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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free agency has begun

The free agency sweepstakes is over 12 hours old, and the Reds haven't signed anyone. Or at least, they have told us they've signed anyone. That, of course, is no big deal. No one's signed anyone.

I still think starting pitching should be No. 1 on the Reds' shopping list. But there are some interesting relievers out there. I think the Reds will be cautious -- given what happened with Mike Stanton and Rheal Cormier, i.e., I don't see them going for guys in their 40s.

Here's a list of guys worth considering (Disclaimer: I don't know if the Reds are interested in any of them and they aren't going to say if they are):

--Octavio Dotel, 33: He's had his injury problems. But he struck on 41 on 30 2.3 innings last year.

--Scott Linebrink, 31: He was 5-6 with a 3.71 ERA. He's not the guy he was a few years ago. But a 3.71 ERA looks pretty good in the Reds bullpen.

--LaTroy Hawkins, 34: He had a 3.42 ERA pitching half his games at Coors.

--Kerry Wood, 30: He had a 3.33 ERA and struck out 24 in 24 1/3 innings. He's really intriguing because he's gets fully healthy, he could be a starter again. Tim Kremchek did his surgery, and you've got the Dusty Baker connection.

--Eric Gagne, 31: He had his problems. But he struck out 51 in 52 innings.


at 1:06 PM Blogger JDGood said...

I would be fine if they signed any of those guys. I think Wood is the most likely

at 1:11 PM Anonymous BIGOOGA said...

Any of those guys would make me happy.
I think Wood is the most likely.
Gagne scares me the most.

at 1:18 PM Anonymous Trev said...

I'd like our own Guardado back into the fold and then add David Riske. One of the Japanese free agent RPs would be good also. If they can't get Silva at no more than Harang's remaining years I'm willing to let the SPs stand pat. Harang/Arroyo/Belisle/Bailey will be better than most foursomes. The 5th guy can probably be Cueto or Maloney.

at 1:34 PM Blogger Al in Ohio said...

To say that Eric Gagne "had his problems" is akin to saying that if I jump off the Kroger building, I'll "bruise myself up".

The guy is done.

at 1:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think they should give the free agents a miss this year. A large part of the problem is they have too many guys with significant Major League experience (wich equals more money) and not enough room on a 25-man roster to fit them (wich means more money wasted on guys who might not make it past the final spring cuts) because some players are on the roster who just don't deserve to be there (wich means money wasted on Mike Stanton).

So the free agent market this year is an exercise in squandered finances. What they really need to do to spend the money more sensibly is work on trades to get the best dollar value. This is the perfect time to trade the likes of Encarnacion and Coffey----right when they look like they're on the edge of greatness but before they become arbitration eligible. As it is, Phillips will be due a pretty big raise and if they are smart, they'll sign him for at least 3 years. Maybe more, but that will mean an even bigger financial commitment in the long run. If Encarnacion stays and has a big year, they'll have to do the same thing this time next year, wich might mean they might not have that money to sign a better free agent in the future.

I think all of baseball has forgotten the value of trades. I think they have let the agents determine the price of the market and hope to fill holes with whoever makes the best sales pitch. A good trade can turn a team into a legendary winner. How do you think thimgs would have turned out if there had been free agency in the winter of 71? Would Howsam have made the greatest trade ever for Joe Morgan if he could have signed, say, Davey Johnson as a free agent?

at 2:12 PM Blogger steve said...

John two questions what names are you hearing the reds might sign this winter? Last do you think Pete Mac. will be back with with reds now that he has not found a job yet in baseball?

at 2:21 PM Anonymous Brendan T- Indy said...

Coffey is "on the edge of greatness"????? That's the funniest thing I've ever heard! No other MLB team would even still have him on their roster!

at 2:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rangers seem to be focused on Woods as he is a Texas native and prefers a warm weather climate to help his shoulder

at 3:06 PM Anonymous Gary214 said...

Coffey? You have got to be kidding me!!! The guy doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to make it in the bigs...he chokes!!!The only thing he is on the edge of is the end of his career!! Maybe he can make the Olympic Team as a sprinter!!

With a statement like that ANON 1:54, it's no wonder you wont id yourself!! What did you have on your Wheaties this morning?

at 4:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John I think you are on the right track.

Who knows, maybe one of these guys will take to the low pressure here in Cincy and re-establish himself to former glory. And if they do, maybe we will be able to flip them to another team for some young power arms.

Hopefully Dusty can work his "mojo" and get someone here.


at 4:20 PM Anonymous njboiler said...

I definitely think the Reds will be looking for a couple of starters first. I think with Weathers and Burton as legitimate setup guys, the Reds will be looking for a closer as well, but I'd be surprised if they pursued Linebrink or Hawkins.

I happen to like Matt Clement as a starting pitcher. He's always been a groundball pitcher and he'll come cheap since he was such a big bust with the Sox. Carlos Silva would be good here, too, but he might be too expensive. Shawn Chacon and Jaret Wright are pitchers to consider, too.

Octavio Dotel would be a nice risk/reward type guy for the closer role. Kerry Wood and Scott Williamson are interesting options as well.

at 4:51 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Jeez, are youu people actually looking up these pitchers you keep tossing out there or are you just scanning the free agent list and pipe dreaming?

Benson, Wright, Wood, Clement, etc. . . . they ought to be shot. They are nothing but broken-down nags in misery. Put them all together and you might get one-third of a season.

But hey, go ahead and sign these nags, then bitch around the payroll.

Mindless. Completely mindless.

at 7:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Redleg,
Chill out! What's mindless is when you get your soapbox out to preach your "gospel of everything baseball" to us.

Dude you are no smarter about free agents and their up/downside than the dog that is sitting next to me. Do you feel better about yourself ripping on everybodys comments?

If the price is right for the team,whats wrong with the Reds taking a gamble? Nothing ventured nothing gained. I'd much rather they be proactive in the bullpen than sit on their hands and go with the same cast of pitchers. Did you not read the stats John listed?

But I suppose you'd rather just piss and moan about others than look at things with your eyes open.

at 8:41 AM Anonymous njboiler said...

Redlegs, I'm not sure where you came up with Benson. Yes, Clement, Wood, and Wright have had shoulder surgeries, but they're the type of guys who we should be able to tie up in incentive deals without busting our budget.

Shoulder injuries aren't always the end of a pitchers career. Chris Carpenter missed the entire 2003 season with a torn labrum and came back in 2004 and was even better.

If you disregard Harang and Arroyo, the rest of our starters last year had a 5.63 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 5.49 K9. Clements' career numbers are 4.47 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and 7.75 K9. I would even take his numbers from his first year in Boston (before the shoulder problems). He will only be 33 going into next season. Wood's numbers last year as a reliever - 3.33 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 8.88 K9. He will only be 30 next year. I agree that Wright is a long shot for next year, but his numbers in the National League are 4.23 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 7.75 K9. He will be 32 going into next season.

If we can get these guys for the right price, they have the kind of upside worth taking a shot at. "Mindless" is completely disregarding these guys because they've had injury histories. What pitcher hasn't.

at 9:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doc Kremcheck has worked on Wood and that's considered a good thing?

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