Reds payroll likely to be down slightly from last season

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After signing Ryan Ludwick last week the Reds more or less have their roster set, with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculating that the one last move they might make is adding a veteran utility man like Ryan Theriot.

Fay crunched the numbers to find that Cincinnati’s current payroll will be around $76 million even if they lose both pending arbitration cases, which is slightly down from last season’s $80 million mark.

Their most expensive pickup of the offseason is Ryan Madson on a one-year, $8.5 million deal and no one else added this winter is on the books for more than $3.1 million (Sean Marshall).

Last year’s team went just 79-83 on that $80 million payroll, while the 2010 team won the division at 91-71 with a payroll around $72 million.

Nick Pivetta to rejoin Phillies’ rotation

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Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.

Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.

Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.