The San Diego Padres traded for Justin Upton.
Just when you thought the Padres already had ample corner OF depth thanks to having Seth Smith and Carlos Quentin already under contract and the recent acquisitions of Wil Myers & Matt Kemp, respectively, the Friars went out and picked up Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves this morning to add to their oddly positioned, talented OF glut. For one, this means either Kemp or Myers may end up playing CF (rendering Cameron Maybin's defense and contract expendable), and also that Smith, Quentin, Will Venable, and Rymer Liriano may all be available on the trade market. So while A.J. Preller and the San Diego front office have been busy acquiring star-caliber OFs, that means their average-caliber OFs may still be on the market, which is both decent and disappointing news for Cincinnati Reds fans. Basically, it means one fewer bat that could've potentially been a serious upgrade is off the market, but that two to three additional warm bodies that may actually not be completely awful may have been added to the available pool of LF targets. By my count, this now leaves the Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers (still), and San Diego Padres as the teams with the biggest OF gluts with assets that match the Reds' needs, so there's still a chance that Yorman Rodriguez won't have to be the everday LF in Cincy in 2015. Add the salary-shedding Tampa Bay Rays to the list, and there are still options out there, albeit ones dwindling more and more by the day/trade.
What the hell...go get Carlos Gonzalez already, Walt. Funny money doesn't mean a thing anymore, anyway.
Former Padre, nee Ray, nee Red Ryan Hanigan is on his way to Boston for Will Middlebrooks, apparently.
Preller and the Padres have now flipped more catchers in a week than Pete Rose did in an All Star game, as Hanigan gets added to the swapped-out list next to Rene Rivera and Yasmani Grandal, and the formerly hyped Middlebrooks will get a fresh start in San Diego in their vacant 3B spot. If you're having a difficult time keeping up with all of this Padres noise, you're not alone, as they've almost completely reconfigured a lineup that was the godawfulest of the godawful in 2014 in roughly a week. The sad thing about this, really, is that the only two teams who were worse on offense than the Reds in 2014 were San Diego and Atlanta, and both have made strides to alter the courses that got them there. Atlanta, of course, has blown things up and restocked needed holes through trades of Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, and the Padres...well, the Padres have managed to bring in about a billion right handed mashers while keeping nearly all of their starting pitching intact. The Reds? Don't ask me about the Reds. I have no idea what they're planning to do. Also of note: the Reds got David Holmberg for Hanigan sans extended contract just one year ago, and with more miles on his legs and an additional $8 million guaranteed to him, the Padres got Middlebrooks for Hanny. Hrm.
Don't forget: the Reds have Brennan Boesch now!
Even if the Reds miss out on all the OF action being swapped around Major League Baseball this offseason, remember that they've now got quite the crowd-pleaser in Boesch now in the fold.
For what it's worth, the Reds still appear to be targeting their next LF via trade.
After our friends at the Enquirer got Walt Jocketty to confirm that the Reds payroll would increase in 2015 over last season's team record number, they also managed to get him to admit that the team will likely look to add the LF they currently don't have in trade, not from the free agent market. Considering the free agent market means, at this point, Nori Aoki and Nori Aoki only, that's a positive. However, most of the top bats that fit the mold have been shipped out already, and the options are getting quite slim. Maybe Walt's saving his move for a nicely wrapped Christmas present for us all. Right.