I guess John Fay got himself some new drumsticks for Christmas
because he's bangin' his favorite drum harder than ever. He laments the loss of Arthur Rhodes to the Rangers as a function of that old gray mare, the team's budget constraints. While I'm not dismissing out of hand his view of the situation, I think it is a bit more complicated than he's making it.
The Rangers are going to pay the Colossus $4 mil next season. That is a lot of bones for a 41-year-old situational reliever, even one as bad ass as this particular brother trucker. So while it may be true that the Reds don't have $4 mil to spend, it's also true that spending that kind of money on a guy that is as expendable as Rhodes is probably not the most prudent thing to do. The team has more pressing needs than left-handed bullpen help, like an upgrade in LF. Not to mention just how volatile relievers can be. Paying relievers big money is almost always a bad idea. I'm pretty confident someone like Dontrelle Willis, Philippe Valliquette, Daniel Ray Herrera, or Aroldis Chapman can step in his place just fine.
So now that the Reds have a bit of cash to spend
(probably somewhere between $3 and 5 mil), what should they do with it? Blog Red Machine has a list of prospective targets, starting with Scott Podsednik. The idea is that he and Jonny Gomes are polar opposites skill-wise, so they could make a nice platoon complementing each other well. While I agree that Scotty Pods and Gomer are very different players, neither of them are really all that good. Creating a platoon of bad players is just as bad as playing a single bad player. Pods' defense isn't good enough to make up for his total lack of power and while his OBP isn't awful, it is almost completely dependent on his speed. And he's getting to be an old man, so that speed won't be around much longer. I pass.
The other players BRM mentions are Edgar Renteria (yawn), David Aardsma (huh?), Laynce Nix (again?), and Jerry Hairston Jr (again?). Aardsma is a strange addition to the list, as the one thing the Reds don't need is an expensive live-armed right-handed reliever. The more I think about it though, Nix is a far better option than Pods. As our LF options are dwindling, he's increasingly becoming one of the most attractive candidates remaining on the market. We know who he is (decent power, good defense, poor OBP skills) so that level of familiarity makes him a bit more attractive than Pods in my mind. He'd likely be cheaper than Pods, too.
Another guy that intrigues me mildly (mild intrigue is about the most titillation we'll get this offseason) is Brad Penny. Much like Brandon Webb, he's coming off an injury-plagued season and is likely willing to take an incentive-laden deal with a low base salary. He's had his share of injuries throughout his career and has worked two straight years on show-me contracts, but when healthy he's shown he can be a solid #2 starter. His K/BB rates are good and his GB% is good, and, if he stays healthy, he's probably good for a FIP in the high 3's. He'll be 33 next May, so he's probably got a few good years left in him, again, if he stays healthy. He made $7.5 mil last season pitching two months for the Cardinals, but as long as his back is healthy (again, if he stays healthy) I think he could sign for $2-3 mil or so. Getting him could facilitate a trade of some of our pitching depth for more pressing needs. I dunno. It's something to get mildly excited about, I guess.
Doug Gray reviews the season of 2B prospect Henry Rodriguez
Hank-Rod put up some impressive numbers in Dayton this year, slashing .307/.337/.473. The relatively low OBP is a concern, as he didn't walk but 22 times all season, but he also didn't strike out at an alarming rate, either. He smacked 37 doubles and swiped 33 bases, so he has some nice wheels to compliment his power. He kind of reminds me of Brandon Phillips, without the sterling defensive reputation. He seems good enough at 2B, but he may end up moving down the defensive spectrum as he moves up. Nice kid, though.
I'm dreaming of a Red Christmas
That Mr. Redlegs tree-topper is creeping the hell out of me.