Tag: Tony Cingrani

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 29:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals stands at home plate after striking out in the 1st inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Bryce Harper scratched from Saturday’s lineup with sore back


The Nationals have scratched outfielder Bryce Harper from tonight’s lineup against the Reds due to a sore back. This will be the first game he hasn’t started this season.

Harper was hit square in the middle of his back by a 93 mph fastball from Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani in the seventh inning last night. There was a little bit of drama involved, as the Reds were peeved that he took too long to make it down to first base. It turns out that getting hit in the back by a 93 mph pitch hurts. Who knew?

Clint Robinson will start in Harper’s place in right field tonight while Michael Taylor will start in left.

Tony Cingrani hits Bryce Harper in the back with a pitch, then complains he was too slow getting to first base

Bryce Harper

Reds reliever Tony Cingrani hit Bryce Harper in the back with a fastball in the seventh inning of Friday night’s game against the Nationals. Here’s the video. Putting Harper on first base meant that the tying run was only 270 feet away from home plate, so it’s difficult to see Cingrani wanting to hit Harper on purpose in that situation.

As Harper was hit square in the back, he took his time getting to first base. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, first baseman Joey Votto was not happy about the way Harper handled the situation, for some reason. He was 0-for-3 to that point, so it wasn’t like he gawked at a home run.

Cingrani wasn’t happy about Harper, either.

Harper is still only 22 years old, but he’s in his fourth year in the majors and has unquestionably been the best player in baseball so far this season. For whatever reason, some players like Harper — as well as Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gomez — become lightning rods with which older players use to make points about the unwritten rules.

Grant Brisbee wrote a terrific column about baseball’s unwritten rules at SB Nation recently, which certainly has relevance here.

2015 Preview: Cincinnati Reds

votto getty

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Cincinnati Reds.

The Big Question: Is the fun over in Cincy?

The Reds won a 36-year-high 97 games in 2012 and they finished with 90 wins in 2013, but a combination of key injuries and poor individual performances led the club to a disappointing 76-86 record and fourth-place finish in the National League Central in 2014.

And there isn’t a ton of reason for optimism in 2015.

Joey Votto is fully recovered from his distal quad strain, Jay Bruce is capable of a bounceback, and young speedster Billy Hamilton should take a step forward offensively after batting just .250/.292/.355 in 611 plate appearances as a rookie, but the Reds don’t appear to have the kind of well-rounded major league roster that will allow them to seriously compete in a division that suddenly looks like the deepest in all of baseball.

The rotation is in pretty rough waters, for the upcoming season and especially long term. Homer Bailey had an underwhelming 3.71 ERA (97 ERA+) over 145 2/3 innings last year — the first year of a six-year, $105 million contract — and he will open the 2015 campaign on a minor league rehab assignment following September surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. Taking his place will be 36-year-old righty Jason Marquis, who didn’t make an appearance at the major league level in 2014. Mat Latos was shipped off to the Marlins in December because he had one year left on his contract and the Reds knew they weren’t going to be able to lock him up to a long-term deal. Extension talks don’t seem to be trending in a positive direction with Johnny Cueto, who is among the best starters in baseball but could very well be leaving Cincinnati for good next offseason. Tony Cingrani was shifted to the bullpen in a curious spring training decision so that Raisel Iglesias — an unproven Cuban right-hander — can slide into the starting corps. Iglesias pitched almost exclusively in relief in Serie Nacional. He gave up six runs to the Brewers in his latest Cactus League start.

Mike Leake is solid, and Anthony DeSclafani — part of the return package for Latos — carries some upside at age 24. But there are a whole lot of question marks surrounding this group and that’s an ominous situation for a team that plays 81 games per year in one of the least pitcher-friendly stadiums in Major League Baseball.

Cincinnati’s bullpen doesn’t offer anything inspiring beyond its flame-throwing closer and 22-year-old top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson probably won’t be ready for his MLB debut until the second half. Maybe the Reds can slug their way into contention, but here’s guessing that won’t work in the NL Central in 2015.

What else is going on?

  • The lineup does have a nice mix of dynamic offensive contributors. Todd Frazier finished in a tie with Josh Donaldson for the most home runs by a third baseman (29) last season and he led all major league third basemen in stolen bases with 20. Young catcher Devin Mesoraco was one of Major League Baseball’s breakout stars in 2014, producing an .893 OPS (149 OPS+) with 25 home runs and 80 RBI in 114 games. Offseason addition Marlon Byrd collected 25 home runs and 85 RBI in 154 games with the Phillies last summer. Votto, Bruce, and Hamilton — as mentioned above — should all be very good.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been a steal so far for Cincinnati, boasting a 2.32 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 430 strikeouts in 252 2/3 innings over the first five years of the six-year, $30 million deal that he signed after defecting from his native Cuba in 2010. But he opted into arbitration this winter and settled with the Reds at $8.05 million. He gets one more year of arbitration in 2016 and can then become a free agent. Will the Reds consider trading him after they get done hosting the 2015 All-Star Game festivities?
  • Brandon Phillips has registered a weak .714 OPS (95 OPS+) in 419 games since signing a six-year, $72.5 million contract extension with the Reds at the beginning of the 2012 season. He was praised for his clutch hitting ability after tallying 103 RBI in 2013, but analytical baseball people knew that lofty total was more the product of Votto and former Reds leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo. Phillips finished with just 51 RBI in 2014 and he slugged just eight home runs — an 11-year low. Yet the veteran second baseman is still being penciled in as the Reds’ No. 3 hitter behind Hamilton and Votto by manager Bryan Price.

Prediction: A potent offense but messy pitching leaves the Reds with 81 wins and a last-place finish in a loaded National League Central. Go ahead and pencil them in for a last-place finish in 2016 as well.

Raisel Iglesias and Jason Marquis are in the Reds’ rotation, Paul Maholm is out

jason marquis getty

Earlier this week the Reds announced that they’re shifting Tony Cingrani to the bullpen–against the left-hander’s wishes–and today they announced that both Raisel Iglesias and Jason Marquis will have spots in the Opening Day rotation.

Iglesias was signed out of Cuba for $27 million last year, but at the time many people viewed him as more likely to be a reliever in the majors. However, he’s impressed manager Bryan Price with eight scoreless innings this spring.

Marquis is a 36-year-old veteran of 14 seasons for eight different teams, but didn’t pitch in the majors at all last year following Tommy John elbow surgery. Before his elbow gave out Marquis pitched reasonably well for the Padres in 2012 and 2013, but he hasn’t posted an ERA below 4.00 since way back in 2004. He’s probably just keeping the spot warm until Homer Bailey is healthy.

Also of note: Cincinnati informed left-hander Paul Maholm that he’s now competing for a bullpen spot, which could mean he’ll opt out of his minor-league contract in the hopes some other team still views him as a potential starter.

Reds shift ‘disappointed and angry’ Tony Cingrani to the bullpen

Tony Cingrani

Tony Cingrani was very impressive starting games for the Reds as a 23-year-old rookie in 2013, but after an injury wrecked 2014 season the team has decided to shift him to the bullpen this year. And according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer the left-hander seemed “disappointed and angry” when very briefly discussing the news with reporters.

Cingrani was limited to 63 mostly ineffective innings last year, got demoted to Triple-A, and spent time on the MLB and minor-league disabled lists with shoulder problems.

It’s a shame, because when healthy Cingrani has the raw stuff and off-speed pitches to thrive as a starter, but the Reds are apparently convinced he won’t hold up under the stress of a 30-start workload.

Considering they traded Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos this offseason and Homer Bailey is coming back from flexor tendon surgery they must really think Cingrani is better off in the bullpen. Raisel Iglesias, signed out of Cuba for $27 million last year, now seems to have a strong chance of claiming a spot in the rotation.