Baseball is back! Well…kind of.
On Monday, Reds pitchers and catchers reported to spring training which means the baseball season is right around the corner. Football and basketball have probably kept you pretty occupied since October, so the first edition of this season’s Reds Report will try and get you up to date with the major moves of the offseason.
The start of the season can’t come soon enough. The baseball world is in desperate need of some on-the-field news. Because recently we’ve been left discussing things like…
Did Adam Lind fart while batting ðŸ’€ðŸ˜‚ pic.twitter.com/j1u0yxIdSN
– Baseball Lifestyleâ„¢ (@BsbLifestyle__) February 17, 2017
Yep, we need to get the games going.
1. Last week, the Reds sent Brandon Phillips to the Atlanta Braves for two minor-league pitchers in the team’s biggest move of the offseason. Cincinnati was also required to eat $13 million in the deal. Phillips had been on the Reds roster since 2006, and he played a prominent role on three playoff teams. However, Phillips wasn’t going to be on the team the next time they were competitive, and it was clear that his best years were behind him. It was time for the Reds to turn their attention to some long-term solutions at the position.
2. Speaking of long term solutions at second, Bryan Price announced this week that Jose Peraza would be the team’s starting second baseman in 2017.
Bryan Price has Jose Peraza as the team’s 2B. Says Cozart will not be a part-time player.
– C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) February 13, 2017
The Reds acquired Peraza as part of the three-team deal that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox. Peraza played in 72 games for Cincinnati last season, and started to see more regular playing time following an injury to Billy Hamilton. From August 20 to October 2, Peraza hit .366/.387/.484 with 11 stolen bases. The front office is hopeful that Peraza can be a foundational piece on the roster for years to come. In 2017, the front office and fans alike will get a long look at the 22 year-old.
Jose Peraza set to be second baseman for #Reds.
– Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 14, 2017
3. The other big news from Reds camps thus far is not what fans were hoping to hear. Homer Bailey was placed on the 60-day DL before throwing a pitch this season. He recently had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow, and stated this week he hopes to return to the big league roster by June 1. As Mark Sheldon notes, this was Bailey’s third surgery to this area in his career.
Prior to the 2014 season, the Reds signed Bailey to a six-year, $105 million extension. Since then, he’s only pitched in 31 games. He’s slated to make $19 million this season, followed by $21 million, $23 million, and $25 million from 2018-2020. Cincinnati signed Bailey hoping he could be the ace at the top of their rotation, but with each subsequent injury that hope seems a little less likely.
4. Several prominent projection systems released their pre-season win totals for each MLB team. FanGraphs projects the Reds to finish the season with a 70-92 record. Baseball Prospectus is a little more optimistic with their 75-87 projection for Cincinnati. Both records would be an improvement on last season’s 68-94 finish. It’s unlikely the Reds will compete for a playoff spot in 2017, but at least these systems think the team is heading in the right direction.
5. Some photos were released from spring training this week, and it appears that Joey Votto is channeling his inner Sting.
Let’s hope the Reds find a way to lower Votto from the top of Great American Ball Park for his at bats.
6. One potential addition to the Reds roster that fans might enjoy is Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo was signed to a minor-league contract, and he’ll pitch for the team this spring. He hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2014, and he’s a long shot to be on the roster at the start of the season. Arroyo was a fan favorite during his eight seasons in a Reds uniform. From 2006-2013 he racked up a 105-94 record with a 4.05 ERA.
7. Arroyo won’t be the only new face in camp this year. The Reds signed Scott Feldman to a one-year, $2.3 million contract. Feldman has been in the majors for 12 seasons, and he should compete for a spot in the back end of the rotation or in the bullpen. Desmond Jennings and Ryan Raburn were also signed to minor-league deals. Both players could add depth in the outfield, and give the team some solid options off the bench.
8. Easily the biggest question mark in Reds camp, aside from Bailey, is the status of Devin Mesoraco. In 2014, Mesoraco was one of the best power hitting catchers in baseball. Since then, he’s only appeared in 39 games thanks to injuries to his hip and shoulder. Mesoraco will make $7.2 million this season, and the team is hopeful he can return to form after two lost seasons. He did tell reporters he was feeling “really good” as camp opened.
9. The Reds will kick off their spring training schedule on Friday with a game against the San Francisco Giants at 3:05 ET. They’ll follow that up on Saturday with a game against Cleveland at 3:05 ET.