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Six Reds facing a crossroads entering 2019

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- As is wont to happen during the Hot Stove season, much time and speculation will be devoted to players the Reds might be looking to add for 2019. But what about some of the players already on the roster and what lies in their futures?

For some, the season ahead looks promising and for others, it's decidedly murky. Here's a look at six members of the Reds facing a crossroads heading into next year:

CINCINNATI -- As is wont to happen during the Hot Stove season, much time and speculation will be devoted to players the Reds might be looking to add for 2019. But what about some of the players already on the roster and what lies in their futures?

For some, the season ahead looks promising and for others, it's decidedly murky. Here's a look at six members of the Reds facing a crossroads heading into next year:

Billy Hamilton

What happened in 2018? Hamilton slashed .236/.299/.327 with 34 steals -- his lowest stolen-base total as a full-time big leaguer. One important plus was that his center-field defense remained stellar. But his career on-base percentage of .298 remains woeful.

What might be next? Now 28, eligible for a spike in pay via arbitration one last time and with five full seasons behind him, Hamilton becomes a free agent after 2019. The Reds explored trading him last winter but didn't complete a deal. If there's another club that values his defense as much as Cincinnati and feels it can figure out his hitting struggles, perhaps trading him is explored again. The Reds could fill his spot on the free-agent market with someone like Denard Span, or if they want to really aim high -- A.J. Pollock.

Video: PIT@CIN: Hamilton makes a stellar jumping catch

Robert Stephenson

What happened in 2018? After being a non-factor in Spring Training's rotation battle, Stephenson turned in a promising season for Triple-A Louisville while going 11-6 with a 2.87 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 20 starts. He compiled a 1.23 ERA over his final seven starts. None of that success translated in the big league stint that followed. In four games, including three starts, the right-hander went 0-2 with a 9.26 ERA and 2.49 WHIP as his command and confidence issues were on full display once again. The final month of the season saw him on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.

What might be next? Stephenson will be 26 in February, out of options when camp opens and potentially pitching for a new manager in David Bell. The Reds could decide to trade him or take the risk of leaving the former first-round pick and prospect off the 40-man roster later this month. Either outcome runs the risk of Stephenson finding success with a change of scenery he likely needs after Cincinnati invested years of development.

Video: CIN@NYM: Stephenson notches first K of his MLB return

Anthony DeSclafani

What happened in 2018? DeSclafani opened the season back on the DL with a strained left oblique. Upon his return in June, things were initially rocky before the right-hander turned in a stellar August with a 2.62 ERA over five starts. The bottom fell out in September, as DeSclafani finished 7-8 with a 4.93 ERA in 21 starts overall. At least he was fully healthy once he returned.

What might be next? Turning 29 in April and second-year arbitration-eligible this winter, DeSclafani isn't assuming his place in the 2019 rotation is secure. If he can stay healthy, that kind of motivation may fuel a fired-up pitcher fighting hard for a spot. And if DeSclafani earns it, his ability to pitch deeper in games -- and command them -- would be a big plus on top of whomever the Reds try to acquire in the offseason to boost the rotation.

Video: CIN@MIA: DeSclafani ties career high with 10 K's

Homer Bailey

What happened in 2018? In another rough season, Bailey went 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA as the Reds lost 19 of his 20 starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first pitcher in the modern era (since 1900) to have his team go 1-19 or 0-20 over his first 20 starts of a season. Bailey also missed six weeks on the DL with right knee inflammation. Bailey is 9-26 with a 6.29 ERA in 44 starts since 2016.

What might be next? There isn't much wiggle room for Bailey or the Reds. Heading into the final year of his six-year, $105 million contract, he is owed $28 million in 2019 -- including the $5 million buyout of his '20 mutual option. That money and the 32-year-old right-hander's three elbow surgeries make him untradeable as does his no-trade rights. Cincinnati could give Bailey another shot at making the rotation or do something he has strongly resisted: try to convert him into a reliever. It's easier said than done since the elbow issues require long warm-up regimens not usually afforded to bullpen guys. If he can't pitch for the Reds in either role, the club might have to finally face eating the salary and releasing the veteran.

Video: CIN@DET: Bailey allows 2 runs in complete-game effort

Brandon Finnegan

What happened in 2018? Following a '17 season where injury limited him to four starts, Finnegan fared poorly when he opened 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in five starts in '18 and got optioned to Louisville. Things went worse there, as he posted a 2-10 record with a 7.05 ERA in 28 games. Most of the second half was spent as a reliever, compiling a 7.15 ERA with 19 walks and 20 strikeouts over 22 2/3 innings.

What might be next? It's safe to say that Finnegan must rebound or find himself outside the Major Leagues looking in. His performance and feeling of entitlement rubbed some in the organization the wrong way last season. The left-hander, who burst on the scene as a promising Royals reliever in the 2014 postseason before being part of the Johnny Cueto trade in '15, has some resume resurrection to perform.

Video: MIA@CIN: Finnegan freezes Rivera for the strikeout

Nick Senzel

What happened in 2018? The organization's No. 1 prospect (No. 6 overall) per MLB Pipeline, Senzel batted .310/.378/.509 with six home runs and 25 RBIs for Louisville. But Senzel was limited to 44 games because of a bout of vertigo in May and season-ending surgery to repair a broken right index finger in late June.

What might be next? Probably the biggest mystery of all. An infielder his whole college and professional career, Senzel spent the fall instructional league playing mostly in left field but also some center field. One scout told MLB.com that the 23-year-old looked like "a fish out of water" in center, but perhaps he will get better with more reps. Senzel's time in the outfield was cut short by another surgery -- this time to remove bone chips from his left elbow. Expected to be fully ready for camp, he seems destined to be in the big leagues ... but where? Senzel can play third base and second base -- both spots have established players there in Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett, respectively. Versatility at multiple positions will be the key. Wherever he plays, Senzel's future remains quite bright despite a rough year health-wise.

Video: SEA@CIN: Senzel makes a lunging stop up the middle

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Billy Hamilton, Robert Stephenson

Can Reds add high-end pitchers to rotation?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers fans' questions
MLB.com @m_sheldon

I was curious with the Yankees interested in moving Sonny Gray, would he be a good fit for the Reds and if they [would trade] for him? What is a hypothesis of who they would have to give up?
-- Wade B, Plainfield, Ind.

The Yankees have made it clear that they want to trade Gray, since he did not work out in New York after success with Oakland. Especially with Gray's former college pitching coach being new Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, it seems like a good fit for the starting pitching-starved club.

I was curious with the Yankees interested in moving Sonny Gray, would he be a good fit for the Reds and if they [would trade] for him? What is a hypothesis of who they would have to give up?
-- Wade B, Plainfield, Ind.

The Yankees have made it clear that they want to trade Gray, since he did not work out in New York after success with Oakland. Especially with Gray's former college pitching coach being new Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson, it seems like a good fit for the starting pitching-starved club.

However, the Yankees' top need is also starting pitching, and short of Luis Castillo (whom I wouldn't deal for Gray), I don't see anyone that New York would want in return. But I would be shocked if the Reds haven't reached out to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman about Gray.

Submit a question to the Reds inbox

Does signing or trading for someone, short of Dallas Keuchel or Zack Greinke caliber, really improve this pitching staff enough to do it? Just doesn't make sense to me if all they signed was a Wade Miley or Trevor Cahill type guy.
-- @Redsaholic2020 on Twitter

Even if the Reds signed just Keuchel, or someone like Patrick Corbin, that wouldn't be enough to assure a winning season. But it doesn't mean that they shouldn't try because what they've done hasn't worked. The expectation is that one or two additional starters could improve the rotation while other pitchers in house -- such as Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani -- continue to get better.

Video: Dallas Keuchel enters free agency

I've heard the Reds may look at signing an outfielder. Is that really a need, especially considering our well-documented, massive starting pitching need? Or is this just following the Brewers' blueprint of adding more bats when they couldn't get the free-agent starting pitchers they wanted?
-- @Slepat2B on Twitter

There's nothing wrong with looking at or signing a guy if it makes the team better. Trying to add bats doesn't mean they're not trying to also add starting pitchers. It just has to all fit in the payroll, and after four straight seasons of 94 or more losses, you don't close your eyes to signing or trading for anybody if it can be done and makes sense.

I'm a longtime Reds fan that lives in upstate N.Y. Just wondering when the rest of the coaching staff will be put together, and do you think any of the current staff will be held over by [new manager David] Bell?
-- Dan D., Mechanicville, N.Y.

I'm surprised we haven't heard about the rest of the staff by now, and I would think it'd be any day now. Between the time it has taken, and that president of baseball operations Dick Williams has repeatedly discussed new voices in the clubhouse, I wouldn't be optimistic that many, or any, of the coaches on the previous staff will return.

Video: Derek Johnson on being named Reds' pitching coach

What will the Reds do with the young starting pitchers if they sign multiple starting pitchers? Would we trade them, move them to the bullpen or send them down?
-- Benji K., Cincinnati

I'm sure some combination of all three options will happen. But remember that attrition in pitching staffs happens all the time and depth is big. The Reds used 32 pitchers last season, tying the 2016 franchise record. They're not going to sign or trade for five starters. There will be holdovers, and several of them have Minor League options left. I could see pitchers like Sal Romano and, of course, Michael Lorenzen, being flexible enough to pitch in either the rotation or bullpen.

Is there one person that oversees the development of pitchers throughout the organization, or is that a part of overall player development? It would seem that MLB teams would have that position, but I have not heard mention of the position for any team, only individual pitching coaches at each level.
-- Ron H., Coloma, Mich.

Johnson's hire as pitching coach was made with that idea in mind. Williams said during the announcement on Nov. 2: "This is all about creating an organization and philosophy that's aligned. That's something Derek is really excited about, and we are as well. It's something every organization strives for, but it's an ongoing challenge. You have to get the right personnel with the right message and right personalities to make it happen."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Trammell, Long pick up hits in AFL action

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Tuesday:

Gameday: Glendale 2, Surprise 9 | Mesa 3, Peoria 14 | Salt River 2, Scottsdale 4

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Tuesday:

Gameday: Glendale 2, Surprise 9 | Mesa 3, Peoria 14 | Salt River 2, Scottsdale 4

AL East

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 4 prospect Nate Pearson earned his second win of the fall after tossing five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and walking two. No. 22 prospect Santiago Espinal was 2-for-4 with a run, while Cavan Biggio (No. 9) was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run. Zach Jackson allowed two hits in a scoreless inning of relief.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Big Nate looking 💪 in the @MLBazFallLeague again. After firing 4 perfect frames in his last start, #BlueJays No. 4 prospect Nate Pearson has tossed 4 scoreless today.Gameday: https://t.co/2BlKTkrPJp pic.twitter.com/70ABROZCsP

Orioles (Glendale)
Steve Wilkerson was 2-for-4 for his third multihit game in his last four contests, while Jay Flaa had a strikeout and allowed a hit in a scoreless inning of relief. Catcher Martin Cervenka was 0-for-3 with a walk.

Rays (Peoria)
Both Rays prospects in action had huge days at the plate, with No. 7 prospect Ronaldo Hernandez going 3-for-4 with his first triple of the fall, an RBI single and three runs scored. No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox also went 3-for-4 and scored two runs, hitting a double and an RBI single to go with a walk. More »

Video: Lucius Fox on strong game, confidence in Fall League

Red Sox (Mesa)
Red Sox No. 7 prospect Darwinzon Hernandez allowed a trio of inherited runners to score but struck out the side to escape the fourth inning. Other Boston prospects didn't fare as well. Josh Taylor was tagged for four runs on five hits in an inning of relief, while No. 10 prospect Josh Ockimey and Esteban Quiroz were a combined 0-for-7.

Yankees (Glendale)
Hobie Harris struck out two in a scoreless inning, while Kyle Zurak yielded an unearned run while allowing a walk and a hit in 1 2/3 frames.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Indians No. 6 prospect Yu Chang singled, walked and scored, and outfielder Connor Marabell was 1-for-5. While Dalbert Siri pitched a shutout inning out of the bullpen, starter Justin Garza didn't fare so well in a wild outing, allowing four hits and walking four as he was charged with four runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Royals (Surprise)
Nick Heath extended his hitting streak to four games with a 2-for-4 showing in which he doubled and scored a pair of runs. Arnaldo Hernandez allowed two hits and a walk but threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Tigers (Mesa)
Tigers No. 8 prospect Daz Cameron had multiple hits for the fifth time in his last seven games with a 2-for-5 performance that brought his fall average to .324. Daniel Pinero was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, while Daniel Woodrow was 1-for-4 with an RBI single.

Twins (Salt River)
Twins No. 18 prospect Travis Blankenhorn struck out three times but singled for his first hit in four games. Adam Bray pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief but allowed two runs on two hits.

White Sox (Glendale)
Laz Rivera, the No. 28 prospect in the White Sox system, hit an RBI single, while No. 9 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe was 1-for-4 with a walk and Luis Robert (No. 4) was 1-for-5. Danny Dopico had a forgettable relief outing, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in one inning.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
Luis Barrera tripled for the first time this fall and scored a run, and Jake Bray allowed three runs (two earned) in an inning of relief.

Angels (Mesa)
Ryan Clark and Daniel Procopio each struck out a batter in a perfect inning of relief.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Abraham Toro, Houston's No. 21 prospect, hit his first triple of the fall and walked twice in a 2-for-3 afternoon that raised his OPS to 1.017. Center fielder Ronnie Dawson was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 2 prospect Evan White struck out in the first inning before he was replaced by Weston Wilson in the second inning. No. 20 prospect Ian Miller had an RBI single to go with a run-scoring groundout and a bases-loaded walk, and Chris Mariscal was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run.

Rangers (Surprise)
Charles Leblanc was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)
The Braves had a busy and productive day, with six of their prospects in action. Braxton Davidson hit a three-run homer, his league-leading sixth of the fall, as he went 1-for-4 with a walk. No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI single, and No. 23 prospect Izzy Wilson also tacked on an RBI single. Jeremy Walker allowed an unearned run in a four-inning start to notch his first win of the fall, and Adam McCreery closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth. No. 12 prospect Kyle Muller yielded two runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, while Kyle Keller took the loss in relief after being charged with two runs on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Starting pitcher Tyler Viza pitched five scoreless frames and struck out nine, tying for the most strikeouts in an AFL start this season. Austin Listi hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh, while Darick Hall was 1-for-4 and Jonathan Hennigan earned his first AFL win with one-third of an inning of relief. More »

Video: Tyler Viza on his performance against Salt River

Nationals (Salt River)
Ben Braymer and Taylor Guilbeau each allowed a hit and a walk in scoreless relief appearances, while Jake Noll walked and hit his second double of the fall to raise his average to .261.

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso reached base three times, walking twice and hitting a game-tying two-run double in the seventh. Catcher Ali Sanchez (No. 25) was 1-for-3 with a walk.

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Keston Hiura, the Brewers' top prospect, brought his fall RBI total to 32 with a two-run double. In the last 10 seasons of AFL play, only two players -- Mike Olt and Nolan Arenado -- have had more RBIs. Weston Wilson replaced Evan White at first base in the second inning and was 1-for-4 with two runs.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: After this 2-run double, #Brewers top prospect Keston Hiura is up to 32 RBIs in the @MLBazFallLeague. Only two players have had more in the past 10 AFL seasons: Mike Olt (43) and Nolan Arenado (33) in 2011.Gameday: https://t.co/BmnW6NcA6K pic.twitter.com/V3K42WbhIn

Cardinals (Surprise)
Lane Thomas was 2-for-3 with an RBI double and two runs, while Tommy Edman went 0-for-5.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner and Trent Giambrone (No. 29) were a combined 1-for-8 at the plate. Jhonny Pereda, who finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, had the best day of any Cubs prospect. Erick Leal had been lights out in the AFL, but hit a rough patch and was charged with seven runs (six earned) over three innings.

Pirates (Surprise)
Pirates No. 8 prospect Bryan Reynolds drove in a pair of runs and finished 2-for-4. Will Craig (No. 16) stole the show and put together one of his best games of the AFL. Craig, who finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, hit his fifth homer of the Fall, which has him tied for the second-most in the league. More »

Video: Craig on strong day at the plate, learning first base

Reds (Scottsdale)
All three of Cincinnati's top prospects that played on Tuesday had success at the plate, as No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell singled and scored a run, No. 8 prospect Shed Long hit an RBI double to drive in his fourth run in as many games, and No. 23 prospect Alfredo Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Wyatt Strahan and Alex Powers each pitched scoreless innings.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
D-backs No. 3 prospect Jazz Chisholm continued his torrid fall with a two-run triple as part of a 2-for-4 game with a walk. He raised his AFL average to .425 and has hit safely in all nine games he's played. Catcher Daulton Varsho (No. 5) was 1-for-4 and caught a scoreless start by No. 1 prospect Jon Duplantier, who struck out five in four innings, scattering four hits and three walks. Catcher Renae Martinez was 0-for-3 with a walk for Surprise.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Cody Thomas and Jared Walker combined to go 3-for-6 at the plate. Walker went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Thomas scored a run as part of his 1-for-3 afternoon. On the mound, Andre Scrubb gave up one run on two hits in one inning.

Giants (Scottsdale)
Sam Wolff earned his third save of the fall with two strikeouts and two walks in a scoreless ninth inning. No. 19 prospect Melvin Adon didn't fare as well, as he was charged with two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Padres (Peoria)
A pair of Padres' relievers combined to throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Peoria's win over Mesa. Blake Rogers struck out two over 1 1/3 innings, while Dauris Valdez picked up a strikeout in his inning on the mound.

Rockies (Salt River)
All three Rockies prospects in action on Tuesday -- No. 9 prospect Sam Hilliard, No. 11 prospect Tyler Nevin and Josh Fuentes -- singled and walked.

Can pitching coach Johnson lure free agents?

New hire's reputation, past ties are advantage for Reds
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- When the Reds surprised the baseball world last week with the first of two high-profile hires -- nabbing pitching coach Derek Johnson from the Brewers -- they signaled their determination to turn their starting pitching fortunes around after several poor performing seasons.

Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams has access to what he considers significantly more dollars to spend on free agents. And while money most likely will be the driving force when free-agent pitchers make their decision to join a club, could Johnson be an added X-factor who could lure a starter?

CINCINNATI -- When the Reds surprised the baseball world last week with the first of two high-profile hires -- nabbing pitching coach Derek Johnson from the Brewers -- they signaled their determination to turn their starting pitching fortunes around after several poor performing seasons.

Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams has access to what he considers significantly more dollars to spend on free agents. And while money most likely will be the driving force when free-agent pitchers make their decision to join a club, could Johnson be an added X-factor who could lure a starter?

"I certainly hope it adds value," Williams said Nov. 2, when Johnson's hiring was announced. "I know that his reputation among players is very strong. We were able to talk to guys that played under him in college and in the big leagues. They really believe in them. They believe that he helps maximize their ability. That came across very clearly in our discussions with him. He's a player-first guy. He's there to help them maximize their potential. That gets around.

The latest Hot Stove rumors 

"The pitchers talk amongst themselves. I know from the ones we were able to talk to firsthand that the reputation precedes him. I hope that gets out there as we talk to pitchers about coming to Cincinnati. I think he's a real asset for those guys."

Milwaukee pitchers posted a 3.94 ERA over the three seasons Johnson was its pitching coach. This season while winning a National League Central division title and reaching the NL Championship Series, the club was fourth best in the NL with a 3.73 ERA.

In the postseason, Brewers pitchers had a 2.40 ERA in 10 games, including a 1.64 ERA for the rotation that lacked a true ace.

"He did a really good job of finding what players need," Brewers starter Zach Davies said upon Johnson's departure. "Being adaptable to the player, and being able to coach different types of people. He was able to find certain things for certain guys, and that's huge in guys' development. For me, it was just confidence. He gave me reaffirmation that, 'You're here in the Major Leagues for a reason.' I needed that when times were tough. He's been a confidence boost for me, a mechanics guy for some guys, a pitch [developer] for other guys. What's great about DJ is he has many ways to improve guys who need it."

Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel headline the list of starting pitcher free agents. There are others, however, who could be drawn to Cincinnati specifically because of Johnson. Here is a look:

LHP Wade Miley
Miley, who turns 32 next week, signed a Minor League deal with Milwaukee last offseason and missed some time with groin and oblique injuries. But he still turned in a fantastic season with a career-best 2.57 ERA in 16 starts, marking the first time he didn't reach 30 starts since 2013. Miley had a 5-2 record, but the Brewers were 12-4 when he pitched, and he had a 1.23 ERA in four postseason starts. Those numbers were a vast improvement from his previous three seasons with the Red Sox, Mariners and Orioles, when he was 28-39 with a 5.10 ERA in 94 starts.

Video: Wade Miley to enter free agency this offseason

LHP Gio Gonzalez
A two-time All-Star, Gonzalez has often been one of the better lefty starters in baseball, but he was enduring a down year with the Nationals in 2018 before he was traded to the Brewers on Aug. 31 to help with the playoff push. After he went 7-11 with a 4.57 ERA in 27 starts for Washington, the 33-year-old Gonzalez was 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in five starts once he joined Milwaukee while the team won all five of those games.

Video: Gio Gonzalez enters free-agent market for 2019 season

RHP Lance Lynn
Lynn, 31, never pitched for Johnson but was with an NL Central rival in the Cardinals for most of his career. He also spent three of his seasons in St. Louis with Reds manager David Bell when he was Mike Matheny's bench coach from 2015-17 (although Lynn missed '16 recovering from elbow surgery). Lynn didn't have a superlative '18 season in the American League with the Twins and Yankees while posting a 10-10 record and a 4.77 ERA in 31 games (29 starts). But over six seasons with the Cards, he was 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA in 183 games and started 30 games four times.

Video: RHP Lance Lynn enters free agent market

RHP Sonny Gray
No, Gray is not a free agent and is currently with the Yankees and third-year arbitration-eligible. But New York is openly looking to deal the 29-year-old who did not materialize as a rotation asset the past two years after his five seasons in Oakland that included an All-Star appearance in 2015. Gray was 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games (23 starts) this season. What's his connection to Johnson? Gray pitched for Vanderbilt University, where Johnson spent 11 seasons as the school's pitching coach.

"Once we feel comfortable with the return, then we'll make the decision to move him," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told MLB.com on Tuesday. "The plan is to move him, because I don't want to keep going through the process of something that won't work here, even though it will work somewhere else."

Video: Cashman on Gray's future with the Yankees

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Boyles earns AFL win in scoreless relief outing

MLB.com

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Monday:

• Gameday: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 5 | Mesa 2, Glendale 4 | Salt River 4, Peoria 5

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of how all 30 teams' prospects fared in Arizona Fall League action on Monday:

• Gameday: Surprise 4, Scottsdale 5 | Mesa 2, Glendale 4 | Salt River 4, Peoria 5

 

Blue Jays (Surprise)
Blue Jays No. 1 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting .351 after going 1-for-3 with a two-run single. Cavan Biggio (No. 9) went 0-for-3, but made a nice diving catch in right field. Jackson McClelland had a rough afternoon as he gave up three runs (two earned) and issued a pair of walks in one inning.

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: The youngest player in the @MLBazFallLeague, ladies and gentlemen.Follow live: https://t.co/QJw9o8rlW3 https://t.co/qUxuUfM8zw

Orioles (Glendale)
Chris Lee notched five strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings for the Desert Dogs. Lee, who has a 3.05 ERA in the AFL, walked one and gave up two runs on four hits. Steve Wilkerson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, while Ryan McKenna (Orioles' No. 12 prospect) went 0-for-2 with a walk. Tanner Chleborad cruised through 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four and surrendering just one hit.

Rays (Peoria)
Rays No. 9 prospect Lucius Fox went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored out of the leadoff spot.

Red Sox (Mesa)
Red Sox No. 6 prospect Bobby Dalbec and Josh Ockimey (No. 10) went a combined 1-for-7 while hitting fourth and fifth in Mesa's lineup.

Yankees (Glendale)
Yankees No. 2 prospect Estevan Florial and Thairo Estrada (No. 16) each collected a hit for the Desert Dogs. Florial went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and Estrada finished 1-for-5. On the mound, Matt Wivinis threw one-third of an inning and picked up the save.

AL Central

Indians (Glendale)
Rob Kaminsky improved to 3-0 and lowered his AFL ERA to 1.86 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Connor Marabell boosted his average to .303 as he went 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs, while Li-Jen Chu drove Marabell home with an RBI double in in the fourth. Chu finished 1-for-4.

Royals (Surprise)
Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Meibrys Viloria and Nick Heath each went 1-for-4, with Viloria picking up an RBI in the process. Scott Blewett (No. 26) gave up two runs and struck out six over five innings of four-hit ball. Grant Gavin issued a pair of walks and gave up a hit but escaped the game with a scoreless inning.

Tigers (Mesa)
Daz Cameron (Tigers No. 8 prospect) went 0-for-4. Sandy Baez (No. 26) only faced two batters, but struck out one and retired both. John Schreiber also fanned one and threw a clean inning.

Twins (Salt River)
Jaylin Davis went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored. It was a challenging day for Twins relievers, starting with Devin Smeltzer, who allowed two earned runs on three hits and one walk in one-third of an inning. Hector Lujan gave up two unearned runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, taking the loss.

White Sox (Glendale)
White Sox No. 4 prospect Luis Robert saw his average dip to .338 after going 0-for-4. Zach Thompson walked one and gave up a hit but kept the opponents off the board in 1 2/3 innings on the mound.

AL West

A's (Mesa)
Skye Bolt, the Athletics' No. 30 prospect, went 1-for-3 with a single. Calvin Coker retired both batters he faced, while Sam Sheehan didn't fare quite as well. Sheehan spun an inning but was charged with two runs on two hits.

Angels (Mesa)
Angels No. 4 prospect Jahmai Jones hit his sixth Fall League double as part of a 2-for-5 effort. David MacKinnon also picked up a hit and finished 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Astros (Scottsdale)
Ronnie Dawson hit his first homer of the Fall League, a solo shot that highlighted his 1-for-4 afternoon.

Mariners (Peoria)
Mariners No. 2 prospect Evan White went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, a walk and a run scored. It was his sixth double of the Fall League season. Joe DeCarlo started at catcher and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Wyatt Mills (No. 9) pitched two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief, giving up two hits. David McKay notched the win in relief, allowing one unearned run on one hit in one inning with one strikeout.

Rangers (Surprise)
Joe Barlow struck out one, but gave up hits, including a walk-off double, to the other two batters he faced. Joe Kuzia also pitched in relief and spun a scoreless inning.

NL East

Braves (Peoria)<
Braves No. 6 prospect Cristian Pache went 1-for-5 with a single, a run scored and four strikeouts. Ray-Patrick Didder went 0-for-4. Thomas Burrows (No. 19) pitched one inning of relief, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk.

Marlins (Salt River)
Marlins No. 17 prospect Jordan Yamamoto continued his impressive Fall League campaign with five scoreless innings. Yamamoto allowed one hit and one walk while striking out six. The right-hander lowered his AFL ERA to 2.08. Bryson Brigman (No. 27) went 1-for-5 with a stolen base and a run scored. Brian Miller (No. 12) went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Chad Smith pitched a hitless inning of relief, walking one and striking out two. More >>

Phillies (Scottsdale)
Darick Hall entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth and came up clutch with an RBI single. Phillies No. 11 prospect Arquimedes Gamboa went 1-for-3. Luke Williams went 0-for-3. Seth McGarry gave up two runs on two hits in two innings out of the bullpen before handing off to Luke Leftwich, who yielded one hit, but threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Nationals (Salt River)
Nationals No. 2 prospect Carter Kieboom had a nice day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with four singles, an RBI and a run scored. Tres Barrera (No. 15) went 1-for-5 with an RBI double. Daniel Johnson (No. 7) went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Tweet from @JakeDRill: #Nationals Tres Barrera gives Salt River a 2-0 lead with an RBI double in the fourth. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/iaRM8e7TOT

Mets (Scottsdale)
Mets No. 1 prospect Andres Gimenez was just 1-for-5 at the plate, but that lone hit was a big one, as he came through with a walk-off two-run double in the bottom of the ninth. Peter Alonso (No. 2) also picked up an RBI and finished 1-for-4. Desmond Lindsay (No. 11) drew a pair of walks, but was otherwise 0-for-2. 

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: The #Mets' No. 1 prospect (#MLB No. 55) has struggled in the @MLBazFallLeague (.133 AVG), but he comes through in the clutch here. Gameday: https://t.co/B9BLeBr4It https://t.co/xm7m1pP2L7

NL Central

Brewers (Peoria)
Weston Wilson went 2-for-5 with a run scored, including a 10th-inning single that led to the winning run scoring on an error on the same play. Trent Grisham (Brewers No. 19) went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple, a walk and a run scored. Grisham's three-bagger tied the game in the ninth. Daniel Brown tossed 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit and striking out two.

Cardinals (Surprise)
Andy Young is hitting .328 after his 2-for-3 afternoon, which included an RBI double.

Cubs (Mesa)
Cubs No. 6 prospect Nico Hoerner tripled, his fourth of the AFL, and finished 1-for-4. DJ Wilson (No. 16) went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, while P.J. Higgins picked up an RBI and went 1-for-3. Justin Steele (No. 8) gave up five hits over four innings, but limited the damage to just two runs (one earned). Steele walked two, struck out three and has a 5.79 ERA in the AFL. Manuel Rondon threw a scoreless two-thirds of an inning.

Pirates (Surprise)
Cole Tucker, the Pirates' No. 5 prospect, went 0-for-4, but is still hitting .351. Bryan Reynolds (No. 8) finished 1-for-4. Will Craig (No. 16) went 1-for-3, while also drawing a walk and scoring a run.

Reds (Scottsdale)
Reds No. 2 prospect Taylor Trammell boosted his AFL average to .280 as he collected a pair of hits and finished 2-for-4. Shed Long (No. 8) entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and struck out in his lone at-bat. Ty Boyles picked up the win for the Scorpions after throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.

NL West

D-backs (Salt River)
It was a fairly quiet day at the plate for D-backs prospects as Pavin Smith (Arizona's No. 4 prospect), Daulton Varsho (No. 5) and Drew Ellis (No. 9) combined to go 2-for-13. Smith and Ellis each had a single, while Ellis also drew a walk.

Dodgers (Glendale)
Dodgers No. 20 prospect Errol Robinson went 1-for-4. Jared Walker hasn't hit particularly well in Arizona, but came through with a double and two RBIs for the Desert Dogs. Jordan Sheffield (No. 26) issued two walks but didn't give up a run in his two-thirds of an inning. More >>

Giants (Scottsdale)
Giants No. 28 prospect CJ Hinojosa went 0-for-3 and is hitting just .150 in the Fall League. Matt Winn also had a tough day at the plate and finished 0-for-2. Garrett Williams (No. 20) struggled with his command -- issuing four walks -- but did rack up six strikeouts in four innings. The lefty, who has a 1.88 ERA in the AFL, gave up two runs on four hits.

Padres (Peoria)
Padres No. 23 prospect Hudson Potts went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles. Buddy Reed (No. 13) went 0-for-4 with a walk. Miguel Diaz got the start for the Javelinas and pitched three scoreless innings with one hit allowed, one walk and three strikeouts. Travis Radke was the first reliever out of Peoria's bullpen, and he allowed two earned runs on four hits in three innings, striking out one.

Rockies (Salt River) 
Jesus Tinoco (Rockies No. 20 prospect) continued his strong Fall League season, lowering his ERA to 1.72 with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Tinoco walked one and struck out two. Justin Lawrence (No. 17) also pitched in relief, giving up one earned run on two hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

Who will be dealt? Each team's top trade chip

MLB.com @feinsand

Free agency will garner most of the headlines during baseball's Hot Stove season, but this is also a time for MLB's general managers to discuss a plethora of trade options.

Some clubs may be looking to shed salary, while others could be looking ahead at next year's free agents. One thing is certain: Teams are more willing to trade than ever before, meaning we'll see a number of moves in the weeks and months ahead.

Free agency will garner most of the headlines during baseball's Hot Stove season, but this is also a time for MLB's general managers to discuss a plethora of trade options.

Some clubs may be looking to shed salary, while others could be looking ahead at next year's free agents. One thing is certain: Teams are more willing to trade than ever before, meaning we'll see a number of moves in the weeks and months ahead.

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season

Here's a look at one trade candidate from every team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner
With an $8 million salary in 2019 and a $10 million option for '20, Cashner is a reasonably priced starter who could provide some back-end value for many teams. The Orioles are firmly in rebuilding mode, and they would probably love to shed some of their higher-priced players.

Boston Red Sox: Christian Vazquez
Vazquez signed a team-friendly three-year, $13.5 million contract with the Red Sox that kicks in next season, but his disappointing year at the plate could prompt Boston to try moving him. Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart still remain, though the Sox could try bringing in a better bat behind the plate, as well.

New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar
Sonny Gray was too obvious for this one, as GM Brian Cashman said after the season that he was going to look to trade the disappointing right-hander. Andujar posted a terrific rookie season, but his value may never be higher, questions remain about his defense … and the Yankees might make a play for Manny Machado. If they do, Andujar could be flipped for a controllable pitcher.

Video: NYY@BOS: Andujar's 47th double ties AL rookie record

Tampa Bay Rays: C.J. Cron
Jake Bauers played more innings at first than Cron last season, while No. 2 prospect Brendan McKay is the first baseman of the future. Cron's 30-homer, .816-OPS season in 2018 should make him a valuable asset, and he'll be due a raise from his $2.3 million salary in his second year of arbitration.

Toronto Blue Jays: Brandon Drury
The Blue Jays have an abundance of infielders, and with baseball's top prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., zooming toward the Majors, it's only a matter of time before third base becomes his territory. Drury is a versatile, valuable player with three years of arbitration eligibility remaining, so he could bring back a nice return.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu
Abreu has been a popular name on the trade-rumor mill for more than a year, and although the White Sox are close to finishing their rebuild, Abreu is arbitration-eligible for the final time this offseason and can become a free agent after next season.

Cleveland Indians: Carlos Carrasco
Corey Kluber could have been the choice here given their ages -- Kluber is entering his age-33 season, while Carrasco will be playing at 32 -- and contract situations (Kluber is owed $13 million in 2019 and has club options for '20 and '21 worth $13.5 million and $14 million, respectively; Carrasco will earn $9 million next year and has a $9.5 million club option for '20). Kluber's track record is stronger, so although he may fetch a better return, the Indians would probably prefer to hang on to their ace and deal Carrasco.

Detroit Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
The Tigers are in a full-on rebuild, and while they won't be able to move the sizeable contracts of Miguel Cabrera or Jordan Zimmermann, Castellanos is a huge chip for GM Al Avila. Fresh off a 23-homer, .854-OPS season, Castellanos has two years of club control left and should bring back some value.

Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffy
The Royals contemplated trading Duffy last summer, but the left-hander had a rough outing the week before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, then got knocked around twice in August before landing on the DL with a left shoulder injury. Trading him might be difficult because of the late-season injury and his salary (he has three years and $46 million left on his contract), but if the chance to deal him for value presents itself, the Royals could make a move.

Minnesota Twins: Jake Odorizzi
Odorizzi will get a raise from his $6.3 million salary in his final year of arbitration, and while he had a decent season for the Twins in 2018, Minnesota could flip him a year before he becomes a free agent.

AL WEST

Houston Astros: Hector Rondon
With Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith, Collin McHugh and Josh James all returning, Rondon and his $4.5 million salary might prove to be an expendable piece for the Astros.

Los Angeles Angels: Kole Calhoun
Three of the Angels' top six prospects are outfielders, and given that Mike Trout and Justin Upton aren't going anywhere, Calhoun could be on the move if the Halos can get a pitcher in return. He's due $10.5 million in 2019 with a $14 million club option for '20.

Oakland Athletics: Mike Fiers
Fiers earned $6 million last season and has one more year of club control, but given the raises coming to Khris Davis and Oakland's 11 other arbitration-eligible players, Fiers -- who had his best season in three years -- could be moved to free up some payroll.

Seattle Mariners: James Paxton
Mike Zunino is already gone from Seattle, traded to Tampa Bay in a five-player deal that landed center fielder Mallex Smith with the Mariners. GM Jerry Dipoto is trying to reshape the roster this offseason, and with Mitch Haniger, Edwin Diaz and Marco Gonzales reportedly not on the block, no player would bring back a bigger return than Paxton, the hard-throwing lefty who, despite a lengthy injury history, is considered by many to be one of the top southpaws in the league.

Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo
Shin-Soo Choo had a terrific year, but with $42 million due to him over the next two years, his contract will be tough to move. Gallo isn't arbitration-eligible until 2020, and with four years of club control and a powerful bat, he would be valued by many teams and might be moved for a starting pitcher. Texas has Ronald Guzman ready to take over full-time at first base should Gallo be moved.

Video: TEX@LAA: Gallo crushes 40th homer of season to center

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves: Johan Camargo
Austin Riley, the Braves' No. 5 prospect (and No. 43 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100), posted an .882 OPS at three Minor League levels last year, moving closer to the Majors. Camargo had a very solid season in 2018 (.806 OPS, 19 homers), but Riley remains the future at the hot corner. Atlanta might be able to move Camargo for an arm.

Miami Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
A year after trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Gordon, the Marlins could decide to move their All-Star catcher for a haul of prospects -- and there would be no shortage of teams lining up to make a deal.

• Marlins' three main options for Realmuto

Video: Bowman: Braves could pursue Realmuto trade

New York Mets: Zack Wheeler
Many believed Wheeler would be traded last summer, but the Mets held on to him. He delivered a strong season (3.31 ERA in 182 1/3 innings) that boosted his value, and with one year remaining until Wheeler becomes a free agent, new Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen could bring back a nice return for the right-hander if he decides to move him.

Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco
Franco had a bounce-back season in 2018, his .780 OPS representing a 90-point boost from the previous year. But his streaky nature -- Franco struggled badly for most of May and August -- and inconsistent defense might prompt the Phillies to try moving him elsewhere.

Washington Nationals: Michael A. Taylor
With Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Adam Eaton in the outfield -- not to mention the potential return of Bryce Harper -- Taylor would appear to be the odd man out. He should draw interest from several teams and bring something of value back to the Nationals.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ
The 24-year-old infielder/outfielder was unable to build on his impressive rookie campaign as virtually every one of his offensive statistics regressed from 2017. Happ's versatility, talent and age make him an ideal target for any team -- small- or large-market -- and given the Cubs' glut of young position players, dealing from that strength to acquire pitching would make sense.

Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton
Hamilton has been on the trade block before and will likely be there again this offseason. The Reds need pitching, which could lead to them moving Hamilton or fellow outfielder Scott Schebler.

Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Ray
Brewers GM David Stearns isn't big on trading his top prospects, but with Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun locked into the outfield, Milwaukee could dangle its No. 2 prospect in an effort to acquire some pitching. Ray hit 27 home runs, stole 37 bases and posted an .801 OPS at Double-A last season.

Video: Ray, Brown named Brewers' Minor League POY

Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Cervelli
The Pirates posted a winning record in 2018 despite trading away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, so the idea of dealing their starting catcher isn't unrealistic. Cervelli's $11.5 million salary is the highest on the team, and he's slated to become a free agent after next season. Elias Diaz could take over behind the plate.

St. Louis Cardinals: Jose Martinez
Martinez's bat has never been a question, evidenced by his career .309 average and .850 OPS. His defense, however, has proven to be less than ideal, making him a prime candidate to be traded to an AL club where he could become a full-time DH.

NL WEST

Arizona D-backs: Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt has one year of club control remaining before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. If the D-backs decide they won't be able to re-sign him to a new deal, they could opt to move the franchise first baseman rather than letting him walk for Draft picks. This might not be a likely scenario given Arizona's desire to contend, but it can't be completely ruled out, either.

Video: D-backs pick up Goldschmidt's 2019 option

Colorado Rockies: Raimel Tapia
Tapia didn't find much of a role with the Rockies in 2018, playing in only 25 games during stints in July and September. He posted an .847 OPS with 11 homers and 21 stolen bases in 105 games at Triple-A, so a team in need of speed might have interest in Tapia, who is out of Minor League options.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Matt Kemp
Kemp had a solid regular season, hitting 21 home runs with an .818 OPS in 146 games, but he disappeared in the postseason, hitting one home run with three RBIs with a .548 OPS in 13 games. Kemp is owed $21.5 million in the final year of his eight-year contract, and the Dodgers would surely love to save at least part of that salary.

San Diego Padres: Craig Stammen
Stammen has performed well during his two years with San Diego, posting a 2.73 ERA in 2018 with 10 strikeouts per nine innings and a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. A contender would likely give the Padres something of value for Stammen, who is due $2.25 million and will be a free agent after 2019, his age-35 season.

San Francisco Giants: Joe Panik
Panik had a very disappointing 2018, but with two years of club control remaining, a change of scenery could be just the thing to spark his game. The Giants don't have an internal candidate to replace Panik at second base, though the position is as deep as any in this year's market, so finding a new second baseman shouldn't be very difficult.

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Suarez dons kimono for All-Star tour

Players currently trekking through Japan as part of the All-Star tour were eager to take in the sights, sounds, food and culture of this vibrant, bustling country.

That also included exposure to some bold wardrobe choices they'd probably not normally make.

Reds name Turner Ward hitting coach

Former Dodgers, D-backs appointment joins Johnson in 'first-class coaching staff'
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- The Reds aimed their offseason goals at being aggressive and willing to spend to add starting pitching. Perhaps they've tipped their hand at just how bold they might be as they also assemble new manager David Bell's coaching staff.

In a second coaching coup in as many weeks, Cincinnati hired Turner Ward away from the two-time defending National League champion Dodgers to be its hitting coach. This comes after the club plucked highly touted pitching coach Derek Johnson away from another playoff team in the Brewers last week.

CINCINNATI -- The Reds aimed their offseason goals at being aggressive and willing to spend to add starting pitching. Perhaps they've tipped their hand at just how bold they might be as they also assemble new manager David Bell's coaching staff.

In a second coaching coup in as many weeks, Cincinnati hired Turner Ward away from the two-time defending National League champion Dodgers to be its hitting coach. This comes after the club plucked highly touted pitching coach Derek Johnson away from another playoff team in the Brewers last week.

"We went into this offseason committed to putting new leadership in place in the clubhouse," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. "We were interested to see where that would take us. We thought that some new voices in the clubhouse and a variety of perspectives from other organizations would be a good thing. We were committed to putting together a first-class coaching staff, but these things are hard to control. A lot of them come up quickly, and you have to be in position to react.

"Thankfully, David has a lot of good contacts in this game. Those have afforded us opportunities to speak to guys that we might not have otherwise. But we were prepared to act quickly. You have to be in this game, because hiring coaches is very competitive. We think it's really important to give our players a chance to succeed. So we did what we could so far. We saw the right fit arise, and we moved quickly and boldly to put it into place."

Terms of the contracts for Ward and Johnson were not revealed, but it stands to reason that they were probably significant.

Video: Derek Johnson on being named Reds' pitching coach

"In both cases, they were very comfortable with what we had to offer as an organization," Williams said.

Ward, 53, spent three seasons in Los Angeles as hitting coach with the team reaching the postseason each year. In 2018, the Dodgers led the NL in runs, home runs and slugging percentage. They established a club record with 235 homers, including seven players with at least 20 home runs -- the most in club history and the most ever by an NL club.

From 2013-15, Ward was on the D-backs' staff -- first as the assistant hitting coach for one season and the other two as the hitting coach. He will be replacing Don Long as the Reds' hitting coach after five seasons.

Like Johnson, Ward is stepping into a different situation, as the Reds have finished last in the NL Central each of the past four seasons while losing 94 or more games. However, the offense is considered a strength of the Reds going into 2019, with Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett and others established in the lineup. The Reds were fourth in batting (tied) and on-base percentage among NL clubs last season.

"Seeing that guys can have different approaches and -- of course -- watching Votto and the different things he can do and watching how he competes against different types of pitchers, that's the kind of stuff that I like because he's doing it more in a group setting, which is what in L.A., I felt like we did and also in Arizona," Ward said. "There's a unity part of it that I love to be a part of and to help, in a sense, bringing out what these guys already do well and just talking about deficiencies."

Video: Goldschmidt talks about friendship with Turner Ward

Once again, it was a deal that came together quickly, with Ward receiving a call from the Reds on Saturday night.

"In a time of 24 hours talking to David, we kind of settled everything and got things agreed upon. I said to David, 'What are you selling?' In that division with what they're trying to do, I can see it," Ward said. "It really interests me in the sense of -- I don't want to say building something, they've got a really good offense. I've been impressed with their offense.

"I would also add the logistics of being closer to home [in Alabama]. Family is very important to me, and it made it hard to be out in L.A. Winning is important and I want to win. I see this organization as wanting to and willing to and making a point to put that kind of culture and atmosphere on the field."

Bell and Ward have known each other for a long time but never worked together. They spent all of Sunday speaking on the phone about Bell's vision for the team and Ward's ideas as a hitting coach.

"I know about his knowledge, his reputation throughout the game is off the charts," Bell said. "What came through loud and clear is that he's in this for the right reasons -- he's in it to support the players, he's in it to help them. He's in it to do everything he can to be part of a team. He sees this as a great challenge of building something special. All those things, outside his background and knowledge of hitting, those things were just so important for me to hear, just as they were with Derek. That's just another great step in building a really great staff."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Who will be Ward's new best friend?

One of the most beautiful stories of the 2018 season was the ever-flourishing relationship between Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and his hitting coach, Turner Ward. All year long, we saw Puig show his affection for Ward -- not just after hitting home runs, but generally whenever he felt appropriate. Ward played along seamlessly:

Isabel named Reds' best power prospect

MLB.com @JonathanMayo and @JimCallisMLB and @GoldenSombrero

Baseball has witnessed a proliferation of home run-hitting rookies in recent years.

In 2016, Gary Sanchez became the first player to homer 18 times in his first 45 games, only to see that record obliterated when Rhys Hoskins went deep 19 times in his first 34 games the next season. Overshadowing Hoskins in 2017, Aaron Judge (52) and Cody Bellinger (39) each set league records for long balls by a rookie. This year, Ronald Acuna became the youngest player (age 20) known to have homered in five straight games and seven of eight, finishing the season with 26, while Juan Soto slammed the second-most homers ever by a teenager (22).

Baseball has witnessed a proliferation of home run-hitting rookies in recent years.

In 2016, Gary Sanchez became the first player to homer 18 times in his first 45 games, only to see that record obliterated when Rhys Hoskins went deep 19 times in his first 34 games the next season. Overshadowing Hoskins in 2017, Aaron Judge (52) and Cody Bellinger (39) each set league records for long balls by a rookie. This year, Ronald Acuna became the youngest player (age 20) known to have homered in five straight games and seven of eight, finishing the season with 26, while Juan Soto slammed the second-most homers ever by a teenager (22).

Who will form the next wave of young sluggers? Below, we identify the top power-hitting prospect in each organization, focusing on usable power (translatable into home run production) as opposed to simply raw power.

AL East

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays No. 1 (MLB No. 1)
The 19-year-old phenom is the best hitter in the Minor Leagues, and it's not even close. The truly amazing part, however, is that he hasn't even begun in earnest to tap into the enormous raw power he's shown flashes of at times in his career -- which says a lot considering he totaled 20 home runs and 26 doubles in 91 games while also hitting .381(!) this season between Double- and Triple-A.

Watch: Vlad Jr. crushes 2-run shot

Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Orioles No. 2 (MLB No. 63)
Mountcastle hit 13 home runs in Double-A this year after going deep 18 times and leading the Minors with 48 doubles in 2017. Much of that had to do with the fractured right hand that sidelined him until mid-May, as Mountcastle still showed plenty of raw power to the big part of the field as he has throughout his career. Because of a swing that features natural loft and remains in the zone for an extended period of time, it's easy to envision many of Mountcastle's doubles clearing the fence in future seasons.

Nate Lowe, 1B, Rays No. 13
One of the top breakout prospects of 2018, Lowe, a 13th-round pick in the 2016 Draft, produced a .330/.416/.568 line with an organizational-best 27 home runs as well as 32 doubles while ascending from Class A Advanced Charlotte to Triple-A Durham. With power that plays to all parts of the field, the 23-year-old first baseman could soon be hitting in the middle of Tampa Bay's big league lineup.

Bobby Dalbec, 3B, Red Sox No. 6
Dalbec bounced back from a hamate injury that ruined his first full pro season in 2017 to rank fourth in the Minors with 32 homers this season, as well as place second with 70 extra-base hits and 109 RBIs. A fourth-round pick from Arizona in 2016, Dalbec comes with swing-and-miss concerns, but his raw power has prompted comparisons to Kris Bryant.

Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees No. 2 (MLB No. 45)
Florial's bat speed and the loft in his left-handed swing give him plenty of raw power, though he's still figuring things out at the plate and homered just six times in 84 games while dealing with a hamate injury. Signed out of Haiti in 2015, he has two more well above-average tools in his speed and arm strength.

AL Central

Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians No. 7
The 22-year-old left-handed slugger connected on 27 home runs between Double- and Triple-A and has now totaled at least 23 long balls in each of his first four full seasons. Bradley's massive raw power comes paired with strikeout concerns as well as some inherent streakiness, but he also has a sound approach that portends even more consistent game power down the road.

Seuly Matias, OF, Royals No. 3
Matias' season came to a premature end when he severely cut his right thumb on the cargo door of the team bus while loading his luggage in mid-August, but he still led the Minors in homers per plate appearance (one every 12.1) and ranked sixth with 31 homers in just 94 games. Signed for $2.25 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, he also homered at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, where World manager David Ortiz likened him to a young Sammy Sosa.

Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers No. 6
He's led the Tigers organization in home runs in each of his three full seasons of pro ball, with at least 25 in each season and a high of 30 in 2016, his first full year after coming out of Tennessee. He improved his overall approach without sacrificing power in 2018, cutting his K rate but still hitting 25 long balls.

Brent Rooker, 1B, Twins No. 7
Rooker showed how advanced his bat is by reaching the Florida State League and hitting 18 homers in 62 games during his summer pro debut in 2017. He went straight to Double-A in 2018 and led the Twins with 22 home runs, 13 of which came during a torrid June and July.

Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox No. 1 (MLB No. 3)
The jewel of the White Sox's 2017 trade that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs, Jimenez is the closest rival to Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as the best offensive prospect in baseball. The Dominican battled pectoral and adductor strains in 2018 yet still set career highs in homers (22) and slugging (.577) while dominating Triple-A at age 21.

Watch: MiLB Video

AL West

Jo Adell, OF, Angels No. 1 (MLB No. 15)
His raw power has been on display since his high school days, when he hit 25 homers as a senior. Given some questions about his swing-and-miss tendencies, no one would have predicted he'd get to Double-A in his first full season of pro ball. He hit 20 homers in just 99 games along the way for a .543 slugging percentage.

Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros No. 1 (MLB No. 5)
Three picks after taking Alex Bregman with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, the Astros grabbed Tucker, who has a similarly lofty offensive ceiling. He led the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in slugging (.590) and OPS (.989) while recording his second straight 20-20 season.

Watch: Tucker's game-tying homer

Lazaro Armenteros, OF, Athletics No. 6
Lazarito's eight home runs in 79 games at Class A Beloit as a 19-year-old this past season don't accurately reflect his power potential. The Cuban product has a chiseled frame at 6 feet and182 pounds and already shows feel to hit, leading scouts to project him for a considerable uptick in power as he continues to develop and become better acclimated to pro ball.

Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners No. 1
Lingering effects from the severe knee injury Lewis suffered during his pro debut have kept him from making a true impact in either of his first two full-season campaigns. As a result, it's still easy to dream of the 2016 first-rounder eventually tapping the raw power he's long shown glimpses of. Joey Curletta was also considered after the 24-year-old first baseman went deep 23 times en route to Double-A Texas League Player of the Year honors.

Anderson Tejeda, SS, Rangers No. 10
Tejeda immediately began impressing scouts with his power when he made his U.S. debut in 2016, two years after signing out of the Dominican Republic, and launched 28 extra-base hits in 55 games. He continues to display uncommon pop for a middle infielder, ranking sixth in the high Class A Carolina League with 19 homers this season as one of its younger regulars (age 20).

NL East

Austin Riley, 3B, Braves No. 5 (MLB No. 43)
Riley's raw power has always been a known commodity. What's surprised some is how good he's been at making adjustments at the plate so he can consistently tap into it. He's hit 59 homers the past three seasons combined and despite missing time with injury, he posted a career high (for a full season) with his .522 SLG.

 Watch: Riley cranks solo homer

Monte Harrison, OF, Marlins No. 2
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder's power has blossomed in the last two seasons in the form of 21- and 19-homer campaigns, though it's come at the cost of a soaring strikeout rate and perpetuated concerns about his contact skills. At the same time, it's important to remember that the 23-year-old outfielder is still playing catch-up developmentally after a decorated multi-sport prep career followed by an injury-plagued start to his pro career.

Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets No. 2 (MLB No. 58)
Not only did Alonso tie for the Minor League lead with 36 homers (and lead the Minors outright with 119 RBIs), he's shown ridiculous exit velocity with home runs on big stages (113.6 mph at the Futures Game; 110 mph at the AFL's Fall Stars Game). Each blast knocks louder on the big league door.

Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals No. 2 (MLB No. 37)
The 2016 first-rounder impressed with his power potential in his first fully healthy season, connecting on 16 homers and 31 doubles in 123 games while reaching Double-A. Kieboom's uptick in power didn't detract from his hitting ability or approach either -- a big reason why evaluators forecast the 21-year-old shortstop to find even more power as he adjusts to upper-level pitching.

Darick Hall, 1B, Phillies
For two years running, the big first baseman has led the organization in homers (tying with Hoskins in 2017) and RBIs. He's hit 54 homers over those two seasons, reaching Double-A for the first time in 2018. An improved approach should let him tap into his power even more.

NL Central

Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers No. 1 (MLB No. 30)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a right-handed hitter with a more impactful right-handed swing and better bat-to-ball skills than Hiura, who slashed .293/.357/.464 with 52 extra-base hits in his first full season. Corey Ray and Jake Gatewood also have impressive power, however Hiura's consistent stroke and feel for using the big part of the field make him a better candidate to apply his power all the way up the ladder.

Watch: Hiura's 3-run blast

Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals No. 2 (MLB No. 73)
All Gorman did was lead all 2018 draftees with 17 homers in 63 total games that led to a .570 SLG and .950 OPS in his pro debut. The No. 19 overall pick out of the Arizona high school ranks was so impressive, he reached full-season ball and silenced some who worried about how his hit tool would play in pro ball.

Nelson Velazquez, OF, Cubs No. 21
Though Velazquez wasn't ready for full-season ball in his first full pro season, he still has the best power potential in the Cubs system and hinted at it by slugging .458 in the short-season Northwest League. A fifth-round pick as a Puerto Rico high schooler in 2017, he has a quick right-handed bat and a take-no-prisoners approach.

Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates No. 4
Others hit more home runs than he did in the Pirates system in 2018 (Will Craig topped it with 20), but the 6-foot-6 shortstop took a big step forward overall offensively and did hit 14 out as a teenager in the South Atlantic League. There is no question there's much more pop to come as he fills out that frame.

Ibandel Isabel, 1B, Reds
Isabel's power started showing up big time in 2016 when he slugged .579 and reached full-season ball with the Dodgers. He followed that up with a 28-homer breakout in 2017. The Reds acquired him last April and he finished with 36 home runs, tying for the Minor League lead, and has a career .513 SLG.

NL West

Kristian Robinson, OF, D-backs No. 12
He has a long way to go as a 17-year-old with just 222 career at-bats on his professional resume. But people talk about his raw power in hushed tones and it was on display during instructs more consistently. As he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame, his .428 slugging percentage will assuredly increase.

DJ Peters, OF, Dodgers No. 8
Peters has a long track record of power production, setting a Western Nevada CC home run record (16) in the program's final season in 2016; leading the Rookie-level Pioneer League in total bases (161) and OPS (1.052) in his pro debut that summer; topping the high Class A California League in extra-base hits (61) and slugging (.514) en route to MVP honors in 2017; and pacing the Double-A Texas League in homers (29), extra-base hits (55) and total bases (232) this summer. He derives his pop from impressive strength and leverage in his 6-foot-6 frame.

Chris Shaw, OF, Giants No. 4
The best college power hitter available in the 2015 Draft, Shaw led the Cape Cod League with eight homers the previous summer and the short-season Northwest League with 12 in his pro debut. The Boston College first-rounder has since mashed 69 homers in three full Minor League seasons, then smoked a Seunghwan Oh slider 468 feet for his first big league blast in September.

Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres No. 1 (MLB No. 2)
He became the first 18-year-old in Midwest League history to post at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2017, and would have posted another 20-20 season in Double-A at age 19 this past season if not for a season-ending thumb injury in late July. Tatis has already shown in-game power to all fields and has massive raw power to his pull side.

Watch: Tatis crushes leadoff homer

Brendan Rodgers, INF, Rockies No. 1 (MLB No. 9)
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Rodgers looks like the heir apparent to DJ LeMahieu at second base in Colorado. He has a knack for barreling balls and making loud contact, which has resulted in 57 homers and a .491 slugging percentage in 350 pro games.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Free-agent signings each team can be proud of

MLB.com @williamfleitch

With free-agency season hitting its stride, we've been looking at free agency in a historical sense over the last couple of weeks. Last week, we looked at some of the free-agent decisions teams would love to have back. But free agency isn't some sort of sunk money game. There are all sorts of great free-agent contracts that work out well for both player and team. That is, after all, what a good deal is supposed to be.

So, today we look at the best free-agent signings for each team this century. Some of these players are still on the team, some of them provided their teams tons of value in the past, some of them are just getting warmed up. Last year, teams were hesitant to jump into free agency. Here are some arguments from the past as to why they should.

With free-agency season hitting its stride, we've been looking at free agency in a historical sense over the last couple of weeks. Last week, we looked at some of the free-agent decisions teams would love to have back. But free agency isn't some sort of sunk money game. There are all sorts of great free-agent contracts that work out well for both player and team. That is, after all, what a good deal is supposed to be.

So, today we look at the best free-agent signings for each team this century. Some of these players are still on the team, some of them provided their teams tons of value in the past, some of them are just getting warmed up. Last year, teams were hesitant to jump into free agency. Here are some arguments from the past as to why they should.

Note: For each player, the year listed is the first season he played with the club after he signed the contract, even if he actually signed it the previous November or December.

AL EAST

Blue Jays: Russell Martin, five years, $82 million, 2015
Martin has battled injuries the last couple of years, but he was terrific at the beginning of his contract. The Canadian catcher was perfect fit for a Blue Jays team that leaped when its window was open and made it to the American League Championship Series in consecutive years, with Martin playing a big part.

Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen, three years, $11.3 million, 2012
Chen was perhaps the Orioles' most consistent pitcher for his four years in Baltimore, and Miami rewarded him with an even bigger contract when he left.

Rays: Carlos Pena, Minor League deal, 2007
Pena hit 46 homers for the Rays that year, and he was just as good when they re-signed him to a three-year, $24 million deal the next season -- the year Tampa Bay went to its lone World Series.

Red Sox: David Ortiz, one year, $1.25 million, 2003
Ortiz was only a free agent because the Twins released him, making this arguably the most fortuitous free-agent signing ever. Every contract the Red Sox signed him to after this one -- for much more money than he got in this deal -- was more than worth it for them as well.

Yankees: Hideki Matsui, three years, $21 million, 2003
"Godzilla" hit a total of 70 homers across the three-year span of his original deal with the Yankees. He'd later re-sign for four years, ending his career in New York by being named World Series MVP in 2009.

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Juan Gonzalez, one year, $10 million, 2001
This was JuanGone's last full season, and he finished fifth in MVP voting before going to Texas for the declining years of his career.

Royals: Edinson Volquez, two years, $20 million, 2015
Kendrys Morales was another option here, as both helped the Royals win that elusive World Series.

Tigers: Ivan Rodriguez, four years, $40 million, 2004
Both the Tigers and Rodriguez were widely criticized when he signed such a big deal with one of the worst teams in baseball. Two years later, they were both in the World Series.

Twins: Jim Thome, one year, $1.5 million, 2010
He came back for $3 million the next season, but he was outstanding in 2010, helping the team to the playoffs and looking like a natural fit in a Twins uniform.

White Sox: Jermaine Dye, two years, $10.15 million, 2005
Dye was the slugger the White Sox needed, and by the end of the deal, he had won a World Series MVP Award.

AL WEST

Angels: Vladimir Guerrero, five years, $70 million, 2004
This future Hall of Famer's contract, which came a couple of years after A-Rod signed for $252 million with Texas and Manny Ramirez signed for $160 million with Boston, looked like a bargain by comparison.

Astros: Roger Clemens, one year, $5 million, 2004
Clemens signed roughly the same deal with the Astros in 2005, which, according to ERA+, is the best year of his career.

Athletics: Bartolo Colon, one year, $3 million, 2013
Colon was 40 in 2013, when he put up the lowest ERA of his career (2.65).

Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, three years, $14 million, 2001
Technically, Ichiro was signed last century, but since he didn't play his first game until this one, we're counting him.

Rangers: Adrian Beltre, five years, $80 million, 2011
Beltre had just rebuilt his value in Boston on a one-year deal after a tumultuous five years in Seattle, and went on to become a legend in Texas and cementing his status as a future Hall of Famer.

NL EAST

Braves: Billy Wagner, one year, $7 million, 2010
Wagner's lowest ERA of his career (1.43) came in his final season, which he played in Atlanta.

Marlins: Ivan Rodriguez, one year, $10 million, 2003
Yep, Pudge is on here twice, and why not? He was the vocal leader of a World Series-winning team.

Mets: Carlos Beltran, seven years, $119 million, 2005
The only people not convinced of this are, of course, Mets fans. Per Baseball Reference's WAR, his two best seasons (and three of his best five) came in Queens.

Nationals: Max Scherzer, seven years, $210 million, 2015
Many teams were scared off by Scherzer's age and violent delivery. Suffice it to say, they wouldn't mind having him right now.

Phillies: Cliff Lee, five years, $120 million, 2011
People were scared off by Lee as well. But he was fantastic nearly every year he was in Philadelphia.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Lorenzo Cain, five years, $80 million, 2018
Is it too early to say this already feels like a steal? Maybe. But maybe not.

Cardinals: Matt Holliday, seven years, $120 million, 2010
The Cardinals parted ways with Holliday at the end of his deal, but he provided excess value to them essentially every year of the contract.

Cubs: Moises Alou, three years, $27 million, 2002
Jon Lester may yet trump this -- perhaps he already has -- but Alou helped get the Cubs to within a game of the Fall Classic in 2003, as close as they'd get before finally winning it all in '16.

Pirates: Russell Martin, two years, $17 million, 2013
The Pirates' postseason breakthrough happened the second year of this contract, and Martin was instrumental in making that happen. (Fun note: There are two guys featured twice in this piece, and both of them are catchers -- Martin and Pudge.)

Reds: Aroldis Chapman, six years, $30 million, 2010
Say what you will about the Reds, but they were in on Chapman first.

NL WEST

D-backs: Randy Johnson, four years, $52 million, 1999
The easiest pick on this whole list, obviously. Johnson won the NL Cy Young Award every single year of this deal, going a combined 81-27 with a 2.48 ERA and 1,417 strikeouts in 1,030 innings.

Dodgers: Derek Lowe, four years, $36 million, 2005
The veteran right-hander won 54 games for the Dodgers between 2005-08, never starting fewer than 32 games in a season during that stretch. Yasiel Puig is also in the running.

Giants: Ray Durham, three years, $20 million, 2003
Durham hit .286/.362/.451 during this deal, helping the Giants win 100 games in his first year in San Francisco. Barry Bonds would, of course, be the all-time answer, but the only free-agent deal he ever signed with the Giants came prior to the 1993 season, precluding him from qualifying here.

Padres: Joaquin Benoit, two years, $15 million, 2014
Benoit had been a closer the previous year for the Tigers, but the Padres used him as an all-purpose reliever, and he put up a 1.96 ERA over his two seasons in San Diego.

Rockies: Mark Reynolds, one year, $1.5 million, 2017
Reynolds signed a one-year deal with Colorado prior to the 2016 season and was serviceable. He then signed another one-year deal for the following season for less money, and the Rockies got 30 homers out of him on the way to earning a Wild Card spot.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.