The most fun of all the not-fun news lately has been that the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies reportedly were close to a deal that would have sent Marlon Byrd to the Reds two years too late, according to FOX's Jon Morosi. Hmm. Walt Jocketty infamously passed over claiming Byrd in 2013 despite both a need and strategy staring him in the face (since the Pittsburgh Pirates needed him, too, and ended up claiming him), and Walt again passed on the chance of signing Byrd last offseason in favor of a Ludwick/Skip LF dream team, which makes it interesting that there now seems to be interest in a player who will turn 38 next year and may have as much as $16 million still owed to him. Byrd had a renaissance 2013 season (fueled largely by a .353 BABIP), and has now set career highs in dingers in back to back seasons at age 35 and 36, but he's also a flawed player with an iffy track record who struck out 185 times (against just 35 walks) last year. If Walt's plan this winter is to trade away Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon just to trade for Marlon Byrd, then I suggest he read through this metaphor.
Trucking farther down the LF highway, we find the interesting case of the Tampa Bay Rays, who have lost the likes of David Price, Joe Maddon, Andrew Friedman, Matt Joyce, and Wil Myers in recent months, but now seem on the cusp of signing Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera is a SS/2B by trade, though his declining defense at short in recent seasons pushed him into primarily the 2B spot in 2014, which means that the Rays now have yet another reason to shop 2B/LF/PG/QB/WR/SS Ben Zobrist as he enters his final season under contract. I'm of the opinion that Zobrist would be a fantastic pickup by the Reds, but I'm also of the opinion that the Reds need a guy known for his ability to get on base more than for his ability to swat dingers (hence my preference for a Zobrist-type over a Byrd-type). Yes, that means I still have more concerns about Billy Hamilton's ability to be a full-time leadoff hitter than I do about the Reds three-thru-six hitters being able to mash dingers.
Speaking of leadoffy, on-basey OF types that may be on the market, Grant Brisbee just knows that the San Francisco Giants are going to trade for Shane Victorino. Kids, even if you can't grow up to write articles like Brisbee, try your damnedest to grow up to write permalinks like Brisbee. The world will be an infinitely better place if so.
Jayson Stark is one of the ESPN keyboard punchers that I actually read on the regular, and he once again put together his annual Strange But True pieces recently. Here's the one from the regular season, as well as the one from the 2014 postseason.
Finally, the Baltimore Orioles seem to think OF Colby Rasmus will look for a one-year deal in the $5-8 million range, and if they end up being right, I'm going straight to Amazon to order things to hit myself in the shins with. Rasmus is 9 years younger than Marlon Byrd and wouldn't require the Reds trading anything to get him, and a one-year deal doesn't imply the pricey vesting option to potentially have a player tied up at age 39. Oh, foot, now I'm all baseball angry again.