Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What will be the Reds next move?

Which way will the Reds go next?
Mat Latos. Check. Sean Marshall. Check. That leaves closer, left field, and a veteran infielder/bench help. So what will be the Redlegs' next move? Well it seems to be widely agreed that the above order are how the Redlegs have prioritized their remaining needs, however there just aren't that many quality names left to fill those voids, which may somewhat dictate what happens next. In my opinion, it will be either resigning Francisco Cordero, or bringing in a veteran IF. "Why", you ask?

With the recent Cincinnati trades and Andrew Bailey being traded to the Red Sox, the only viable outside options for closer are Cordero and Ryan Madson. Madson (31 years old, 32 saves, 2.37 ERA) is too rich for the Reds' blood considering he's younger and had just about as good a season as Cordero (37 yo, 37 sv, 2.45 ERA). It had at one time been reported that Madson was on the verge of finalizing a four year, $44 million contract to return to the Phillies, until the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a 4 year, $50 million contract. Of course being a Scott Boras client, now Madson, or rather Boras, is looking to get something in the same range. Whether or not that's feasible this late in the game is debatable, but what's not debatable is that usually Boras' big name free agents get something pretty close to what they want. So in the Reds' interests, they'd rather give a one year contract in the neighborhood of seven million to Cordero, a guy they are comfortable with, than commit $11-12 million over the next four years to Madson. They'd also rather use an internal candidate than that. Can you say Bill Bray or Sean Marshall? Don't forget that Aroldis Chapman could always be a darkhorse if the whole starter thing doesn't work out.

As far as the outfield goes, there's just not anyone out there worth signing for the Reds who could be considered a valid candidate to fill the hole in LF. The highest rated outfield left, according to ESPN, is Coco Crisp, who is reportedly returning the the Athletics as of this morning. The next guys on the list are guys like Cody Ross and JD Drew. No thanks. The name of Ross has been thrown around a bit during the offseason, but it seems he is just demanding too much for what he will give you in return. If the Reds want to try and sign someone from the remaining list, to fill out the bench, that would be just fine, but please don't overpay, thinking that one of the remaining free agent outfielders is an answer in left. If you can get a guy like Ryan Ludwick or someone fairly cheap, then go for it. Chris Heisey deserves a shot at the full time gig, and most Reds fans would probably be okay with that. Maybe Denis Phipps will show more flashes of brilliance in Louisville this year, and be the solution to all of the left field problems currently plaguing the Reds. That'd be nice.

Then there's shortstop. The Reds aren't looking for someone to plug in there. The team is putting its eggs in the Zack Cozart basket, which is just fine. He looked great in limited time, and let's be honest. Could it be any worse than what Paul Janish and Edgar Renteria combined to do last year? I think not. However, insurance is always a good idea. As much as I hate to say it, Ryan Theriot seems to be a great fit here, as a versatile guy who can play the infield. There have been some alleged talks with him but nothing serious yet. There are a plethora of other names who could potentially fit as a back up SS/IF who would also be cheap for the Reds to sign.

Being that there aren't any good left field candidates out there and the Reds don't really have much money, my opinion is that the next move will be the resigning of Francisco Cordero to a one year deal with a team option for a second year. Coco hurt himself a little by not accepting the Reds' first offer which was something like two years at about seven million a piece. The comfort level between the Reds and Cordero should be a huge factor in this deal. That will then be followed up by the signing of a veteran infielder, and lastly an outfield bat who can help a little in left and basically fill up a spot on the bench.

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