The Reds appear to have moderate interest in free agent OF Josh Willingham, who last played for the A’s and hit 29 homers last season mainly at a pitcher’s park like Oakland.
“I wouldn’t say it’s on the front burner,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the Willingham pursuit. “It’s simmering on the back burner, if that. We are trying to find a right-handed hitter. I guess Willingham fits in that category.”
The Reds have more pressing needs on their list, but a right-handed hitting left fielder is something the club would like to add.
“It’s a logical place right now. We may end up going with Heisey and Alonso,” Jocketty said.
*There has been no talks yet with Brandon Phillips’ people. They did not arrive to town until today.
*One roster move was made — Jeremy Horst cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville. Horst will be invited to Spring Training. The 40-man roster is at 39 players.
– Mark Sheldon
Veteran infielder Eric Chavez has decided to play in 2012 and remains interested in a return engagement with the Yankees, among other clubs that have drawn his attention.
The Yankees enjoyed having Chavez as a reserve corner infielder, backing up both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in 2011.
– Bryan Hoch
Reds 2B Brandon Phillips hinted Tuesday night that he and the club are closer to a long-term contract extension.
“Just talked to my agent @Baseball_ACES and it feels good to know that we’re moving in the right direction to make me a #Red4Life,” Phillips posted on his Twitter feed, @datdudeBP
On October 31, the Reds exercised Phillips’ $12 million option for 2012, but he has long maintained a desire to sign long term this year. He can become a free agent for the first time after next season.
A message for comment was left for Reds general manager Walt Jocketty. As recently as Nov. 17 following the General Managers Meetings, Jocketty told MLB.com that there had been progress in talks with Phillips’ agents, but that the two sides were nowhere close to a deal.
UPDATE: When reached, Jocketty didn’t expect that a deal was near.
“I think it’s still a ways to go,” Jocketty said. “We’re still hopeful to get something done. We’re glad he feels that way.”
— Mark Sheldon
This morning, Buster Olney of ESPN noted with a Tweet the following:
“Reds are talking about possible Andrew Bailey deal.”
There is no mention of where this information is coming from.
Former Reds GM and current baseball analyst for SiriusXM and ESPN, Jim Bowden, tweeted his info from an A’s source:
“A’s source confirms their interest in Alonso.”
Of course, that is Reds 1B/LF Yonder Alonso, who is viewed as the club’s top trading chip or part of the long term future depending on who you ask. I would have no doubt that the A’s (or any club) might have interest in getting Alonso.
My view: This is not a match. Giving up Alonso for Bailey is way too much. The Reds have other more pressing needs than for a closer at the moment, namely a starting pitcher. There are a lot of closers available on the open market that might be had for cheap and the door is certainly not closed on Francisco Cordero returning. Bailey is a two-time All-Star and former AL Rookie of the Year but injuries got in the way in late 2010 and early 2011.
But if you want more info on Bailey (no relation to Homer Bailey), click here.
– Mark Sheldon
Once he declares residency in the Domnican Republic and becomes eligible for Major League free agency, Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes figures to be one of the most sought-out position players on the market.
Agent Adam Katz is confident that his client is ready to play in the Major Leagues this season.
“I’m not an evaluator, but I’m told by people who evaluate, he is [big league ready],” said Katz from baseball’s General Managers meetings.
Even Katz admitted it’s hard to know quite what the value will be for Cespedes.
“It’s really touchy feely,” Katz said. “He’s an unusual guy. He’s 26. He’s major league ready. People are going to be evaluate. A value will be established. People will bid competitively, and it will be what it will be.”
While Katz sees his client as a center fielder, he would be willing to play the corner positions, something that would help a team like the Boston Red Sox, who have a vacancy in right field.
The Red Sox will look at Cespedes later this week in the Dominican Republic. The Cubs are also scouting him this week. Several other teams have also expressed interest in Cespedes, who has become a bit of a sensation since the posting of a highlight video on Youtube.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it since ‘Spinal Tap,’” Katz said. “At the end of the day, it was compelling. As quirky as it was, it ended up being very compelling.”
– Ian Browne
The Twins signed free agent shortstop Jamey Carroll to a two-year, $6.75 million contract in a deal that was formally announced on Wednesday. The contract carries a mutual option for 2014. Carroll was in Minneapolis on Tuesday to take his physical, which he passed.
This past season for the Dodgers Carroll batted .290 with a .359 on-base percentage and .347 slugging percentage in 146 games. He also stole 10 bases without getting caught.
Carroll, who can also play second base, third base and both corner outfield positions, is known for providing steady defense. It appears likely that he will be installed as Minnesota’s everyday shortstop.
– Mark Sheldon
Since the Reds declined the $12 million option on Francisco Cordero, the closer has been able to scan the free agent market. It’s a market that features a lot of closers … one less now that the Phillies formally announced a four-year, $50 million deal with ex-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.
The closer market glut apparently hasn’t curbed the suitors for Cordero.
“We’ve had probably seven or eight teams inquire with interest, a couple of more since Papelbon’s deal,” Cordero’s agent, Bean Stringfellow, said on Monday. “It’s all ongoing and it’s still early.
“There’s been strong interest, including from the Reds.”
Other closers out there include Ryan Madson, Heath Bell, Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Frank Francisco, Matt Capps, Jonathan Broxton and Brad Lidge.
Cordero is still interested in returning to the Reds, Stringfellow said. But if he doesn’t, I can’t see the free agent averse Reds in spending a truckload to get one of the big names on the market.
– Mark Sheldon
It appears less than likely that the Reds will make a trade with the Astros to get outfielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn.
According to a baseball source, Houston’s asking price was too high. However it is not known which players or prospects from the Reds the club was seeking.
The Reds and general manager Walt Jocketty remain buyers on the market ahead of Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waivers Trade Deadline. They are also looking for players under club control beyond this season and Bourn was signed with the Astros through 2012.
– Mark Sheldon
There will be a more detailed story coming … but Reds GM Walt Jocketty is not changing his Trade Deadline strategy in light of the rough week his club has had (swept four straight by the Mets to go 50-55).
“We are not selling,” Jocketty said Friday afternoon.
One of the players prominent in rumors of a sell has been catcher Ramon Hernandez, especially with top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco on the cusp at Triple-A Louisville. However, Jocketty said he has not listened to offers for Hernandez.
“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.”
— Mark Sheldon
Indians manager Manny Acta said recently that fans of the Tribe would be “shocked and surprised” at the effort the front office is putting forth in an effort to pull off a trade or two before Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trad Deadline.
On Tuesday, Cleveland was named as an interested party for two of the top players presumed to be available.
In a piece for MLB.com, columnist Peter Gammons wrote that the Indians were willing to give up a good player and take on salary in order to acquire Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. Unfortunately, Cleveland “did not fit” for Beltran, who has a right to veto any trade. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted that the Indians have shown interest in Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Prior to Tuesday’s game in Cleveland, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti held court with reporters to discuss the upcoming Deadline. Antonetti indicated that acquiring offense is the Tribe’s top priority, but he noted that the Indians have also had plenty of conversations about pitching help.
While Antonetti would not deem any of the club’s top prospects as “untouchable,” he did say that it would take a “compelling” deal to pry them away. Antonetti added that the Tribe was not likely to part with any of its top core prospects in a trade for a player who would only be around for this season’s final two months.
All of that said, the Indians are definitely in buying mode.
“We want to take advantage of every opportunity that we have to get to the postseason and advance in the postseason,” Antonetti said. “That said, you have to be mindful of the cost of doing that. I think we are prepared, and have talked about it, to do what we can, what’s reasonable, to improve the team.”