Reds general manager on Roy Oswalt: “Last we heard he was going to Texas”

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Cincinnati is among the teams linked to Roy Oswalt, but general manager Walt Jocketty said yesterday that the Reds haven’t talked to the right-hander’s agent in a week and “the last we heard he was going to Texas.”

“That was on Monday,” Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t know if that deal is still in place. If he doesn’t sign, we’d take another look at it.”

Fay reports that the Reds would need to clear significant payroll space in order to sign Oswalt and their rotation depth chart is also full, even if Aroldis Chapman is assigned to the bullpen. Fay speculates that Homer Bailey would be the most likely starter moved, although the Reds would obviously love to unload Bronson Arroyo’s contract if they could.

As for Jocketty hearing that Oswalt was going to Texas, the Rangers also have a full rotation and reports last week indicated that signing Oswalt was “unlikely.” Other teams said to be in the mix are the Red Sox, Phillies, and Cardinals, this late in the offseason he’s running into similar roster/payroll issues everywhere.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.