There’s been speculation about the Reds trading one or both of Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, but veteran beat reporter John Fay, who covers the Reds for the Cincinnati Enquirer, doesn’t see it happening.
Here’s what Fay told WEEI radio in Boston:
I don’t see either one getting traded, Johnny Cueto because he’s coming off such a good year. I think the Reds think their best chance to win is with him. In Mat Latos’ case, he’s had three separate injuries that put him on the disabled list last year, so I don’t think the market for him is as great as it once was.
Now if the Reds struggle out of the gate, and they decide to sell around the trade deadline, you could see one or both of them go, but my guess is that you’ll see them start the season with both of them. I think you’ve got to look at the mindset of the owner. They have the All-Star Game next year. He thinks this is a big chance to sell some season tickets and to make a run, and they think their best chance is with those guys.
Trades surprise people all the time, of course, but something to keep in mind amid all the rumors swirling.
Cody Asche has played exclusively third base since debuting for the Phillies in the middle of last season and last played another position in rookie-ball, but that may change.
Phillies top prospect Maikel Franco is also a third baseman (and occasional first baseman) and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that “we’ve talked about” moving Asche to the outfield to make room for him.
However, the GM added that “at this stage, he’s a third baseman” and Asche will go into spring training as the starting third baseman. If they can trade Ryan Howard (and Ryan Howard’s contract) then Franco could play first base.
It’s also worth noting that Asche hasn’t shown enough offensively yet to suggest he’d be a big asset as a corner outfielder, batting .247 with 15 homers and a .697 OPS through 171 games. His numbers in the minors were a lot more impressive.
Ron Gardenhire is gone as manager, but at least one of his coaches will stick around and be on new manager Paul Molitor’s staff, as the Twins announced that Tom Brunansky will return as hitting coach.
There’s probably an argument to be made for simply cleaning house completely, although going with Molitor as manager kind of ruins that whole concept and Brunansky is the one coach on Gardenhire’s staff who clearly deserved to stick around.
He’s relatively new to the job and helped the Twins score the fifth-most runs in the league despite a young, inexperienced lineup and some poor seasons from veterans. Not losing Brunansky to another team as part of the manager change is good news for the Twins.
Last week Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that the Angels were likely to shop second baseman Howie Kendrick and now Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet Canada writes that the Blue Jays “have placed multiple calls on his availability this year.”
Kendrick hit .293 with seven homers and a .744 OPS in 157 games this season, basically matching his career totals and ranking among the league’s best all-around second basemen. However, the Angels are willing to deal him because Kendrick will be a free agent after next season and they have in-house options to replace him in Grant Green and Gordon Beckham.
In nine seasons as a big leaguer Kendrick has never hit below .275 or posted an OPS under .720. He doesn’t have much power and swings at everything, but Kendrick has plus speed, a good glove, and has consistently been an above-average hitter at an up-the-middle position.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia played through a wrist injury for most of the season before finally shutting things down and undergoing surgery in mid-September, finishing with career-lows in batting average (.278), on-base percentage (.337), and slugging percentage (.376).
During a radio interview Pedroia told WEEI in Boston that he’s “100 percent” recovered from the surgery to repair a tendon in his left wrist, adding:
Now that it’s fixed, it’s night and day. I can already tell that. There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people, so I’m pretty excited about it. I feel great. I’m back to a hundred percent. I’m doing all my lifts and everything. My rehab’s going good. I’m full strength and I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been myself. It’s going to be a lot of fun next year.
Pedroia has been banged up a lot in recent years and because of it the former MVP’s performance has varied wildly, with lots of unproductive stretches. He topped an .800 OPS each season from 2007 to 2011, but during the past four seasons his OPS has fallen from .861 to .797 to .787 to .712.
Pedroia, now 31 years old, has seven seasons and $97 million remaining on his contract.