Tag:Johnny Cueto
Posted on: March 13, 2011 4:10 pm

Astros' Rodriguez sidelined

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Wandy RodriguezAnother day, another injury to a National League Central starter.

Sunday's victim is Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with what the team is calling "a mild case of shoulder tendinitis."

Rodriguez has been scratched from his start on Tuesday. He singed a three-year, $34 million contract this offseason, avoiding arbitration. He was 11-12 with a 3.60 ERA last season.

Rodriguez joined Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, Zack Greinke of the Brewers and Johnny Cueto of the Reds as NL Central starters to miss at least part of the spring with injuries. Wainwright is out for the season, Greinke will miss the beginning of the season, while there's no timetable yet for Cueto or Rodriguez.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 7:10 pm

Cueto leaves start with forearm tightness

By Matt Snyder

Right-handed pitcher Johnny Cueto left his Cactus League start early Friday afternoon with tightness in his pitching forearm. He reportedly felt it most on breaking pitches and already had the issue during his bullpen warmup. He ended up working just two innings of a scheduled four, allowing four hits, two runs and a walk. He will see how the forearm reacts after a night's rest and have it checked out first thing Saturday morning. (Cincinnati Enquirer via Twitter )

"It wasn't near his elbow, which is a good sign," Reds trainer Paul Lessard told the Associated Press. "We took him out for precautionary reasons. We didn't want it turn into something. It isn't something that we think needed to be seen right away."

Cueto, 25, is the Reds No. 3 starter behind Edinson Volquez and Bronson Arroyo. He was 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.28 WHIP last season, striking out 138 hitters in 185 2/3 innings.

"It was a little tightness in his forearm muscle," Reds manager Dusty Baker said to the AP. "That's why we took him out. We have had very few health problems. We knew we'd have something but, knock on wood, we've had very little trouble health-wise."

Stiffness and soreness in spring training are pretty normal, though anything forcing a pitcher to leave a game after just half his expected workload requires some attention.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 9:40 pm

Cards' rival revels in Wainwright's woes?

Jonny Gomes Brandon Phillips started the fire between the Reds and Cardinals last season, Johnny Cueto stoked it and now Jonny Gomes may just have added another log to the fire.

The Cardinals are bracing for bad news as Adam Wainwright is headed to St. Louis to have his elbow looked at. Most of the world has already jumped to the conclusion that he's going to have to have Tommy John surgery, missing all of this season.

That word certainly reached Arizona, home of last year's National League Central champions. In a world where injuries aren't celebrated, Gomes wasn't hiding his excitement that the Cardinals may not be as strong as they were a season ago due to the loss of their ace.

"Wainwright's gone, Wainwright's gone, Wainwright's gone," Gomes sang "at the top of his warbly voice" as he entered the Reds' clubhouse on Wednesday morning, Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News  writes , adding that the singing was done "joyously." McCoy was the same person who reported Phillips "whiny little bitches" comment last year that led to a brawl. Gomes is 2-for-10 lifetime against Wainright with a homer and a double coming as his two hits.

Reds manager Dusty Baker took the high road, saying, "I hate to see that. He's not only a great pitcher, he seems like a fine young man, too," Baker said, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon . "Every time I've seen him, he's been mannerable, polite and respectful."

That said, Baker notes that it makes his rivals weaker.

"Nobody has the depth to overcome [the loss of] a Wainwright," Baker said, according to McCoy. "You can replace him, but in Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, you're talking two of the top six or seven pitchers in the league. … Philadelphia has most of the other ones."

While Baker did take the high road, he also got in a shot at his critics -- "who are they going to blame for that one?"

UPDATE: Well, this is interesting, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon checks in and says Gomes was not singing about Wainwright, and then called and got a further comment from Gomes, who insisted he was not gloating about the pitcher's injury. Sheldon says he was present when Gomes walked into the clubhouse and the outfielder was singing "You're the Best Around" by Joe Esposito from the original Karate Kid, not, as McCoy wrote, an unidentified tune with the lyrics "Wainwright's gone."

"I was doing an interview with [Rob] Dibble and Dibble gave me the breaking news that Wainwright was flying back to St. Louis with arm problems. That's all I heard. I came in and I said 'is Wainwright gone, is Wainwright gone?'

"To clear up everything, I came up with Wainwright. I know Wainwright. I think he's one of the top notch pitchers in the National League and baseball. Outside of different uniforms that we wear and different cities we play in, playing in the Major Leagues, we're all brothers. There's a brotherhood there. There's one thing you would never wish upon any other player and that's an injury. We've all had them at some point coming up and we might currently be having one now.

"From the bottom of my heart, I would never wish anyone an injury. If they did have an injury, you wish them the best in rehab. As Major League ballplayers, we have a brotherhood for each other. On the field, we're going to battle and play our nine innings and we're going to compete. Off the field, we're still human and we have families. There's one thing you don't wish upon anyone and that is an injury. Even if they are on the other team, you wish them the best of health. If Wainwright is gone, it doesn't mean anything to us. It maybe gives them the opportunity to make a trade for another big ace. The Cardinals are top notch themselves. They've battled with injuries there. They are a top notch organization with a top notch general manager and a top notch ownership."

UPDATE: Another writer on the Reds beat, the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay, checks in with his account of the "incident" and also talks to Gomes, who said he was "mortified" that it was reported he was celebrating Wainwright's injury:

I heard it. I honestly don’t remember exactly what he sang. I didn’t report it because I generally don’t write what players say aloud or sing in the clubhouse. I only use what I get in interviews.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 3:47 pm

Reds name Edinson Volquez opening day starter

In what appeared to be at least a three-man race to get the baseball on March 31 for the Cincinnati Reds, former All Star Edinson Volquez will get the nod over Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto et al.

Dusty Baker made the announcement Tuesday , a day after telling Volquez of the decision.

The 27-year-old right-hander is certainly talented enough to be the ace of the defending NL Central champions. In his only full season as a starter -- 2008 -- Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. He struck out 206 hitters in 196 innings. He was so good, he even drew votes for NL Rookie of the Year , despite not being eligible to receive the award (details, details ... ).

In the past two years, Volquez has started 21 games, going 8-5 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. His start in last season's NLDS was a bit disastrous, but he was still regaining strength in his return from Tommy John surgery, which he had in August of 2009.

Volquez says he's already 100 percent and will certainly ready to go on opening day.

Baker seems to have arrived at the decision by simply eliminating the other starters in a relatively stacked rotation.
"We're very confident in Volquez. Plus, you name who you think can handle it the best," Baker said. "Is Homer ready for the No. 1? Is Wood ready for No. 1? Is Leake ready for No. 1? Cueto just signed a four-year contract, and what's he, 23 years old? He's already got enough pressure on him. I'm trying to relieve any pressure from him thinking he has to prove he's worth the money.

"There's nobody looser and I think can handle the situation better than Volquez. Not much bothers him. At least he doesn't show it bothers him."
As for Bronson Arroyo, who went 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and logged over 200 innings for the sixth straight season last year?
"I think Bronson has always leaned towards not being it," Baker said. "He's more of a long-run type of guy. What's Bronson's ERA, [3.88]? If you're facing No. 1s, that equals a lot of losses. He's fine with it. I talked to him about it. He was thinking about it this winter, he feels it's the best spot in the rotation for him, too."
 -- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: February 11, 2011 2:18 pm

Volquez rejected four-year offer from Reds

VolquezBefore the Reds settled with Edinson Volquez on a one-year deal for $1.62 million that buys out the righty's first year of arbitration, a long-term deal was discussed by both sides.

As Volquez reveals, the Reds offered a four-year deal "the same as Johnny Cueto," but Volquez declined to sign it.

"I didn't feel it was right for me. I spoke with the lawyer and the general manager, and we all agreed on a single season," Volquez told El Caribe, a Spanish newspaper, with MLB Trade Rumors providing the translation.

It's unclear if the Cueto comparison was strictly years or if the dollar value would have been similar. Cueto has signed a four-year deal for $27 million that buys out his first year of arbitration. However, while Cueto doesn't quite have the ceiling of Volquez, he's also made 92 starts in his first three seasons, posting a 4.27 ERA. Turning 25 next Tuesday, Cueto is a good bet to keep up his value over the next four years.

Volquez is a different story. He's made just 53 starts over the same span of time as Cueto, missing most of 2009 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He managed 12 starts in 2010 while rehabbing from the injury along with being suspended for performance-enhancing drug. His 3.62 ERA over these 53 starts is an appreciable difference from Cueto, a difference that xFIP supports.

However, that difference in quality is likely worth the $27 million Cueto received, even if there's questions around his endurance. Of course, if Cueto breaks out, that makes him vastly underpaid, but at this point Cueto is being paid like a durable No. 3/4 starter while the same deal would pay Volquez as a brittle No. 2/3 starter.

Of course, there's an age difference here: Volquez is 27, three years older than Cueto. But all it takes is one full, good season for Volquez for the price to spike up. And he knows that.

"Having a good year this season is my mission," Volquez adds. "Depending on my performance, we'll seek a contract of at least four years with the team. I can't define the amount we're going to seek following the next year, but it's going to be for that quantity of years."

At that point, Volquez would have two of his free-agent years bought out, so the price tag would be higher than $27 million regardless. And if things should change in spring training or in season?

"The parties remain open in case I want to sign during Spring Training or in the middle of the seasons, whenever I want."

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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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Posted on: January 20, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 6:37 pm

Report: Cueto gets 4-year, $27M extension

Johnny Cueto
Continuing their push for payroll cost certainty, the Reds have avoided arbitration with starter Johnny Cueto by agreeing with him on a four-year, $27 million extension, according to ESPNDeportes.com (link in Spanish).

The deal buys out all of Cueto's abritration years and covers the first season he would have been a free agent in 2014. The Reds want to avoid any financial surprises in arbitration, and take the risk that he bottoms out, while Cueto takes the risk that he wins three straight Cy Youngs and ends up grossly underpaid.

On Tuesday, Cueto, 24, filed for arbitration and submitted a salary number of $3.9 million, while the Reds countered at $3 million. This reported deal would be worth an average value of $6.75 million per year.

Cueto went 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA last season, his third in the majors. His career mark is 32-32, 4.27.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
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