If there’s anything that can help warm your frozen souls at this cold, dark time of year, it’s a good cranking up of the old hot stove. Sadly, this particular baseball offseason has seen as much inaction as any in recent memory despite a free agent class headlined by the likes of Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Phil Gosselin, Eric Hosmer, and J.D. Martinez.
That’s changing, however, and the Cincinnati Reds are the ones shaking things up. According to SB Nation’s own Chris Cotillo, the Reds stoked the stove in a big way by agreeing to sign Gosselin late Tuesday, marking the first big bat the club has...y’know, nope, this schtick lasted 100 words too long and I can’t do it without laugh-crying any longer.
Gosselin is signed on a minor league deal after somehow managing to be worth -0.8 bWAR in just 48 ABs split between the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017, his -3 OPS+ a paradox in itself if you think hard enough about it. He’s depth until he doesn’t make the roster out of Spring Training barring a career renaissance, though given that he hit a respectable .283/.331/385 in 501 PA scattered across 2013-2016 there’s at least a chance there’s something left in there. (You also might remember him as one of the pieces sent to Arizona by Atlanta when the Braves fleeced Dave Stewart out of Touki Toussaint in the broken-Bronson-Arroyo sale back in 2015.)
On first glance, this looks to help fill that backup shortstop void GM Dick Williams has spoken of often this winter, something we looked at last week. However, that concept is muddied by the fact that Phil has made just 5 career starts at short and 11 big league appearances there while with the Braves and Diamondbacks, spending the vast majority of his time at 2B and 3B.
It is worth noting, though, that when Gosselin was a prospect coming up through the Atlanta system, the prominent likes of Andrelton Simmons and Cincinnati’s own Jose Peraza were also in the farm as highly touted shortstop prospects. And even if you date back to Gosselin’s time at the University of Virginia, he spent his time at 2B thanks to Los Angeles Dodgers postseason hero Chris Taylor getting the reps at short. Still, it’s hard to believe the Reds are willing to bank on the now 29 year old Gosselin to suddenly morph into a glove-first backup shortstop, which makes this move more about depth at other positions, I’d wager.
/pokes baseball with stick
/pokes Reds with stick
Please, do something, baseballing Reds.