Winter Meetings, Day 1


Well, not really the end of the day. There could be other happenings down in Florida.

The Reds were pretty much under the radar today…as expected. A couple of interesting tidbits to pass along.

First was Reds skipper Dusty Baker and his “meeting” with the gathered media. If you want to read the whole transcript of that, check out Jamie Ramsey’s Better Off Red.

A quick synopsis…

Baker was asked about the exact role of Aroldis Chapman for 2011.

"Q. Is he going to stay in the bullpen, Chapman?DUSTY BAKER: I don’t know that, either. I mean, right now, we have got six other starters. So at this point, probably. That’s why we kind of put him there in the first place."

There is a definite logjam for a starters spot and Chapman’s talent cannot be shelved in Triple-A. He did prove some of his worth last season and electrified as fanbase that needed a jolt despite being the top team in the NL Central.

Baker was questioned about Joey Votto and his remarks about signing a long-term deal. Some people may have misread Votto’s remarks as not wanting to stay in Cincinnati for an extended period.

"Q. Over the weekend, Votto was asked about wanting to stay in Cincinnati and didn’t give a response; now when you see Gonzalez getting traded right before free agency, are you worried about Votto’s long term standing with the team?DUSTY BAKER: Not really. I mean, that’s four years from now, isn’t it.Q. Three.DUSTY BAKER: Three. I mean, how are we going to worry about three years from now? That’s too far down in the future for me to worry about. I have a two year contract anyway. (Laughter.) I want to stay here myself. I mean, everybody has their own way of saying things. Joey is not very direct about saying anything. Am I right? Joey is kind of vague on things. Sure, everybody wants to know what’s going to happen three or four years from now, but you don’t know. And so to me, what’s most important is trying to get Joey signed now and then hopefully we have Joey for years to come, as well.I talked to him at the airport the other day. He wants to stay, big time, and he didn’t mean for it to come across like he didn’t want to stay."

We all know Votto is due a payday. We all know Votto is made for Cincinnati. He doesn’t seek the limelight. It finds him.

An interesting question was posed to Baker regarding Paul Janish and the perceived need for a shortstop.

"Q. Janish, what did you see from him this summer and what makes you comfortable using him next year?DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, I mean, I was kind of pleased with Janish before. It’s just that as an organization, we thought that Cabrera was better suited at that time and Janish needed some more time. That’s why I had Janish talk to Rich Aurilia about how to wait your turn. So you know, he showed improved offensively. No better place to serve your apprenticeship, get time in the big leagues and time in service than he had in that role before.Q. Do you think he is ready this spring to be the guy?DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I think so."

Having Janish chat with Aurilia paid off big time. The fact that Janish showed no drop in his defense and improvement in his offense should leave the Reds with a belief that Janish may be ready to take over the position on an every day basis. And yes, last spring was different. Maybe all Janish needed was last season to sow his seed and now he can begin to grow.

As for what GM Walt Jocketty could have been doing today? Well, he’s set for meetings with the agents for Miguel Cairo and Arthur Rhodes. This is according to Mark Sheldon of Mark My Word and But there is a couple of other things on Walt’s mind.

Joey Votto‘s agent is in Florida for the meetings, but no meetings have been scheduled with the Reds contingent in discussing a deal for the NL MVP.

Now…for a couple of other issues.

A report surfaced on Yahoo! last evening stating that many teams have approached the Reds concerning the availability of Yonder Alonso. The report also stated that the Reds may not be willing to deal Alonso due to the fact that the Reds may not be able to lock up Votto long term or maybe even deal Votto before he’s eligible for free agency. The report’s  author, Tim Brown, states that Jocketty has told other clubs that possibility exists. As far as Alonso and his future with the Reds are concerned, Jocketty still views Alonso as a piece of the team’s future.

"“I think right now, Yonder is a guy that still figures in the organization,” Jocketty said. “It gives us protection. He believes that he’s working this winter to come in and compete for a spot on the bench next year to play some first and left field and be a left-handed hitter off the bench.”"

And Twitter was a buzz due to two different rumors….

One. The name Zack Greinke emerged as maybe hitting the Cincy roster. Jocketty told Mark Sheldon that no talks have transpired.

Two. Apparently, the Reds are not the only team wanting Arthur Rhodes. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that the Philadelphia Phillies are looking at the lefty reliever. He also pointed out that he may be too costly for Philly.

At first, I found that a bit humorous. The Phillies don’t have the cash? The money aspect does makes sense really if you compare the Phillies 2010 payroll to 2011. Can’t forget about that $7.5 million raise due to Joe Blanton for 2011. He’ll rake in $10.5 million next season after making $3 million in 2010. Roy Halladay will be due $4 million more and Cole Hamels will receive almost $3.5 million more. Those three players represent almost $18 million more. Another $1 million to Ryan Howard. Another $2.5 million to Shane Victorino.

That pushes the total to practically $21.5 million in raises on five players. It is fair to say the Phillies may not have the cash. As of now, they’re on the hook for $146.2 million in 2011 not including any other deals they make.

Other than all of that…boring.