No contract chatter from Votto this year
To be clear, Joey Votto isn't pulling a Pujols by demanding that a deal get worked out before the regular season starts. And because the Reds have Votto under control for two more seasons, an extension doesn't have to get done this year. But Votto sensibly doesn't want to address his contract situation throughout the season, and he'll leave it up to the business jerks to get something done: "I’m going to make it pretty simple for just about everybody. You guys are going to get the same answer. I’m going to leave all that to Reds front office, my agent and myself, keep it as private as possible. I’m human and it’s a distraction. As much as people, players want to say, ‘no, it’s not a distraction.’ It’s exhausting. It’s a lingering issue. The team knows about it. Fans know about it."
- But make no mistake - Votto may want to stay in Cincinnati, but he's not about to give away his services, noting "Prince (Fielder) sure did get a lot of money." Ryan Zimmerman also just got paid, signing a six-year extension for $100 million. Like Votto, Zimmerman was set to become a free agent in two years. The deal carries risk due to Zimm's injury history, but it's also for less than half of the guaranteed money that Fielder got. Over the last three seasons, Fielder edges Zimmerman in bWAR, 14-13, and Zimmerman takes the fWAR crown at 17-15.
As discussed yesterday, Marshall is close to an extension
Walt Jocketty confirmed that the Reds are close to a deal, but won't say for how many years.
EDIT: The Reds have signed Marshall to a three-year extension, taking him through the 2015 season. No word on the dollars yet.
Also in the link is Fay's transcription of a conversation between Aroldis Chapman and Devin Mesoraco, after The Golem noticed some things about Chapman's arm angle:
"Here is horse--," Mesoraco said with his arm a sidearm angle.
"Here is bueno." Mesoraco said with his arm overhead.
I'm really liking this kid. We haven't seen this kind of moxie from a rookie receiver since a young Okie caught a Jim Maloney fastball barehanded.
Amadeus Cozart is ready to put the injuries behind
Zack Cozart's Reds debut was cut short with a nasty elbow injury which required Tommy John surgery. But he also went under the knife to clean out his right ankle. He looks fully recovered from both procedures and is ready to play some ball: "I've been going hard at it for three weeks, taking ground balls, running. Everything feels good." He arrived to camp on Thursday, a day before most position players.
Cozart isn't the only starting infielder returning from surgery
Leader of Men Scott Rolen underwent the third shoulder surgery of his career this past offseason. Last year in ST, Dusty Baker pegged Scott Ballgame for 120 games. He's wisely not making any predictions this year. Rolen quipped: "He went to 120 last year but missed it by half." I've gone on record as to why I think Rolen's gonna rebound in this thread.
END on the mend
Rolen isn't the only injury concern at the hot corner. Juan Francisco is the only player on the 40-man that isn't hitting or fielding with the team due to a sore left calf. According to Mark Sheldon, Francisco is doing strength and conditioning and has graduated to hitting in the cage. He will participate fully when he can run without pain. Although Todd Frazier is likely not to break camp with the big league team, I'd be surprised if he didn't get a couple of extended stretches in Cincinnati.
You bat Stubbs eighth in the BRM's lineup, and maybe he hits .300 too
Stubbs faces a lot of fan and media backlash for the Ks, but Dusty's sticking with his man: "When The Big Red Machine went and got (center fielder) Cesar Geronimo, they didn’t get him to hit. They got Geronimo to play center field and play defense." Geronimo raised his average 50 points to hit .307 for the '76 team, but Dusty (half-jokingly, I presume) points out a key difference between their situations: "By the time they got to Geronimo the pitcher was so tired and out of gas, boom, Geronimo would get him, too." Boom.
Baker also adds in support of Stubbs the Zombie the difficulty in overstating his defensive value: "But Stubbs is as big a part of our defense as anybody, and in the league, just not on our team. To win, you have to prevent runs. To win, you better catch that ball. To me, it’s like rebounding in basketball — you’re preventing those second and third shots. I mean, look how many runs Stubbs saves?" Since you asked, Dusty, he saved 10 runs last year according to the Total Zone metric. /adjusts glasses.
- Dusty's comments about the LF time share caught the attention of Tom Tango
Baker points out that platoons do not have to be based on hitter handedless. Since Heisey and Ludwick like the ball in different parts of the zone, Dusty feels like he can play them in spots when they're more likely to succeed. Over at The Book Blog, Tango agrees: "Platooning by pitch locations, pitch distributions, spray patterns, etc., those are all in play as valid considerations for platooning" before joking that "New-age manager Dusty Baker is at the forefront here."
- Valdez ready to help wherever,whenever
In contrast to Edgar Renteria's reluctance last year to play around the infield, Wilson Valdez is happy to chip in however Dusty sees fit: "I'm glad to be here. I will do what I can to help the team. I got here early to get myself set up and be ready for the season." Valdez isn't as good as Renteria to be sure, but his versatility as an infielder (and on the mound) is nice to have on the bench.
- Tomko artfully fields questions about what's after baseball
Brett Tomko is hoping to catch on with the Reds this spring, but if it's not meant to be he has other plans: He dabbled in art from the time he was drafted by the Reds in the mid-1990s and was good enough that he painted for some of the players and donated his work to them. He still does it. He returns to his rented house at night at works in acrylics and has sold some pieces.
- Speaking of art, Summer Anne Burton is drawing every single HOFer
Well, she's been doing it for a while but this is the first time I've stumbled upon it. It's highly impressive. In addition to the illustration, Burton includes a few stats and choice quotes. The link is to Edd Roush's depiction.
- ESPN strolls by Goodyear, looks up, and gawks at the Reds' pitching staff
Jerry Crasnick noticed that the Reds' pitching staff features a number of tree-toppers: Of the 18 pitchers on Cincinnati's 40-man roster, 13 stand 6 feet, 3 inches or taller. That doesn't even include veteran Jeff Francis, a non-roster invitee who stands 6-foot-5. Homer Bailey is the runt of the group at 6-3, while Andrew Brackman, a former Yankees prospect who signed with Cincinnati in January, is listed at 6-10. You have to wonder how the Reds missed signing Jon Rauch and Chris Young this offseason.
Or Aaron Harang, for that matter. The 6' 7" Harang was the team's tallest starter of note since Ewell Blackwell whipped opposing lineups sixty years ago.