Today is the day that position players are scheduled to arrive in Goodyear for Cincinnati Reds spring training. That begs the question: Does Michael Lorenzen have to show up and report again as a position player today? Some position players reported earlier in the week, looking to get a jump start on things.

All of the players are expected to report by tonight in Goodyear. Tomorrow there will be physicals for all of the position players. Tuesday will be the first full squad workout, and in less than a week the first game of the spring will be played when the Reds and Indians face off in Goodyear on Saturday afternoon. Are you ready for some real, but still fake baseball action? It’s been a long offseason.

Reds sign Brandon Barnes, Chris Volstad to minors deals

The Cincinnati Reds have signed Major League Baseball veterans Brandon Barnes and Chris Volstad to minor league deals for the 2020 season. Neither deal comes with an invite to big league spring training. Barnes, who has 1274 plate appearances in the Major Leagues, hit 30 doubles and 30 home runs last season in Triple-A – but didn’t make a big league appearance during the season. Volstad, a right-handed pitcher, didn’t pitch in the 2019 season. He has 772.1 career innings in the Major Leagues, last pitching for the Chicago White Sox in the 2018 season at the Major League level.

Former Red Tony Fernandez passes away

Tony Fernandez passed away on Saturday night. The 17-year Major League veteran played one season with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .279/.361/.426 with 12 stolen bases while playing third base, shortstop, and second base in the 1994 season. Over his career that stretched from 1983-2001 he played in 2158 games, hitting .288/.347/.399 and picking up 2276 hits along the way.

Fernandez had battled kidney problems for years, and early this month he came down with pneumonia. To fight against that he was placed in a medically induced coma. He had reportedly been showing signs of improvement recently, but things took a turn for the worst on Saturday night as he passed away after having a stroke in the hospital. He was 57-years-old.

Sunday linkage

Mark Sheldon of Reds.com wrote about Sonny Gray’s elbow feeling better after having bone chips removed from his elbow after his final start of the 2019 season.

Get your spring training fix from Kareem Elgazzar of The Cincinnati Enquirer by checking out his latest photos right here.

And finally, here’s the press conference from this evening with Rob Manfred, addressing several topics – but mostly things around the Houston Astros. Starting off the press conference with a lie wasn’t great, but it got worse from there.

37 Responses

  1. AirborneJayJay

    Skip the first 13 minutes of the Commissioner’s statement. It is all dead sir.
    Ahhh, those poor, poor Astros players are going to have to live with the 2017 and 2018 seasons and what the did for the rest of their lives. Punishment enough, so says Manfred.

    • AirborneJayJay

      Not dead sir, but dead air.

    • Joey

      I dont know if this has already been mentioned but after the Astros lost the world series people were complaining how awful Gerritt Cole was for not wearing his Astros gear after the game. I stead he was wearing a Scott Boris hat I think. This whole cheating scandal if continued while he was playing could provide more context to why he did that.

  2. Donald Shotts

    I’m bored with the Astros story. The Reds were busy knocking out 90+ losses at the time and they’re in the other league anyway.

    Have to say I’m not big on Wade Miley, but he’s as good or better then most 5th starters. In reality I don’t even know if teams will really need 5th starters as much with a 26 man roster? They can have a bullpen day or just allow the manager to have a really quick hook!

    Overall this is a deep team! Offensively if Joey can rebound a little bit and get on base with Shogo, Senzel, and Winker then they’re going to score a ton of runs!! Can’t wait!!

  3. Eric the Red

    Thanks Doug, I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to watch Manfred like this. Now that I have, I have to say I’m not as optimistic about the future of baseball as I was. The guy is a disaster.

    Personal highlights include him sneering at a reporter for doing a good reporting job (around the 30 minute mark); claiming he had to give immunity to the players to get the whole story (obviously, he didn’t give Hinch immunity); and his total inability to even acknowledge whether he personally would like to see racially problematic chanting gone from Atlanta. (At the end). And his attitude throughout! What a cocky, clueless guy. On this evidence, his sole redeeming quality must be that he’s made the owners huge piles of money.

    • doofus

      How is Braves fans doing that stupid tomahawk chop a “racially problematic chant?”

    • doofus

      I am distraught that Manfred did not put a stop to Bobble heads. These out-of-touch caricatures demonize Menehunes worldwide.

      It is also distressing that the so called “Wave” is still allowed in major league baseball stadiums. For it mocks the Surfing Culture of Indigenous People from Tahiti to Samoa, from Nome to the North Shore.

      Eradicating foam Tomahawks from the hands of Braves fans was not even hinted at. Think of what happens when thousands and thousands of discarded broken foam tomahawks find their way to our pristine waterways! Besides, a miniature camera can be concealed in a foam tomahawk, which can then be trained on the catcher’s signals and relayed to the batter with predetermined chopping motions! Sssssh, we must not let the Astro players see this article!

    • doofus

      Doug, thank you for including that link. I read it.

      “This book drew connections between the tomahawk chop and the staggering 85 percent unemployment rate on some reservations, noting that employers are unlikely to hire people about whom they believe the chop is an accurate or semi-accurate stereotype.”

      “The tomahawk chop is harmful to Native and Indigenous people, full-stop. The science, as they say, is settled. We know this. It is a fact.”

      • greenmtred

        I believe the point is that stereotyping groups of people–especially when they find it offensive–is the problem. The people doing the stereotyping don’t find it offensive, of course, unless they become grouped and stereotyped themselves.

      • doofus

        Wow! Who knew that eradication of the “Tomahawk Chop” was the key to economic resurgence on a Reservation?

        I have GREAT empathy for the struggles of Native Americans.

        I do not believe that their struggles began with the “Tomahawk Chop.” It began a century and a half ago, long before the advent of the “Tomahawk Chop.” And, it dealt with the transgressions that were perpetrated and aggravated by the U.S. Government, not some team mascot or nickname that today’s activists want to exploit.

        Given that, I find it disingenuous that the so called “Scientific” findings of self-proclaimed activists Ring and Nagle can be taken seriously.

        It is ridiculous to assign blame to the “Tomahawk Chop,” that Braves fans started in 1992, to be a direct reason for Native American unemployment on Reservations as depicted by Nagle. If we follow Nagle’s logic when the “Tomahawk Chop” is eradicated, employment on Reservations will increase. Nagle is an opportunist for her own designs.

        Both Nagle and Ring are inauthentic.

      • Doug Gray

        Doofus, simply because you don’t believe the evidence shown doesn’t mean it’s not real or that the people presenting it are inauthentic.

  4. Freebird Alizcar

    Manfred is risking a no-confidence vote by alientating 29 teams in order to protect the 1.

  5. DHud

    So done. I’m so done with all of them.

    Manfred out, lifetime ban for all individuals, death penalty for HOU organization

    Everything they’ve done since the investigation has some how made it worse. Scorched earth time

  6. Byron

    The wimpy position that Manfred takes about “poor Astros players” whose cheating changed the outcome of the World Series vs. maintaining that Pete doesn’t deserve a reprieve after 30 years for actions that didn’t change the outcome of games? How does this guy sleep at night?

    • TR

      I don’t think the weak action of Commissioner Manfred is going to put the Astros cheating scandal to rest, with more coming out as time goes on. This season will see many flareups in games with Houston and opposition teams which is not good for baseball. It appears the Commissioner is intent on protecting the Astros ownership. It’s rather similar to 1919, in some ways, where White Sox owner Chuck Comiskey was implicated but never proven to have had knowledge of the fix. That situation extended into 1924 when, after an indecisive trial in Milwaukee, Judge Landis cleared the deck by banning Joe Jackson and teammates from baseball.

  7. JB WV

    Sorry to hear about Tony Fernandez, solid hitter and terrific fielder

  8. RedNat

    Man. I hate hearing that Tony Fernandez died. Great player. We don’t talk about that1994 club enough. The pitching wasn’t great but they could hit a ton. Maybe they would have won it all. Stupid strike !

  9. Jim t

    You know the sad part of the Astro saga for me is that it is consuming what for me is the best time of the year.

    The NCAA basketball season is heating up as tourney selection nears. When we should be talking about how our team has done in the off season and what we think is in store during the season the air waves are consumed with the Astros cheating scandal. Folks I could careless. Not that I think what they did was right but because of all the pointless chatter which changes nothing and puts a damper on the coming reds season. What they did was wrong but the damage is how we now look at our favorite pastime. I’m a 66 year old fan who began watching the reds at Crosely field with my Father. The blemish the Astros actions have caused the game will linger forever. I hate it but it’s time to move on. Spring is in the air and I can’t wait to hear the words play ball not more talk from media outlets about how the Astros stole the series.

    • RojoBenjy

      I hear you on the sentiment of wanting to get to the good stuff—watching baseball.

      I wonder if the bile being spat at the com-“miss”-ioner is justified because he didn’t do enough to settle it with sufficient finality to let the rest of Spring Training unfold as normally as possible. I think it is.

      If he had done a respectable job, perhaps there’d be less bellyaching? It’s easier to ignore the fans of one team complaining than it is to drown the voices of 29 teams, fans, and players.

  10. Scott Benhase

    I was going to upload a sign here that would express my true feelings about the whole fiasco, but alas, the Astros stole it.

  11. AirborneJayJay

    Since one of the Astros colors are orange, maybe the Commish should make the Astros play their home games in those orange “convict” overalls. Remember the Astros rainbow uniforms of the late 70’s, their away unis should be like those but only black and white stripes like old prison garb.

    • Eric the Red

      Brilliant! That would actually be a decent punishment….the players and organization would be humiliated in a very visual way, so the “they have to live with the shame” idea would actually have some teeth.

  12. Jon

    Anyone else think it’s odd that Puig still has yet to sign with a team? I can see teams having hesitation around Gennett, as he is coming off of an injury-affected season and can only play one position. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have to settle for a minor league contract. But one would have thought Puig could have at least gotten a one-year major league deal somewhere by now.

    • ted

      It’s telling that the Reds (allegedly) expressed interest in practically every other FA outfielder on the market and a guy from Japan rather than look at re-signing Puig. Apparently they concluded that he is overrated.

  13. RojoBenjy

    MLBTR reporting that the Asterisk-os have signed Jared Hughes.

  14. Matt WI

    A la College Game Day, where someone always has a Washington St. Cougars flag flying no matter the location… I beseech MLB fans everywhere to collectively organize a huge poster board cut-out of Oscar the Grouch in his trash can for every Astros game this season.

    Also, Oscar would like to file a complaint about inappropriate abuse of trash cans and sue for damages.

  15. LWblogger2

    Baker already worried that opposition pitchers are going to be throwing at guys. Love how Baker looks after his players. That said, not sure how much can be done, especially in more meaningless innings when a team is down big. Astros players, right or wrong are going to get drilled. Wouldn’t surprise me to see some former Astros players getting drilled either.

  16. doofus

    Listening to and reading “El Toothpick’s” comments are a planned distraction by the Houston front office for this season. They hired him to provide cover for the Astro players.

  17. Jack

    As far as I am concerned I am tired of the whole sign stealing thing, punishments whether you agreed with them or not are decided. If MLB is really that upset about then just permit a more secure way of passing sign calls…its not 1900 anymore.

  18. Hanawi

    The comments from J.D. Martinez today about how the Astros bashing is too much and that he doesn’t want the access to electronics to go away, makes me think that this is pretty rampant among certain teams in baseball outside of the Astros. Certainly, the Red Sox were caught, but I’m not sure MLB has gotten to the bottom of either situation, and may never. Certainly will put some careers in different light going forward, similar to the steroid-era. Some guys will take the brunt (Bonds, Clemens), while others may go scott-free (ala known steroid user David Ortiz). Maybe Martinez’s big numbers in Boston should have an asterisk by them.

  19. AirborneJayJay

    I Don’t like this development. Brewers to sign Brock Holt.