Reds GM Walt Jocketty says Sean Marshall “a possibility” to close

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The Reds held a conference call earlier this afternoon to introduce Sean Marshall, who was acquired from the Cubs for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes.

Marshall has primarily pitched in a set-up role over the past two seasons, but Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds general manager Walt Jocketty didn’t dismiss the possibility that the southpaw could take over ninth-inning duties next season.

“It’s a possibility,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We’re still talking with (Francisco) Cordero. If we don’t sign him or acquire a closer, we have several guys who we feel can go to that role and Sean would certainly be one of them.”

The Reds declined Cordero’s $12 million option for 2012 in late-October. The Red Sox have reportedly backed off the 36-year-old right-hander due to his desire for a multi-year contract and declining strikeout rate in 2011, so he’s running out of potential destinations to close. The Reds would receive a supplemental first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft if he signs elsewhere.

Marshall is set to become a free agent himself next offseason, but Jocketty indicated that they are going to make every effort to sign him to an extension.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.