Last night saw TJ Friedl and Alex Young join the Triple-A Louisville Bats for the start of their rehab assignments. Friedl, who is coming off of a broken wrist suffered in spring training, had himself a good night at the plate.

In his first at-bat he flew out to the warning track in center. The next at-bat he doubled off of the wall in center. He would line out in his third at-bat. His day was capped off with a walk in his final plate appearance.

During the game Friedl would play seven innings in the field. He was involved in five players, making three catches and fielding two hits.

Alex Young, who has been dealing with disc degeneration in his back and only pitched in one game during spring training, threw a hitless 7th inning for the Bats that featured a walk and two strikeouts.

The lefty’s fastball averaged 88.6 MPH and topped out at 89.7. He threw as many change ups as fastballs – eight – and threw two curveballs. His 2-seamer (he did not throw the 4-seamer last night) was down nearly 2 MPH from where it’s been the previous two seasons. Given that this is essentially spring training for Young, don’t put too much thought into that. If he’s still throwing 88 MPH in three weeks, then there may be a reason to start wondering.

The Mike Ford Situation

Earlier this week Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that Mike Ford had opted out of his contract with the Reds and that they had a few days to decide whether to add him to the big league roster or to give him his release.

Ford, who had been in Triple-A, crushed the ball in April. During the month he hit .325/.412/.590 with four doubles, six home runs, two steals, 12 walks, and 18 strikeouts in 97 plate appearances. That’s the kind of performance you would expect from a guy who hit 16 home runs in about half of a seasons worth of playing time in the big leagues last year with Seattle.

A day after the report, Ford’s name showed up on the transaction list for Louisville. It noted that he was placed on the injured list. That seemed strange given that he had reportedly opted out of the deal. Less than 24 hours later that transaction has been changed. He’s now listed on the development list for the Bats.

What’s the development list? It’s sort of new to the minor leagues, only having been around for a few years at this point. Essentially it means a player is with the team and is healthy and eligible to travel with and practice with the team, but they aren’t eligible to play in games. It’s a way of kind of avoiding teams using a “phantom injured list” situation.

For Ford, it probably doesn’t matter much. But for the Bats it means they can add someone to their roster who could be eligible to play in games while the Reds make their decision on what to do with Ford.

60 Responses

  1. Optimist

    The Ford situation makes sense – just buying time. I’d prefer they swap him in for Martini, but he also has some trade value, however minimal. We’ll find out soon enough.

    • Grand Salami

      Ford for Martini only makes the Reds a little less versatile defensively while potentially improving the lineup a decent bit. It’s definitely a good trade-off at this point in time. He can be a full-time DH and part time 1st baseman.

      Based on Friedl’s performance, one would think he’d be back after this weekend!

      ***********

      Posted in the wrong spot.

    • MK

      I replacing Martini I would do it with Rios and not Ford. A veteran like Ford’s AAA numbers are pretty irrelevent.

  2. LDS

    I hope Friedl doesn’t suffer any setbacks. The Reds need him at full strength. And this is a bit quicker than some wrist injuries. And some are never the same. Friedl is just one of the moves the Reds need to make. Ford for Martini makes sense to most of us here on RLN. At the end of the day, it can’t hurt. The Reds roster needs a serious cleanup: Martini, Thompson, sadly Fairchild whom I thought would show more, Maile. Give Espinal and Candelario a little more time perhaps but neither are living up to expectations. And Benson as an everyday player is starting to look like a failed experiment as well. Krall has work to do and needs to get on with it. Not the least of which is addressing the Fraley, CES, Stephenson issue. Play them or IL them. Drew Kock over at Blog Red Machine is making the same point today. It’s time for the Reds organization to get serious and fix the mess in Cincinnati before the season sinks further.

    • Optimist

      Espinal is a stopgap, so no big issue dealing with him as needed. Candelario has certainly stumbled out of the gate, but still SSS. Benson needs to be back at #8-9 as the second cleanup man in the order. Fairchild and Maile are just playing out of their roles, but yes, when will they get back to their roles? A lot of dominoes fell, and they need to set them back up again – it can be done.

      Given the restrictions about IL time, I’d give the FO a lot of discretion on the day-to-day decisions about short term callups. But, that does mean the medical staff is basically making roster moves.

      Good news – we’re not discussing pitching much at all.

      • LDS

        Beyond Montas and Martinez as starters, starting pitching has been adequate. Not great, but middle of the pack in ERA with a positive run differential, so yeah that’s a big change. Can they sustain it? That’s the question. Hopefully, yes, though I think shoring up a couple of spots would be good. Sims really isn’t doing well. And he gets used in high leverage situations frequently. His HR rate is horrible thus far this year. So, lots of risk in the bullpen and what Montas does when he returns will tell us a lot about how the starting pitching holds up. More games like opening day hopefully.

    • MK

      Did you really have big expectations for Espinol? They probably hoped for more but realistically they have gotten what they traded for. If he had more he would still be in Toronto.

    • VaRedsFan

      Ty and CES missed 3 games each.
      You’re solution would have been to IL them for 10 days just to have warm bodies available? So your decision would have cost the team 7 games of Ty, and 7 games of CES.
      The backups played because that was their role. Not good enough to start, but can fill in in a pinch. You seem to think they can go out and pick up a front line player to fill in for 3 days?

    • VaRedsFan

      Setbacks usually stem from soft tissue injuries, backs, and ligaments.

      If TJ is playing now, there is no reason to be scared of a flare up.

    • Melvin

      ” Ford for Martini makes sense to most of us here on RLN.”

      You can count me in the “most”. 🙂

    • Ben

      Reds season has been major disappointment, were it not for good starting pitchers, they would be ten games below .500 instead of 2. I think Krall and Bell have made so many mistakes all those dreams for becoming a top team are gone. Predict they will lose 90
      Plus and finish last in Central. Back to bad old days

  3. MBS

    A double off the wall is a good sign for Friedl. We could certainly use him back on the Reds. Add Friedl as soon as we can, send Thompson to AAA, add Ford, DFA Martini.

  4. Klugo

    Ford and the Reds playing checkers?

    The sooner we can get Friedl in the lineup, the better. He should be a big boost felt all the way down.

    • Jim Walker

      Maybe 3 dimensional chess? The Reds may be more interested in flipping Ford for a catcher who can hit better than any of the presumptive #3 guys now at Louisville. But potential suitors have the leverage of knowing the Reds are up against the deadline for Ford to become an FA if he isn’t promoted to the MLB active roster.

      Can someone help my aging memory? Within the last several years didn’t the Reds have a guy who took the CBA May opt out then re-signed a new MiLB deal with the Reds with a June or early July opt out clause and left the organization on the 2nd opt out? So, maybe Ford’s agent hasn’t found a more desirable landing spot; and, this is also one of the dimensions???

      • MK

        Higgins is hitting .284, Wynns .293. Not sure why that would be a high priority. Both would probably be hitting better tha Maile at this point.

  5. Mauired

    I’m all for the change of Ford for Martini. The only thing is, I say that Ford traditionally and this year has reverse splits. Not sure if that will work for Bell. He would undoubtedly bench him against lefties where he thrives and play him against righties. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    • David

      I think David Bell plays “Flirtin’ with Disaster” in his office every day. 😉

      I know we bust on Bell constantly, but frankly he can only play the guys that the Front Office puts on the 26 man roster.
      Martini has been a career minor leaguer, and now is showing why. I would like the guy to be at least league average (or a little bit below), but he isn’t even that, or close.
      Thompson is just outfield depth. I think he is gone after Friedl is activated.

      CES, Benson, etc. will be alright. Just play them. Teams run through hot and cold streaks, as do players. This last road trip was disappointing because all but one of the games was well-pitched by the starter. And even the game lost to the Padres on Tuesday night was betrayed more by errors than by just lousy pitching.
      And with respect to Candelario, the Reds are stuck with him. There was some talk of a trade for a good RH bat; about the only two teams that might be trading right now are the Rockies and the Marlins. The Rockies have Kris Bryant on their roster, though I think right now he is on the DL. Would the Reds take Bryant and his big contract? The Rockies might just take a pittance in return, for getting that big thing off their books.

      Orioles in this weekend, and on paper, the Reds have their three best starters going. The Pirates are flagging, the Cardinals are now in 4th place, and Chicago and the Brewers are neck-and- neck in first place.

      • Mauired

        If Reds could get anyone from Denver they should grab Nolan Jones. Not that Denver would want to get rid of their best young player but who knows. They might do it for a handful of prospects.

        Bryant is still owed over 100 million even after this year and he’s been injured and ineffective even on the IL now into 3rd year of 7. 182 million. He’s kinda limited to 1st and DH now. And has a no trade clause but he definitely wants out based on his candid comments of regretting signing with Rockies. He’s a perfect change of scenery candidate.

        Who knows. Maybe he could get healthy and have a renaissance. He’s still just 32. Maybe Reds could send over Candy in the off-season with a bunch of money thrown in to even out contracts. After this year Reds owe Candelario around 37 million including buyout for year 4. Ironically as mediocre as Candy as been, he’s outperformed Bryant over the last couple seasons though.

        Maybe prospects, one small bad contract (Candy) and a little salary relief and Red take back Bryant but get Jones too. That’s potentially a big help to Reds poor offense.

      • greenmtred

        According to Chris Welch, Candelario is a slow starter, like Joey Votto in that respect.

      • David

        Of course, that’s the company line.

        “Just like Joey Votto, see?”

        Joey still ain’t playin’ anywhere with the Blue Jays.

      • greenmtred

        He didn’t make the comparison. I imagine that it’s easy to check whether or not Candelario starts slowly. I didn’t, but I’m doubtful that Welch would lie about something like this.

      • MK

        Might be a company line but his previous season’s stats prove it out

      • David

        Barry Larkin was also something of a slow starter. Maybe batting 0.240-.250 after April.

        And yet, he is in the Hall of Fame.

        Martini? Well, he’s somewhere out on the Interstate, batting wise right now.

    • RedinTxs

      It is time to make what must be the first change…time to get a serious Manager. The players may “love” David Bell but that might well be the biggest problem. I don’t know, but the Reds are not going to intimate too many opposing teams as long as they are led by a AA Manager. Bell has set a new standard for confusion in his latest machinations on a nightly basis. Bell manages by picking names out of a hat to make out his lineup each night. I don’t think young players react will to Bell’s version of Russian roulette every night with the lineup. Fraley batting 8th last night was another Bell “special.”

      • RayRod

        I agree. Would like him to pick the best player for each position and play them regularly. Switching positions for each player every day screws up the defense. Would like to know how the players (really) feel about this.

  6. Mauired

    I saw* not I say. I don’t dictate who hitters have success off of

  7. Rednat

    Off the subject… I live in Indiana and have xfinity for my cable services. They will no longer be carrying Bally due to not being reimbursed I guess. I had thought that issue had been resolved.?

    • Grand Salami

      Ford for Martini only makes the Reds a little less versatile defensively while potentially improving the lineup a decent bit. It’s definitely a good trade-off at this point in time. He can be a full-time DH and part time 1st baseman.

      Based on Friedl’s performance, one would think he’d be back after this weekend!

      • Mauired

        Career .736 ops. Nothing special about Candelario. Slow starter or not. I got a chuckle when I saw him describing himself as a hitter. Guy has a career.241 batting average. What a hitter!

      • greenmtred

        The story with him is the extra-base hits. You’re right, Mauired, he doesn’t hit for high average. But 60 XBH is not chopped liver.

    • Jim Walker

      The bankruptcy is not yet settled. Also, Comcast and Diamond Sports Group (dba Bally Sports) are locked in a big carriage fight with Comcast currently not able to carry Bally. Perhaps Xfinity is a party to this, i.e. just like further up the food chain, Charter and Spectrum are the same company.

      Anyone with access to the The Athletic either directly or via an NY Times subscription, can read up on the situation there. Of the 12 MLB teams still on Bally only 5 can be directly streamed to consumers without a cable or streaming service account from a source carrying Bally.

      From what we know from previous coverage, the Reds appear to be one of the 7 who cannot be DTC. The Cardinals and some other teams are going so far as telling fans the Bally situation is beyond any control or influence of the team.

      It could still get worse before it gets better.

      • Daytonnati

        I keep Spectrum for the sole reason of watching the Reds without having to stream … I figure I see every game for the cost of attending 5 or 6 live games.

      • Jim Walker

        @Daytonati>>> For the 1st time in going on 30 years, I am free from ViaComm/ Time Warner/ Spectrum (and whoever else I forgot/missed in the evolutionary chain). MetroNet laid fiber to the house in our plat. I switched to them for broadband. Spectrum made it too confusing to keep their cable without their internet; so, I am with FUBO just for the Reds and CBJ.

      • wkuchad

        Jim, how do you like FUBO? Can you watch both live or delayed? That’s one thing I like about the Bally Sports app – watching games on delay, as I often have kid’s sporting events after work.

      • Jim Walker

        @Chad>> I like Fubo so far but it the interface varies just enough from platform to platform (Samsung Smart TV/ Roku/ iPad/ PC/ Pixel Android in my case) that it took a while and some effort to start learning and become comfortable with it. I chose it because it is month to month which will allow me to jump if/ when DTC becomes available for CBj/Reds (and soon all ESPN beyond the ESPN+ stuff they now have)

        The plan I have which I believe is the lowest level with Bally includes 1K hrs of recording. So the delay is de facto available that way.

        I was able to designate all the Reds on Bally to be recorded when I selected the 1st game back in spring. The games can also be individually selected up to the time a game ends. Likewise, an entire category of games can be deleted at once; or, individual games can be deleted.

        When a game that is being recorded is opened in progress, I can choose to watch from the start (appears to be the default) or choose to switch to “live”. I compared “live” against Gameday from MLB; and, for me, “live” on Fubo is anywhere from 10 to maybe 20 seconds behind the graphical updates on Gameday.

        Fubo also has the Traditional major commercial networks (ABC/CBS/Fox/NBC) and ESPN/ FS1 but not PBS. The only real knock I have against it is that it has none of the previous Turner networks (TBS/TNT/CNN).

      • wkuchad

        Thanks for the detailed answer Jim!

    • rick in boise

      I have the MLB app on my phone for free – thank you T-Mobile!

    • Melvin

      I’m in Indy and have Fubo. They have several Bally channels and I get most of the Reds games.

      • Melvin

        By the way Fubo has free recording. I too switched from Spectrum last year. Had way too many problems with it.

      • Jim Walker

        @Melvin>> And If I have (holding my nose) Marquee on Fubo here in Dayton, OH, you must also have it in Indy 😉 It looked like I was also going to get some Wisconsin Bally channels but once I got signed up and logged on they disappeared and I only have the 2 Ohio based Bally channels. Maybe you are on a higher tier???

        I agree on Spectrum. Through either their app or Bally’s app on Spectrum broadband, the Reds and Bluejacks were never as clear and dependable as the FUBO on my new broadband (i.e. very, very rare now to have smears, sticks, have to recycle the app etc and issues were almost routine before).

  8. SolentRedFan

    Mike Ford has earned a shot at playing for a MLB team with a great Spring and April in Louisville. The Reds need to quick messing around and release him instead of manipulating roster designations to keep him in limbo. Do the Right Thing instead of the Pragmatic Thing!! I’ve been a Reds Fan since 1969!!

  9. Grand Salami

    Sorry, replied to wrong post.

    • James Myers

      I love Fubo. Fubo does have cnn maybe it’s on a different plan it’s basically just like cable but cheaper

      • Melvin

        Yeah. If you want TBS/TNT/ESPN you’ll have to get MAX too or similar but I do like Fubo.

  10. Jeremiah

    I understand wanting to replace Mike Ford with Martini, but seems like a bit of a hasty decision. Unfortunately for Martini, when you’re 33 and played mostly in the Minors you’re not going to get the benefit of the doubt to get a little extra time to come out of an early season slump very often.

    Mike Ford’s career numbers are not too impressive though. I think his power numbers distort his value a bit. If it were replacing with Martini for a young talented outfielder from Triple A I’d get that, but for Mike Ford? Not the move I’d make.

    I’d give Martini 30-40 more at bats to see if he can come out of it. Not sure he will.

    Reds “ceiling” right now offensively is pretty low. I think that’s kind of the discouraging thing. If India, Candelario, Stephenson, Benson all struggle a lot, not sure even Friedl coming back moves the needle a lot.

    At some point, you just realize, we’re just not that good and it’s not going to be a playoff year.

    I wonder if the hitting coach bears a little blame? Not sure, but you wonder if 5-6 guys are hitting below .200 at some point what is causing that overall?

    But a lot of MLBer’s are really struggling. I think it seems to be more a league wide problem with poor hitting…I’m not sure what’s causing it, but not good for the game when a lot of regular guys are hitting .200.

    On a positive note…Reds pitching looks solid if it can stay healthy.

    • wkuchad

      Martini has options. We can send him down to the minors without losing him.

      • JB

        Thanks wkuchad. I was wondering if he had options.

      • Melvin

        As long as they don’t need his 40 man roster spot.

    • David

      The thing is, Ford is excercising his escape clause, so it’s either now or never with him.

      Never is always the option with the Reds. Can’t make a decision worth squat.

    • Ben

      Could not agree more- maybe with McClsin and Marte, they would have a chance, but right now this is a cellar team.

  11. Brian

    I broke a wrist once and I seem to remember that hitting the ball wasn’t as bad as a check swing and that hurt like a mfer.

  12. Stock

    I disagree with the Ford for Martini flip. I want to DFA Martini and bring up Friedl. If you keep Bubba in the right role (pinch runner, defensive replacement) he has value.

    Outside of opening day Martini has been a disaster both offensively and defensively.

    Ford would also be a disaster. Assuming CES, Stephenson and Fraley are healthy now, every start for Ford would take away a start for Fraley, Steer, CES, Candelerio, Benson or India.

    I really like Espnial at 2B. Add defense to the position.

    • David

      Espinal is certainly a defensive improvement over India. Espinal is still young-ish, and will probably hit…decently (for him). .260-.270, with a few homers. A stopgap until McClain can come back…probably next year.

  13. Jason T.

    Martini provides next to nothing. Thompson the same way. With the hitting struggles, why not give Ford a chance? He’s got some pop to his bat and playing at GABP should get some of his fly balls out of the park.
    What’s the harm? Seems like it would be wise to inject something into this lineup.

    • Mauired

      Not sure why people are fretting whether Martini has options or not. Even if they designate him to get Ford up. We are talking about a soon to be 34 year old journeyman hitting .184. The point is even if taken off the 40 man, its very unlikely another teams takes him. And even if they did, losing Martini isn’t crippling the organization.

  14. 2020ball

    I doubt Ford is much different than Martini, but am fine trying a different power bat for the bench. Very small consequence though if they choose Martini over him, thats when i expect you’ll see the actual fretting from those here looking for anything they can to be upset over.

    Options matter here. Losing either player is of small consequence, but keeping more talent and depth in the org would be my choice.

    • Mauired

      I don’t know. Despite the good month of September, I’ve never seen the potential of the 2022 Korean league All-star in Martini.

      But I’m assuming no move was made and Ford is leaving since the 48 opt out and leave timeline has passed and no promotion was made.

  15. jj

    This team seems to be just keeping its head above water, offensive sputtering and pitching inconsistent, this is a critical time not to fall to deep into division