Thursday, January 2, 2014

On this day in Reds history: Free agent Eric Davis returns to Cincinnati

The following is an excerpt taken from Redleg Journal:

January 2, 1996 - The Reds sign Eric Davis and Jeff Shaw to free agent contracts.

The signing of Davis was a stunner. He sat out the entire 1995 season, and had a .229 batting average in 333 big league games since injuring his kidney during the 1990 World Series. The rest did Davis a world of good, as he batted .287 with 26 homers and an OPS of .917 for the Reds in 1996. The signing of Shaw attracted almost no attention, but proved to be a tremendous acquisition. When Shaw arrived in Cincinnati, he had an 11-25 lifetime record and a 4.50 career ERA. In three seasons with the Reds, he was 14-12 with 69 saves and an ERA of 2.31. 

Following his bounceback season, the Reds granted the 34-year-old Davis his release at the conclusion of the season. Two months later, he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He would go on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1999-2000 and the San Francisco Giants in 2001 before calling it quits at the age of 39. All in all, the Los Angeles native spent 17 years in the major leagues, nine of which came as a member of the Reds. "Eric the Red" currently works in Cincinnati's front office.

As for Shaw, one could make a strong case that his best seasons as a big leaguer came during the two and a half seasons he spent in a Reds uniform. On July 4, Cincinnati parted ways with the right-hander by shipping him to the Los Angeles Dodges in exchange for Paul Konerko and Dennys Reyes.

Konerko's time with the Reds was short and sweet (26 games to be exact) as the club saw prospect Sean Casey as the successor at first base, instead. Just five months removed from acquiring Konerko, the Reds traded him to the Chicago White Sox for Mike Cameron, who would be traded by the Reds himself after just one season as part of the infamous Ken Griffey Jr. deal. Meanwhile, Konerko has carved out a borderline Hall of Fame career while starring for the White Sox.

Reyes became the go-to southpaw in the bullpen for the Reds over the next four seasons. The Mexico native posted a 4.39 ERA in 170 appearances over that span. In Dec. 2001, the Reds dealt Reyes along with second basemen Pokey Reese to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Luke Hudson and Gabe White.

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