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Cincinnati Reds

Reds Improve Bullpen By Signing Drew Storen

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The Cincinnati Reds had one of the worst bullpens in the MLB last season. Earlier in the week, the team took a major step in trying to improve this area by signing relief pitcher Drew Storen.

On Tuesday, Storen signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Reds. The contract includes an additional $1.5 million in incentives, based on how Storen performs. The 29-year-old will now have the opportunity to revamp his career with a new team.

Storen had arguably the worst year of his career in 2016. He started out the season with the Toronto Blue Jays, and was traded to the Seattle Mariners in late July. Between the two teams, he went a combined 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA.

It was not that long ago that Storen was a solid closer for the Washington Nationals. Originally drafted by the Nationals with the 10th overall pick of the 2009 MLB Draft, he made his MLB debut in early 2010. Storen saved 43 games for Washington during the 2011 season. In 2015, the Nationals decided to convert him to their setup man after the team acquired Jonathan Papelbon from the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the trade deadline. This switch did not go well for Storen however, as he struggled to adjust to his new role. The 2015 season ended in disastrous fashion for the Nationals, as they ended up blowing their lead in the NL East to the New York Mets.

The Nationals decided to trade Storen to the Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere following the 2015 season. This gave him the opportunity for a new start, as things clearly did not end well in Washington. He had a rough time in Toronto, but started to look like his old self again once he was traded to Seattle. Storen put up much better numbers with the Mariners than he did with the Blue Jays, as he had a record of 3-0 and posted a 3.44 ERA in Seattle. If the Reds can get this Storen during the 2017 season, then this signing will definitely pay off for them.

The Reds desperately needed to fix their bullpen this offseason. Last year, their bullpen had an ERA of 5.09, which was second-worst in the National League. They allowed an NL-worst 330 earned runs. Additionally, this bullpen led the NL in walks with 297.

Storen should be able to help improve this bullpen. Given that this group mainly consists of a bunch of young pitchers, his veteran presence will be beneficial to the team. Although it has not yet been officially determined, it would not be surprising at all if Storen was named the closer for the upcoming season. Reds manager Bryan Price would be smart to use Storen in this role. It is clear that in his career, he has thrived the most as a closer, not as a setup man.

It was a smart move for the Reds to sign Storen. Because of his struggles last season, he did not cost a lot of money. It’s a low-risk, high-reward situation for the team. Storen will now get another chance to prove that he can still be a good relief pitcher.

Aspring sports broadcaster/writer. Freshman Television-Radio major at Ithaca College. Die-hard Mets, Giants, Nets, and Devils fan.

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Atlanta Braves

Reds Trade Brandon Phillips To Braves

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The Cincinnati Reds have traded 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips to the Atlanta Braves, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The report also states that Cincinnati will pay most of Phillips’ $14million salary due in 2017, making the deal more financially digestible for Atlanta. Phillips is in the final year of a six-year, $72.5 million extension that he signed with Cincinnati back in 2012

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that in exchange for Phillips, the Reds will receive pitchers Andrew McKirahan and Carlos Portuondo. Atlanta is interested in Phillips due to an injury sustained by Sean Rodriguez in a recent car accident, according to Rosenthal.

Phillips had rejected a trade to his hometown of Atlanta earlier this offseason and as rejected trades in the past to the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks

The Braves took to their Twitter account to make the official statement:

Phillips has played 11 of his 15 major league seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. In 2016, Phillips batted .291 with 11 home runs and 64 RBIs in 141 games.

McKirahan, 27, appeared in 27 games in relief for the Braves in 2015, posting a 5.93 ERA. McKirahan had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and again last year. Portuondo, 29, played only 17 games between Class A and Triple-A last season.

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Boston Red Sox

The Latest on Jay Bruce, Melvin Upton, Rich Hill & Other Trade Pieces

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It’s that time of the baseball year where trade rumors start ramping up full force. Though many teams have yet to declare themselves as either “buyers” or “sellers” it is becoming quite obvious where certain teams lie (we all know the Yanks are sellers, even though they keep clutching their false hope)

So let’s take a look at the latest trade rumors and speculation floating around the baseball world.

Rich Hill should headline the starting pitching market after compiling quite a solid resume this season. Hill has returned from the DL to rave reviews for the Oakland Athletics, and  Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle is just one reporter that has noted the growing interest in the southpaw.

The asking price for Hill is likely to be steep, but with a rather slim starting pitching market (maybe CC Sabathia is another viable candidate) Hills’ value rises by proxy.

The Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are rumored to be in the mix for Hill.

San Diego Padres’ Melvin Upton keeps coming up big and keeps fanning the flames of his trade rumors. San Diego still owes Upton a little under $40M through the 2017 season, but teams are now willing to give up talent all depending on how much of Upton’s remaining salary the Padres are willing to take on.

There are also rumors that San Diego would be willing to part with Matt Kemp as well.

There continues to be talk that the Toronto Blue Jays are very interested in acquiring Cincinnati Reds’ Jay Bruce. The move makes sense as it would allow the Jays to move Jose Bautista to DH. It also allows Toronto to reduce Juston Smoak’s playing time, which considering the way Smoak has played, would be beneficial.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is also rumored to be available.

The New York Mets, who are in desperate need of starting pitching after the injuries to Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard could be one of several teams that pick up the phone to call the New York Yankees about CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and/or Ivan Nova.

 

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Baltimore Orioles

Home Derby Brackets And Participants Announced

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Chicago White Sox Todd Frazier will defend his Home Run Derby Championship against a stacked bracket of worthy competitors during the All-Star festivities on Monday at San Diego’s Petco Park. Frazier won last year’s derby, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson in the finals.

Brackets were based off homerun totals, which led to the seedings announced on ‘SportsCenter’ Thursday night. Frazier will be the No. 2 seed this year as he attempts to win the derby back-to-back.

Baltimore Orioles Mark Trumbo, who currently leads the majors with 26 home runs, will be the derby’s No. 1 seed. Trumbo will take on Los Angeles Dodgers Corey Seager, who has 17 homers this season.

Frazier will take on No. 7 seed Carlos Gonzalez, who has 18 homers this season with the Colorado Rockies and is heavily rumored to be on the trading block.

Other matches that were announced include:

No. 4 seed Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners (20 homers) taking on No. 5 seed Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins (19 homers). No. 3 seed Adam Duvall of the Cincinnati Reds (22 homers) matching up with No. 6 seed Wil Myers of the host San Diego Padres (19 homers).

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