Posted on: July 12, 2010 11:46 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2010 12:21 am

Phillips in custody battle

Brandon Phillips Brandon Phillips is currently locked in a custody battle with one of his children's mothers, reports the Philadelphia Daily News .

Phillips was in court Thursday morning against Danielle Dalusio, with whom he fathered a child in 2006. Dalusio is asking for more child support -- receiving $5,000 a month -- and stricter visitation rights. This is because, as Dalusio alleges, Phillips has seen his four-year-old daughter a total of five days.

A judge set a child-support hearing for August and custody hearing for November to determine daughter Micole's future with Phillips.

Phillips has one more year left on his four-year, $27 million contract with the Reds and is hitting .294/.351/.469 with 12 home runs in 405 plate appearances. The 29-year-old was named to his first All-Star Game, which takes place Tuesday.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 11, 2010 1:41 pm

Arroyo won't talk extension

Bronson Arroyo Maybe Bronson Arroyo is a fan of The Who, because he says he won't get fooled again.

Stung by signing a contract with Boston in 2006 only to get traded to the Reds before the season started, the Cincinnati right-hander told the Cincinnati Enquirer he plans to follow through with the option year of his contract in 2011. He won't negotiate an extension that would give him more years but reduce his $11 million salary for next season.

"I’m not going to stay for a discount,” he said. "I’ve done that once. Loyalty in this game is the utmost. I got to look out for me. For what I’ve done the last six years in this game, to sign back for less than what my option is would be insane."

That stance puts the Reds in a tough spot, because it means they have to decide right now whether Arroyo is worth $11 million next year at age 34. The buyout on the option is $2 million.

If they're not willing to commit that money, they need to trade him before the deadline, but they're a first-place team and he's been a valuable starter (9-4, 4.04).

On the other hand, Arroyo could bring a big return on the trade market and, if there's any area the Reds have abundance, it's starting pitching. They have Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Travis Wood, with Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey due to return from the disabled list.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 10, 2010 4:09 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2010 5:04 pm

Putting Reds' collapses in perspective

Mike Leake Not many pitchers have experienced precisely what Mike Leake was feeling Friday night when he was burying his face in a towel, unable to watch or comprehend what was happening.

The Reds' rookie right-hander sailed into the ninth in Philadelphia with a 7-1 lead, only to watch it collapse. He gave up four earned runs in the ninth, the Phillies scored two more to tie it and then won it on Cody Ransom's two-run homer in the 10th.

It was deja vu for Leake, who also started a game May 20 in which the Braves overcame a 9-3 deficit in the ninth to win on a walk-off grand slam by Brooks Conrad.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Reds are the first team in major-league history to lose two games in a season in which it led by six or more entering the bottom of the ninth. Leake is not only the first person to have that happen to him twice in a season, he's the only man to have it happen to him more than once in an entire career.

At least the Reds are not alone, not even this week. The Rockies scored nine in the ninth to beat St. Louis 12-9 on Tuesday. Elias says this is the first time in history three teams have pulled such a big comeback in one season.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 9, 2010 3:45 pm

Porcello on the block?

Rick Porcello Rick Porcello was supposed to pitch against the Reds' Edinson Volquez tonight in Louisville, but the team has pushed him back to Saturday's game in Toledo, FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports .

Morosi adds Porcello is not hurt and the decision to push him back came from Detroit. He also speculates Porcello will "pitch before a special scouting audience tomorrow."

Porcello was a Rookie of the Year candidate last season, going 14-9 with a  3.96 ERA. This season's been different, going 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA before being demoted to the minors last season.

The Tigers would like another starter, but Houston's Roy Oswalt has reportedly told the Astros that he wouldn't approve a trade to the Tigers. Dan Haren would be a good fit, but an expensive one ($12.75 million in each of the next two seasons).

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 8, 2010 7:33 pm

Cincinnati has history of stuffing ballot box

Ford Frick There are plenty of reasons to criticize baseball's Final Vote system, in which the last spots on the All-Star teams are awarded through a last push of fan voting -- with teams pulling out all the stops by forming alliances with other teams, peppering fans with email reminders to vote and players pleading through social media.

The whole thing is starting to feel kind of cheap, and you have to wonder how much of an honor it really is for a guy to know that he's an All-Star because of marketing stunts after the fans, his peers and the manager all had chances to choose him and didn't.

Anyway, the system works for those who work it, and nobody worked it better than the Reds, who helped drum up a record 13.7 million votes for Joey Votto (they even had the GM's daughter holding up a sign outside the Today Show). Votto is by all accounts a swell guy, he has great numbers and we'll get lots of good TV shots of him watching the proceedings in awe.

What's interesting that the ballot box stuffing came from Cincinnati, because this isn't the first time the Queen City has mobilized to get Reds on the All-Star team. In fact, because of Cincinnati, the vote was taken away from the fans between 1958 and 1970.

The fan vote for non-pitching starters was instituted in 1947, and ballots were distributed nationally in newspapers and magazines and submitted by mail. In 1956, a columnist from the Cincinnati Enquirer mounted a huge campaign to get as many Cincinnati players as possible elected. An estimated one-third of all votes cast came from Cincinnati, and five of the eight starting spots on the NL team were filled by Reds. The Reds were a decent team at the time, but not an entire lineup of All-Stars.

The next year, the crush of votes from Cincinnati was even larger, and Reds claimed seven of the eight starting spots. Commissioner Ford Frick (pictured -- doesn't he look like a pleasant fellow?) was furious, and ordered outfielders Gus Bell and Wally Post removed from the starting lineup. For the next 12 years, teams were chosen by players, managers and coaches.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 8, 2010 1:14 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 2:23 pm

Ranking the suitors for Lee

Cliff Lee Is your team in on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes?

Chances are -- unless you're a Pirates or Orioles fan, the answer is yes.

An anonymous source tells Newsday's Ken Davidoff that "pretty much every team within five games of the playoffs" has called the Mariners about Lee.

So, if you're counting, that's 17 teams, nine National League squads and eight American League clubs.

Besides the whole 15 games under .500 thing, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik must feel like the prettiest girl in school.

This is far from a final list, and I could be completely wrong -- but here's a listing of the possibilities in some semblance of an order. Feel free to offer your own favorites.

1. Twins -- still a good possibility, they've got the desire, the prospects (Wilson Ramos, Aaron Hicks) and with a new ballpark, they also have an influx of cash and urgency to do something special. With Lee, we could have some postseason snow-outs.

2. Mets -- the other New York team is always out there trying too hard -- like your one friend who gets a little too dressed up and has that extra spray (or four) of cologne when you go out. Sadly, he always seems to strike out.

3. Reds -- never underestimate the desire of an owner to make a splash. Bob Castellini is an emotional owner and believes firmly in his town's desire to see a winner and ultimately support it. If the Mariners want corner prospects, the Reds could dangle Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco -- blocked by Joey Votto and Scott Rolen's three-year extension, respectively. There's also Todd Frazier, who can play about anywhere, and pitchers Matt Maloney and Travis Wood, who could be added to the rotation right away.

4. Rangers -- they're not as long of a long shot as you might think. Lee's not about money. It's about prospects, and Justin Smoak is a prospect that would fit perfectly. Roy Oswalt would be costly; Lee is only $4 million for the rest of the season. If money's still an issue, they could sweeten the pot with another prospect. MLB -- the organization -- has a vested interest in the Rangers and they'd likely loan the Rangers the money to make it work. A Rangers team in the playoffs is more valuable to a bidder than one that breaks down in August.

5. Yankees -- the team could go get him, but why rent him now and give up prospects when you've still got a good shot at winning and will just buy him in the offseason, anyway. That way you keep the prospects. But with the Yankees, you've always got to have them in the discussion. They're a courtesy top five, due to the fact they're the Yankees.

6. Rays -- pitching depth isn't a problem in this system, but they have a potential impact bat in B.J. Upton, and a serviceable catcher in Dioner Navarro. A Lee-David Price front of the rotation could be lights-out in a short series.

7. Phillies -- yeah, the Phillies could add the former Phillie, but it would likely cost them Domonic Brown -- who GM Ruben Amaro Jr. wouldn't give up for Roy Halladay. The desire is there, but the prospects may not be.

8. White Sox -- the news on Jake Peavy makes them the highest-riser on the list, plus GM Kenny Williams loves to make a splash, and this would certainly qualify.

9. Cardinals -- despite needs to fill out their rotation, the Cardinals are reportedly looking for bats more than arms. Still, it's tempting to think of a playoff rotation of Lee, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright -- that would make them a favorite based on "the great" Albert Pujols' offense alone.

10. Tigers -- Detroit could use him, that's for sure. GM Dave Dombrowski has never shied away from a big deal, but it's unclear whether Detroit has the juice in either prospects or cash to get it done.

11. Red Sox -- a lot of needs with all their injures, Lee would be a luxury -- not that they haven't indulged in those in the past.

12. Braves -- Atlanta could certainly use Lee -- who couldn't? -- but they don't seem like a fit in either needs or assets. The Braves, more likely will be crossing their fingers that Lee doesn't land in the NL East, which is still up for grabs.

13. Rockies -- they are more likely to fine-tune than to do anything big. GM Dan O'Dowd has prized prospects and is unlikely to mortgage the future for a rent-a-player.

14. Padres -- sure, they're broke and they're pitching well, but there is some reason here. 1. Owner Jeff Moorad has said he'll deal for an arm if he can, and 2. most of the Padres arms are young arms. Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc and Clayton Richard may not only tire down the stretch, Latos, at least, is on an innings count of 150 to 180 and he's already an out away from 100 innings on the season.

15. Giants -- looking for bats, not arms.

16. Angels -- ditto.

17. Dodgers -- Jamie McCourt is unlikely to give any of her alimony to help Frank out.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 7, 2010 10:39 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 12:52 am

Reds to dangle Francisco for Lee

Juan Francisco The Reds are expected to be among the top suitors for Cliff Lee.

Many assumed the Reds' top property available for Lee would be Yonder Alonso, their first-round pick in the 2008 draft who is a natural first baseman seeing some time in left field.

Not so, as Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the best bat Cincinatti can offer is Juan Francisco.

Alonso,ranked the No. 45 prospect in all of baseball prior to 2010 by Baseball America, began the year in Double-A but has been in Triple-A for 54 games. He's hitting for a .257/.294/.401 mark, and is obviously struggling to retain his strong eye and flash the power that made him such an intriguing prospect to begin with.

Francisco, 23 like Alonso, is also top prospect but with not nearly the same cachet as Alonso. He has already reached the majors, however, and has shown Triple-A not to be an issue.

Francisco, a natural third baseman who has started seeing time at first base and left field as well, has a .283/.313/.533 line in Triple-A in 195 plate appearances. He has just six at-bats at the major-league level, garnering one hit.

Many teams are in on Cliff Lee, and the Mariners will be seeking a near major-league ready bat as one of the pieces for the lefty. Dangling Francisco certainly gets the Reds off to a good start.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 6, 2010 3:33 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 3:37 pm

Youkilis takes lead in 'Final Vote'

Kevin Youkils Apparently we're getting official releases on the All-Star Game Final Vote daily now, and even though it's getting kind of boring, the results are there. And it appears the '75 Series team-up of the Red Sox and Reds is working, as Kevin Youkilis and Joey Votto are the leading vote-getters.

Monday, the teams announced a partnership, asking fans to vote for both players. Youkilis is a Cincinnati native and played at the University of Cincinnati, while Votto has been the cause celebre since Charlie Manuel announced the team.

Both are deserving of the nods, so it's nice to see the fans getting it right again -- although they could still screw it up in the next 48 hours.

Youkilis overtook the Yankees' Nick Swisher in the last 24 hours, while Michael Young, Paul Konerko and Delmon Young trailed. Youkilis is third in the American League in OPS (1.002) and tied for seventh in homers with 17. Konerko is seventh in OPS (.948) and tied for second in home runs with 20.

Votto overtook the National League lead in home runs with two Monday night against the Mets. He now has 21, tied with Toronto's Jose Bautista for the majors' lead. Votto also leads the NL in on-base percentage (.418), slugging (.599) and, naturally, OPS (1.017).

Although vote totals are not released, Votto leads Ryan Zimmerman, Billy Wagner, Carlos Gonzalez and Heath Bell.

At least one of those nominees isn't happy with the attention Votto's gotten for his snub.

"I won't win the final vote," Wagner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "I'm not a fan favorite. ESPN is running promos for Joey Votto, what's that tell you."

Yep, we all know, that great midwest bias -- every time you turn on the TV, it's Cincinnati, Kansas City and Cleveland (well, it is Cleveland, but it has nothing to do with Shin-Soo Choo).

Wagner has 17 saves and has a 1.35 ERA and a .165 opponents' batting average, as well as the sentimental card, as he's announced he's retiring at the end of this season.

As for the Reds-Red Sox partnership, the Reds will wear "Vote Red" and "Vote Votto-Youkilis" shirts for batting practice Wednesday at Citi Field, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon . The Reds equipment manager, Rick Stowe, has written "Vote Red" and "Vote Votto" on batting practice balls to remind fans to vote, as well. The Toronto Sun has also joined in the efforts, publishing a "Vote for Votto" campaign page for the Toronto native.

In addition to the Reds stumping for Youkilis, John Kerry is campaigning for the Red Sox first baseman, sending out an email asking his supporters to participate in the vote .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

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