The wait continues for the Reds
SAN DIEGO -- The Reds are playing the waiting game.
General manager Walt Jocketty said Wednesday was a more active day on the phones with other teams talking trades but there wasn't much progress. While Jocketty and his staff were being more proactive and making more phone calls than they had earlier this week at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings, movement on any deals has been pedestrian.
"We're still waiting to hear back from several of them," said Jocketty from the team's makeshift office suite at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
The Winter Meetings close shop on Thursday but discussions started here can, and often do, continue on with deals getting finalized in the next week or two or three. Teams ask about players other teams may politely listen but really have no honest thought of trading. That's happened plenty with the calls the Reds have received, said Jocketty.
The Reds haven't made a trade at the Winter Meetings since 2008 when the acquired catcher Ramon Hernandez from Baltimore for a package of players that included Ryan Freel.
Any deal the Reds make can't be equal dollars for equal dollars, said Jocketty. What player(s) come back to them must be making less money than the player(s) the Reds trade away.
A popular trade theory circulating the halls of these meetings has been the Reds sending one of their starting pitchers -- Mat Latos and Mike Leake have been the most notable names popping up -- to Boston in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
The theory makes sense in that Cespedes would certainly fill the Reds' need for a productive power hitter to play left field. Under Jocketty's guidelines, however, it doesn't make cents. Cespedes is due to be paid $10.5 million in 2015 before he becomes eligible for free agency in 2016. Latos and Leake are each heading into their final seasons of arbitration eligibility. MLBTradeRumors.com projects Latos to be paid $8.4 million and Leake $9.5 million when the arbitration process is completed.
Such a deal would require more than just one of those pitchers going to the Red Sox.
LESTER EFFECT: The cost of signing Johnny Cueto to a long-term contract went up Tuesday night. When the Cubs signed free agent pitcher Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal it set a bar for any negotiations for Cueto's future services. Cueto, who will turn 29 in February and is two years younger than Lester, is entering the final year of his contract with the Reds and is due to make $10 million in 2015.
"It's a lot of money for a lot of years but (the Cubs) probably had to do that to get him. It certainly will make them a better club," said Jocketty of the Lester deal. "I'm sure (Cueto) is thinking about it."
RULE 5: MLB's Rule 5 draft takes place Thursday. The Reds have two open spots on their 40-man roster but Jocketty said it's unlikely the Reds will go that route to fill the vacancies.
Teams may take a player not protected on other teams 40-man rosters, provided that player has been in the minor leagues for at least four years if he was signed at age 19 or older or five years (if signed at age 18). A team drafting a player must pay the former team $50,000 and the player chosen must remain on the new team's 25-man roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the original team for $25,000.
As convoluted as that sounds, and as hit-and-miss as the Rule 5 draft can be, it can prove fruitful. The Reds acquired Josh Hamilton and Jared Burton in 2007 via the Rule 5 draft.
FRICK AWARD ANNOUNCED: The National Baseball Hall of Fame named Dick Enberg as the 2015 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award on Wednesday for his excellence in baseball broadcasting. Enberg topped a group of 10 finalists that included former longtime Reds radio broadcaster Joe Nuxhall.
Enberg is currently the TV voice of the San Diego Padres but has been broadcasting baseball since the late 1960's when he was calling games for the California Angels.
"The final 10, when you consider the other nine candidates, the honor and the privilege of being named to this prestigious award is truly overwhelming," said Enberg, who specifically mentioned Nuxhall later in his press conference. "When I received the call about 8:30 this morning, it took me to my knees. Baseball is part of my DNA."
TOP PROSPECT: Reds minor league outfielder Jesse Winker was named to the Arizona Fall League's Top Prospects team on Wednesday. The players are selected by managers and coaches in the AFL, a six-week league that brings together top prospects from every MLB organization.
Winker played for the Surprise Saguaros along with other Reds' prospects pitchers Carlos Gonzalez, Nick Howard, Ben Klimesh and Raisel Iglesias, and infielders Seth Mejias-Brean, Juan Perez and Kyle Waldrop. Surprise was managed by Delino DeShields, who will be the manager at Triple-A Louisville next season after managing at Double-A Pensacola the past two seasons. DeShields replaces Jim Riggleman, who has been promoted to become the Reds' third base coach.
Winker won the AFL batting title by hitting .338. He was second in the league in on-base percentage (.440) and slugging percentage (.559) but his combined OPS of .999 was tops in the AFL. He was a MVP candidate, winning a player of the week award once. He produced 18 RBI in 19 games with four doubles, one triple and three home runs.
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