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Parra re-signs with Reds

MLB.com has confirmed that Reds left-handed reliever Manny Parra is back with the Reds after he signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract on Wednesday. Parra will earn $2 million in 2014 and $3.5 million in 2015. He has already passed his physical.

The Reds have yet to make an announcement.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported it first.

Signed last winter as a free agent, Parra was 2-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 57 games. The 31-year-old walked 15 and struck out 56 in 46 innings of work.

Parra credited then-pitching coach Bryan Price for helping him with his turnaround as Price and assistant pitching coach Mack Jenkins developed his slider. Price is now the Reds manager, of course.



— Mark Sheldon

Reds interested in Carlos Beltran?

An unexpected team appears to have joined the fray with an inquiry about free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Beltran told a Spanish language newspaper, Primera Hora, that the Reds have reached out to his representative, Dan Lozano. Beltran also told the reporter from the publication that he’d like to stay in the National League.

Beltran has been linked to several of the contenders in the American League this offseason, a list that includes but isn’t limited to Detroit, New York, Texas and Boston.

That Cincinnati could be a possibility for an in-demand free agent like Beltran is a little stunning since it is a small market club with limited payroll flexibility. It’s also a long shot that he becomes a Red.

The Reds would like to bring high-priced free agent Shin-Soo Choo back to play center field but are unlikely to meet his high salary demand. Choo is 31 while Beltran is 36, and could be signed for fewer years perhaps but with probably a very high yearly salary. Beltran made $13 million in each of the last two seasons.

Beltran would also have to switch spots. Primarily a right fielder for the Cardinals the past two seasons, the Reds already have Jay Bruce as their right fielder. The Reds also have Ryan Ludwick in left field.

– Mark Sheldon

Fielder-Kinsler deal has ripple effects?

It may have been a 1-for-1 trade between the Rangers and Tigers that swapped Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler and their large contracts, but it could have ramifications elsewhere — including Cincinnati.

Rumors have been rampant all fall that the Reds are trying to move 2B Brandon Phillips. While the deal erased one destination in Detroit, it also showed that big contracts like Phillips’ aren’t impossible to move.

The deal could also affect the Reds’ efforts to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo. The Rangers were already in the hunt, reportedly. Now you can likely add the Tigers to the mix since they need a left-handed hitting corner outfielder.

For more, read my story by clicking here

– Mark Sheldon

Schumaker has Reds deal

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Reds and free agent IF/OF Skip Schumaker have agreed on a two-year contract, pending a physical. I am working to confirm that myself.

Schumaker, 33, played for the Dodgers last season and batted .263/.332/.322 in 125 games. From 2005-12, he played for the Cardinals. He would be reunited with his old Cardinals GM, Walt Jocketty, in Cincinnati.

A left-handed hitter, Schumaker is a career .300 hitter with a .357 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching and a .211 hitter with a .280 OBP vs. lefties. Defensively, he can play second base and all three outfield spots.

– Mark Sheldon

Report: Yankees inquired on Phillips

Reds 2B Brandon Phillips has already been the subject of trade rumors in the still-early off-season. On Tuesday, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Yankees contacted the Reds about Phillips’ availability should free agent 2B Robinson Cano not return to New York.

Heyman also reported the initial price the Reds wanted was “way too steep.”

Phillips has four years and $50 million remaining on his six-year, $72 million deal with the Reds that was signed in April 2012, which makes moving him more difficult for Cincinnati. But big market teams like the Yankees would be able to take on such a contract with less issue. When you consider that Cano is reportedly seeking a $300 million contract, Phillips would be a relative bargain in the Bronx.

Last month, Reds GM Walt Jocketty maintained he wasn’t actively shopping Phillips but stopped short of guaranteeing the All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner would be with the team in 2014. Jocketty noted he was looking at all ways to improve his club.

Phillips, 32, batted .261 with 18 home runs and a career-high 103 RBIs. But his on-base percentage was .310 and slugging percentage was at .396 while he often struggled following a June 1 hit-by-pitch on his left forearm. He was also involved in a pair of incidents that embarrassed the Reds — an August cover story and interview with Cincinnati Magazine had Phillips complaining about how his contract negotiations were handled and he portrayed Jocketty and CEO Bob Castellini as liars. Phillips also verbally attacked a newspaper reporter in a moment that was caught on camera.

– Mark Sheldon

Reds inquired on Pence?

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted on Monday that the Reds “inquired” about Giants OF Hunter Pence, and that it didn’t look like a match so far.

There are multiple reasons this wouldn’t be match: Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo and soon, Ryan Ludwick will be manning the Reds outfield. Ludwick is currently on a rehab assignment and could be back later this month. GM Walt Jocketty told me late last week he would like to add a right-handed bat, but is hesistant to make a deal because any addition would make it hard to play Ludwick.

The 30-year-old Pence is batting .277/.320/.457 this season for SF. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he had $4.6 million remaining on his contract.

– Mark Sheldon

Things quiet for Reds

The non-waivers Trade Deadline is less than a week away (Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET) and there hasn’t been much in the way of rumblings from the Reds.

“It’s very quiet. There have been a lot of conversations but nothing of substance,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Thursday during batting practice at Dodger Stadium.

Jocketty and much of his inner circle is on the road trip. Among the things the Reds have their eye on is a right-handed bat to help the offense. But the team is in a situation where they feel they can afford to wait on the return of left fielder and right-handed bat Ryan Ludwick, who began a rehab assignment on Wednesday. It’s a similar situation with pitching as the Reds await the return of ace Johnny Cueto and key relievers Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall.

“When we get them back, it strengthens our club even more,” Jocketty said. “I don’t want to trade prospects to improve the club.

“Unless something develops in the next week, I’m not sure you’ll see us do anything.”

– Mark Sheldon

Frenchy and the Reds?

Recently released Royals OF Jeff Francoeur has interest from three teams, including the Reds, according to a tweet from FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. The other two clubs in pursuit were not known.

Francoeur is a right-handed bat, which would fit the profile of something the Reds could use while they await the return of an injured Ryan Ludwick sometime in August. Francoeur, also known for being a good guy with fans and in the clubhouse, would fit the profile of a veteran good character guy that the Reds often try to acquire.

Bottom line: How much boost would Francoeur really give Cincinnati? He batted .208/.249/.322 for the Royals this season and .235/.287/.378 with 16 home runs in 2012. Current left fielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson have been better than that this season. And Chris Heisey, who has struggled himself this season but hit two doubles on Sunday, is already in house.

– Mark Sheldon

What might the Reds do?

The Reds have, thus far, been relatively quiet on the trade rumor front this summer. It’s not that they don’t have needs, however.

Cincinnati’s bullpen has been taxed by the injuries to its two set-up men — lefty Sean Marshall and right-hander Jonathan Broxton. Both could be back around the All-Star break, possibly. The Reds and GM Walt Jocketty must decide if they can wait for Marshall and Broxton, which would be a big help, or seek outside assistance.

It’s a similar situation in left field. Ryan Ludwick, expected to be the cleanup hitter this year, has been out since suffering a right shoulder injury on Opening Day. Ludwick could be back some time in August. But with Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier yet to really ignite, the Reds have lacked right-handed production much of this season. Another bat would certainly help, but might the “addition” of Ludwick provide the requored boost?

Either way — if the Reds make a deal before or on July 31, it would likely be in one or both of these areas.

– Mark Sheldon

Report: Liriano to Pirates

The Pirates agreed to terms on a two-year, $14 million contract with pitcher Francisco Liriano, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on Friday.

The deal is pending a physical.

Liriano, 29, was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games, including 28 starts, for the Twins and White Sox last season. He spent most of his career with Minnesota and had his best year during an All-Star 2006 season when he was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA.

– Mark Sheldon

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