Last week Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick called out Cincinnati fans for their lack of energy. Our own Craig Calcaterra noted that Ludwick had put himself in a no-win situation and, sure enough, a short time later he quasi-apologized.
And now Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has done more or less the same thing, calling out Texas fans for not packing the ballpark Sunday:
We’ve been to the postseason three years in a row. We’re fighting for our playoff lives. I’m just a little disappointed this place wasn’t sold out and rocking. You can’t say it’s the Cowboys because they were on the road. The fans were chanting “baseball town” and stuff like that, and we can’t sell out.
Todd Willis of ESPN Texas notes that the Rangers announced a crowd of 40,000, which meant there were about 9,000 empty seats. But the issue isn’t necessarily whether Kinsler has a point or not, but rather that players making millions of dollars per season ($13 million in Kinsler’s case, to be exact) calling out fans for not paying money to come watch them play baseball always comes across poorly.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.