Espn reports that the Reds have signed Grant Balfour and designated Josh Hancock for assignment. They also signed infielder Frank Menechino and catchers Ryan Hanigan and Steve Torrealba to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.

Balfour pitched decent out of the Minnesota pen in 2004, but missed all of 2005 rahabbing from two surgeries as reported on CBS Sportsline. If I understand correctly, he had elbow ligament replacement in the May of 2005, and rotator cuff surgery on his shoulder September of 2005. They are expecting that he won’t be ready to pitch until mid season. Sounds like a small gamble on damaged goods. Healthy, he’s got a lot more upside than Hancock, but that’s a big if. Hancock looked like he might have a shot at a long man/spot starter role this spring.

Your guess is as good as mine on why they might want Menechino. Definitely no room on the big league roster, must be looking for veteran leadership at AAA, but it’s getting crowded there too. Torrealba, I would suspect, will back up Sardinha at AAA, and Hanigan will probably share catching duties with Perez at AA Chattanooga.


12 Responses

  1. Jim McCullough

    If you can’t win at the MLB level, I guess you try to capture all the minor league titles you can so it looks like you’re getting better?

  2. Brian

    From Will Carroll back September.…articleid=4492

    Grant Balfour had his rotator cuff and labrum repaired via scope. This is on top of his Tommy John surgery. There’s no comps for this

  3. Bill

    The Enquirer reports this story also:

    The only thing I’d add is that he was given a major league contract, so that’s money (while not a lot) out of the budget and for a player that might be ready in June.

  4. Bill

    The Post reports:

    Because Balfour has less than three years of major league service time, he still hasn’t entered the salary arbitration phase, so the Reds could retain the rights to him for at least three more seasons after this one if they so desire.

    And concerning Hancock:

    To make room on their 40-man roster for Balfour, the Reds designated right-hander Josh Hancock for assignment. That, too, is something of a risk, as the Reds could lose Hancock through waivers, but they’re expecting and hoping he’ll make it through and accept a minor league assignment.

    Assuming Hancock clears waivers, O’Brien said the pitcher will be in the mix for a swing role on the pitching staff as was originally planned.

  5. Brian

    Seth Etherton, Jeff Austin or Luke Prokopec all fit the rehab bill.

    Which begs the question, aside from Merker when was the last time the Reds rehabbed a pitcher and caught his injury rebound year?

  6. Matt

    Sounds like Menechino is insurance in case they decide that Freel’s injuries and off-the-field problems aren’t worth the hassle.

  7. Blue

    Anyone remember when Austin started a game and failed to record an out?

  8. EricTW

    Well, hopefully Hancock clears waivers and we get him back. He looked very good at the end of least year (and yes, I know it was September).

    That being said, if DanO calculated this correctly, and we can get Balfour midseason and keep Hancock, that won’t be a bad maneuver…

  9. Glenn

    I realize that Hancock is not the savior of this staff but he has pitched fairly well for the Reds. I can only imagine how he must have felt being put on waivers for a guy that won’t even be able to compete for a job in spring training. The roster move is probably a wash, as far as wins and losses go but I can’t imagine it plays well with the players.

  10. Glenn

    By the way, has any other team jumped on the Don Gullett is the greatest pitching coach around band wagon. I didn’t think so.

  11. Tom

    Ken Rosenthal weighed in with the following in regards to the Reds signing of Grant Balfour:

    The Reds’ signing of right-handed reliever Grant Balfour was a decent risk; the team guaranteed him $340,000 and a major-league roster spot knowing he won’t pitch before June due to elbow and shoulder surgery. The problem is that Balfour, 28, could spend most or all of the season on the disabled list, then become eligible for salary arbitration. The Twins once thought of him as a potential closer, but some question Balfour’s mental toughness and ability to stay healthy.

    He did’t factor in the Hancock portion of the equation though. Bottom line, the Reds have to think, despite the surgeries, that Balfour still has more upside than Hancock.