Poor planning, lack of cash could force Reds to slash payroll

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Less than four months ago the Reds traded three players to the Blue Jays for Scott Rolen and the $11.8 million remaining on his contract for 2010, but now Ed Price of Fanhouse reports that they “need to slash payroll” and may be forced to shop high-paid veterans Brandon Phillips, Aaron Harang, and Bronson Arroyo.
Harang and Arroyo are solid starters, but they’re hardly top-of-the-rotation material and Cincinnati would likely have to eat some salary to get either of them off the books. Arroyo is owed $11 million next season and $11 million or a $2 million buyout for 2011. Harang is owed $12.5 million next season and $12.75 million or a $2 million buyout for 2011. Good luck shedding those contracts in this environment.
Phillips would be far easier to trade, because he’s 28 years old, excellent defensively at second base, hit .276/.329/.447 with 20 homers and 25 steals this season, and is owed a more palatable $17.75 million over the next two seasons with a $12 million option or $1 million buyout for 2012. Ironically, general manager Walt Jocketty explained that the extent of the payroll issues may be determined by offseason ticket sales, which will no doubt be hurt by talk of the team having to deal away well-known players.
Getting rid of closer Francisco Cordero and the $25 million that he’s owed over the next two seasons would seemingly be another option to lessen the payroll, but Price notes that the Reds “would prefer to keep” him. Apparently paying $12.5 million per season for a closer who pitches 70 innings is absolutely vital for a team that hasn’t finished above .500 since 2000. Or something.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.