11 years ago today the Reds traded Mike Cameron and their best homegrown pitcher between Tom Browning and Johnny Cueto for Ken Griffey Jr. I prefer to remember the excitement of this day above all other memories of him.
John Erardi has a nice piece on the decisions that Dusty Baker faces this season
He certainly earned some dap for his patience with young and struggling Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce last summer (not to mention the division title wOOt), but he will be closely scrutinized for the way he handles the SS and LF situations. Paul Janish is penciled in as the starter at SS, but Erardi reminds us of the John Vukovich story in 1975. Of course, Edgar Renteria isn't the substitute George Foster was, but it will be an interesting storyline nevertheless.
You are cordially invited to cozy up to your television
wrap yourself in your Reds/HH Gregg snuggie, and watch some Spring Training baseball. FS Ohio will be airing four ST games next month. I dropped my cable over a month ago and I haven't missed it at all until reading this just now.
Barry Larkin is headed to South Korea as an emissary of the state department
He will meet with North Korean defectors as an attempt to use baseball as a diplomatic tool. I think it's particularly wise to send a Red, as they are far more likely to relate to that than, say, a Yankee or a Texas Ranger.
Tony Paul (no relation to Janish) of the Detroit News (that's still a paper?) has a preview of the National League
He projects Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs to bat 1-2, Homer Bailey and Travis Wood to earn the #'s 4 and 5 rotation slots, and Devin Mesoraco to show up mid-season. Overall, he gives them a B- for the off-season.
Orlando Cabrera has signed a major league deal with the Indians
As we are all keenly aware, he is no longer a shortstop and will compete for the Tribe's 2B gig. He'll duke it out with destined utility man Jason Donald and faded prospect Luis Valbuena. Tribe fans everywhere are crossing their fingers extra-hard in hopes that top prospect Jason Kipnis will electrify everyone and take the job sooner rather than later. Either way, I'm sure we all wish Lando nothing but the best of...errr, well...thanks for...ummm...well, good-bye.
The Rangers avoided arbitration with Josh Hamilton and signed him to a 2-year, $24 mil deal
The deal buys out his final two arb years. Edinson Volquez is only going to make $1.6 mil this year, so at least we win in that respect.
News got around the internets yesterday that the Twins could be open to trading Francisco Liriano
It's rare that good, young, cost-controlled pitchers hit the market like this, but Liriano is the fourth such player this off-season. That's good news for us armchair baseball analysts because that means there is a fairly clear market set for these guys.
Zack Greinke, Matt Garza, and Shaun Marcum all were traded for roughly similar prospect packages so we can glean from that what it might take for our team to get Liriano. Dave Cameron says Shaun Marcum is the closest analog of this group, so we'll start there. The Blue Jays received Brett Lawrie from the Brewers in return for Marcum.
Cameron mentions that Lawrie was ranked #37 by Keith Law, but I like John Sickels list better. Sickels rates Lawrie as a B+ prospect, and the Reds have a plethora of those in Devin Mesoraco, Billy Hamilton, Yonder Alonso, and Yasmani Grandal. I think Lawrie is better than Alonso and Grandal, and he's far more advanced than Hamilton (Lawrie will start the season in AAA). So our best analog for Lawrie is Mesoraco. Would you be willing to trade him for Liriano, if, of course, the Reds can find the money for him? Is that a fair return?