With Edinson Volquez signed and free from arbitration
the Reds are all but done with off-season money monkeying. Fay calculates that the payroll will be around $68 mil when all the minimum-level deals are set, which is still a few million short of last year's payroll ($71.7 mil). He then explains that there is plenty of bonus money and such yet accounted for, which pushes the total up to where we expected it to be. Apparently both Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang had part of their respective salaries deferred last year, so that's something new. So here are your top five highest-paid Reds for 2011:
Francisco Cordero - $12 mil
Brandon Phillips - $11 mil
Joey Votto - $8 mil
Bronson Arroyo and Scott Rolen - $6.5 mil
I have to say, aside from Coco, the top-end money in the payroll is being spent fairly economically. Every other one of these guys should more than earn their paychecks next season, barring injury.
Jason Isringhausen threw for pitching coach Bryan Price on Monday
As you'll recall, Izzy was signed to a minor league deal mid-season last year and got beat around in Louisville until his elby-bone started hurting again and he shut it down. Apparently Izzy looked pretty good and the Reds will decide whether to offer him a minor league deal or not in the next few days. If he can still pitch, I guess it can't hurt. It's not like this team has a dozen lights-out right-handed relievers.
Apply now for your chance to win the privilege of purchasing Opening Day tickets
You have Feb 11 to register. Opening Day is March 31, which is like not that far away at all.
Hall o' Famer Hal dons his Andy Rooney guise, eyebrows and all,
to bemoan the state of baseball conversation these days. Too much business, not enough game, he says. Unfortunately, the business end is the only game going in the dark of winter. But if Hal is really itching for a game, perhaps we could start up a rousing match of speed sled base snow ball?
Doug Gray takes a look at Brad Boxberger's pitching motion
and thinks he does a good job of keeping the same mechanics for his fastball and his curveball. What do you think? Is he a future closer or a future ace starter?
Here's a few highlights: When asked who the heir-apparent is to Brandon Phillips at 2B -
"johnfay: I think Valaika would take over if he got hurt this year. Long-term, Billy Hamilton, if he doesn't take over at short. If the Reds increase attendance significantly, I see Phillips re-signing."
When asked about the plan at 3B -
"johnfay: The plan is for Rolen to play 120 games. Jocketty said Renteria will take balls at third. Francisco can play his way into the picture with good spring. They need a left-handed bench bat."
When asked who he thought the closer will be in 2012, he said - " i have hard enough time with questions about 2011. My guess would be Masset, but the Reds have to re-sign him"
Now, here's a look at what's happening around the SBNNL Central Division, after the jomp (I think we should start calling it "the jomp"):
Bucs Dugout had a chance to talk with the Pirates brass at PirateFest, which I assume is much like RedsFest
but with many more peg legs. Charlie says that the back-and-forth time was a bit difficult due to the noise (I can imagine all the talking parrots repeating everything would get really confusing and spiral into a cacophonous feedback loop), but he did jot down some of the more interesting bits. I'd love to see a bloggers Q&A at RedsFest next year, if only so jch24 could get the chance to ask Walt what his favorite brand of slacks is, or something stupid like that.
The Crawfish Boxes contemplates Roger Clemens' place in Astros history
He was an Astro for only 3 seasons, but was integral to the first Astros' pennant and was at the height of his powers while in Houston (180 ERA+ is Astronomical). But David Coleman feels like something is missing. The money line - "He doesn't have the cache of a Larry Dierker or even a Mike Scott." I understand what he's getting at, but the words "Larry Dierker" and "cache" in the same sentence make me laugh. But that probably says more about my knowledge of the situation than anything organic to it.
It looks like Cy Schourek's idea is going viral
Al at Bleed Cubbie Blue cobbles together his list of the greatest names in Cubs history. There is a fair amount of crossover as you can imagine, with many luminaries of the baseball who's-who suiting up in both the wishbone C and the plain old stupid C (Bubbles Hargrave and High Pockets Kelly represent the old-timers with Buck Coats and Kalvoski Daniels showing up later on).
My favorite on the list is a post WWI pitcher named Abraham Lincoln "Sweetbread" Bailey. It's one thing to name your kid after a legend, saddling him with impossible expectations. But it's another thing to belittle him with a nickname like "Sweetbread" when he fails to reach those impossible expectations (Sweetbread pitched 137 innings in the bigs with an ERA north of 4.50).