Mar 26, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Jose Arredondo (33) pitches during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

The Utility Player: Bullpen, Business, Beginnings and More!


What a week it’s been to be a Reds fans. Ups met with downs. No worries, right? Let’s keep a positive outlook on the season.

Of course, that leads to the top issue, the bullpen. No question there are a couple of injuries the Good Guys must defeat here. One can’t be though. Ryan Madson‘s Reds career is most likely over…and it never started. Then word cam down that Nick Masset would start the 2012 campaign on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

So if you were thinking Jordan Smith, don’t. He’ll start the year on the DL, too. He might have been considered to temporarily hold Masset’s spot. And don’t think Josh Judy either. He cleared waivers and is heading to Louisville.

Then the news popped up that the Reds had “auditioned” Mike Gonzalez. I’ve always liked Gonzalez, but he was just on the cusp of becoming a good closer, but could never put himself on the other side of things.

I won’t rule out any trade possibilities, but the choices (if it’s a closer that the Reds brass is looking for) just aren’t there. Besides, wasn’t one of the reasons Sean Marshall was brought into the fold so he could ultimately be the closer? I know there were options in Madson’s deal, but…

And even if by some means Gonzalez does latch on with the Redlegs, you still need an arm for no less than the first couple weeks of the season. And ponder this thought…

Look at what the 2011 Cardinals had to over come with their bullpen situation. Ryan Franklin blew up before our very eyes. You may not want to see the Cards as an example, but it should provide you with some encouragement, right?

Baseball Business, Part II

In last week’s TUP, I touched upon a Forbes piece that identified (in the publication’s view) the value of the Reds. I also thought the article was an interesting read. If you didn’t read it, here’s something that struck a chord with me.

In 2006, the Cleveland Indians help launch Sports Time Ohio, a regional sports network created in conjunction with other sports franchises and college conferences. At the time, FOX Sports Ohio was negotiating a deal with the Tribe that could have given the franchise at least $30 million a year. The Indians ownership, investors in STO, spurned FSO’s bid for the rights fees.

Now, some time ago, I stated in a podcast per a post I read by John Fay that the Reds deal with FSO delivers $10 million a year. This deal runs through 2016. I speculated that the Reds could bring the games “in-house” similar to what was done with the radio side.

That creates an interesting situation here. The San Diego Padres were rumored to have struck a deal that would pay them $75 million a year for rights fees. The Houston Astros will receive $60 million due to the creation of a new RSN under the provisions in Jim Crane attaining ownership. While both markets are bigger than Cincinnati (and all of the other 29 are), I think that in another four years, you could see the “bidding” begin in the $40-50 million range…easily.

Imagine if the Reds had those additional funds in which to pursue players…and keep players, too. Plus, the Reds fare well in the local TV ratings. That’s a big sell despite Cincinnati being baseball’s smallest market.

The Season has Started!

Many Reds fans won’t view the series between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland as as a true season opener. Most only look at the Reds Opening Day as the season opener. Me, too. I’ll go out on a limb though and say that many Reds fans knew of the series in Japan between the M’s and A’s.

If you didn’t, you’re not alone. This past Wednesday, Woody Paige, columnist for The Denver Post, was asked of his thoughts on the subject while being a panelist on ESPN’s Around the Horn. You can hear his response by going here and forward to the 11:00 mark.

Don’t feel so alone…

It’s Fixed!!!

Apparently there was an issue regarding voting for the All NL Central team. That issue has since been resolved and I sincerely apologize for all who tried to vote and were unble to do so. I voted before doing this, so feel free to vote away!

FWIW

There are few that know this fact about me. Like everyone, I do have a guilty pleasure. It’s not listening to Justin Bieber. It’s the WWE. Wrestlemania XXVIII is Sunday evening. Something tells me there will be an April Fool’s “prank” involved. Then again, it is the WWE so there will likely be many.

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Tags: Baseball Cincinnati Reds MIke Gonzalez MLB Opening Day 2012 Opening Series 2012 Reds Bullpen Regional Sports Networks