Hey idiots, your old friend Fred is back again. I know what you are thinking, though: "Hey Fred! It's the offseason! Why aren't you sipping rum cocktails on the shores of Key West?!" Well, ol' Fred is just a short ways from retirement, and any and all vacation time spent now is just delaying the sweet release. And the bums here at SBNation only offer so much PTO to begin with and I used it all up earlier this year when I took the old lady on vacation to Rochester. Nice town. I liked that their Applebee's was cheaper than the one we have here.
But we are here to talk Reds. Walt Jocketty went and did all the work he needed to do already. What's the rush, Walt? The Reds re-signed Ryan Ludwick and Johnathan Buxton, traded for Shin Soochoo, and finally got rid of Drew Stubbs. So let's rate these moves one-on-one:
Re-signed Ryan Ludwick FOUR STARS **** I love this move for the Reds. Ludwick is a stud and a team-leader. When Joey Votto got hurt, Ludwick was the one who stepped up to lead the team. Without him, the Reds are probably a sub-.500 team last year. $15 million is a steal of a bargain for a team MVP.
Re-signed Johnathan Buxton D+ I don't like this move for the Reds. It looks like the plan is to move the Cuban Missile to the starting rotation with Buxton taking over as the closer. Big mistake. Like my father always taught me, "Only fix it if you think it's broken." Chapman at closer was not broken, as he was probably the best closer in the league last year. I like Buxton, but he's no Cuban Missile. This Cuban Missile is an ICBM - "In Closing Baseball Moments".
Traded for Shin Soochoo thumbs up All abroad! This Choo-Choo train is no caboose, as he'll be at the front of the Reds' lineup.
Traded away Drew Stubbs $$$$$ This is one of the best trades I've seen the Reds pull off in all my years covering the Reds. Just like the famous Joe Morgan trade, this is addition by subtraction. Stubbs was a square peg, a guy with great talent who was playing much better competition. He's a nice guy for sure, and I hope he figures it out in Arizona. But the Reds are better without him.
Now, on to your emails:
Dear Fred, did you get to go to Redsfest? I saw a number of Red Reporter's representatives at the event, but I didn't see you. - Cincinnati Jon
Hi Jon. I did get to go to Redsfest this year. You probably didn't see me though because I'm not like all of these idiots who narrate their every waking moment on the internet. It was a good time though, as it usually is. The crowd was much easier to manage this year and I got to sit down with a few old friends and have a few drinks. Jim O'Toole has some good stories about him and Stan Musial at a gentleman's club in Cleveland during the '63 All-Star game. I promised not to repeat them, though. You'll have to ask him.
Fred, the Blue Jays just traded their best catching prospect for Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Do you think the Reds should have offered up Devin Mesoraco for him? - Crum in Grove City
Crum, you are brilliant. If I were running things, I'd do that deal in a heartbeat. As far as I'm concerned, Mesoraco is still a prospect. Anytime you can flip prospects for a Cy Young winner, I think you do it. I would rather have had the Reds get James Shields, though. Big Man James is a winner, plain and simple. I like Dickey, but I don't trust screwballers. Shields is a proven ace, and I think the Reds would have been better to get him than to try the Cuban Missile in the rotation.