Reviewing the Reds' Back Page Moves

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Sure, we all thrilled to the arrival of Shin-soo Choo, but the Reds also signed Kevin Whelan, who we can assume was in the Stone Temple Pilots at some point.

It's been another sneakily aggressive and financially creative off-season for Walt Jocketty and the Reds's front office. The Choo trade was the obvious headliner, alongside free agent deals to Jonathan Broxton, Ryan Ludwick and Jack Hannahan. All four of those guys - and almost certainly Choo trade companion Jason Donald - will be getting spots on the Opening Day roster.

The team also handed out minor league contracts to a bunch of other guys - most of which appear to be baseball players. The cynical fan scoffs at these names as has-beens or never-wases. But baseball is about perpetual hope.

One of them could be the next Melvin Nieves or even Steve Parris!

If I learned one thing from this it's that the Reds are an organization of extremes. I'm starting to think this is how Walt gets his jollies. In addition to the fastest fastball, fastest player and (close to) the heaviest player in the big leagues, the Reds now can boast the tallest professional baseball player and (probably) the heaviest player in the minors [ see below].

BK already wrote up the non-roster invites to spring training here. I've let his description speak for most of the guys on this list who are coming to big league camp.

November

Emmanuel Burriss, SS, Age 28 ('13) - invite to ST
When he was signed, there was some concern that Burriss was the plan for backing up Zack Cozart. Since then, the Reds have traded a short stop and acquired two more MLB-ready ones. I'm not sure exactly where that leaves Burriss, but he's no more than a call away to join the Reds' bench. He can't hit for any power and doesn't have much plate discipline, but he can play any position on the diamond. Wilson Valdez showed last season that there was at least some novelty value to that. Since he's a SS and, like Drew Stubbs, a first round pick in '06, it means we basically got Choo for free.

Mike Hessman, Corner Infield, 34
Hessman was drafted out of high school in 1996 by the Braves. Which means he played minor league ball with former Red Rob Bell. Hessman played in Japan during 2011, before returning to the States to play in the Astros organization.

Nevin Ashley, C, 28 - invite to ST
Ashley was drafted by the Rays, plays catcher and can take a pitch. As much as we all love Corky Miller, that might make him the third-string option.

Jeff Stevens, RHRP, 29
Basically everyone in camp can be tied back to a trade with the Indians in some way. Stevens was the Player to be Named Later who went to Cleveland in the Brandon Phillips trade.

Lee Hyde, LHRP, 28
Another former Brave who was playing in the upper minors in Atlanta's system at the same time as JJ Hoover and Todd Redmond. He may be a journeyman at this point, but he can miss some bats and throws lefthanded.

Wilkin de la Rosa, LHRP, 28 - invite to ST

Jose Diaz, RHRP, 29
Diaz has spent 10 seasons in the minors without so much as a cup of coffee, despite a career 2.97 ERA. This may have something to do with the fact that he's about 50 pounds heavier than Jonathan Broxton. "Jumbo" Diaz might be most notable for stealing third base last season in AAA game - one that featured a Joey Votto rehab start. More Reds-(Indianapolis) Indians synchronicity.

December

Jeff Marquez, 28, RHS/RP
Marquez was the 41st pick overall in 2004.

Derrick Robinson, 25, CF - invite to ST

Kevin Whelan, 29, RHRP
Whelan is an interesting case. He's posted Chapmanian K-rates in the minors and a more than respectable ERA, but he's never really found his control. As a righty, he doesn't have an opening in the big league bullpen, but he's better than just a seat-filler.

Corky Miller - invite to ST

Loek van Mil, 28, RHRP
More of a mythical figure than a baseball player. His full name is Ludovicus Jacobus Maria Van Mil, he's from the Netherlands, stands 7'1" and has a fastball that hits upper 90s. Those are enough reasons to find a way to add him to the roster in September.

Todd Redmond

January

Ray Chang, 29, SS/2B
Chang was on team China for the 2009 WBC - as the only Chinese-American - and is joining them again next Month.

Jakub Izold, 19, RHP
This was an under-the-radar international signing out Slovakia - which we can now call Eastern Europe's Cradle of baseball players. Izold is 6'3, around 200 pounds. It's hard not to call the Reds the titans of European scouting at this point.

Cesar Izturis, 33, SS
Izturis plays better defense than Wilson Valdez...

Nate Samson, 25, SS
Walt decided to replace Didi Gregorius by volume

Greg Reynolds, 27, RHSP
Surprisingly, he's the only Greg Reynolds to play major or minor league baseball in history. Reynolds joins Burriss as the second 2006 first rounder the Reds' have added this off-season - which, according to bad logic, means we won the Choo trade twice over. Not only that, but Reynolds was the second overall pick in 2006. Getting pedigree guys is the MO for a lot of minor league deals. While Reynolds has been thoroughly unimpressive, he might have a little upside if his stuff plays up as a reliever.

Jacob Constante, 19, LHSP
Part of the International Scouting Department's "Only Sign Jacobs" strategy, the Dominican lefty reportedly received a $700K bonus from the Reds. More on both he and Armando Galarraga here.

Yohan Pino, 29, RHSP
Venezuelan righty who, like Reynolds, may have some upside as a reliever.

Chad Reineke, 31, RHSP
The Defiance, OH, native and Miami grad has been with the Reds since 2010.

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