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Balfour, and Menechino, and Torrealba, oh my! Also Hanigan.

So here is what I'm thinking happened.  Dan O'Brien went into the offseason thinking "we need a second baseman".  He's gotten a couple, but for some reason he's still in acquire second basemen mode, and he won't stop until someone flips his switch to off.  

Sorry, I've got nothing:

Enter Grant Balfour.

The Reds signed the right-handed Balfour, who missed all of 2005 after having Tommy John surgery performed on his throwing elbow, to a one-year contract Thursday with the hope he'll rejuvenate his career in Cincinnati.

A corresponding move to clear up room for Balfour on the 40-man roster will be announced when terms of Balfour's contract are confirmed.

In other news, the club signed infielder Frank Menechino and catchers Steve Torrealba and Ryan Hanigan to Minor League contracts with invites to Spring Training camp and named Gene Kerns a professional scout.

Balfour is a good pickup.  He likely won't pitch this year, but the Reds will control his rights for the next four seasons.  Since he's already proven that he can strikeout more than a batter per inning at the AAA/ML level I think he's a good risk.  It is a big risk though, because he's recovering from an assortment of surgeries:

Grant Balfour had his rotator cuff and labrum repaired via scope. This is on top of his Tommy John surgery. There's no comps for this

So that kinda sucks, but whatever.

Torrealba and Hanigan are just AA/AAA catching fodder, but it's at least possible that we'll actually see Frank Menechino in a Reds uniform this season.  He's really, really good at getting on base which is nice, but that's about all he has to offer.  He's better than Tony Womack, but he'll almost certainly play less (if he even makes the team). Go figure.

Speaking of Tony Womack, let's run down the Reds second basemen at this point:

Ryan Freel
Rich Aurilia
Ray Olmedo
William Bergolla

I'm not counting Anderson Machado or Aaron Holbert, but it should be noted that they've also both played second at the major league level.

Insanity.  You have to think something is coming with Ryan Freel, be it a trade or a DFA or something. I can't think of another reason why DanO would be stockpiling crappy utility infielders at this rate. Maybe it's best not to try to figure it out.

I really can't wait until this is all over.

The Reds also DFA'd Josh Hancock, which I think is a good move.  He'll probably be back though, as he's in the Anderson Machado/Jason Romano mold of DanO favorites.