Posted on: April 9, 2010 1:52 pm

3 to watch

It's Opening Day in Detroit (and yes, in that city, it deserves upper-case). It's opening night in Miami (no upper-case there).

It's the first weekend of the baseball season (but please also watch the Masters on CBS).

And here's the season's first edition of 3 to watch:

1. All over, there are great matchups of opening day starters. Colleague Scott Miller is excited about Josh Beckett and Zack Greinke, Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. That's a good one, but I'm going with Chris Carpenter vs. Yovani Gallardo, Cardinals at Brewers, Saturday afternoon (3:10 EDT) at Miller Park . Why? Simple. Of all the games I saw last year, the best-pitched game was Carpenter vs. Gallardo, on Memorial Day at Miller Park. Gallardo carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Carpenter carried a perfect game into the seventh. It was scoreless into the 10th, when Bill Hall won it with a two-out single off Kyle McClellan.

2. The Mets began the season with Alex Cora in the leadoff spot, and Mike Jacobs in the cleanup spot. So yes, you could say that they miss Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Reyes hasn't played a game that counts since last May 20, but he's scheduled to return this weekend, and that makes Nationals at Mets, Saturday afternoon (1:10 EDT) at Citi Field worth watching. In fact, if Reyes proves to be anything like the guy who led the National League in triples three times in four years, he'll actually make the Mets worth watching. And that's quite a task.

3. Stephen Strasburg pitches Sunday for Double-A Harrisburg (at Altoona, Pa.). Aroldis Chapman pitches Sunday for Triple-A Louisville (in Toledo, Ohio). And Mike Leake, who got nowhere near the money and nowhere near the hype, debuts in Cubs at Reds, Sunday afternoon (1:10 EDT) at Great American Ballpark . Leake, who won the Reds' fifth-starter job in spring training, will be the first college pitcher to jump to the big leagues without stopping in the minors since Darren Dreifort in 1993. Like Strasburg, he grew up in the San Diego area (though they never faced each other in high school). He went on to Arizona State. He was the eighth pick overall (seven picks behind Strasburg), and signed for $2.27 million ($12.83 million behind Strasburg). Now he makes it to the big leagues, ahead of Strasburg.

Posted on: April 5, 2010 2:34 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2010 3:08 pm

On opening day home runs -- and Scott Rolen

As we told you last night, Jorge Posada now has as many opening day home runs as Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle, and has now homered on as many opening days as Babe Ruth did, tying the Yankee record.

Posada has four opening day home runs.

Scott Rolen now has six, after hitting one for the Reds today.

According to baseball-reference.com, Rolen's six opening day home runs has him tied with Washington's Adam Dunn for the second most among active players. The leader is Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr., with eight.

By the way, with his two home runs for the Cardinals today, Albert Pujols now has four opening day homers in his career. Not bad, but not Rolen.
Category: MLB
Tags: Reds, Scott Rolen
Posted on: March 14, 2010 7:14 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2010 7:15 pm

From Florida to Arizona, Chapman to Strasburg

VIERA, Fla. -- Aroldis Chapman is the guy everyone wants to see in Arizona. Stephen Strasburg is the guy everyone wants to see in Florida.

Imagine if they were both in the same spring training camp.

"I spent a lot of time imagining that," Nationals president Stan Kasten said with a smile.

The Nationals were one of a few teams that went deep into the bidding for Chapman, along with the A's, the Marlins and the Reds, who eventually got the deal done for $30.25 million over six years. The Nationals' final bid was for about $25 million.

"I give [Reds general manager] Walt Jocketty a lot of credit," Nats GM Mike Rizzo said.

Strasburg made his second start of the spring today, overcoming strong winds to throw three scoreless innings against the Cardinals. In two starts, the 21-year-old right-hander has pitched five scoreless innings, impressing just about everyone who has seen him.

The Nationals will almost certainly have him start his pro career in the minor leagues, but they see him joining their rotation soon. And they still dream of what it would have been like to have had Chapman in that rotation, too.

"It would have been an excellent 1-2 punch," Rizzo said.


One question I had about Chapman: If he's as good as advertised, what happened to the big-spending teams? Nothing against the Reds, A's, Marlins and Nationals, but couldn't the Yankees or Red Sox have blown them out of the water?

One possible answer is that the big-money teams weren't as impressed. The other, though, is that Chapman told teams he was very focused on getting to the big leagues quickly, and was most interested in going to a team that would give him that chance.


I missed Chapman's first start for the Reds, because I had to be at the Brewers camp that day. I missed Jason Heyward, because he didn't play either of the times I saw the Braves.

I wasn't about to miss a chance to see Strasburg. He doesn't disappoint, even if his velocity today wasn't as good as it can be (94-96 mph). As one of the scouts watching said, he shows two legitimate strikeout pitches (fastball and breaking ball), and he's willing to throw the breaking ball at any time.


Livan Hernandez, who followed Strasburg, has a chance to open the season in the Nationals rotation. But what was more interesting to me is what Hernandez, who left Cuba in 1995, had to say about Chapman, who left last year.

While first saying that the decision on whether to have Chapman start in the big leagues is up to the Reds front office, Hernandez said that he thinks any Cuban defector can benefit from time in the minor leagues.

"I think the language will be the most difficult thing for him," Hernandez said.

Hernandez spent all of the 1996 season and part of the 1997 season in the minors.

"I think it helped me a lot," he said. "I think [Chapman] is going to be all right. But the game here is different from Cuba."

And what about Reds fans, who are so anxious to see the guy the Reds gave all that money to?

"Their fans can wait a little bit," Hernandez said.
Posted on: February 22, 2010 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2010 3:15 pm

Gomes rejoins Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Free-agent outfielder Jonny Gomes has rejoined the Reds, the team he played for in 2009. Gomes agreed to terms today on a one-year deal, with a club option for 2011.

The right-handed hitting Gomes, who hit 20 home runs in 281 at-bats in 2009, will likely split time in left field with left-handed hitting Chris Dickerson. He could also see time in right field in place of Jay Bruce against some left-handed pitchers.

The Reds can use Gomes' power, as no one on their roster hit more than 25 home runs last year.

"The last thing on our [winter shopping] list was a right-handed power hitter," general manager Walt Jocketty said.

The Reds non-tendered Gomes in December, and later offered him a minor-league contract. It wasn't until the last few days that the Reds improved the offer to include a major-league contract.
Category: MLB
Tags: Jonny Gomes, Reds
Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:55 pm

Rolen traded to Reds, pending approval

The Blue Jays have agreed to trade Scott Rolen to the Reds, pending Rolen's approval.

The teams had been discussing a trade that would send Edwin Encarnacion to Toronto as part of a package. The Reds have wanted Rolen to add a veteran presence to their lineup. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty had Rolen in St. Louis.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:33 pm

Yankees get Hairston from Reds

The Yankees have acquired Jerry Hairston Jr. from the Reds, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 2:19 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2009 2:21 pm

Reds want Rolen for Encarnacion, plus

The Reds have contined to talk to the Blue Jays about acquiring Scott Rolen, and Bob Elliiott of the Toronto Sun reported today that the trade has "a good chance" of getting done.

If it does, sources said that the Blue Jays will receive Edwin Encarnacion in return, in addition to one or more other players. The teams were negotiating on how much of Rolen's remaining salary (about $4 million for the rest of this year, and $11 million for 2010) the Blue Jays will pick up.

The Reds have lost eight of their last nine games, falling nine games out of first place in the National League Central and 9 1/2 games out in the wild-card race, but general manager Walt Jocketty is fond of Rolen from their time together in Cincinnati, and Jocketty is said to believe that Rolen could help the Reds' young lineup. The Reds also see the NL Central as weak.

Rolen, 34, has hit .320 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs for the Blue Jays. Encarnacion, 26, is hitting .206 with five home runs and 16 RBIs for the Reds.

Posted on: July 27, 2009 4:25 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2009 4:59 pm

Reds, Jays still talking about Rolen

The Reds are not sellers.

Despite an 0-6 trip to Los Angeles and Chicago, the Reds have continued to talk to Toronto about acquiring third baseman Scott Rolen, and sources said the deal has a chance of happening.

The Reds are in fifth place in the National League East, 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs, but club officials are said to believe that the competition isn't imposing and that their young lineup would be helped considerably by the addition of the 34-year-old Rolen. Rolen is hitting .318 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs in 85 games for Toronto.

Cincinnati has scored fewer runs than any NL team other than San Francisco and San Diego.

Rolen, who is signed through 2010, played for Reds general manager Walt Jocketty for 5 1/2 years in St. Louis.

The Reds have talked to teams about trading pitchers, including Bronson Arroyo, but sources said such deals would only be made if they helped the Reds this year and next.
Category: MLB
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