Like the dregs at the bottom of the coffee urn, we are reaching lower and lower into the depths of free agency. After watching useful pieces like Baldelli and Kotsay go off the market in the past few days, I am getting itchy for some action.
And unlike those coffee dregs, I think a few of these players could really help us and I am wondering why we aren't making more of a play toward signing them, bitter or not.
I am going to leave a couple of people out of the discussion -- Manny and Dunn -- mostly because I don't think the Reds have the stones to make an offer to Manny and Dunn deserves better than the way he was treated when he was here. In either event, it looks like Dunn is a divorce that won't get undone.
I am also going to set aside whether the person in question is a Type A, B, or otherwise free agent, because while I think draft picks are important, I am not at all certain that you can pass up a known quantity for an unknown quantity, especially if you can get that known quantity at a good price.
In no particular order...
1. Derek Lowe - when looking at how our pitching staff is constructed, it is rather shocking how slanted we are toward fly balls over ground balls. I think picking up 2 to 3 seasons of a ground ball pitcher the caliber of Lowe, while he would not come cheap (coughcoughBorascough), might be a really solid move that could give the Reds the strength to challenge for the division.
2. Ben Sheets - I think it is safe to say that whe he is healthy, Sheets is one of the top starters in the league. The fact that he has not signed, I think, means that a lot of clubs are being cautious and rightly so. But if the Reds could sign him to a short term deal, it would serve a lot of purposes -- not the least of which might be to allow him to reestablish his worth and stick it in the eye of the Brewers, which is never bad.
3. Orlando Hudson - is it time to move Brandon to short? If you could get a quality player like Orlando, wouldn't you have to think about it? Moving Brandon to short and putting Orlando at 2nd base does a couple of good things -- primarily, it moves Cherry into a super utility role, which is where I think he would be best suited -- I have to believe that last season was an outlier for him -- and it puts a more consistent bat in the lineup.
4. Joe Crede and Bobby Abreu - I am lumping them together because they both have rather significant issues, but they bring some interesting things to the table. For Crede, he obviously has an injury history, but if he is healthy and/or cheap, he can push EdE and create a real healthy competition. Abreu is old and his defense isn't great (but aren't we used to that already?) but he has a good bat if a short term deal can be worked out with him. The prices for corner outfielders are falling like the hopes for a short term economic recovery in Washington, so this is not out of the realm of possibility.
Plus, if you sign one or more of these players, it would definitely make other players available for trades that could dramatically affect the talent available to the club throughout the roster. For example, if Lowe and Sheets are in the rotation, I would think that Bronson might make an attractive acquisition target for a contendah looking for a 4/5.
I don't think that acquiring these guys puts a block in front of the top prospects in the system and would give Walt more freedom to recast the roster in his likeness. I think it improves the pitching and defense and upgrades the offense and bench.
So what's not to like? I have my flame-retardant underwear firmly in place. :)