, with the Brewers losing Zack Greinke for a couple of starts, the Cardinals losing Adam Wainwright for the season and the Reds' slew of injuries. The Astros' Wandy Rodriguez missed a couple of weeks with shoulder tendinitis but returned on Tuesday and is expected to start the season on time.

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:04 pm
 

Cueto likely to start season on DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto was shut down for the next week-to-10 days and will likely start the season on the disabled list, meaning Mike Leake's first minor-league start will have to wait.

Johnny CuetoThe Reds announced that Cueto has mild inflammation on his right shoulder and will stay at the team's training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., when the team leaves for Cincinnati next week.

"Everything structurally is fine," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told reporters, including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "The recommendation from Dr. [Timothy] Kremchek is to shut him down for a week or so and give it a chance to get him back on a throwing program."

The team expects him to need at least two weeks.

Another Reds starter, Bronson Arroyo, is dealing with the flu, so he's been bumped back a start, as well. That leaves the rotation as Edinson Volquez, Homer Bailey, Arroyo, Travis Wood and Leake.

There had been a battle between Wood and Leake for the final spot -- just as there was last spring. Last spring Leake, the 2009 first-rounder, won the spot out of spring, bypassing the minor leagues altogether. Leake had a fantastic first half of the season (6-1, 3.53 ERA), but then struggled and fought shoulder fatigue and was finally put not he disabled list. He finished the season 8-4 with a 4.23 ERA.

With Leake struggling, the Reds called up the left-handed Wood, who took a perfect game into the ninth at Philadelphia in his third career start. Wood finished the season 5-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 starts.

Wood was winning the spring battle, going 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in four starts. Leake is 1-0 with a 6.23 in four games and three starts. However, in his last appearance, he went four scoreless innings against the Indians.

Cincinnati's pitching depth has been praised all spring, and like most others in the National League Central, it's being put to the test early.

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 6:27 pm
 

Reds enjoying catching surplus

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ryan HaniganThe Reds have two of the top catching prospects in the game, but also want to keep current catcher Ryan Hanigan around, as the team agreed to a three-year, $4 million extension, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty wouldn't confirm the deal when reached by the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay, but Jocketty doesn't usually confirm deals until they are official. Jocketty told Fay the two sides were "close." Olney writes Hanigan can make up to $800,000 more based on playing time.

Hanigan, 30, hit .300/.405/.429 last season and has a career .379 on-base percentage. He is also an excellent defensive catcher. He is scheduled to be arbitration-eligible after the season. Jocketty has shown a propensity to buy out arbitration years. This offseason, the Reds bought out the arbitration years of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto. They tried to do the same with Edinson Volquez.

Cincinnati has Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal in the minors waiting their turn. Mesoraco was the team's minor league player of the year in 2010 and Grandal was the team's first-round pick in last year's draft. Both are 22.

Hanigan and Ramon Hernandez are the Reds' current catchers and Jocketty said several teams have asked about Cincinnati's catchers. The team also has a solid veteran at Triple-A in Corky Miller.

"We've said no," Jocketty told the Enquirer. "We don't want to give up our surplus."

Hernandez is signed to a one-year deal worth $3 million.

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Reds not looking to trade Alonso

Yonder Alonso 'Tis the season for prospect lists, and one player on most of the lists is Reds first baseman Yonder Alonso. And one thing that shows up on all the lists is that he's blocked at the big-league level by National League MVP Joey Votto.

Alonso played some outfield last season, but he's simply not fast enough to play out there, he's really just a first baseman. Alonso was ranked the No. 49 prospect in baseball by MLB.com and No. 65 by ESPN.com's Keith Law. He's ranked the Reds' fourth-best prospect by Baseball America .

Alonso signed a major-league deal when he was drafted in 2008. Because of that, he'll be out of options after this season and seems to be certain to be traded. However, Bill Bavasi, the team's vice president of scouting, player development and international operations, said Wednesday at a fundraiser that the team wasn't interested in trading Alonso.

“We won’t trade him,” Bavasi said, according to the Dayton Daily News ' Hal McCoy . “We’ve tried him in the outfield and he gets to ball he should get to, but he doesn’t have the speed to make the great plays. But we can’t move him. He is exactly the kind of player Walt [Jocketty] loves -- he hits the ball hard, puts the ball in play, doesn’t strike out. I’m not so sure it would do him any good to sit on the bench this year so he’ll probably go back [to Class AAA Louisville] and play and work. He won’t be kept just to pinch-hit because it is tough for a kid to learn to do that.”

The Reds signed Votto to a three-year deal this month, buying out his arbitration years, but he will still be a free agent after the 2013 season. That seems too long to have Alonso sitting on the bench as a pinch-hitter, so the team almost has to trade him for a useful piece. He can be the perfect bit of trade bait if the Reds are looking for something at the trade deadline to put them over the hump, if they're still in the improved National League Central -- of course, other teams know they have to trade him, too, so Bavasi is likely just sandbagging.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 26, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Reds working on locking up young players

I just got back from the Johnny Cueto news conference in Cincinnati. Even though the Cueto deal was known since last week, it was the other stuff that was a little more interesting.

First of all, the 5 p.m. news conference started at 5:05 p.m. because Reds general manager Walt Jocketty was talking to Edinson Volquez's agent on the phone. With Cueto signed, Volquez is the last arbitration-eligible player the Reds have.

Edinson Volquez "There's no update. We continue to negotiate and we're talking to them about both a one-year and a multi-year deal and hopefully we get something resolved soon," Jocketty said.

The team hasn't gone to arbitration since 2004 and Jocketty said he's "sure" they won't go to arbitration with Volquez, even if it's a one-year deal.

It would fit in with what the Reds have done this offseason, buying out the arbitration years of not only Cueto, but also Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, all in their first year of arbitration.

"We felt that it's important to solidify the core of this club for a number of years, know where our cost will be on certain, key players over the next three or four years and build from there," Jocketty said. "We'll build with the young players we have on the 40-man roster now and the number of guys that are coming here in the next couple of years."

He did warn that if the fans don't come out to Great American Ball Park, the team may have to say goodbye to the likes of Votto, Cueto and the team's other young talent.

"At some point when Johnny gets beyond this contract and Votto and some of the other guys, we're not sure if we're going to be able to sign these guys again," Jocketty said. "So we have to have players that will be able to step in and take over. Hopefully we can do that, it just depends on how our revenues and what we're able to generate over the next couple of years and if we continue to win, I think we will. I think our attendance will improve and our revenues will improve and we'll be in great shape to try to re-sign these guys."

Votto signed a three-year deal, taking him up to his free-agent years, while Cueto gave up a free-agent year and the Reds also have a club option for a second. Cueto, 24, will earn $3.4 million this season, $5.4 in 2012, $7.4 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014. The Reds have a $10 million option for 2015 with an $800,000 buyout.

Bruce signed the longest deal, going through 2016 with a  club option for 2017.

Volquez has asked for $2 million and the Reds have offered $1.3 million.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 21, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Reds talking extension with Volquez

Edinson Volquez So far this offseason, the Reds have done little to change their team -- for 2011 or beyond.

The biggest moves made by the NL Central champs have been extensions for Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto. They've avoided arbitration for the next three with Votto, Bruce and Cueto. Another first-time arbitration eligible player is right-hander Edinson Volquez, and the Reds are looking to buy out his arbitration-eligible years, as well.

"We're looking at both -- one-year and multi-year," general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer . "We're hopeful that we'll get something done."

Volquez is the team's last arbitration-eligible player. He submitted a request of $2 million, while the Reds countered at $1.3 million.

Volquez, an All-Star in 2008, was acquired in a trade for Josh Hamilton in Dec., 2007. He was suspended for 50 games last season after testing positive for a substance on the banned list, though he has claimed it was a fertility drug he used by prescription from a doctor in the Dominican Republic in order to start a family with his wife.

Volquez was coming off Tommy John surgery. Volquez was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA last season, a year after going 4-2 with a  4.35 ERA. He was 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 2007.

The Reds have made avoiding arbitration a priority this offseason -- while Votto's deal was only for his three arbitration years, they got three arbitration years and one free-agent year from Cueto and the arbitration years and three free agent years for the "Super Two."  The team also avoided arbitration with left-handed reliever Bill Bray. Cincinnati hasn't gone to arbitration with a player since 2004.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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