The Cincinnati Reds ended weeks of speculation by signing Bryan Price to a three-year contract as manager. In spite of all the rumors flying around about various people considered for the job, only Price and Louisville Bats manager, Jim Riggleman had been on a short list. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: Jay Bruce
The Cincinnati Reds may just as well have phoned in their appearance at the Winter Meetings. The only thing they did was put an offer on the table to Ryan Ludwick and sit on their thumbs waiting for a reply.
Reds’ beat writer John Fay indicated that the offer was in the $13M – 14M range and was for only two years. Everyone in the Reds community knows that Ludwick was looking for at least three years.
The real stickler though, is not the length of the contract but the amount of it. Apparently another team (unknown to me) has offered him approximately $3M more for the length of the contract.
The Reds’ offer would be paying him roughly $6.5M – $7M per campaign. Considering that he played 2012 for $2M that is a substantial raise for a decent (not exceptional) year.
I am not a mathematician but that sounds like about a 350% raise. Somebody check the math.
Ludwick did have a good ‘bounce-back’ year after faltering for a couple of seasons with the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates. He slashed .275/.346/.531 with 26 HR and 80 RBI.
He, along with Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce all picked up the slack when Joey Votto went down for 49 games. While Votto was on the shelf, Ludwick fashioned a nice line of .340/.404/.647 with 12 HR and 36 RBI in the 44 games he played in.
Ludwick claimed that he wanted to stay in the Queen City even after he declined the option for 2013. He is 34, which is beginning to be long in the tooth in baseball life. He probably doesn’t have many years of baseball left in the tank.
Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty made the offer several days ago and it was heavily reported that the deal would probably be done by the end of the meetings. It was not.
How long does it take for a man to make up his mind? Either you want to play in Cincinnati or you would rather go elsewhere for $1.5M extra per year.
That would be a no-brainer for most of us since we don’t know what a million bucks looks like. He does though and I doubt he is pleading poverty. It would make perfect since for him to stay with the Reds because they are probably the front runners at the beginning of 2013.
He will have to get acclimated to another area, and if he falls short there, the career is probably over in two years.
He would have signed already had he been leaning in that direction. Jocketty should have called him on the phone, and in his best “Shark Tank” voice tell him that the offer is off the table in two hours or the Reds are out.
If he is gone the Reds need to fall to plan ‘B’ if there is one. If not they need to create one. They still need a center fielder who can bat leadoff. Michael Bourn?
Time is reducing his value as he becomes more shopworn as the days turn into weeks. Maybe he would play one year at a fire-sale price. Keep in mind that the Reds are in high hopes that Billy Hamilton will be ready at the beginning of 2014.
Dexter Fowler is another name that has been tossed around like a dog’s chew toy. It is hard to estimate what his real upside is.
A plan that would sound pleasing to the ear to me would be signing Cody Ross. He has decent power, can play the entire outfield and can hit. He has a .262 career average and has an OPS+ of 107. His .324 OBP would preclude him from batting at the top of the order.
The Reds are still hoping that Ludwick calls them up and throws them a bone, but I don’t see it happening.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto missed 49 games in 2012 due to injury.
After his return to the lineup he failed to hit a home run even though he had 105 plate appearances, begging the question, “Has he lost his power?”
He went on the Disabled List on July 16 and didn’t return until September 5.
The team did very well in his absence, posting a record of 33-16 thanks to some great offensive production by Ryan Ludwick, Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips.
Votto’s average dropped a tad but his OBP actually improved after the layoff.
The alarming fact here is that he had never gone beyond 20 games without leaving the yard in his MLB career. He is currently on a 40-game skid without a home-run which will carry on into 2014.
His last round-tripper was on June 24 against the Minnesota Twins at GABP.
The home runs are not the only tool missing from his kit. His ISO (isolated power) prior to 2012 was .236. Prior to his injury he had an ISO of .262 for the year. After the injury it plummeted to an all-time low of .105.
Is Votto still a great baseball player? Of course he is, the best first baseman in the National League.
Hopefully the power will come back to him as he was probably apprehensive about another injury.
Votto was such a powerful hitter before, taking most of his homeruns to left and center field. I can’t remember the last time I saw him pull the ball for a home run.
The pace he was on before the 2012 campaign began was over 31 homers per 162 games. His pace for last year on its own merit was not quite 23. That is a substantial difference.
There is still plenty of pop in the Reds lineup with Jay Bruce, Frazier, Phillips and perhaps Ryan Ludwick. The Reds will be fine even if he produces only one third of the long balls we have been accustomed to.
Is there cause for worry? Let’s wait and see.
First baseman Joey Votto went 4-5 and Wilson Valdez added three hits as the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 in walk-off fashion on Wednesday. Pinch-hitter Chris Heisey singled in the winning run with one out in the ninth inning.
This marked the second time in six games that the Reds have had walk-off wins.
In near freezing temperature at Great American Ball Park, the Reds jumped on Jaime Garcia for 11 hits and chased the southpaw in the fifth inning.
Votto who got out of the gate slowly thus far, scorched two doubles and two singles to raise his average to .333. In the first four games he had stuck out six times in 13 at bats.
Valdez, filling in for the injured Brandon Phillips, hit three singles in four at bats with an RBI as he and Votto collected half of the Reds’ 14 hits.
Drew Stubbs and rookie Zach Cozart both added two hits as the Reds leveled their record to 3-3.
The hit explosion was a welcome sight as the Reds had managed only two runs and seven hits in the first two games of the series. It pulled the team average up to .201 which places them 11th out of 16 NL squads. They are averaging a mere 2.5 runs per game which puts entirely too much pressure on the starting pitchers.
Cozart continued his hot hitting as his .455 average puts him behind only Carlos Ruiz‘ .462 in the NL. He has hit safely in all six of the Reds’ games and has at least two hits in half of them.
Stubbs has shown more plate discipline as his strikeout rate is down to around 25 percent.
Jay Bruce has brought his average up to .304 and is still leading the league with 3 HR.
Heisey has demonstrated once again why he is the premier pinch-hitter in the league. He is now 2-2 with 2 RBI when coming off the bench. By contrast, he is batting just .091 when starting in the outfield.
The team will begin a four-game set against the NL East leading, Washington Nationals (4-2) on Thursday. Mat Latos (0-1) will be looking to atone for his bad performance in his debut with the Reds. He will face southpaw Gio Gonzalez (0-0) in the series opener.
The Nats will be hosting the season home opener as Gonzalez will be looking to make amends for his first outing as well.
It is still less than two weeks away from Ground Hog day but not too early for Caesar Cliffius to pop-up out of the ground with his pre-season predictions.
We will start with what will surely be the opening day lineup against the Miami Marlins on April 5.
At first base Joey Votto will continue his quest to be the best in the business. With the yearly All-Star competition at first gone from the National League (Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and perhaps Prince Fielder) it is time for him to own the position. He will hit 35 HR with 125 RBI and bat .320. With the Reds winning their division and the NL pennant, he wins his second MVP award.
Second baseman Brandon Phillips is playing out the last year of his contract with the Reds. Look for him to show it all in 2012. He will make the All-Star team, bat .295 with 25 HR and 88 RBI.
Third base is a critical position for the Reds success in 2012. If Scott Rolen can stay healthy and punch the clock at least 100 times, the Reds should be able to win and win big. If Rolen can give 100+ games, he will bat .285, hit 23 HR and knock in 75.
Shortstop Zack Cozart will come back big from surgery and have a real good season. He will hit .275 with 10 HR and score 95 runs.
Left field is a touchy position this spring. Some say Chris Heisey deserves to be the starter, others like myself believe Dusty Baker will see it another way. He will start with experience and trot out Ryan Ludwick in the beginning. Ludwick will wind back the clock – just not all the way back to 2008 when he put up monstrous numbers. He will bat .278 with 25 HR and 91 RBI.
Drew Stubbs still won’t have any idea which pitches to swing at and will do the bi-centennial number again. That is right folks -210 strikeouts this season. He will however offset that with a career high 31 HR, score 110 and swipe 65 bases.
Jay Bruce will finally put the season together that everyone knows he is capable of. His strikeouts will drop, his average will raise to .300, he will hit 45 HR (leading the league) and knock in 105.
In a reserve and pinch hitting role Heisey will bat .260 with 20 HR and 61 RBI.
In the pitching department, Johnny Cueto will win 18 games and boast an ERA of 2.30. Mike Leake will surprise everyone by winning 20 with an ERA of 2.88. Mat Latos will be a bit of a disappointment with a record of 12-12 with an ERA of 3.75. Aroldis Chapman will start and be productive at 13-8 with a 3.04 ERA. Bronson Arroyo continues to do the lions share and starts 33 games, winning 16 and losing 10 with an ERA of 3.65
Closer Ryan Madson will get 41 saves, with only three blown saves and boast a microscopic ERA of 1.24.
Wishful thinking? Only time will tell. Write your predictions down and put them on the fridge. We can compare notes in October.
Scott Rolen has had what many people call a borderline career in respect to the Hall of Fame. Can you name a better defensive third baseman in the past 15 years?
Who was that? Adrian Beltre you say?
No, Beltre won three Gold Gloves in his 14 year career thus far.
Since 1998 Rolen has won eight of the 14 handed out in the National League. Eric Chavez of Oakland won six in a row from 2001 to 2006, but he is the closest comparison you could make using Gold Gloves as the standard.
As an offensive player Rolen is very dangerous. Over his career using 162-game averages he has hit 26 HR and driven in 104. His career slash line is .282/.366/.394/.860.
Whether you consider him Cooperstown material is moot at this point. The intangible asset known as team leadership is immeasurable. Rolen leads by example. He is widely respected by his teammates and his clubhouse presence is priceless.
The biggest problem he has had to deal with is his body. In 2010, Rolen’s first full season with the Reds, he was healthy enough to play in 133 games as he lead his club to a Central Division title and his sixth appearance on an All-Star team. He batted .285. hit 20 HR and drove in 83.
It was his longest season since 2006 when he played 142 games for the St. Louis Cardinals.
2005 and 2011 are the only two seasons in which he played less than 100 games. He only appeared in 65 games last year and started in only 60 of those. When he is not in the lineup the Reds suffer.
The question is can his 37 (when the season starts) year-old body stand the rigors of a 100+ game season? He has had more surgeries and been on the shelf more than “Medical” Bill Cartright.
In my estimation he will need to play at least 125 games for the Reds to do optimum damage to the NL Central Division. The Reds have “adequate” backup at the hot corner with youngster Juan Francisco and journeyman Miguel Cairo. Francisco has ultimate power but resembles Willy Mo Pena a little too much to suit me. Cairo is steady but quiet and unassuming.
His “presence” is needed nearly as much as his bat. If he can limit his time on the shelf to maybe one 15-game stint the Reds are in good shape. He will go down at some point – that is a given. But I believe the Reds could weather one round of the Disabled List for Rolen.
There is a heavy supporting cast around him with plenty of power and speed. Jay Bruce and Joey Votto supply the power from the left side of the plate and Drew Stubbs, Brandon Phillips and Chris Heisey from the right side.
2012 will be an interesting year for Cincinnati. They have the pitching to hold the opponents down and a potent offense to put the runs on the board. The biggest “if” of all is the health of Scott Rolen.
When Jay Bruce came up from Louisville in 2008 he showed shades of brilliance. He reminded me in a small way of Mickey Mantle. He certainly had the strikeouts down pat.
After settling down, he showed no further signs of greatness last season.
In 2009 his power revealed itself on the major league level. He had 15 home runs before Memorial Day and looked like he was set for a 40/HR year.
His average bottomed and we see now a true .240 hitter with excellent power.
He had three games of multiple homers, the highlight of the season for him coming on Sept. 29 in a home game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Bruce hit two round-trippers and knocked in five runs.
He was on the Disabled List from July 11 until Sept. 14 with a broken wrist.
Bruce is a better-than-average outfielder, with range enough to play center field in a pinch. He possesses a very strong throwing arm, throwing out 11 runners.
His base running is nothing spectacular, and can be made to look foolish when swinging at bad pitches.
Here are his 2009 statistics:
Jay only appeared in 101 games in 2009, just seven less than the year before. With short seasons it is hard to get a good read on what he can really do.
He blends in well with this young team and should be a force to reckon with in years to come. This season, however, I have to hand him a C-, the home runs being the only thing keeping him from a D.
Cliff Eastham is a B/R Featured Columnist for the Cincinnati Reds