Cincinnati Reds Five at Five: Izturis, Payroll, More


Here’s five things to discuss at the dinner table tonight. Remember to keep your elbows off the table, too. I’m certain at least one of these, if not more, could also be a great discussion starter at that gathering later on tonight.

And eat your vegetables!

1. The signing of Cesar Izturis

So there seems to be a bit of “discussion” over the Reds most recent signing, Cesar Izturis. It’s not confusing from the point most Reds fans believe it’s a bad signing as much as the reasoning behind it.

I’ll say this. This might not be as bad a sign as some think. Sure, he’ll do absolutely nothing offensively to impress you. He’s not on the same level as Miguel Cairo and Wilson Valdez were last season. Not even that high a level offensively. He does come with one nice tool: his glove. That’s why he has this deal. He has another: experience.

Before I go on, let’s put this into a little perspective here. It’s a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

Earlier today, Cliff informed us of this move and wondered what Izturis could bring to the organization.

Okay, so I hear ya now, Dusty haters. Izturis is a vet and Dusty loves his vets. Legit gripe and argument all in the same sentence. Sometimes, Baker will stick longer with vets than the younger set. Vets also love playing for Dusty because of that. And, therefore, Dusty has the penchant to infuriate a portion of the fanbase when he goes this route.

Hey, I’d be lying if I told you Izturis was the one guy the Reds should go out and sign. I wonder how he was even on the team’s radar, but I do know the Reds don’t exactly have depth at shortstop at the high levels of the minors. You know, moving Billy Hamilton to center and trading Didi Gregorius did create a bit of a hole.

I actually would have preferred the other Izturis, Maicer, but considering the money he got from Toronto, that wasn’t going to happen. I would have rather seen the Good Guys bring in a backup that can at least hit a ball out of the infield.

I also think that maybe the competition might not be so much between Jason Donald and Izturis as much as it should be between Izturis and Emmanuel Burriss.

2. A ‘numbers’ game

Mark Sheldon let it be known that there were some number switches and claims. Here’s a list.

Jonathan Broxton will now be sporting #51, the same he wore as a Dodger and Royal.
Sean Marshall dumps that #51 in favor of #45, Bill Bray‘s old number and Marshall’s number when he was a member of the Cubs.
– The aforementioned Izturis will be #3. Last Reds player with that number was Chris Valiaka.
– Billy Hamilton is the new owner of #6, formerly worn by Drew Stubbs. 155 can’t be used, I guess. Considering Hamilton has a “3” in his Twitter handle, he should have been given dibs on that, not Izturis.
Emmanuel Burriss was assigned #78.

Previous to these, Shin-Soo Choo be the newest owner of #17, last worn by Kris Negron. Jack Hannahan is the latest Red to have #9 (Willie Harris) and Jason Donald will have #16 (Edgar Renteria).

Any time is see #16 on a Reds uni, I miss Ron Oester

Jul 2, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; How will Walt manage $107MM?!?! (Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports)

3. Speaking of numbers, Yahoo! Sports predicts Reds payroll to be around $107MM for 2013

Don’t just look at the numbers in Jeff Passan’s article and wonder where in the world the Reds will come up with that kind of money. This is one that must be read and even do a little homework in order just to comprehend a few of the ins and outs of Payroll 101.

While I am by no means a baseball payroll specialist, I don’t see the Reds having to dole out this much cash for the 2013 season. In fact, I can knock that down to around $102M with doing very little digging as I have done this before.

Two things bring this down to my number (and I might be able to find more if extremely pressed). One, the bonus due Bronson Arroyo is a deferral. It is paid through 2021 and the chart on BP’s Contracts has the $15M divided up by the length of the contract (three years) and not the terms of the deal as previously noted. Now, it is unclear the number of years which that $15M is to be paid. In the “worst case scenario”, it would be eight years, or an extra $1.875M added and not $5M. There’s $3.1M found.

The other is in regards to Aroldis Chapman and his signing bonus. BP Contracts also has it split over the length of the contract, or an extra $2.7M per year. The actual bonus to be paid for 2013 will be $1.5M. There’s another $1.2M. Add that to the $3.1M from Arroyo and you have $4.8M. Back that out of the $107M and you have $102.2M.

All I did was read to find that money. If it was only that easy in real life…

Hey, maybe this is the way MLB does it, but it doesn’t make sense to me, not that my opinion on this matters any, but show what actual money teams spending on payroll. In BP Contracts defense here, you do not always know the full terms of a contract, but in these cases, they are noted.

Example: Joey Votto is due $17M this season and $2M as part of a bonus under the terms of his “old contract” (the extension doesn’t go into effect until 2014). It’s correctly noted at $19M for 2013. Why should these (Arroyo and Chappy) be different? Maybe this is a new version of the Bobby Bonilla rule.

And in case you’re wondering, Passan’s figure does include the $3.5M the Reds received from the Indians in the Choo/Donald deal.

4. Reds have no Sunday Night Baseball games in 2013

John Fay says the WWL will not be having a visit to GABP this season or to any Reds games on Sunday evening either. The schedule is out and there is no game involving the Reds.

So for all the good things the Reds did last season, ESPN found one last way to slap the Good Guys in the chops: no games on Sunday Night Baseball for the 2013 season. Well, no games scheduled, anyway. There is still an opportunity, but those won’t come until the second half of the season. Here’s how it rolls for the first half. I have the Reds opponent in parenthesis by the game in which ESPN chose to air.

March 31 – Texas Rangers at Houston Astros (no game)
April 7 – Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers (v. Nationals)
April 14 – Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees (@ Pirates)
April 21 – St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies (v. Marlins)
April 28 – Atlanta Braves at Detroit Tigers (@ Nationals)
May 5 – Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants (@ Cubs)
May 12 – Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox (v. Brewers)
May 19 – Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers (@ Phillies)
May 26 – Atlanta Braves at New York Mets (v. Cubs)
June 2 – TBA (@ Pirates)
June 9 – TBA (v. Cardinals)
June 16 – TBA (v. Brewers)
June 23 – TBA (@ D’backs)
June 30 – TBA (@ Rangers)
July 7 – TBA (v. Mariners)
July 14 – St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs (@ Braves)
July 21 – New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (v. Pirates)
July 28 – TBA (@ Dodgers)

I have no issue with not being the first broadcast of the season. That’s actually the evening before Opening Day. I’d rather keep it as is for this season. Don’t like that the Rangers are on back-to-back weeks and a total of three times…with no Josh Hamilton either. I get it though. Hamilton returning to Texas. That ought to be a hoot.

I will give the WWL credit for not having the Yankees (twice) or the Red Sox (once) on a half a dozen times each within the first half of the season, but we know those two teams will most likely litter the other night’s when the WWL has command. There are also seven slots yet to fill. Those games in June will be announced three weeks prior and the two June dates will have those games determined two weeks in advance.

Of those dates where a game and destination have yet to be determined (noted by “TBA”), the Reds do have a couple of games where the Reds may receive the national spotlight. I can easily see the June 9 home game against the Cards being a pick. I wouldn’t rule out the week following at home against the Brewers or the game in LA against the Dodgers either. Getting at least one of the open dates is well within reason, but those are the three I can envision.

5. WBC rosters to be revealed on Thursday

Thanks to the gang over at the MLB Network for sending us the press release on this. Here’s all you need to know…

All 16 World Baseball Classic Provisional Rosters to be Announced on World Baseball Classic Roster Special Thursday Live at 4:00 p.m. ET

“Secaucus, NJ, January 15, 2013 – The Team USA Provisional Roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be announced on MLB Network’s Hot Stove this Thursday, January 17 live at 10:00 a.m. ET. Co-hosted by Matt Vasgersian and Bill Ripken, who was part of the 2009 Team USA coaching staff, Hot Stove will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET and break down Team USA and feature an interview with Team USA manager Joe Torre.

Later in the day, the remainder of the Provisional Rosters for the 16-team field will be announced on MLB Network during a World Baseball Classic Roster Special live at 4:00 p.m. ET. Co-hosted by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and Heidi Watney with Dan Plesac and Bill Ripken, the one-hour special will analyze the entire 16-team field, look back at the history of the World Baseball Classic and feature interviews with Team USA pitching coach Greg Maddux and Team USA member and New York Mets third baseman David Wright. The show will also preview the tournament schedule as MLB Network will be the exclusive English-language broadcast partner for all 39 games of the 2013 World Baseball Classic in the United States from March 2-19.”

If the WBC is your thing, adjust your schedule accordingly.