I think the rumor is officially dead
but for the extremely cautious among you, Jon Heyman pokes it with a stick to make sure. "While it's easy to see Cincinnati being in the same situation as Milwaukee with Fielder two years from now, the Reds aren't showing any sign of shopping of Votto, the 2010 NL MVP. One person with ties to the team there' s "not a chance'' they shop him. That person acknowledged teams may make offers, and it's true the Reds have a natural replacement in Yonder Alfonso in tow. The Blue Jays, Votto's hometown team, would surely be interested, as would many others. But teams generally don't trade 20-something stars like this."
That last line is jarringly obvious. When a rumor like this gets as much traction as this one has over the past few months, it can start to frazzle your common sense. Somewhere deep inside we all knew that the Reds absolutely were not trading Votto this winter, but when you hear something enough times it starts to shift your paradigm. Also, he doesn't know Yonder Alonso's name. Yeesh. It took me three seconds to check B-Ref for that.
I think the Reds should re-sign Dontrelle Willis
and use him out of the 'pen as the lefty specialist. This seems a logical answer to the question, as Aroldis Chapman seems likely to move to the rotation with Billy Bray taking over his spot as the top lefty in the 'pen. And with Bray's lefty specialist spot vacated, Dontrelle seems the best option.
Check it: "Willis held lefties to a .123 AVG with the Reds. He struck out lefties 33.3% of the time and only walked them in 3.3% of the plate appearances. That translated into a 1.97 FIP against lefties in 2011 as a starting pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds. Furthermore, left-handed hitters only managed to hit .222 against him in Triple-A in 2011 — so that helps mitigate the concerns about the small sample size of 75.2 innings."
Them's top numbers. A few issues, of course. One, Dontrelle is a free agent, so the Reds would need to sign him. What kind of contract could he fetch? $1 or 2 mil guaranteed, with an option for 2013? Also, he would need to be used correctly in the 'pen. For all of Dusty's strengths, bullpen usage does not seem to be one of them. The temptation to keep Dontrelle as a long reliever or use him against multiple righties might be too strong. But I gotta say, Dontrelle as LOOGy is an interesting idea, and definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Now that the Reds have declined their option for Francisco Cordero
Fay speculates that they could check the free agent market for a closer. Which leads us to...
Ken Davidoff's free agency predictions
This had not occurred to me, dude. Davidoff predicts that the Reds will pass over Cordero and sign another free agent Francisco, Rodriguez. He predicts three years and $38 mil for K-Rod, which just seems silly on it's face. Then it got me thinking: what if the Reds did pay for another big-money closer? As expensive and (some might say) over-paid as Coco was, you can't really call that contract a bad one. And K-Rod is younger (he's not yet 30). And, perhaps most importantly, it would nail down the closer spot for a few years, removing the temptation to move Aroldis Chapman into the closer spot and let him blossom as a staff ace. Of course, Davidoff also predicts the Reds will give Ramon Hernandez two years and $12 mil, so who knows.
More free agency predictions
this time from MLBTradeRumors. Tim thinks the Reds will sign pair of outfielders, Josh Willingham (hmmm, maybe) and Juan Pierre (baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarf).
Baseball is doing the Gold Gloves a little differently this year
announcing finalists preceding the award show tonight. Three Reds are among the finalists at their respective positions, and given their competition, look to be favorites to win. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce all look better than their given competition, but of course that hasn't stopped the Gold Glove Givers from getting it wrong in the past. I think it's on ESPN2 or something.
Q Do you envision a Super Bowl setup for the World Series, where the games are played in a predetermined warm-weather venue like California or Florida? — Randy, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
A Never, never, never. The Super Bowl is one game. The World Series can go seven games and they might have trouble filling the stadium seven times in a neutral venue. I would never want to take away the fan hysteria that we saw in Arlington and St. Louis this year. Do you think that when the Chicago Cubs finally make the World Series again, in 2076, that their fans want to watch on TV while their Cubbies are losing in four games in Los Angeles?
This could get a little crazy
so bear with me. Buried in this piece on MLB.com regarding CC Sabathia's contract situation is this tiny little nugget: "Would anyone bite on a trade for (AJ) Burnett?" A million people read this and thought nothing of it. But then there was me.
So first off, we must speculate on just how willing the Yankees are to trade Burnett. Answer: we don't know. But let's assume they are pretty eager to unload some of the $33 mil they owe him over the next two years. How much money would the Yankees be willing to eat in this hypothetical scenario? Let's say - hypothetically, of course - that they would be willing to eat a good deal of it. Like, $23 mil. Would it be worth it for the Reds to send a C-grade prospect to the Yankees in return for Burnett?
Well, I think so. Checking over his stats, he's actually been a decent pitcher over the last few years. He strikes out a little over 8 per 9 and walks under 4 per 9. He rolled up a nearly 50% GB rate this past season and his SIERA suggests he's about an average starter. His one problem, especially this year, was home runs. He gave up 31 dingers in 190 innings, which is bad. But, like our very own gopher giver-upper, those numbers should regress. For Burnett, switching from the AL East to the NL Central could be the key to awakening that erstwhile 5-WAR pitcher he appears to be every few years. Hypothetically, the Reds could engineer a bad contract swap with the Yanks and get Burnett for Arroyo. Call me crazy...