When reports initially began to trickle in over the weekend that the Cincinnati Reds were showing interest in former Royal Jeff Francouer, I was convinced it was nothing more than mindless babble with zero credibility, some sort of murky rumblings misinterpreted by some intern covering for an entire media contingent still out on vacation for the holiday weekend.
Then MLBTradeRumors reported it, so I knew it had to be true.
As I dabbed my eyes with a Kleenex and attempted to find the batteries that had vanished upon being jettisoned from the remote control I'd thrown against the wall, I began to attempt to rationalize why anyone would consider such an idea something worth pursuing. There had to be some reason why one of the best run franchises in all of baseball would consider signing someone who has been characterized as the worst regular in all of baseball, the worst player in baseball, the owner of the worst.season.ever., and "sefish and deluded" for demanding more playing time.
There just had to be...and there is: because it doesn't really matter. Even if he's signed, he'll be shipped to Louisville or Pensacola to provide depth in the OF ranks since frankly, pun intended, the Reds minor league OF situation has been mediocre to poor all season. There's a reason Francouer's name was listed in the same breath as recently-released-by-the-Reds Joe Mather in one of the above links about being terrible.
So don't worry. Frenchy is not who Walt Jocketty is targeting as the impact bat to help dig the Reds out of the offensive doldrums they've seen in recent weeks. While we don't know, and we may not ever know who our GM is shopping for, we can read the tea leaves and provide new threads for you all to talk about cats, trains, and Allison Stokke. I began to look for the exact type of player I think Walt would like to target: someone young and established but not too expensive, someone from a franchise he's dealt with before, someone from a team that has depth from which to trade, someone who provides ability both on offense and on defense, someone who may be on a team that's stuck in last place and not going anywhere this season...
Someone, perhaps, that he's drafted before.
Someone like Colby Rasmus.
Rasmus, now 26, is a former Top 5 prospect who originally was drafted by Walt Jocketty and the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2005 draft. He broke into the majors in 2009 at the tender age of 22 and had a tumultuous ride in the Cardinals organization before famously feuding with Tony La Russa which, of course, led to his trade to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. He's a lefty, which may not be ideal, but he's a middle of the order bat (which is definitively needed in 2013) who can play above average CF (which may be definitively needed in 2014), and he's currently in his 2 year of arbitration eligibility (which means the Reds would have his rights for 2014). The Blue Jays currently have Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, and Rajai Davis as their other OFs, and they have Top 100 CF prospect Anthony Gose ready to take over.
Walt Jocketty clashed with the Cardinals organization at the end of his tenure and ultimately was sent on his merry way, and Colby Rasmus was, too. Is there anything to that? I don't know, but I do know that a lineup of Choo CF, Phillips 2B, Votto 1B, Bruce RF, Frazier 3B, Rasmus LF, Hanigan/Mesoraco C, Cozart SS, P would make me a very happy, even more optimistic Reds fan.
Think he'd like the chance to stick it to St. Louis down the stretch run? I do.