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In the New Year

It's 2012 (again?) which means it's finally time to throw out that Red Report Snark Remark-a-Day calendar and begin looking forward, in earnest, not only to the likely enshrinement of Barry Larkin into the Hall of Fame of January 9th, but also:

  • The Reds Winter Caravan (January 26-29)
  • The settlement of arbitrations by the end of the month, in advance of February's hearings (the Reds have not gone to hearing since 2004 with Chris Reitsma)
  • Voluntary Spring Training report for pitchers and Catchers on February 24th
On the hot stove front, the Reds best (or most newsworthy) work might be behind them. I'd be happy if the Reds got a reliever - not necessarily Ryan Madson - some affordable outfield depth and called it a day. But judging by Walt's most recent comments, the team is prioritizing an outfield bat and might be content to get Cordero back on a one-year contract.

It's perfectly defensible to pass on Carlos Quentin, even at the cut-rate negotiated by the Padres, but the options are starting to dwindle out there. Andruw Jones re-signed with the Yankees, while there simply might not be a stomach in the Reds front office to cast off any more prospects for any of the remaining outfielders on the trading block.

Cody Ross and Cordero in the fold sometime before early February would be reasonable forecasts, especially if you fear Boras (agent to Ryan Madson) even in a weak market. There's probably a back-up shortstop somewhere in there too, but if it's not Ryan Theriot, it's just as likely to be someone already in the system. I also expect Walt to hammer out an extension for Phillips with the same doggedness as last year's round of contracts.

Any consequential move before Opening Day that's not getting Cordero, Ross, Theriot and Phillips under contract will be at least a mild surprise. What do you say?