Reds 5 at 5: Choo, Contracts, More


Can Choo play center? Do some players have funky incentives? What about the Reds payroll, not only for 2013, but on down the road?

Aug 6, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Choo catches a fly ball during the ninth inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

1. Choo on playing center field

The trade came with its questions. When the Reds acquired Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald from the Cleveland Indians, the Reds introduced Choo as the center fielder. Most notably, how Choo has seldom played the position. But he’ll give it go. Choo lives nearby and has been working on his new position for some time now.

From John Fay:

"“I’m not comfortable there yet,” he said. “At the major league level, I played 99 percent of my games in right field. I’ll try. I’ll work on it this spring training. We’ll see how they’re thinking. If they’re not (happy), somebody else will be playing in center field.“I’ll try the best I can.”"

We’ve had our own doubts as well. One aspect was that Choo was not considered very adept in right field last season, although he hasn’t exhibited too many difficulties with that position in the past. A fluke? Possibly, as Choo is perceived as a good athlete.

2. Sheldon reveals some weird details

Ever wonder what incentives are put into a player contract? Some may seem reachable, others not quite as attainable. Mark Sheldon tells us that Logan Ondrusek’s deal is loaded with incentives. Among those…

"Plus: $25,000 for All Star; $50,000 for LCS/MVP; $100,000 for WS/MVP; $100,000 for Rolaids ($75,000-2nd; $50,000-3rd). Player will donate $5,000/yr to club charity."

There a a bajillion others in Ondrusek’s deal, but these have to be those that make you scratch your head.

Sheldon has more particulars from other deals, too. It’s an intriguing read.

3. Payroll, payroll, payroll

Over the past few years (maybe even longer), one word that has almost developed into a “bad” word is “payroll”. Since the Reds occupy baseball’s smallest market in terms of homes with TVs according to Nielsen, a growing sentiment has been that the Reds cannot continually contend with its “limited resources”. That might be one reason why we see tweets and posts urging fans to attend a game or maybe even more.

The subject was breached by Fay and he asked Reds CEO Bob Castellini about the Reds payroll.

But Castellini’s quotes within the piece don’t strike me as much as this from Fay:

"The plan doesn’t involve getting the payroll to $180 million. The plan is to keep building through scouting and player development. Inevitably, the Reds are going to lose talent because they can’t afford it."

Castellini did tell Fay the Reds have a plan and that’s when Fay takes his article in this direction.

Look, no one should be fooled into thinking the Reds will be able to keep all of their top-level talent. Honestly, not many teams actually can. Even “high payroll teams” such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies have to let some guys go. They may not be the “big names”, but some talent does eventually leave those places, if not via free agency, then the trade route.

4. UC and U of L at GABP

There will be at lest one doubleheader at GABP this season. On April 6, the Reds will play the Washington Nationals at 1:10 PM ET. Approximately 30 minutes after that game ends, another will start as UC will take on the U of L Cardinals in what will be the inaugural Reds Collegiate Invitational. It will be the first time the Bearcats and Cardinals will play on a major league field.

More information can be found on the Reds website.

5. Redmond claimed, Galarraga gets non-roster spring invite

After the signing of Manny Parra, the Reds designated Todd Redmond for assignment. He was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. The Reds now will have Armando Galarraga as a non-roster invitee to spring training. With this, the Reds spring training roster will be at 57 players.

Tomorrow is THE day!