2013 Reds

Organizational News

From the Enquirer:

Last week the Reds announced some organizational news:

TODAY’S NEWS: Today the Reds named Ronnie Ortegon Major League assistant hitting coach, Ryan Jackson minor league hitting coordinator, Jim Riggleman manager at Louisville, Delino DeShields manager at Pensacola, Ken Griffey Sr. manager at Bakersfield, Jose Nieves manager at Dayton, Pat Kelly manager at Billings and Eli Marrero manager at AZL Reds; promoted Nick Krall to Director of Baseball Operations, Jeff Graupe to Director of Player Development, Sam Grossman to Director of Baseball Research and Analysis, Jeff Taylor to Special Assistant to the GM and John Morris to Special Assistant to the GM; named Reed MacPhail Baseball Operations Assistant and Will Harford professional scout…in 2012, Riggleman managed at Pensacola, DeShields at Dayton and Nieves at AZL Reds…Marrero was the hitting coach at Bakersfield…Jackson had been the hitting coach at Louisville…Griffey will manage his third season at Bakersfield and Kelly his third at Billings.

Couple things of note… Delino DeShields leapfrogs over Ken Griffey Sr. and takes over in Pensacola. Senior stays in a tough situation in Bakersfield (from what I’ve been told..not a real strong franchise, bad ballpark, low attendance, but the organization believes he’s the best guy to help those kids deal with that situation). Riggleman moves up to AAA, I read another report that said he had offers to coach in the bigs, but stayed with the Reds.

Other interesting thing to me was adding Ronnie Ortegon as “Major league assistant hitting coach”. This should make many here happy who have called for the head of Reds hitting coach, Brook Jacoby.

UPDATE: Just read that the Reds have re-signed Corky Miller to a minor league deal with an invite to ST.

98 thoughts on “Organizational News

  1. “Other interesting thing to me was adding Ronnie Ortegon as “Major league assistant hitting coach”. This should make many here happy who have called for the head of Reds hitting coach, Brook Jacoby.”

    This will only make me happy if it’s a precursor to the departure of Jacoby. Otherwise, I see no difference. Jacoby will still be his boss. Plus, we don’t know is Ortegon is any better, anyway.

  2. Looking at numbers from Ortegon’s (minor league) playing days, it looks like he walked a lot:

    .222/.333/.287

    Of course, as Joe Morgan proves, walking a lot doesn’t necessarily mean a player understands the value of walking.

  3. @RiverCity Redleg: Last year the Reds added an assistant pitching coach in addition to the bullpen coach and pitching coach Bryan Price. Bryan Price’s job isn’t in jeopardy because of the assistant pitching coach and I doubt that this is a sign that Jacoby’s job is in jeopardy either. Ronnie Ortegon has also been in the news for working with Drew Stubbs this winter in Texas on a revised stance. Maybe Ortegon and Jacoby will find a way to work with certain guys based on their hitting styles – for example Jay Bruce and Billy Hamilton are very different hitters and might not need the same sort of instruction.

    @BenL: I think performance statistics from a guy’s career are a pretty bad way of determining how he’ll perform as a coach. Bryan Price, for example, was a pretty crummy minor league pitcher who wasn’t good enough to fill a MLB roster spot, and look at him now.

    Jim Riggleman managing at Louisville – that surprised me. I also thought he’d leave the organization, either because he got a MLB job or because they didn’t want somebody with his reputation back. Maybe he gives the young players in Louisville the rare opportunity to work with an experienced MLB manager. Maybe that’s worth something. After David Bell left I expected Rick Sweet to get the job back.

  4. @redsfanman: I had forgetten he was the guy working with Stubbs. I wonder if they were impressed by his instructions with Drew and that was one of the factors in his hiring . . .

    The first name that comes to mind is Cozart. I would love to see what he can do with Cozart to develop a better approach without sacrificing his plus power at his position! Helping Bruce with his ‘holes’ would be a close number 2.

  5. How does promoting Ronnie Ortegon to assistant hitting coach make anyone happy. The guy had two seasons in A ball and could hit his way out of a paper sack. Shouldn’t you be able to do before you teach? Or is the old adage “if you can’t do, teach” at play here.

    • How does promoting Ronnie Ortegon to assistant hitting coach make anyone happy.The guy had two seasons in A ball and could hit his way out of a paper sack.Shouldn’t you be able to do before you teach?Or is the old adage “if you can’t do, teach” at play here.

      Not necessarily. Sparky had only one season of major league ball. He became a HOF manager.

  6. What is going on with Rick Sweet? There is no news regarding him. I guess he remains an special assistant to the GM.

    I also just noticed by comments on Ortegon were already said. Sorry to be redundant. Resfanman is correct though. How you do in your own career is no indication of how you will do as a coach or manager. But come on! Two seasons of A ball, and he couldn’t improve is .222 average. I don’t understand how that works.

  7. Per Jayson Stark/ESPN, “Biggest signing of the winter: Reds re-sign ageless catcher Corky_Miller to a minor-league deal, with an invite to big-league festivities.”

  8. @rightsaidred: I think the Reds tried something new last year by hiring an assistant pitching coach. That was crazy, what team has a second pitching coach working along side the bullpen coach? Well, it worked fine, no question about it. I think adding an assistant hitting coach was a logical next step that we should have expected.

    I don’t think his work with Stubbs this winter is the reason why Ortegon got the job, I think Ortegon’s position last year (Reds Minor League Hitting Coordinator) is the reason he was working with Stubbs. We’ve never heard much about Ortegon but he quietly had a fairly relevant role in the Reds’ organization last year.

    @Shchi Cossack: I think bringing back Corky Miller is a good idea, especially with all the young pitchers (including Cingrani, Corcino, Lotzkar) who may be in AAA. Even with him the Reds still need to add other free agent catchers to fill the minor league system. Corky is basically the opposite of Dioner Navarro, offering defense and game calling ability rather than hitting.

    • Even with him the Reds still need to add other free agent catchers to fill the minor league system.

      They’ve pretty much got the top 3 levels covered now, but I could still see one or two more guys brought in to look at:

      ML: Hanigan/Mesoraco
      AAA: Ashley/Miller
      AA: Barnhart/Fluery

      • They’ve pretty much got the top 3 levels covered now, but I could still see one or two more guys brought in to look at:

        ML: Hanigan/Mesoraco
        AAA: Ashley/Miller
        AA: Barnhart/Fluery

        I can only speak for myself but I suspect that like me, most who are concerned about the catching situation, aren’t sold on giving the #2 spot to Mesoraco after it was essentially handed to him last year and he royally frittered away the opportunity. Why should we suspect anything different from him this year?

        I’d like to see the team bring in a legitimate MLB level back up and start Meso out at AAA. Let him play every day at AAA for a couple of months then when he (hopefully) has returned to a level similar to where he was at AAA in 2011, look for the opening to bring him and let him play at least 3 or 4 days a week.

        • Why should we suspect anything different from him this year?

          I’d expect Mes to play better this year because his minor league numbers were very good and he was only 24 years old last year. Why wouldn’t you expect him to improve this year?

        • I’d expect Mes to play better this year because his minor league numbers were very good and he was only 24 years old last year.Why wouldn’t you expect him to improve this year?

          Because he did well in the minors as an everyday player not as a twice a week guy.

          He had never been in that role (twice a week) before and did not adjust to it. He seemed lost at times and not just as a hitter. He was also inconsistent behind the plate. In fact, as the year went on, he seemed to have more rather than less trouble with the role and was demoted.

    • Corky Miller FOREVER!!

      Keep him in the organization forever, yep. It just seems like a question of when he’ll switch from catching to coaching.

      In 2013 it looks like Corky Miller will spend the season a phone call/injury away from joining the Reds. It’s a great opportunity for him. I think more depth at the position could have pushed him to retire.

  9. I wish I had had the ability to hit that little round ball travelling at 60-80+ MPH with a round bat when I was growing up, but I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. Despite my lack of physical skill, I found that my experience and effort paid dividends when I had the opportunity to teach kids how to hit that little round ball with a round bat. I also realized after the fact that I was considerably smarter and more talented than almost all of my high school teachers and college professors, but many of those individuals were excellent teachers, particularly more skilled at teaching than me.

    I don’t know how effective a hitting coach any of the Reds’ organizational coaches are, none of us probably really know. We can only surmise their effectiveness based on their own playing results and the playing results of the players they coach.

    • I don’t know how effective a hitting coach any of the Reds’ organizational coaches are, none of us probably really know.We can only surmise their effectiveness based on their own playing results and the playing results of the players they coach.

      Surmising their effectiveness based on players they coach is pretty unfair also. For example the Louisville Bats had a terrible offense last season, few hitters deserved promotions to the Reds despite a desperate need for bench players – that’s an issue of the quality of the roster, not the performance of the hitting coach.

      I think the best way to judge coaches or the leadership ability of players (like Corky Miller) is listening closely to what people say about them – which Walt Jocketty probably hears about guys like Ortegon even if we don’t. If Walt Jocketty is promoting them up through the system they’re probably doing something right. Fine with me.

  10. I had to come out of hibernation just to celebrate the news that Corky Miller has been re-signed.

    If Mesoraco doesn’t kick ass in Spring Training, how about bringing Miller to the Reds as back-up and let Mes start every day until things click for him.

  11. @BenL: Nice article, it reminds that there’s much more to being a good MLB catcher than just hitting and fielding well – you need a brain. Sections about being a student of the game and knowing that he runs the show are interesting. You’d think that veteran guys like Broxton and Arroyo have earned the right to make their own decisions but nope, they usually defer to Hanigan and do as he says.

    When Devin Mesoraco was in the minors he was assigned to work with Corky Miller to learn the intricate details of calling a game well from an expert, which I think was largely ignored by fans. The Reds clearly prioritized his ability to catch and call games well over hitting. Now, with the Reds, he’s lucky to be able to learn from Ryan Hanigan. Mesoraco is frequently criticized for his hitting in 2012 but the article points out that there’s a lot more a catcher can offer to a team than hitting. I think the ability to hit will come to Mesoraco, as it did to Hanigan. If Mesoraco continues to catch and call games well I think he’ll remain with the Reds rather than go through a stint in AAA.

  12. @Bill Lack: Roving Catcher Instructor seemed like a more important role when Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal were both prospects. Now Tucker Barnhart and Corky Miller seem like the only notable minor league catchers and both excel defensively. I’m wondering if Rick Sweet stays in that role as a result.

  13. Why would we expect a new hitting coach (or “assistant”) to have a philosophy different from the manager?

    • Why would we expect a new hitting coach (or “assistant”) to have a philosophy different from the manager?

      Why would they add an assistant hitting coach if he’s identical to the regular hitting coach and manager?

      • Why would they add an assistant hitting coach if he’s identical to the regular hitting coach and manager?

        Why would anyone expect them to be different? After all, they have to work with each other? In fact, one has to supervise and work for the other, the entire idea of being an assistant.

        Why would they? To give an illusion to the fans that they are doing something about the coaching, maybe?

  14. Yeah, getting a leadoff hitter is novel enough. To expect a change in hitting philosophy is like saying the world is going to end tomorrow. … Wait.

  15. Speaking of Reds Catchers, Tucker B. who finished up last season at AA seems like a good kid and a pretty good defensive catcher. He is from right down the road where I live and still hangs here in the offseason. I was wondering what his chances are with this organization long and short term? My guess is he starts the year at AA but could get bumped if the bat improves maybe?

  16. @steveschoen: Conspiracy theories are great. It’s all a trick, they’re out to fool the fans by pretending to alter the coaching staff by adding a coach!

    I guess it’s better to decide on the guy’s performance before he even starts. Down with Ronnie Ortegon! He’s one of THEM! Brook Jacoby 2.0! That, or maybe he’ll do fine, maybe Walt Jocketty saw reason to promote him to work with the MLB hitters.

    • @steveschoen: Conspiracy theories are great.It’s all a trick, they’re out to fool the fans by pretending to alter the coaching staff by adding a coach!

      I guess it’s better to decide on the guy’s performance before he even starts.Down with Ronnie Ortegon!He’s one of THEM!Brook Jacoby 2.0!That, or maybe he’ll do fine, maybe Walt Jocketty saw reason to promote him to work with the MLB hitters.

      What? There can be all kinds of reason, all having been done in the past plenty of times. No conspiracies. It could be something as easily has considering the guy may have been spending half his time travelling, and they consider that his time would be better spent if he was centered more at one single place like with the big club. Saying it’s to get a different viewpoint, though, that would probably be the one of the last reason. If getting another viewpoint for the hitters was the reason, they should have gotten rid of Jacoby in the first place. Thus, things most likely won’t change much. Changed with the pitching simply because we had a new pitching coach. Simple to understand. He takes his first season just to get to know the players. Uses his second season to put in some of his own methods, thus so many injuries to just the pitching staff in 2011. Last year, all of the work in 2011 coming together. This coming year, we will see if it was a fluke. But, Jacoby has been here for years. Odds are drastic nothing will change with the hitting.

    • @steveschoen:

      I guess it’s better to decide on the guy’s performance before he even starts.Down with Ronnie Ortegon!He’s one of THEM!Brook Jacoby 2.0!That, or maybe he’ll do fine, maybe Walt Jocketty saw reason to promote him to work with the MLB hitters.

      You accuse me of conspiracy theories, then you start this stuff with “I guess”? Dude, you really need to listen to your own stuff sometimes.

      • You accuse me of conspiracy theories, then you start this stuff with “I guess”?Dude, you really need to listen to your own stuff sometimes.

        When I see an outrageous claim (Jacoby and Ortegon are basically the same person, it must be a publicity stunt vs Ortegon=Jacoby 2.0) I find that it’s effective to rephrase it and the general point so people see it from another angle. Sometimes that helps people to recognize what they’re saying.

        I think getting another viewpoint is the primary reason for such a move. Firing Jacoby after Ludwick, Frazier, and several of their team mates had such good years would be crazy. Some hitters haven’t been successful working with Jacoby but others HAVE – Votto, Phillips (at least he first became a good hitter after meeting Jacoby), Hanigan, and Bruce have spent most or all of their MLB career with him.

        How much of the pitching staff’s improvement is due to Bryan Price vs better caliber pitchers is debatable. The effect (and role) of the assistant pitching coach in 2012 is completely unknown to fans – all we know is something went right and it’s all associated with Price because he’s the go-to guy. How much credit is deserved by Bryan Price vs the training staff (you know, the guys responsible for keeping the pitchers in shape and healthy) is also unknown. I’m willing to give Ortegon a fair shot without writing him off as a continuation of something bad.

        • When I see an outrageous claim (Jacoby and Ortegon are basically the same person, it must be a publicity stunt vs Ortegon=Jacoby 2.0) I find that it’s effective to rephrase it and the general point so people see it from another angle.Sometimes that helps people to recognize what they’re saying.

          I think getting another viewpoint is the primary reason for such a move.Firing Jacoby after Ludwick, Frazier, and several of their team mates had such good years would be crazy.Some hitters haven’t been successful working with Jacoby but others HAVE – Votto, Phillips (at least he first became a good hitter after meeting Jacoby), Hanigan, and Bruce have spent most or all of their MLB career with him.

          How much of the pitching staff’s improvement is due to Bryan Price vs better caliber pitchers is debatable.The effect (and role) of the assistant pitching coach in 2012 is completely unknown to fans – all we know is something went right and it’s all associated with Price because he’s the go-to guy.How much credit is deserved by Bryan Price vs the training staff (you know, the guys responsible for keeping the pitchers in shape and healthy) is also unknown.I’m willing to give Ortegon a fair shot without writing him off as a continuation of something bad.

          The only thing outrageous would be a person claiming it to be outrageous.

  17. According to ESPN, the Reds are in the top 5 most improved teams on a per win added basis. Pretty impressive considering they won 97 games last year. ESPN has them with +3 wins this year, putting them at an estimated 100 wins. If it comes with a WS title, I think I could live with that.

  18. Hiring a “assistant” coach who will push a hitting approach that the manager has openly disdained is *not* a conspiracy theory?

    Anybody notice that Hanigan used the phrase “clog the bases” in that interview?

  19. Almost no fans care who is on the coaching staff other than the manager. They only care about the manager because the common perception is that they are responsible for their teams success or lack thereof, regardless of talent available. I sincerely doubt the Reds care enough about their fans opinion of the coaching staff enough to justify the promotion of an assistant hitting coach. It’s much more likely tat the Reds actually believe this will have a helpful effect in some way on the club’s performance.

  20. @TC:

    With all due respect, this pisses me off. Why should you punish someone simply for their lack of physical talent? He may know cognitively everything to make the perfect hitter, but simply lacked the athleticism to do it himself. There’s a reason many good players make good coaches; there’s also a reason why many don’t. I believe that a coach needs to be able to teach their players how to do something right, rather than have the skill to be able to execute it consistently against other professionals. Again, perhaps he lacked the hand-eye coordination or reflexes to be able to consistently perform as a professional. That shouldn’t be a mark against him as a coach. It’s two entirely different professions simply based around the same sport.

  21. I was quoting something you said way earlier TC. Don’t know exactly why it refused to put it with my post. I agree with Millers resigning.

  22. Holy crap, I agreed with redsfanman. I feel slightly dirty for some reason…

    Jk. I actually probably agree with him for a different reason than he has, though. I just can’t stand people being judged based on their performance in a different area, in this case as a player. I don’t know how great of a coach he is; for all I know he could be the worst coach ever for the Reds. However, he still deserves a shot.

    Unrelatededly related, XP was given a shot as the Reds fifth OF after having a TERRIBLE slash line in the majors. He rewards them with a great half season. These are the types of guys I root for. I actually wanted Costanzo to succeed with the Reds when he came up to, although we all know how that turned out…

    I guess it was entirely unrelated and rambling. Oh well.

    • I’m in the Christmas mood, so I’ll ignore some overly harsh statements this morning.

      On a different topic, Reds are reportedly pursuing Mike Gonzales. Some of his peripheral are a bit concerning, but he pitched 35.2 innings last season without a record. I like that. Thoughts?

      • @TC:

        Thoughts?

        I’ve wondered about the efficacy of Mike Gonzalez as a possible LOOGY every since he gained FA status. Dusty needs a defined LOOGY in the bullpen for his limited in-game bullpen management and without another option, that LOOGY will default to Marshall. Dusty doesn’t seem capable of managing his in-game bullpen matchups with the RHP in the bullpen. Adding another LHP to the bullpen means someone else must go from a very good existing bullpen. This is a good problem to have but the new LHP addition will probably cost more than the existing RHP being replaced. It’s not my budget to be concered about, but the quality of pitcher being replaced is probably equal or even greater than the quality of pitcher being added at a higher cost and this is simply nevessary to provide additional Dusty-proofing of the lineup.

        • @Shchi Cossack:

          @TC: I’ve wondered about the efficacy of Mike Gonzalez as a possible LOOGY every since he gained FA status. Dusty needs a defined LOOGY in the bullpen for his limited in-game bullpen management and without another option, that LOOGY will default to Marshall. Dusty doesn’t seem capable of managing his in-game bullpen matchups with the RHP in the bullpen. Adding another LHP to the bullpen means someone else must go from a very good existing bullpen. This is a good problem to have but the new LHP addition will probably cost more than the existing RHP being replaced. It’s not my budget to be concered about, but the quality of pitcher being replaced is probably equal or even greater than the quality of pitcher being added at a higher cost and this is simply nevessary to provide additional Dusty-proofing of the lineup.

          I’m too tired, or maybe too lazy, to give this much thought, but who exactly would he be bumping?

          If you believe that the club wants Chapman as a starting pitcher, that opens one spot. Not re-signing Bray opens another slot (which, as much as I like Bray might be a good move. Maybe he can get and stay healthy somewhere else; thanks, bye). That’s two open spots, and is it any certainty that Masset will be able to return for the start of the year?

          I’m happy that Walt is still looking to improve the club, he deserves our thanks. And despite the common drumbeat here, I sincerely doubt that his search for another lefty (what happens if Marshall gets hurt?), or any other move he makes, has ANYTHING to do with Dusty-proofing anything.

          We are fortunate to have Bob, Walt, and yes Dusty running this club. We’ve come a long way baby; the Reds are serious contenders for the first time in a LONGGGG time.

          Happy Holidays everyone !!!

        • @earmbrister:

          who exactly would he be bumping?

          I sincerely doubt that his search for another lefty … or any other move he makes, has ANYTHING to do with Dusty-proofing anything.

          We are fortunate to have Bob, Walt, and yes Dusty running this club.

          You are subtracting Bray from the bullpen mix because the Reds didn’t sign him but he didn’t contribute to the bullpen’s success last season so that spot is already taken. There are 8 bullpen options for the 2013 season and only 8 slots available for those players. If another pitcher is added to the bullpen, 1 of the existing 8 must go:

          2.82 ERA .232/.282/.333 v RH & .219/.330/.313 v LH Jonathon Broxton
          2.51 ERA .264/.331/.401 v RH & .218/.286/.338 v LH Sean Marshall
          3.78 ERA .262/.333/.372 v RH & .233/.324/.325 v LH Nick Masset
          2.95 ERA .256/.346/.414 v RH & .190/.290/.291 v LH Jose Arredondo
          3.14 ERA .231/.294/.367 v RH & .225/.329/.386 v LH Sam LeCure
          3.46 ERA .252/.333/.413 v RH & .209/.298/.320 v LH Logan Ondrusek
          2.05 ERA .196/.286/.304 v RH & .120/.207/.220 v LH J.J. Hoover
          2.66 ERA .290/.352/.526 v RH & .275/.343/.438 v LH Alfredo Simon

          3.03 ERA .222/.325/.349 v RH & .209/.278/.327 v LH Mike Gonzalez

          Broxton & Marshall are definite back end slots. Looking at the other 6 bullpen pitchers reveals that 5 of the 6 pitch better against LH than RH hitters (Lecure is the exception and his numbers are pretty even). 2 of those 5 pitch significantly better against LH hitters than Mike Gonzalez & 1 pitches equally well against LH hitters as Mike Gonzalez. If WJ feels a need to specifically bringing in a LHP, what other reason than trying to Dusty-proof the bullpen would he have when there are more than enough very effective options already available but they just happen to be RHP.

          I absolutely agree the Bob Castellini, Walt Jockety & Dusty Baker have done a marvelous job of making the Reds again competitive with even the best teams in MLB. Dusty has his strengths as a manager, but lineup structure, bullpen management and in-game decisions are not some of Dusty’s strengths as a manager. I personally believe that WJ is smart enough and experienced enough to recognize Dusty’s strengths and weaknesses as a manager and he is willing to make moves necessary to counter Dusty’s weaknesses and enhance Dusty’s strengths as a manager. Others will disagree with my assessment, as you obviously do, but there is nothing wrong with a difference of opinion. We can even all be rabid and loyal Reds fans dispite our difference of opinion.

        • I absolutely agree the Bob Castellini, Walt Jockety & Dusty Baker have done a marvelous job of making the Reds again competitive with even the best teams in MLB. Dusty has his strengths as a manager, but lineup structure, bullpen management and in-game decisions are not some of Dusty’s strengths as a manager. I personally believe that WJ is smart enough and experienced enough to recognize Dusty’s strengths and weaknesses as a manager and he is willing to make moves necessary to counter Dusty’s weaknesses and enhance Dusty’s strengths as a manager. Others will disagree with my assessment, as you obviously do, but there is nothing wrong with a difference of opinion. We can even all be rabid and loyal Reds fans dispite our difference of opinion.

          @Shchi Cossack: Well said. I think most of us can agree with that. That is the best I’ve seen anyone say that.

  23. Just to clarify, I’m not bashing the hiring of Ortegon. Matbe he knows omething about certain types of hitters. Maybe he speaks Korean. I have no opinion on whether it’s a good idea or not. But if you think that Jocketty brought in an assistant to the hitting coach in order to undermine the preferred hitting approach of a manager who just got signed to an extension – now THAT’S a conspiracy theory.

    RE the Chapman article: Sure, maybe you *could* start Chapman in the bullpen and “convert” him in the middle of the season, if circumstances allow him to be used once every 4-5 games for two, then three, then four… and so on… innings. Homer throwing a no-hitter after five, but sorry, Chap’s gotta get his three in tonight, so hit the showers, buddy.

    But you can’t convert him from “closer”. Not without making him “not-closer” for a significant period of time.

    Not to mention the fact that you’re putting the all Chapman conversion levers in the hands of a guy who does NOT want him to convert in the first place.

    However this thing works out, Chapman has to *start* the season in the rotation, or else the odds are he’ll never get there. Give him 100 innings as a starter, then move him back to the pen for the last 50. Do the full Strasburg. Do something. Do ANYTHING except begin his 2013 season in the pen.

  24. @rfay00: Great article. Dusty isn’t the only person in the Reds organization who has been skeptical of converting Chapman, even teammates like Arroyo and LeCure have recently talked about it. The whole Reds organization, including Bryan Price, is too by-the-book to experiment with something new like a 6th starter…. and way too protective of Chapman to keep him starting all year. In the article Bryan Price admits that fans won’t be happy regardless of what they do with Chapman – going along with that the suggestions that Chapman will transition to the rotation later in the season is just a way of avoiding controversy.

    @rhayex: I have no objection to rambling. It’s nice that you in some way kinda agree with me sorta on something. Xavier Paul is another example of a guy who performed well after meeting Brook Jacoby. I think people go overboard in their criticism of Brook Jacoby by ignoring all the success stories – it seems like a second hitting coach would be reassuring to his critics.

    @TC: Mike Gonzalez, I really doubt it, I think he’s a longshot for the Reds. I don’t care to investigate but I think he’s probably the best free agent lefty specialist still available – he’ll probably have better job opportunities and more job security elsewhere, maybe with the Nationals. In Cincinnati Chapman’s role and the need for another lefty specialist is in question, whether fans want to admit it or not – all signs point to Chapman closing. Also I’m not sure that Gonzalez is much better against lefties than Jose Arredondo.

    The Pirates signed Francisco Liriano to a 2 year, $14m contract. Yikes! The Cubs really overpaid for Edwin Jackson after signing Carlos Villanueva. I’m wondering if the Pirates, Cubs, and Brewers actually believe they can contend in the NL Central. I sure don’t see that happening.

  25. @TC: I like Gonzalez as a LOOGY. His career splits are like Arredondo–a bit opposite. Must use a changeup as well.

    Still, I don’t get why we just didn’t keep Bray. It’s not like Gonzalez has been the picture of health either, and the money will be about the same.

    It’s burning me to watch guys like Mike Adams and Soria sign for way less than we’ll be paying Broxton. Walt should’ve waited out the market. I guarantee you Rafael Soriano will be had for the same $$$ or less than Broxton.

  26. @RC: I think Brook Jacoby knows something about working well with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Ryan Hanigan, Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick, Chris Heisey, and Xavier Paul. If Ortegon knows something that can help Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, Jason Donald, or somebody else, fine.

    Offering to convert Chapman to the rotation mid-season is just a PR stunt, if he begins the season in the bullpen he’ll stay in the bullpen, no question about it, and they just need to say something to contain the bad publicity. Like “don’t complain, be patient, he’ll start later in the season”. It was successful with silencing the criticism in 2012.

    ‘Do ANYTHING except being the 2013 season in the pen’? I think Dusty and Price will choose to do what they think is most likely to keep Chapman healthy and will help them to win the most games in 2013. Dusty doesn’t want another Kerry Wood or Mark Prior mess on his hands, or a repeat of the 2011 pitching staff injuries. It’s the bullpen or the ‘full Strasburg’, as you call it. The Reds place too much value on health, consistency, and routine for anything else.

    • I think Brook Jacoby knows something about working well with Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Ryan Hanigan, Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick, Chris Heisey, and Xavier Paul. If Ortegon knows something that can help Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, Jason Donald, or somebody else, fine.

      Let’s be honest. Jacoby asks Votto for advice. Votto and Hannigan stand in contrast to the rest of the organization in terms of patience and discipliine. BP has pretty much been the same hitter his whole career. Ludwick had MLB success before ever being a Red. So the young guys, coming from within the Reds… inconsistent, especially with plate discipline, which is a chief complaint against Jacoby as a teacher.

      • Looks like Jim Riggleman will take over when Dusty steps down.

        I think Riggleman will leave the Reds’ organization for another short stint as a MLB manager before Dusty’s contract is up.

        @rhayex: The Reds seem to view JJ Hoover as a reliever and I see no indication that they would consider moving him to the rotation. His success out of the bullpen and the starting pitching depth both point to Hoover staying in the bullpen… with a worst case scenario for him being a closing job in Louisville.

        Let’s be honest. Jacoby asks Votto for advice. Votto and Hannigan stand in contrast to the rest of the organization in terms of patience and discipliine. BP has pretty much been the same hitter his whole career. Ludwick had MLB success before ever being a Red. So the young guys, coming from within the Reds… inconsistent, especially with plate discipline, which is a chief complaint against Jacoby as a teacher.

        Huh? There’s a lot of nonsense in there. First, Votto and Hanigan performing well means that they’re smarter than Jacoby and teaching themselves? Where’d you get that from? Second, Phillips has been the same hitter his whole career? He was a horrible hitter in Cleveland, he got shipped to Cincinnati in return for a nobody and everything clicked – whether or not Jacoby was part of his success with the Reds is unknown but something clearly changed with the change of scenery. Third, Ludwick’s success is likely due to GABP but it’s silly to assume that Jacoby had no part (let alone a detrimental influence) in his improved performance. Why is that when things go well the player gets all the credit but when they go badly the coach gets the blame? Several guys have hit well when working with Jacoby, some haven’t. I think people who disapprove of Jacoby’s performance have to be pretty determined to ignore examples and evidence to maintain that negativity. Oh well.

  27. @Sultan of Swaff: Joakim Soria signed for less because he won’t be ready by opening day – they’re hoping that he’ll recover from Tommy John surgery by May but that is a big question mark. IF he returns and pitches well I think he’ll get way more than Broxton in 2014. Broxton is already healthy, unless something happens in the meantime.

  28. Chapman may be on the Medlen plan. Which, if that is actually agreed upon as a plan would allow the best case scenario to happen, namely that Chapman would be available for a postseason run.

    The issue is that we as fans (and with good reason based on interviews) believe that Dusty wants Chapman closing. If there are any issues in the BP or Broxton stumbles a bit out the gate it’s almost a guarantee that Chapman closes. Not to mention if Chapman closes it will be harder for him to build up innings or pitch on a set schedule.

    There is also the issue of what to do with Leake when Chapman converts. Leake has historically been a horrible relief pitcher (in a very small sample size) and is reportedly going to be out of options due to service time. Do you piggy back them together? Does that run you short a BP arm 4 out of 5 days? Does that matter that much?

    Also, who loses out on a BP job to send Chapman/Leake there? With Broxton, Marshall, Masset, LeCure, Simon, Arredondo, Hoover, and Ondrusek the Reds are already one BP arm over. If a LOOGY is added that makes two. Now if you add Chapman (and then Leake) to the BP we are talking about a major BP crunch. Hoover is the only one I know for sure has options, and he’s one of the better BP arms we have.

    A lot of questions. And some good problems to have with multiple quality pitchers. The real issue is that Reds got themselves in this predicament two years ago by sending Chapman to the pen instead of being a starter to begin with.

    • Also, who loses out on a BP job to send Chapman/Leake there? With Broxton, Marshall, Masset, LeCure, Simon, Arredondo, Hoover, and Ondrusek the Reds are already one BP arm over. If a LOOGY is added that makes two. Now if you add Chapman (and then Leake) to the BP we are talking about a major BP crunch. Hoover is the only one I know for sure has options, and he’s one of the better BP arms we have.

      Trade for a LH reliever. Several are available via trade and a good one could be had with the right matchup. Bullpen will need another LH arm. Then trade Masset and Arredondo or Ondrusek. That could result in a $4 MM savings. If they cannot be worked in to a trade for a LH reliever, then trade them for some AAA or AA depth. The bullpen will probably consist of Broxton, Marshall, LeCure, Simon, Hoover, Ondrusek or Arredondo, and the new LH. Broxton will be the closer. Marshall will be 8th inning LH setup guy, The new LH will be 7th inning LH, LOOGY and possible LH long relief. All the RHers will have a chance to win defined rolls in spring training. They necessarily won’t revert back to their 2012 roles. Any of them could be the 8th inning RH setup guy opposite Marshall. Any could work the 7th for a hold. And LeCure and Simon are proven long and short relievers. Its a good problem to have, the Reds have too many good pitchers for too few slots, in the rotation and the bullpen. Its like trying to put 7 or 8 pounds of sugar into a 5 pound bag.

      • @WVRedlegs:

        Trade for a LH reliever. Several are available via trade and a good one could be had with the right matchup. Bullpen will need another LH arm. Then trade Masset and Arredondo or Ondrusek. That could result in a $4 MM savings. If they cannot be worked in to a trade for a LH reliever, then trade them for some AAA or AA depth. The bullpen will probably consist of Broxton, Marshall, LeCure, Simon, Hoover, Ondrusek or Arredondo, and the new LH. Broxton will be the closer. Marshall will be 8th inning LH setup guy, The new LH will be 7th inning LH, LOOGY and possible LH long relief. All the RHers will have a chance to win defined rolls in spring training. They necessarily won’t revert back to their 2012 roles. Any of them could be the 8th inning RH setup guy opposite Marshall. Any could work the 7th for a hold. And LeCure and Simon are proven long and short relievers. Its a good problem to have, the Reds have too many good pitchers for too few slots, in the rotation and the bullpen. Its like trying to put 7 or 8 pounds of sugar into a 5 pound bag.

        I like the idea of trading to find a LH reliever.

        Dunno if WJ has already exhausted this avenue, or if there is some other reason that he wants to go the FA route.

        Do agree, seemingly, that an abudance of arms is a good problem to have. The Reds definitely need a second LH’r in the pen, cause they’re screwed if Marshall goes down. Let’s find that guy, THEN we can worry about out the ML roster.

    • Also, who loses out on a BP job to send Chapman/Leake there? With Broxton, Marshall, Masset, LeCure, Simon, Arredondo, Hoover, and Ondrusek the Reds are already one BP arm over. If a LOOGY is added that makes two. Now if you add Chapman (and then Leake) to the BP we are talking about a major BP crunch. Hoover is the only one I know for sure has options, and he’s one of the better BP arms we have.

      First, I move Hoover back to AAA as a starter. Second, it is likely someone has an injury in that group as well. If not, then sadly Ondrusek is the odd man out.

      • First, I move Hoover back to AAA as a starter.Second, it is likely someone has an injury in that group as well.If not, then sadly Ondrusek is the odd man out.

        I agree that Hoover may end up back at Louisville but not to be a starter. He’ll be the closer down there. There was a reason he was moved by the Braves to be a BP guy. His future is as a backend reliever. Louisville will have a pretty good staff already with Corcino, Cingrani, Villarreal, and Redmond. Reineke may be brought back or a MLB retread as usual. It’s unfortunate because Hoover is likely better than several of the guys on the ML squad. But I’m not sure Ondrusek has any more options. If he does then Hoover has a good chance to beat him out. But Masset may not be healthy to start the year so that may alleviate the crunch. But if Chapman starts the year in the BP one guy still has to go down.

  29. Question: If the Reds were to make a competitive bid on a young… say, South Korean, pitcher in 2015, could knowledge of the Reds’ “handling” of Chapman be a factor in that pitcher’s (or his agent’s) decision?

    If it was me, being South Korean and all, I probably wouldn’t speak English. But my agent would certainly look askance.

  30. Regarding Ronnie Ortegon, I have a couple of observations to share. He was assigned to work with Stubbs this offseason in a last ditch attempt to bring Stubbs’ offensive production in line with the Reds’ need for a leadoff hitter. Then the Reds jettisoned Stubbs and a well respected organizational prospect in Gregorius for the leadoff hitter they needed. It’s possible (and I have absolutely no insight or insider priivileges) that the reports from Ortegon were less than positive from his efforts with Stubbs and WJ made the decision that a trade was necessary.

    Ortegon had a BB% of 12.6%+ during his brief two-year professional career in the low minors. That was about all he did offensively, but that was a significant acheivement for a hitter who couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag. This is a skill the Reds hitters have traditionally lacked and desperately need to enhance. The only other hitting coach in the Reds’ organization with a similar skill set is Tony Jaramillo who had a BB% of 9.4%+ during his 6 year minor league career. Every other hitting coach was a hacker or a naturally skilled hitter such as Dusty Baker. When I hear Dusty talk about hitting philosophy and coaching hitting, I hear a talented ex-player with the attitude of ‘I could do it and Hank Aaron could do it so why can’t everyone do it?’

    I welcome the addition of Ortegon to the coaching staff. I really believe WJ saw a problem and addressed that need by adding him to the ML coaching staff. Hopefully we will see more focus on selective at bats and getting on base throughout the Reds’ organization going forward. With Votto (BB%>14.0%), Hanigan (BB%>12.1%) and Choo (BB%>11.3%) leading by example and Ortegon providing the coaching for players like Cozart, the Reds’ offense could be absolutely top shelf this season.

  31. Gonzalez had a mid 4 era last year. Not sold on him. If he’s the best available, sure; however, there almost HAS to be someone better. Heck, someone from the Reds minor league system could post a mid 4 era in the bullpen.

  32. A few months ago I spoke to Griffey Sr. and he said that he wanted the Bats job bad. Too bad that he’s staying in the same spot.

  33. @redsfanman: You continually attribute things to the Reds’ philosophy about which you have no idea. Didn’t you say the Reds valued defense too much to stick either Bruce or Choo in center (before the trade)? Clearly you were incorrect. And you just blow it off as if it never occurred, the idea that defense is valued above offense by the organization.

    I have no idea why they are doing what they are doing, and neither do you.

  34. Matt Eddy‏ at BA reported that the Reds signed Loek Van Mil, 7-foot-1 RHP from the Netherlands. The Reds certainly like them long! Lots of control issues from that 7′ 1″ frame, but why not take a flyer.

  35. @OhioJim: At this stage of his career, I don’t consider Corky a legitimate MLB backup because of potential durability issues relating to his age.

    Certainly several years ago on a team with an offense that figures to be as good as the Reds do in 2013, Corky would have been a prototypical backup guy; I fear not now.

  36. @Hank Aarons Teammate: As far as determining the Reds’ goals, priorities, and philosophies the best we can do is make educated guess based on what we see, hear, and what they’ve done. The Choo trade was good but (after signing Ludwick) it was completely unpredictable and completely inconsistent with any precedent the Reds have set since Jim Bowden left. The trade occurred but it was a single occurrence and I definitely don’t think it shows any shift towards preferring all bat-no glove position players by the existing front office. I guess we have to wait and see if I was right about the Reds refusing to move Bruce to CF.

    Trades like the ones for Mat Latos and Broxton were unexpected but it seemed likely all along that they’d find somebody like them to fill a certain role, it was just a question of what the name would be on that uniform. Bringing in a corner outfielder to play CF after Ludwick returned, that was completely unpredictable.

    @OhioJim: About Devin Mesoraco, I think he’ll be with the Reds as long as he’s catching and calling games well. The Reds fans are really critical of him because of his hitting but the Reds organization seems pleased with his work behind the plate. Mesoraco didn’t hit well but I don’t think he frittered away the opportunity – he proved to the Reds that he could handle the more important job of calling games, which was a big concern in prior years – that’s why he was assigned to work with Corky Miller, to learn how to catch. Shipping him out of the way to Louisville seems unlikely to do much to help him at this point – demoting a guy as punishment for being worse than Corky Miller isn’t a way to rebuild his confidence.

  37. @redsfanman: My recollection is that Mesoraco was on the verge of being considered a bust until he caught fire and moved all the way from high A to AAA during the 2010 season.

    The offense he (finally) displayed in that 2010 season prompted the much talked about tutelage under Corky “to learn to catch” at AAA in 2011. Along the way in 2011, Mesoraco also put together another strong offensive year (.289/.371/.484) which earned him the shot with the Reds in 2012.

    As far as the team (i.e. Baker and Price) having confidence in Mesoraco as a receiver last year, he almost exclusively caught the 4/ 5 starters and rarely if ever got a turn with any of the top 3. Also, he was often pulled in favor of Hanigan when Chapman came on to close a game Meso had started. Accordingly, I don’t buy in that they were all that satisfied with his work behind the plate. That he was eventually demoted in favor of Navarro underscores this point.

    I don’t think Corky would be the guy taking the spot on the MLB roster if Meso were sent to AAA this spring. I think they would bring in an established MLB backup type. So, the being sent down for being worse than Corky part doesn’t really apply even though despite his current age, Corky is still probably a better all around receiver that Mesoraco.

    (If Corky could have hit at even .230 in the bigs or shown some pop, he would have spent the last 10 years in the majors as a back up. If he could have hit .250, he probably would have been an MLB starter. As recently as 2010 when he got an extended injury fill in stint with the Reds, Corky looked to be as good of as a receiver as Hanigan).

  38. @OhioJim: I really doubt the Reds are going to attract ‘an established MLB backup type’ at this point. There are few catchers available and several teams need at least a backup catcher for their 25 man roster. There are better opportunities elsewhere. Pushing to bring in the established MLB backup type for the purpose of blocking a young guy and recent top prospect also seems unlikely.

    I believe that Navarro taking the backup catcher job was more a sign of frustration towards the inability to find a bench player, particularly one who hits left handed, rather than a sign of frustration with Mesoraco’s work behind the plate. Oh well.

    Young catcher of the future vs the relatively old minor league veteran, the younger guy’s supposed mentor… seems like a pretty obvious choice for a team that hopes to compete long term.

  39. @redsfanman: I never said that they are all bat, no glove. I was saying that perhaps they look at both offense and defense, as opposed to taking the better defensive player in all instances, as you have been suggesting.

    Another example was Navarro over Mesoraco. I don’t think there is any question that Mesoraco is the better defender.

  40. Wait, wait, wait… of course Miller can receive in the majors if that becomes necessary. But that’s not Corky’s role. In the past both Hernandez and Hanigan had to be beaten up before they called him up. The Reds bring him back year after year to work with the pitching staff at Louisville. And while I don’t know what they pay him, I’m certain it isn’t a minor league salary. He may be as good a game caller as Hanigan, he’s experienced in the majors, and he’s respected. The Reds don’t necessarily want an inexperienced catcher working with their pitching at AAA. Working with catchers is almost certainly part of his role as well, but again, his primary role is well documented to be working with pitchers.

    I strongly believe Corky Miller will be either a pitching coach or minor league manager one day. And hopefully in the Reds organization.

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