Determined to prove the slogan wrong
the Reds proved they have a bit of money and are talking to some people. They signed former Yankee farm hand and Moeller grad Andrew Brackman to a split contract, which basically means he'll make more money if he makes the big league team and a bit less money if he plays in Louisville.
I really like this move for the Reds. Brackman has had control issues and injury issues (likely related) in the past, but has been a prized prospect since being drafted in the first round in '07. He was ranked as the #78 prospect in all of baseball just last winter, so it's not like he's a total wash-up. This is basically a no-risk, high-reward move for the Reds, as Brackman has ace-reliever potential if he can stay healthy and hit the strike zone. If he can't, well, then no harm done. These are exactly the kind of moves that good teams make to build a bullpen. Right on, Walt.
andromache is dreaming of that illusive ace pitcher
and even augmented a popular song to channel those wishes. Here's my favorite bit, but you should definitely check out the whole thing:
Mr. Sandman, bring us an ace
Before our season becomes a disgrace
Whether from Texas, Havana, or Tokyo
If he’s got a decent groundball ratio
Blog Red Machine takes a look at the market of recently non-tendered players
and finds Luke Scott, Joe Saunders, and Paul Maholm at least interesting enough to discuss. Scott is an interesting guy (in more ways than one) in that he's an average LF defensively-speaking and a good bat. His career wOBA is a healthy .360. The Reds won't sign him though because 1) he hits lefty and 2) he'll likely get a contract north of $6 mil, or even a multi-year deal.
Joe Saunders? Yuck.
Paul Maholm is a decent lefty who gets ground balls and is stingy with the walks. He's a pitch-to-contact kinda guy who could benefit from having the Reds' infield defense behind him, but he too will likely get a contract similar to Scott. And just like Scott, he doesn't represent enough of an upgrade over the current stable of in-house players the Reds have to warrant spending that kind of money.
HardBallTalk has a nice breakdown of every team's non-tendered players
It's slim pickins, as you'd expect, but still a helpful list of players recently made available.
In case you missed it
the Phillies signed Dontrelle Willis to a one-year deal worth about $1 mil, plus incentives. He'll pitch out of the Philly bullpen, which is exactly what I wanted him to do for the Reds. There is no knowing whether or not the Reds offered Willis a similar opportunity, but dang. I think he could have been a pretty good pick up.
Redleg Nation questions the Reds' hypothetical interest in recently non-tendered infielder Ryan Theriot
He does present an all too familiar dilemma. The Reds need a back up SS for the upcoming season, there is no debating that. But with Zack Cozart penciled in as the starter, with all the questions and uncertainties he presents, any back up the Reds may sign is bound to be fairly close to Cozart in terms of value/ability/projection/and so on.
Now, I really like Cozart. He probably won't be an All-Star, but I'm pretty confident that he'll end up being an above average SS for the next few years. But he is coming off of major arm surgery and he only has a handful of Major League PAs, so if he struggles out of the gate, there may be strong temptation to replace him. And given Dusty's (warranted or unwarranted) reputation for deference to veterans, Theriot may be just the kind of player who could get 400 PAs next year. I get the sense that the organization is confident in Cozart and will give him every chance to succeed, but I'm worried a player like Theriot could change Dusty's mind real quick. I don't know. I don't think I'm being totally rational about this, but it still worries me.
Joey Votto (along with John Axford) won the Tip O'Neill Award this year
which is given out to the baseball player who best exemplifies the spirit of drunken Irish politicians (non-Kennedy division). Or something like that.
Hall o' Famer Hal wants his MVP ballot back
He voted Ryan Braun #1 and Matt Kemp #2. In light of Braun's supposed positive test for a banned substance, Hal wants to change his vote. I understand I'm of the minority opinion when it comes to this kind of thing, and for a variety of reasons, most of which aren't particularly germane to this piece.
But one that is applicable is the wretched sanctimony of guys like Hal. He even says that Braun is appealing and that he'll wait to see what happens. And even if he is suspended, the BBWAA can't do anything about it. But Hal still wants his ballot back. It's a matter of honor or pride or whatever nebulous idealism you want to call it. It's the same bullshit that is making Jeff Bagwell's Hall of Fame bid so contentious. There are plenty of players who did plenty of things (and as the Braun case illustrates, may still be doing plenty of things) that are worth our scrutiny. But this witch hunt to black ball anyone and everyone who you may suspect did something you might find disagreeable is just...well...it's just plain un-American. Innocent until proven guilty and all that.
Albert Pujols’ wife says Cardinals fans are being ‘deceived’
I only added this to the Reposter to say that I could not care any less about this than I already do. Smell ya later, Pujols.