Thursday, November 3, 2011

Free Agency Begins, But Should Reds Play Ball?

We know the Reds needs. Another hammer of a starting pitcher, a closer, and anyone who can play the outfield that doesn't strike out more often than Dusty Baker bites through a toothpick. Left field would be the crying area of need, with third base and perhaps insurance at shortstop at the top of the list position fixes. Good Luck finding any of the above on the list of free agents that hit the market this week. In left field, the bin includes 39-year old Raul Ibanez, who made a mere 12 million dollars last season. I don't see the Reds going that route, and Ibanez appears to be the best of the lot. Others includes Cody Ross and Juan Rivera, not exactly what the Reds need. Third base, forget it. Absolutely nothing, unless Wilson Betemit is your guy. As for insurance at shortstop, how about Jose Reyes? Just kidding. He would solve a lot of issues, but Reyes will break the bank, a bank the Reds don't have. Jimmy Rollins is out of the price range as well. So it appears the best the Reds could do in free agency at shortstop is insurance for Zack Cozart. A guy like Clint Barmes would fill the bill, so would Yuniesky Betancourt. But they'll be looking for money and more playing time than the Reds have available. It's no better among the starting pitchers. With the Yankees keeping C.C. Sabathia off the market the pickings go from slim to none. The best available seem to be Erik Bedard, Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Paul Maholm, Roy Oswalt, and Rich Harden. Anyone see a hammer to team up with Cueto at the top of the rotation? Buehrle certainly has credentials, but I don't know if his stuff will work at Great American Ball Park. Hamilton High School grad Aaron Cook is out there. If healthy, his killer sinker is perfect for GABP. He might be worth a chance. Another sinkerballer on the market is Brandon Webb. But he spent an entire season with the Rangers trying to come back from shoulder woes, and it just didn't happen. It will still be worth a look at him before spring training to see if he's coming around. Long story short, the Reds are going to have to make deals to improve their club. That means anything can happen. Would they really deal Votto? I doubt it. Brandon Phillips? I doubt that too, although if they think Brandon or Joey are going to be impossible to sign, the Reds may have to do some serious soul-searching to fill their holes. It's not going to happen through free agency, whether they had money to blow or not.

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