Mark Sheldon of Reds.com thinks the Reds will be busy in Orlando at the Winter Meetings. As Mark dutifully notes, much of the groundwork for the major December trades that resulted in Mat Latos and Shin-Soo Choo (and Jason Donald!) becoming Cincinnati Reds in 2011 and 2012, respectively, was generated at the Winter Meetings, and while there may not necessarily be anything concrete that emerges during the meetings themselves, rest assure that Walt's alarm clock won't let him nap all the way through.
Sheldon also touched base with Billy Hamilton, who appears poised to be a big-league contributor in 2014. Either this is a major case of the Reds putting on a front so that other teams underestimate their movements within the markets, or it's becoming increasingly apparent that Billy is going to be a major portion of the Reds beginning with this upcoming season. Sure, it could be a very public admission that they played their cards rather poorly in terms of estimating the OF market, but it could also be that they've got other moves in mind and are just propping up the confidence of one of the top prospects in all of baseball. I'd venture a guess that having Billy as the opening day CF and leadoff hitter is the Reds' plan B, but it's a plan B they're becoming increasingly more comfortable with given the options. Still, I expect them to pursue an additional OF for 2014.
Former Reds Dave Concepcion and Dave Parker missed out on being elected to the baseball Hall of Fame. While the Daves were omitted by the Expansion Era Committee, former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa were all announced as inductees. While players must be retired for 5 years before being included on HoF ballots, there's an 'old guys' clause for managers that allows them to be included on ballots if they're over 65 years old (along with a few other minor stipulations), and that's how La Russa and Torre made the list. It also appears that the same voters who keep guys like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Pete Rose out of the HoF due to their various and sundry connections with steroids, perjury, and gambling, generally are willing to ignore connections to steroids, domestic violence, and intoxicated driving when it comes to the men paid to be in charge of teams. Right. Got it. Better luck to the Daves next year.
Also excluded from HoF inclusion was Marvin Miller...again, and Craig Calcaterra is rightfully incensed. Miller was, of course, the leader of the MLBPA from 1966-1982, and it was during his leadership that the power of the game was basically flipped from ownership to the players. Free Agency showed up during Miller's tenure, as did skyrocketing salaries for the players themselves. Miller's impact in defining the current state of the game seems blatantly impossible to ignore, yet somehow those tasked with controlling 'membership' into the HoF continue to ignore it. As was noted by Calcaterra on Twitter, it's rather timely that the HoF announcement was held during the Winter Meetings, an event nobody would care about at all if there wasn't Free Agency.
The Reds let Bronson Arroyo walk away this offseason, but they just might see him often in 2014 anyway. Yes, it seems that the Pittsburgh Pirates have an interest in Arroyo, thought it also appears they have yet to make a forrmal offer to him. The Reds' division rivals do have an A.J. Burnett-sized veteranny hole in the middle of their rotation, one that Arroyo could likely replace, but there's no guarantee at all that the Pirates have the kind of funds that Arroyo is looking for; in fact, if they were to dole out the kind of money Arroyo has reportedly been searching for, he'd surpass Russell Martin as their largest free agent signing ever. I'm not so certain that a 37 year old soft-tosser is what the Pirates have in mind for their biggest all-time splash, but there's no denying he'd fit well with their defense and spacious home ballpark. Please sign him, Twins.
Roy Halladay announced this morning that he'll sign a 1-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and then retire. Doc's a no-brainer HoFer according to most any person with a brain and at least one functioning eyeball, and while it's always sad to see a person's career end due to injuries rather than of their own admission, Doc can at least hang up his spikes knowing he dominated baseball for a decade the way few other pitchers have. His 2001-2011 level of dominance was remarkable, and Doc finished in the Top 5 of Cy Young voting a rather amazing 7 times (including 2 victories). Reds fans, of course, will always remember him with affinity: