When reports surfaced last week that the Reds “need to slash payroll” and may be forced to shed high-priced veterans I wrote about the horrible planning that led to their trading three players to acquire Scott Rolen and his $12 million 2010 contract just months ago.
Cincinnati had no business taking on a salary like that if the team’s financial situation was in question and apparently one of the high-priced veterans who may be shopped as a result agrees with me. Here’s what Bronson Arroyo recently had to say about the front office’s lack of planning:
In my mind, there was no reason to get Rolen if we’re turning around and moving guys without waiting to see what happens. I think they’ll give us four months to see if we can compete in the division. If we’re not, we’ll have a big scale back. For now, they seem committed to win.
I know the budget is tight, but if you re-sign Ramon [Hernandez] for a year, why then go in the other direction? If we were saving, we could have easily had [Ryan] Hanigan catching 130 games next year.
If that last part about Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan looks familiar, it’s because I wrote basically the same thing last week when the Reds spent $3 million to re-sign the veteran catcher. In fact, my exact quote was that “the Reds could have saved $3 million and simply made Hanigan their starter behind the plate” because “a few million bucks certainly could have come in handy.”
It’s not often that a starting pitcher who “hasn’t paid any attention to it” while vacationing “on his boat sailing off of the Florida coast” and some doofus blogger can both immediately agree that the front office is doing some strange things, but the Reds’ lack of foresight is apparently obvious to everyone but them.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.