Sunday, December 4, 2011

Three Free Agents Who Would Solidify Roster

Ryan Madson would be a good
choice to take over the closer role

As a relatively small market team, the Reds don't have the luxury of splurging on salaries. Unlike the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies or Cubs, they can ill afford to be handcuffed by outrageous contracts owed to players. One bad contract decision could set the franchise back for years, so naturally each contract decision made is done so with the utmost care -- with both short-term and long-term financial implications in mind.

But let's just pretend for fun the Major League Baseball landscape we currently live in is fair and balanced. Like the NBA and the NFL, teams are all the sudden given an equal amount of cash to spend on their roster (AKA - a salary cap/salary floor). No longer do small market teams have to build their clubs mainly through the draft and minor leagues only, but they can field a winning team through free agency as well. In this case, all 30 teams would be players in the free agent market, with none having more leverage than any other -- with the exception of playing time and/or the attractiveness of the city they play in.

With this in mind, here are three, current free agents the Redlegs could sign to solidify their roster needs (without regard for the price). Remember, none of these players are likely nor plausible, but it's still neat to dream right?

Need #1 - Starting Pitcher
Solution? C.J. Wilson
-Not only would Wilson provide Cincinnati with a dominant left-hander in the rotation, he would provide a lethal 1-2 punch to go alongside Johnny Cueto at the front-end. He's drawn comparisons to the Phillies' Cliff Lee, and at age 31, is likely entering the prime of his career over the next couple seasons. With Wilson in the fold, the Reds would be the unquestionable favorites to claim the NL Central crown. The real question would be, who would be the ace of the staff? Wilson or Cueto?

Need #2 - Closer
Solution? Ryan Madson
- With Jonathan Papelbon, Jonathan Broxton, and Heath Bell off the board, the next best option looks to be Madson. The 6'6" right-hander has proven to be a reliable closer in recent years. In fact, Madson has recorded an ERA of 2.89 over the past five seasons and posted a career-high in saves with 32 in 2011. And although he's performed well lately, it seems as though his best years are still ahead of him -- years that would be spent well in the Queen City. 

Need #3 - Left Fielder
Solution? Carlos Beltran
- Once considered a five-tool player by scouts, Beltran no longer possesses the speed or range he once did, but he can still rake. Through his 14-year big league career, the Puerto Rican native has averaged a .283 average, .361 on-base percentage, 28 homers, 105 runs batted in, and 36 doubles over the course of a 162-game season. Not only would he provide leadership in the clubhouse, but he'd provide the protection in the lineup Joey Votto so desperately needs. Oh, and having a switch-hitter in the order never hurts.

So there you have it. Three free agents who would solidify the Reds roster and perhaps make them the top contender for the NL pennant. Now if we can just convince Congress to loan the team some money, just as they did for others.

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