2016 Spring Training

Thursday lineup, news and reading

The Reds are the home team in a green-bedecked clash against Cleveland today at Goodyear Ballpark. The game starts at 4:05 p.m. The only broadcast will be audio at MLB.com. Here is the lineup:

  1. Brandon Phillips DH
  2. Devin Mesoraco C
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Jay Bruce RF
  5. Eugenio Suarez 3B
  6. Scott Schebler LF
  7. Zack Cozart SS
  8. Ivan De Jesus 2B
  9. Jake Cave CF

Robert Stephenson is starting for the Reds.

Lineup Thoughts

Devin Mesoraco — Devin Mesoraco!! — gets his first start of spring training. Even better: Devin Mesoraco C

Devin_Mesoraco_1280_og11lfjo_1o3q7z28

Reminder: Breaking the bad news on Mesoraco’s hip last April.

Interesting lineup. Closest to the Opening Day batting order we’ve seen so far. Mesoraco second and Suarez fifth will probably flip around eventually. Maybe Mesoraco is batting second to get an extra plate appearance. The Reds are facing a RHP (Danny Salazar) which may explain Votto and Bruce back-to-back. Also that’s why Schebler is in LF, he’s that half the platoon. Jake Cave in CF batting in the Billy Hamilton Has To Bat Last spot.

If Billy Hamilton doesn’t make it back for Opening Day, Brandon Phillips might lead off instead of whoever the stand-in is for Hamilton.

Cody Reed pitched two clean innings with three strikeouts in the B game this morning (box score).

News and Reading

The Reds just announced the signing of Alfredo Simon to a major league contract. Yes, a veteran pitcher can help eat up innings in the early part of the season. I suppose there’s even a chance Simon might pitch well enough in the first couple months to be worth something at the trade deadline, but I kind of doubt it. Teams had passed on him so far. Signing a better pitcher (Tim Lincecum?) to a one-year deal would have increased the chance of a trade chip. The Reds have the payroll space to do that. And I guess we can scratch the idea the Reds dispatched Simon last year in part because of the domestic violence allegations. You know, baseball is taking a tough line on that now. Seriously.

But rebuild-reboot-recycle. Go with what’s familiar. The Reds Way.

WIN2483 is the latest t-shirt/riddle craze. It’s part of Don Long’s message to the hitters. And it’s a secret. If we told you, we’d have to make you watch the Reds bad plate discipline for another year. (Zach Buchanan, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“I wanted to have the meaning, but do it in kind of an abstract way so they’d really have to think to come up with the answer,” he said. “Then it’s cemented even more in their mind, potentially. Any time you’re really forced to think your way through something, it’s going to make more sense to you. You have a chance to hold on to it better.”

I know this story has apparently captured the imagination of the press and Twitter and whatever. But it sure seems like something you’d do for a Little League team, not for people getting paid hundred of  thousands or millions of dollars to hit baseballs well.

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Here’s my t-shirt suggestion: WATCH #19

Jim Callis (MLB.com) has a good article on the strength of the Reds farm system and reasons to believe it will get even better.

The Reds’ system could get much stronger in the next year. At $19.1 million, they have more combined bonus pool money for the Draft and international market than any team in the game. There also could be more veterans-for-prospects deals after they nearly dealt Bruce and Brandon Phillips during the offseason.

“What’s really exciting is that this shouldn’t be a long process,” Graupe said. “We have a nice base already and this year we have the No. 2 pick in the Draft, the highest Draft bonus pool and the second-highest international bonus pool. We should be able to add more talent. We have to regroup but we don’t have to take a major step back.”

Callis also has five questions with Rookie Davis, the headliner of the four players the Reds received in the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Yankees.

Davis: I was sitting in an auto shop getting steps put on my truck. My parents had given them to me for Christmas and it was Dec. 28. I got a call on my cell from an unknown number and it was [Yankees GM] Brian Cashman. He talked to me for a couple minutes and then told me, “I just traded you to the Cincinnati Reds.” I was like, “What?!?” It was hectic for the first 24 hours. A lot of friends were texting and calling. Once I was able to get over that, I was able to buy into what we’re doing here. People should be excited about what’s going on with the Reds. I’ve been here for a month and a half, and I fit right in. There’s a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself. It drives you. I’m fighting with a group of guys who want to win the World Series. It’s fun.

WAY more of that, please.

crop_exact_full_image

Reminder: Our optimistic scouting report on Rookie Davis

From the Terrible, Awful News department, former Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo has suffered a career-ending type of shoulder injury. (ESPN)

Washington Nationals pitcher Bronson Arroyo told MASN on Thursday that his rotator cuff is “significantly torn.” He said the injury is not a torn labrum, as had been reported on Wednesday. Arroyo told MASN that he is waiting for a comparison to his previous MRI, but “it’s not looking real good.” Arroyo will not have surgery. “It’s either rehab or retire,” he told MASN.

Obviously, everyone wishes Arroyo the best.

Reminder: John Ring’s farewell to Bronson.

Bronson+Arroyo+Cincinnati+Reds+v+New+York+0Z-b0nJxSlLl

56 thoughts on “Thursday lineup, news and reading

  1. When I read about the Simon signing I thought this was another Steve Mancuso April Fools column. Then I looked at the calendar.

    • My reaction was similar. I first saw the news as a tweet on the Reds Twitter account. It simply said that FA pitcher Alfredo Simon as agreed to a one year contract. It did not say with whom; and, I was thinking why is this Reds news in 2016? Then it struck me that if the official Reds Twitter was saying it, the Reds must be the team Simon signed with.🙂

  2. So Billy played a game, now he has taken 2 off. Is this too much kid-glove treatment?
    I know, Spring training, don’t want to break someone for the year…. but what better place for him to practice, then here in the Spring?

  3. I would have liked Lincecum better. What are they doing with all the money they are saving from the stars they traded?

    • Why would they spend 15 million extra dollars so they could win 8 more games and finish 17 games behind the Wild Card teams vs 25? Isn’t that money better spent on analytics and developmental infrastructure or saved for when they’re ready to compete?

      They need a body today….no one knows if Lincecum can actually pitch at this point. Simon will likely be bad…perhaps terrible….but he’s cheap, didn’t cost them anything and can at least function.

      • I agree with you to an extent. Only that is a ton of money and with the StatCast data already being in AWS, they probably should set up their analytics compute power and data-warehouse out there. It isn’t particularly expensive. They also have apparently expanded their analytics department but I’m sure that they could hire a couple more good analysts. So, then the question is, what do you do with the other 12.5 million or so? You can put it into the developmental pipeline but it’s important to have a unified approach to player development. The Reds don’t seem to have that. It seems like every minor league manager and roving instructor has a different opinion on what makes good players. There is no “Reds way”. I’m afraid pouring money into a system that lacks a clear vision would be throwing money at it and just hoping that creates players.

        I also wonder if the Reds are spending that money or at least investing it wisely for future use. I have some worries that they are simply putting it in their pockets.

        • LW….I agree that their entire developmental philosophy needs to be revamped. if they continue operating in a non unified manner then no amount of money will be enough to create the type of farm system that is necessary for them to reach a level of sustained success. Your point is excellent and I couldn’t agree with you more.

          I take solace in a couple of things:
          One: Ownership has consistently spent everything they’ve brought in on the team. Reasonable people can debate how wisely they’ve spent, but no one can deny that they have spent…..to the degree that is possible. Perhaps they are lining their pockets….but, history has given us no reason to believe that is true.

          Two: They finally seem to understand that their competitors in the Central are very, very smart and the Cubs and Cards can spend them into the ground.

          Jocketty ran the Reds the same way he ran the Cards…..develop a core, ride them as far as you can, make some trades, do some bargain hunting and spend every dime you can on the MLB payroll. I’m hopeful that Williams and Bob C. better understand the need to focus as much time, resources and effort on player development and anayltics as they do on the Cincinnati Reds.

          They finally had the courage to stop spinning their wheels….take a ton of crap from the media and fans….and move towards a model that hopefully will produce sustained success.

          Maybe they’ve wised up and good things are ahead…..maybe Dick Williams is a moron. Time will tell.

        • Some very good points, as usual. Yes, I’m inclined to agree, especially with point one. Since Castellini took over, they have spent money. To the point that according to Forbes they were one of the few teams to lose money a couple years back. I think the timing of the rebuild is probably pretty good considering they don’t really know how much money to commit to future payrolls, at least until the TV contract is a done deal.

        • Do they not have a philosophy, or are we just unaware of it? We’ve noted the preponderance of pitching that they’ve acquired lately, and that sounds like an approach, whether we agree with it or not.

        • The front-office would seem to have an approach with a strong focus on pitching and defense. As you said, right or wrong, that is an approach. Where I don’t see a unified approach is in the minors. Doug or Tom may know more than me and may be able to correct me if I’m mistaken but from my point-of-view, the quotes I see from minor league coaches, players, and instructors, have no real unified philosophy. Unfortunately, I have no inside knowledge of the Reds organization so I admittedly don’t know if that’s the case or not. Going by what I see, hear, and read however, it seems there is a mixed message about how to go about ones baseball business and how to build a successful franchise. It doesn’t feel like they are on the same page.

      • I don’t think so. They have some well positioned draft choices and a ton of money available for International signings coming up. I can only hope they spend it well and pay more attention to the value of OBP. The best example of which is on the team in Joey Votto.

    • They have a ~$20m bonus pool to spend on draft picks and international free agents. They need at least $20m set aside for that, plus more if they go over and are aggressive with international free agents.

      In other words, they’ll be investing the savings in the farm system, as Williams has said.

  4. Cody Reed pitched in the B-game today. Very very nice. 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Minor league lineup though.
    Mat Latos was pitching for the WhiteSox. Reds were up 2-1 in 6.

  5. “Spoiled Brat” Lincecum”? No way Jose. We don’t need other team’s arrogant rejects. Remember Latos. Simon sounds good in the rotation as he was in 2014.

  6. Sad news about Bronson. But everyone reaches the end of the road sometime.

    Except Julio “Highlander” Franco. Isn’t he still playing somewhere?

  7. In a cruel, heartless move… my parents just informed me via electronic mail they are going to the Reds game today. They are in AZ vacationing. They aren’t even baseball fans. Why!! Whyyyyy!!!😉

    The Simon signing, as long as it’s for a small amount of money, doesn’t give me much heartburn. He’s likely taking the spot of a guy who doesn’t have much a chance to be good anyways. But, we’ll see.

    • My folks were central Florida snowbirds for a about a decade starting in the mid 1990’s. They even bought Reds ST season seats a year or two and also went to a number of Reds ST road games close to their venue. The most exasperating yet cool thing to happen was the one night when a game was TVed back to the Cincy area and they had seats near home plate which got their faces beamed out on TV most of the game.

  8. Why sign a pitcher with known baggage like Simon? Plenty of other arms, esp. Lincecum.

    Disappointing, but ultimately moot.

  9. RE: Lincecum….

    As of a couple of days ago he had pushed his showcase workout back another week or two again to “late March”.

    Speculation is rife that he is less whole.

    That’s not much good for a team needing a 4th starter in the first week of April.

    • I’m thinking there are a ton of questions about rather he can really pitch at the moment. If we’re thinking it, the Reds probably are too.

  10. I like this move. The past two years his ERA has been pretty good in the first half before fading in the 2nd half. We need him to start for 1-2 months. After that he can move to the pen, where we will certainly need some help. Or, best case scenario, he’s flipped at the trade deadline if he gets off to a good start. Simon appears to be much better than the current alternatives, like starting service time or getting Melville or Sanchez starts in April.

    • Definitely agree that Simon is a better option to take the ball in a MLB park than Sanchez or Melville!

  11. Mesoraco slugs a 2 run HR in the 1st. Dang it’s nice to see Mesoraco’s bat in the lineup, even if he’s hitting in front of Votto today.

  12. And Bruce gets into the act with a 2 run HR of his own. I’m calling this the Mesoraco effect.

      • I am going to start doing some mathematical analysis on the “Mesoraco Effect.”

        • Here’s your analysis…

          In 16 games before today, the Reds had 17 HR this spring.

          In 4 innings today, with Mesoraco in the lineup for the 1st time this spring, the Reds have 3 HR.

          And I don’t want to hear anything about SSS horse pucky. Mesoraco was in the lineup for the 1st time this spring! It’s a shame the 2nd half of the lineup couldn’t do anything in the 1st 2 innings to allow Mesoraco to get more than 1 AB before being pulled in the top of the 3rd.

  13. There was some good and bad from the game today. Stephenson’s 3rd inning ranked up there with the worst, but the flip side of that was the shut down bullpen. Some of the relievers have been downright impressive this spring. I know it’s just spring training and the 1st half of spring training at thatm so I don’t want to start banging the drum yet, but…

    Pedro Villarreal
    8.0 IP w/ 0.75 WHIIP, 1.13 ERA, 5 H, 1 HR, 1 BB & 4 SO
    Dayan Diaz
    5.2 IP w/ 0.88 WHIP, 1.59 ERA, 3 H, 2 BB & 5 SO
    Keyvius Sampson
    2.0 IP w/ 1.00 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H & 4 SO
    Layne Somsen
    5.0 IP w/ 1.00 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 3 BB & 4 SO
    Tony Cingrani
    6.0 IP w/ 1.17 WHIP, 0.00 ERA, 4 H, 3 BB & 9 SO

    Who is this Dayan Diaz kid doing his best Sam LeCure impersonation? He comes in with 1 out and a man on 3B after Stephenson absolutely flames out and simply shuts ’em down. Then he comes back out for an encore in the 4th inning. I’ll take some more of that please.

    Cingrani looks healthy and ANGRY! again. That’s not good news for NL hitters.

    The bullpen today had 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 SO and nothing crossed the plate. I’ll take some more of that too please.

  14. How about this scenario, Simon comes back Price tweaks tweaks his delivery he has a great first half of the season and we trade him at the deadline for another nice package of young talent.

    • I was thinking the same thing. They have had good success with the coming and going of Simon. One more trip to that well would be poetic.

    • Yes, please! I’m not sure that we can expect a lot in return. Simon should be a serviceable starter, but the best expectation would be for a back end of the rotation injury replacement for a contending team with low-level minor league prospects coming back. I’m good with that result.

    • Sounds like he’s being treated for tendonitis. I had it in my throwing elbow at one point or another a couple different years. Rest is the prescription for it. Hopefully it will calm down and he’ll be able to resume normal activities.

  15. I wonder if AJ Morris will make the team? His #s were very good at AAA last year and he ate up 84 ip with only 3 hr’s allowed. I’m guessing that would change at GABP but its not like we have a ton of other guys to go to?

  16. “…no such position as Opening Day closer…” – Craig Council, Manager, Brewers.

    Love that thinking. Quote is from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

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