Reds use Winter Meetings to gauge market

Cincinnati leaves annual front-office gathering without making major transaction

Reds use Winter Meetings to gauge market

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Reds talked to clubs and did a lot of listening this week at the 2016 Winter Meetings. But ultimately, general manager Dick Williams and his baseball operations staff left town without a major transaction.

That doesn't mean the talking and listening is over, however.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds active as Rule 5 Draft closes Meetings

Cincinnati selects two catchers before dealing one to San Diego

Reds active as Rule 5 Draft closes Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Reds selected a pair of catchers in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning as the 2016 Winter Meetings came to a close.

Cincinnati took Luis Torrens from the Yankees with the second pick of the first round, and Stuart Turner was selected in the second round from the Twins' organization. Torrens, whom MLBPipeline.com ranked as the 17th-best prospect in the Yankees' system, was dealt on Thursday night to the Padres for a player to be named and cash.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Price facing overloaded middle infield

Manager hopes to find way for youngsters to get playing time

Price facing overloaded middle infield

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As he takes part in the Winter Meetings, Reds manager Bryan Price knows there is plenty to sort out for his club before Spring Training starts. But as of Wednesday, there is an overload of depth in Cincinnati's middle infield.

It currently features two veterans -- shortstop Zack Cozart and second baseman Brandon Phillips, who are both available for trades. The two young players are Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera. If general manager Dick Williams isn't able to move either Cozart or Phillips, it will fall on Price to find a way for his younger players to play.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds feel no pressure to make a move

Reds feel no pressure to make a move

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the third day of the Winter Meetings wound down, the Reds had irons in several fires for potential moves, but there has yet to be a transaction.

That doesn't bother general manager Dick Williams.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Winter Meetings interview with Bryan Price

Q. Obviously we don't know what's going to happen here, but if you don't trade either of your middle infielders, we've asked Dick how this might work out, but how do you figure out a way to get Peraza, maybe Herrera, opportunity when you have the same obstacles you had last year?
BRYAN PRICE: Well, I think hard to have two. The one thing we were able to define last season is Jose Peraza is a Major Leaguer. He's not a guy who is better served playing Triple-A, if I can get him in the lineup at least four times a week. And prefer not to have to sprinkle him around and take time away at short, second, maybe left and center field a game a week. But he's got to play. He's a guy that's got to play.

So it will be interesting to see where we are either between now and the first day of Spring Training or now and Opening Day. Things happen. The one thing that we have had as an issue in the last several years is the ability to survive Spring Training without injuries. So the depth portion of this is important.

So as far as Dilson goes, that's the other part. Are we still intact with our middle infield when we get to Opening Day? Get a chance to have a full spring with him and define if he needs a little bit more time in Triple-A to play or if he's ready to come up and be a guy. But also not a guy that I would like to have them there as a bench player. I don't think that's going to help his progress at all.

I think they're between Dilson and Jose, they're in a little bit different spot going into Spring Training.

Q. How much are you looking forward to getting a look at Dilson this spring?
BRYAN PRICE: Very much so because I know we were excited to get him. I think he's a strong, offensive second baseman who defends well. He's 22 years old. So to have a couple of young 22, 23 year olds over the course of the 2017 season that could potentially be playing with some regularity is exciting, because we've talked about the rebuild. And the rebuild is being able to feel like we can go out there and compete for postseason and championships moving forward. And in order to do that, you have to define who is going to be there during that stretch of time and who isn't.

I think that's the reason that beyond the financial challenges obviously, but for guys like Frazier, Chapman, are they going to be there for the resurrection of our ballclub and can we afford to keep them for that period. And when it was defined that we couldn't, we had to make significant moves.

Q. Have you spoken with others about carving out time for Peraza next year and how that may all work out?
BRYAN PRICE: Not to this point. I think that with Zach coming off his injury last year, it wasn't difficult to get De Jesus in there periodically when Peraza came up.

There was more opportunity the second time he came up or when he came up for good because Zach was banged up and we needed to get him out of there more often and then eventually we shut him down for the season. I think what we have to do is get to Spring Training and see where we are. There is no question this is a picture that's painting itself. If we come fully intact, we're going to be heavy on middle infielders and we're going to have two real young guys and two veterans and defining who is going to be a part of 2018, 2019, '20 and '21, is going to in large part define who is playing in 2017. And that's something that organizationally will be defined by the time we get to Opening Day.

Q. There has been a lot of debate over how much the Indians' bullpen usage during the postseason could be replicated throughout the season, but that's probably been covered enough already. What about what they did that went under the radar, their extreme curveball usage in the Toronto and Cubs series? Can teams do that, attack more?
BRYAN PRICE: I think a lot of that was based on their scouting reports and data, especially if you're -- I don't know if you're talking overall or talking primarily with the bullpen pieces, but either way -- there is no wiggle room in the postseason. You go into a situation like that you can't just sometimes sacrifice a game to save your bullpen. You gotta go out there and compete to win every game and that's why we saw a much smaller group competing in the postseason and seeing pitches thrown at a higher rate, because there was really a feeling, I'm sure, of there is no room for error.

I think what we're seeing is way more data. We're finding certain pitches that we can isolate, certain sides of the plate that can be utilized more, certain pitches that aren't used typically on one side of the plate. You're seeing front door slider, front door cutter, front door breaking ball, change-ups inside, right on right, left on left. So what's happening is through the data we're opening up a lot of different avenues to find out, defensive positioning, things of that nature. And now we're going it see how the offense seems to respond. That's the beauty of baseball is that back and forth.

Q. The home runs were way up this year, but not just the boppers, it's the rogue lineup, guys hitting home runs. Do you need to manage differently because of that?
BRYAN PRICE: Well, I think it's certainly -- the response to that is why are we getting so many balls in the air and can we isolate more guys or teach more guys to work down in the zone or to be able to find that pitch that will create more ground ball contact. I think that's the response.

The defense to that and finding that combination of ground ball-strike out pitcher. In our ballpark, certain times of the year it's very hard to keep a fly ball in the ballpark. And in order to win with any consistency, you've got to be able to do that with a higher rate, keep the ball on the ground or in the stadium or you have to have guys that can compete and outslug from time to time.

I think when you start to earmark pitchers and start to look at them the ground ball rate and strikeout rates have brought on a higher importance with all the analysis that we're seeing and it's the way that we will compete against the home run.

Q. How optimistic and realistic are you about what Mesoraco can do going into the season after two lost years?
BRYAN PRICE: I'm optimistic that physically he will be back. The type of workload that we see on the front end of the season will be defined on how he responds to the workload. I think he will certainly be eased in as far as -- I don't think he's going to have a Yadi Molina year where he's able to catch in 140-plus games, but I do believe that he's going to make it back behind the plate.

If I wasn't optimistic about that, I think we would have to look at other options as far as other ways to utilize Devin. Then probably in small ways we will.

And now the question is after being out of the game for most of the last two seasons is getting his timing and swing down. But he's still young, he's still athletic, he still has power, that's not going to go away. I think there has to be a certain amount of patience for him to find his way offensively and I'm not discouraged by it. I certainly would hope that he didn't have these multiple surgeries in his history but we've gone through it. Our doctors have not told us to be frightened of this. We will be cognizant of it but equally as optimistic.

Q. Having Tucker I guess as a good fallback, it's a hybrid system of some sort? He could be a regular catcher?
BRYAN PRICE: Absolutely, you're absolutely right. You can't discredit the fact that in the aftermath of Devin's injuries along the way, Tucker has established himself as a Major League catcher and a regular. He's not just a fallback option. He's a good option on days where Devin shouldn't be playing or needs a day off or can DH in a game.

The other part of that and one thing we realized is thank goodness we had Ramon Cabrera last year because had we not, we would have been scouring the waiver wire for a capable Major League second catcher. And I thought Ramon did a fine job as a back-up to Tucker, but we have to have reasonable depth simply because of Devin's injury.

Q. What's it been like to have first Winter Meetings for Dick as the GM? What's been your input and is there much change to how it's operated this year?
BRYAN PRICE: There is definitely a certain amount of change in leadership and I really appreciate and admire the way he's included Walt Jocketty. Even though Walt still holds a position in our front office, it could have been easy for Dick to roll past him and bring in different people. And we have a very connected and established group of people in the room, so when you go into that room from years past, coming to the Winter Meetings, there are a lot of familiar faces.

So Dick didn't blow it up along the way. He's got some trusted people in our scouting department and other people that ride along with him in the front office, and the continuity I think is a strength of the organization. And being able to have a senior, veteran guy like Walt to be able to help and support what we're doing is a big key to that.

Q. Chapman might be close to $100 million (No microphone) is that mind-blowing to you?
BRYAN PRICE: I think what's going to be interesting now that the price is being driven -- we talk about it all the time because we had him for so long and we think very highly of Aroldis. But what does that mean? What does it mean as far as can you pay whatever it is, if it's $15, $20 million dollars for a relief pitcher, now does that force managers and organizations to change how they utilize that player? Does that mean now he's a one-plus-two-inning type guy, kind of along the lines of Mariano Rivera. But there weren't a lot of guys doing what Mariano Rivera did what he did when he did it, and that's what made it so special. There were times where he would go three innings and shut down a game. It was not uncommon to see him unrolling out of the bullpen to start the eighth.

And with these some of these guys that are driving up the market, there are guys like Aroldis that may be defined as someone that to get your value out of them is going to have to pitch more innings. That's what I'm waiting to see.

We're doing it with younger guys that historically have a starter's background and we want to get more out of those guys. But they're used to it, conditioned to it and we anticipate using our bullpen more like you saw a lot of teams do in the postseason.

Q. Chapman is a very special name. Can you develop that or does that kind of evolve? Do you target a guy?
BRYAN PRICE: You have to condition for it, but you also have in turn for every Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman, if they turn into or are consistently multiple-inning relief pitchers, you have to have other pitchers around them that can do the same thing. Because if Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman throws two and a third to finish a game in the regular season, you are not going to fire them out there the next day and the next day and the next day. You might be able to use a closer five times in a week if you use them for an inning. If you use them for two or two plus, one and two-thirds, maybe that shrinks down to two to three times a week. So you're going to have to have somebody that is in lock step with that closer that can do something similar if you're going to have long extended winning streaks.

Starters don't finish games anymore -- closers do. So you better have maybe even more than one other relief pitcher that's comfortable pitching in the ninth inning and that's what we feel we need to do to get value out of Iglesias and Lorenzen, but we know if we do this we're going to need another one, too, or you're not going to have somebody capable of closing the ninth inning if you've used those guys and they need a day off.

Q. Talk about the rebuilding process and the pitching standpoint. As you go into 2017, how you feel about the staff?
BRYAN PRICE: I like our staff. And if we stay intact and it's DeSclafani, Bailey, Finnegan and Straily, it's not just my feeling, it's the fact that position players are going to go out there and feel comfortable every time those four take the field and are on the mound.

The key will be if we find a starter, if we find one in our system, if one of these one guys, be it Reed, Stephenson or Amir Garrett, or one of the younger kids from Double A can step up and take a spot or if we're going to decide or define that they're better suited to start the season in the Minor Leagues and find a fifth starter elsewhere. We'll see where that goes.

But the key for me is the bullpen because I don't think that we're Opening Day ready if we are healthy with those that we currently have on our roster or in our system. I think we do need to find some pitchers that can fortify that segue from the starter to the late-game pitchers, and I think that's what we will try to target as much as we can or another pitcher that can come in and has some history in closing, who can close if I'm not going to use Iglesias or Lorenzen, that this pitcher can come in and bridge that if they're not available.

Q. What is your role throughout your organization and the way you might want to see things changed with regard to how guys are developed?
BRYAN PRICE: The big challenge for me, personally, in a world where we want pitchers to throw less, I think they need to throw more. And that's not just necessarily bulk innings, but I think pitchers need to throw more on the side. We have pitchers that come through our system that throw bullpen sides of 25 to 30 pitches when we get them, and I would like to see them have a bigger workload on their side days. I would like to see pitchers throw twice between starts and I would like to see us build our starting pitchers into being able to carry a heavier workload in the Minor Leagues.

We had Anthony DeSclafani for a complete in Arizona in August. It was his first complete game in professional baseball. That to me is unheard of and that's not his fault. It's the fault of this whole group of people that feel like we have to put these kids in a bubble.

The injury rates are not going down with the amount of pitches and innings being lessened. That's not happening. We're still having our best pitchers having surgeries, missing time. It has not been proven that workload is a direct factor in my opinion and I would like to see our guys take on a workload. And we have always used our common sense in this game. If you've got a Minor League pitcher that goes out and throws a 120-complete game, I'm not going to throw him another 120-pitch complete game the next time out. I might cut him back to five or six innings and 80 or 85 pitches. But we pay these guys a lot of money to play baseball and as a starting pitcher, you're going to make $8 or $10 or $12 or $20 million. You better be out in the game a lot.

That was the beauty of Johnny Cueto, he just pitched until the game was over if he was throwing the ball well. I would like to see more of that in the game because eventually the relievers are going to be the guys that are eating up all the innings. And those career spans are going to shorten. You can't ask relievers to throw 125, 150 innings the way the game is going to be headed if we start using these multiple-inning closers and setup guys with too much frequency.

Q. So you're not a big proponent of the third time through the order of getting guys out --
BRYAN PRICE: I understand the numbers going up, I understand that. And in my opinion, in my opinion, until you allow your young guys to pitch in inning seven, eight and nine, and allow them to go through that order, they will never be able to do that.

Clayton Kershaw isn't Clayton Kershaw because the Dodgers said, You know what, the third time through the lineup we have to get him out of there. He doesn't become Clayton Kershaw unless he's allowed to become Clayton Kershaw.

There's going to be guys that are 90-pitch, five innings or six-inning starters, no question about that. And the game defines that, an organization defines that. But we're putting too many limitations on the young pitcher to ever define if they're capable of being Clayton Kershaw or the next version of him, or any other, you know, Adam Wainwright, or guys that have logged innings.

We're turning them all into six-inning pitchers and I don't agree with it. Doesn't mean I'm right, but I can tell you I don't agree with it.

Q. Does the same philosophy work with relievers that come up through the minors?
BRYAN PRICE: In some ways, yes. The other part of that is that they come from the Minor Leagues quite often and this isn't everywhere, where they've never thrown three days in a row. Some guys, you look at their workload and they've thrown back-to-back games three times all season in a Triple-A season or Double-A season. And they get to the big leagues, there's times where it's like, we've got three guys in our bullpen that we feel are comfortable pitching today. And it can't be that we're not going to pitch a guy because he's thrown a total of 24 pitches over the previous two days. That guy has to be available. We've got to teach them to be durable and teach them how to get their arms and bodies ready to pitch three times in a row or five times in a week. That's just the way it goes if you're going to pitch them in those shorter stints. Guys that pitch longer stints, those two, two plus, they're going to have more time between outings obviously.

Q. (No microphone.)
BRYAN PRICE: He has a bit of a health history. We all have our reasons for doing it, but if the reason is he threw yesterday and I'm not going to use him today or he threw two days in a row but threw 17 pitches over those two days when we have a philosophy of not pitching them the third day, if they're in Triple A that's not realistic. That's not preparing a pitcher to pitch in the Major Leagues because they are going to pitch three days in a row if they are feeling good enough to do so. And I don't think that's being reckless. I think that's trying to win games with guys that are capable of pitching with that type of durability.

Q. In your bullpen, you have five set spots right now with Jumbo, Cingrani, Iglesias, Lorenzen and Wood?
BRYAN PRICE: I wouldn't say set, I wouldn't say set. I would say that Jumbo, if you're going to name five guys, I think he has to come in and show he's willing to make a jump. And certainly his numbers reflected a great improvement the last time he was there.

I think the Ted Power influence is a big one, that relationship between Ted and Jumbo, Teddy's history as a bullpen pitcher, started also as a relief pitcher in the big leagues and the preestablished relationship that Jumbo and Ted had played a large part in Jumbo's turn-around last year. But I would love to see Jumbo be an impact pitcher for us. But he has got to show similar strides that he's made over the course of the last year. So I would not pencil him in as guaranteed to make our club, and I think he has a strong chance.

Q. (No microphone.)
BRYAN PRICE: Cactus League experience? That's a broad question. Is there any particular part of that question that you want me to hit?

Q. Just playing in Arizona, the setup, the statistics of what it's like to manage in that city?
BRYAN PRICE: I think there are pros and cons to everything. There is a lot more pros than cons for me. Biggest pro is I live in Arizona and I've always commuted to Spring Training facilities with the exception of Tucson.

I do think the weather component, the fact that we don't get much rain, the fact that everything is basically within 40 minutes of each other, all the stadiums is within 40 minutes of each other, is huge. You're not losing a workout day to travel and I think that's the huge complaint to Florida. Quite often their players are traveling to go play a game and don't get a regular amount of fundamental work, bunt plays, you know, infield cut-offs and relays, base running stuff that you would do on a typical morning.

I've always enjoyed it. I've always enjoyed it greatly and the thing we're finding with the Diamondbacks being out there, you've got more and more venues starting to show stronger and higher increased attendance, playing against the Giants, playing against the Cubs, against the Diamondbacks, the Rockies. There is a huge following there. There's a connection from LA to come down. Dodger fans come down to Glendale and see a ball game. It creates a much better ambiance than playing in front of 2,500 people in a venue that's not terribly well attended.

Q. That fifth spot rotation, would you prefer if it's going to come internally as opposed to a guy that's had some experience in the big league last year?
BRYAN PRICE: No, because I think that prioritizes Reed, Stephenson over Amir Garrett. I think Amir Garrett has checked off everything on his list. That's what we felt strongly about with Reed when he started in Triple A. He went out and checked off that Triple A criteria. Is he better in the league in Triple-A? Yes.

However, I would love to see Reed and Stephenson make that, just show up and look like Major Leaguers. And if they're given that opportunity, if they've earned that opportunity, either start or pitch out of the bullpen that they come up and look a little bit more like big leaguers. But I'm looking forward to the competition and to Amir coming in there and showing confidence on the mound and getting a much larger opportunity in big league camp than he's ever gotten before. He got an inning and two-thirds last year and probably wasn't enough to get a good feel for him.

Q. Is he a bullpen candidate?
BRYAN PRICE: Amir? I'm personally more reluctant in that regard only because I think there are other guys that probably fit that role better to pitch out of the bullpen.

I think eventually we have to define Robert Stephenson and where he's best served for 2017. Is it in Triple-A, in our bullpen? Cody Reed to a lesser degree. Amir to a much lesser degree. Amir should be in our rotation because he's earned it and I think that will be his first crack. That being said, I do not shy away from young prospects pitching out of a Major League bullpen to get their feet wet.

I don't think Amir is that guy as much as I might see Reed or Stephenson if they don't win the fifth spot but it wouldn't be unheard of. I think it would be less likely than the other two.

Q. Managers don't pick the All-Star rosters anymore. Is that good, bad, from your perspective?
BRYAN PRICE: I think the best thing that happened is the fact that the World Series home-field advantage is not defined or decided by The All-Star Game. The baseball community and that might be part fans, but I think it's the people that can identify the talent and team building and trying to build a team to win an All-Star Game.

You might have Billy Hamilton on it because he can help you win that game with a stolen base or defensive play in the outfield. But if you're going for a fan favorite, we asked for everybody to rally around Todd Frazier and I felt he should make the All-Star team anyway. But we had to make a robust push in Cincinnati in 2015, and for me, there shouldn't be ramifications to who wins that game when events like that can happen to influence who makes the All-Star team. You had an initial question that I got off of but I don't remember it.

Q. About managers and coaches no longer filling out the roster.
BRYAN PRICE: I think it's a game for the fans and I think having watched it firsthand in Cincinnati, MLB does a great job with the All-Star Game. I would like to have a vote but it doesn't bother me.

Q. Did you ever give thought to what you would have done with a 26-man roster?
BRYAN PRICE: I thought about it a little bit. It's a nice tool to be able to spin guys around and answers that question on if you're going to have an 8-man bullpen, 7-man bullpen, answers if you're going to have a third catcher so your second guy can be more active as an early pinch-hitter. There were some things that looked really good about that and I didn't get into the debate over it. I thought how it would enhance our club, but there are many guys that you're trying to take care of, young pitchers that you don't want to put in the middle of fire or you want to get a guy out early or when we are struggling with our starting pitching early in the season.

If you're starting pitching doesn't work, you need the extra bullpen guy, but you have to pinch-hit earlier as well. It's a kind of a double-edge sword. It was an unwinnable situation for us when the starting pitching wasn't there. So the 26-man would have been highly influential historically in our last couple of years.

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Sources: Reds talking trade for Rangers' Jeffress

Texas expresses interest in Hamilton, DeSclafani, Straily

Sources: Reds talking trade for Rangers' Jeffress

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- More meetings and plenty of talks have occupied the Reds as the Winter Meetings rolled through Tuesday. One of the clubs that general manager Dick Williams has been in discussions with is the Rangers.

Two sources told MLB.com that the Reds are discussing reliever Jeremy Jeffress with Texas. The Rangers have shown interest in three Reds players under club control -- center fielder Billy Hamilton and starting pitchers Anthony DeSclafani and Dan Straily.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton, DeSclafani drawing interest at WM

GM Williams open to inquiries, but Reds' asking price will be 'very high'

Hamilton, DeSclafani drawing interest at WM

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Reds came to the Winter Meetings looking to unclog their middle-infield depth with potential trades of Zack Cozart or Brandon Phillips. But Day 1 saw general manager Dick Williams fielding inquiries about some of their younger players.

That includes center fielder Billy Hamilton and starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. While it appears to be more listening mode than shopping those players, Williams made it clear that the Reds expect premium offers.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillips not focused on trade rumors

Second baseman facing final year of contract with Reds

Phillips not focused on trade rumors

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- One of the Reds' offseason goals is to clear up playing time for their young middle infielders. But the club has not appeared to make any headway toward trading longtime second baseman Brandon Phillips.

"Nobody's really come to me about anything," Phillips said on Monday following his participation in a forum promoting Under Armour's new deal with Major League Baseball. "I talked to [general manager Dick] Williams about a couple things. That's basically it. I haven't really thought about that. I'm just happy to play this game."

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Renda clears waivers, sent to Triple-A

Move leaves Reds with 2 open spots on 40-man roster

Renda clears waivers, sent to Triple-A

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Reds announced on Monday that infielder/outfielder Tony Renda cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville.

Renda's departure leaves Cincinnati's 40-man roster at 38 players. With the second pick in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, it's possible the Reds could add one or two players.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Canada's Whitt says Votto will be on Classic roster

Opening round to take place from March 9-12 at Marlins Park

Canada's Whitt says Votto will be on Classic roster

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Team Canada will open the World Baseball Classic on March 9 in Pool C, which means it will play the defending champion Dominican Republic, the United States and Colombia at Marlins Park.

"I guess I lost the coin flip," joked Ernie Whitt, who has managed every Classic game Canada has played, during the first day of the Winter Meetings.

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Paul Hagen is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vincej on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

Selected by AFL managers and coaches, the team recognizes 24 players who stood out

Vincej on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

The 2016 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Nov. 19, when the Mesa Solar Sox, powered by a two-homer, 4-for-4 performance from Cubs top prospect Ian Happ, defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, in the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium.

Since then, MLBPipeline.com has broken down this year's impressive contingent of Fall League participants in different ways, highlighting the circuit's top performers and breakout prospects and even constructing an All-AFL Team.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton healed, hitting and ready for 2017

Center fielder unfazed by trade rumors, feels his offense will continue to improve

Hamilton healed, hitting and ready for 2017

CINCINNATI -- The strained left oblique that wiped out most of the final month of Billy Hamilton's 2016 season is fully healed after he fully rested through October. But the Reds' center fielder didn't feel that the injury and the time off has stunted the progress he made as a hitter during the second half.

Hamilton, 26, has spent much of the offseason working out in Cincinnati, either at Great American Ball Park or the MLB Urban Youth Academy. His hitting has been right where he wants it to be.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Alyson Footer

Revitalized Rose enjoys new chapter

All-time hits leader to receive statue in Cincinnati, part of popular broadcast team

Revitalized Rose enjoys new chapter

CINCINNATI -- In addition to signing autographs, conducting question-and-answer sessions with Reds broadcasters and mingling with fans, Pete Rose had another duty at Redsfest over the weekend: having his measurements taken.

No, Rose is not being fitted for a new suit. Rather, the sculptor who is designing of statue of the Reds great, which will be unveiled on Crosley Terrace next season, is meticulous. The goal is for Rose's statue to be as proportionally correct as Rose himself, which means the littlest of details, like the size of Rose's wrists, and the distance between his wrists and shoulders, must match the statue's dimensions.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cozart, no stranger to speculation, touts health

Shortstop: 'Officially, for the first time since my [knee] injury, I'm full-go'

Cozart, no stranger to speculation, touts health

CINCINNATI -- Already a veteran of in-season trade rumors, Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is now learning what's like to be part of frequent offseason trade speculation.

"It's actually easier in the offseason," Cozart said as he enjoyed participating with his teammates at Redsfest. "You don't have to go somewhere right away if you're traded. I'm home with family and my son and I'm working out, so my mind is occupied where I'm not worried about baseball or anything. That's the easier part. I've voiced my opinion plenty of times about how much I love being with the Reds. That's all I know. It's a business. This next week should be interesting to see what comes to fruition."

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Votto says he won't waive no-trade clause

Reds first baseman determined to make improvements in game

Votto says he won't waive no-trade clause

CINCINNATI -- Joey Votto certainly gets it. As long as the Reds first baseman keeps producing while signed to a monster contract for a small-market club, his name will come up in trade rumors and trade suggestions each offseason.

But Votto's feelings, and the club's, don't follow the narrative. He has no interest in waiving the full no-trade clause in his contract and going to another team.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds offer deals to all 4 arb-eligible players

Cabrera, Sampson, Guerrero not tendered contracts as deadline passes

Reds offer deals to all 4 arb-eligible players

CINCINNATI -- The Reds tendered contracts to all four of their arbitration-eligible players before Friday's 8 p.m. ET deadline and did not tender a 2017 contract to three others.

Catcher Ramon Cabrera, reliever Keyvius Sampson and outfielder Gabriel Guerrero were non-tendered. The Reds' 40-man roster stands at 39 players, which gives them space to pick a player in next Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. The Reds have the second pick in that Draft.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds roll out red carpet for fun-filled Redsfest

Reds roll out red carpet for fun-filled Redsfest

CINCINNATI -- Throughout the 300,000-square foot space of the Duke Energy Convention Center on Thursday, workers were making the final touches on the facility that has been given its annual transformation into a Reds-themed extravaganza -- from the red carpet and booths to a Reds main stage and the larger-than-ever social media heavy "Reds Connect Zone" area.

Redsfest runs on Friday from 3-10:30 p.m. ET and continues Saturday from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Activities will include autograph and photo booths with current and former players, interactive games, game-used and authentic memorabilia and more.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Votto honored by Reds writers as team MVP

Votto honored by Reds writers as team MVP

CINCINNATI -- Based on his stunning final four months of the season, it's no surprise which Reds player earned team Most Valuable Player honors.

On Friday, it was announced during Redsfest that first baseman Joey Votto was unanimously voted as the Ernie Lombardi Award winner as the Reds' MVP.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Are the Reds open to trading Hamilton?

No deals imminent, but club not ruling out making moves

Are the Reds open to trading Hamilton?

CINCINNATI -- During the past two seasons of rebuilding, the Reds have not been coy about their willingness to listen to trade offers for their players. Several of them have been moved in that span.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported on Tuesday that the Reds have listened to inquiries about center fielder and dynamic leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton, among other players, during this Hot Stove season. No deals appeared imminent, however.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Reds' Vincej

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Reds' Vincej

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds claim Graterol, Guerrero; 2 DFA'd

Reds claim Graterol, Guerrero; 2 DFA'd

CINCINNATI -- The Reds made two waiver claims on Monday when they took catcher Juan Graterol from the Angels and outfielder Gabriel Guerrero from the D-backs.

To make room for the additions, catcher Ramon Cabrera and right-handed reliever Keyvius Sampson were designated for assignment.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Do Reds need veterans in lineup?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers questions from Cincinnati fans

Inbox: Do Reds need veterans in lineup?

I understand the Reds' rebuild, but all they seem to be acquiring is pitchers. Shouldn't they go out and get a few veterans, a proven position player or two?
-- Jan B., Lexington, Ky.

Trading away pricey veterans for different pricey veterans is not the definition of a rebuild. The Reds actually have acquired several non-veteran position players in their streak of trades the past couple of years -- including Adam Duvall, Eugenio Suarez, Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler. Since those players are under club control, the team can hope to get max production from them without busting the payroll wide open. The time will come when Cincinnati should add a proven veteran, kind of like it did with Scott Rolen in 2009. That time will be when the organization feels it's ready to contend for the postseason and needs to use some prospects as trading chips to fill in the blanks.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds value time connecting with community

Reds value time connecting with community

CINCINNATI -- When a kid meets a Major League player, that player is no longer just a statistic on a website or a picture on a baseball card. And that kid is no longer another face in a crowd of thousands to the player. It becomes more personal.

The Reds Community Fund has raised and utilized millions of dollars for Cincinnati area baseball and softball programs, youth ballfield renovations and community center upgrades. But just as valuable, and perhaps just as long lasting, is the experience for fans -- especially kids -- to have personal contact with the players, coaching staff and ownership.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

How will Cecil deal impact Reds' relief quest?

Depth a priority, but Cincinnati seeking smaller contracts for bullpen help

How will Cecil deal impact Reds' relief quest?

CINCINNATI -- News broke over the weekend that the Cardinals had agreed to sign free-agent relief pitcher Brett Cecil to a four-year, $30.5 million contract. As the deal became official on Monday, it was easy to wonder how Cecil's signing might affect the rest of the reliever market.

For a budget-conscious club like the Reds, this might not seem like a good omen. One of Cincinnati's top priorities this offseason is to add quality relievers, while hoping the market for such help didn't get too hot. Reds general manager Dick Williams said on Monday that his team was not pursuing Cecil, and he wasn't sure if that move would have a ripple effect on his efforts.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds' Vincej on MLB Pipeline's All-AFL team

Reds' Vincej on MLB Pipeline's All-AFL team

The Arizona Fall League's six-week season concluded with Saturday's championship game. And while it can be difficult to evaluate players in such a limited amount of time, especially with frequent roster fluctuations, some performances in the Fall League simply stand out more than others.

Here is a lineup of prospects who impressed in this year's Fall League as MLBPipeline.com's All-AFL Team:

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

2016's fastest baserunning feats in MLB

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2016's fastest baserunning feats in MLB

Some of the most exciting plays in baseball are the results of a fast runner using his speed to apply pressure to the defense. In celebration of the joy that comes from watching speedsters race around the basepaths, let's take a look at a few of the fastest baserunning plays of 2016.

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Winker among 7 players protected from Rule 5 Draft

Reds have full 40-man roster after moves

Winker among 7 players protected from Rule 5 Draft

CINCINNATI -- A long-awaited moment for many up-and-coming prospects is the day they are added to the 40-man Major League roster. That day came on Friday for seven Reds Minor Leaguers, including outfielder Jesse Winker.

Along with Winker, right-handers Barrett Astin, Keury Mella, Jackson Stephens and Nick Travieso and outfielders Aristides Aquino and Phillip Ervin were also protected from the Rule 5 Draft.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.