Cincinnati Reds Off Season Moves

So far the Reds have made big moves this offseason that will keep them in contention for the playoffs again in 2013, but some moves and issues need to be addressed. Here lies my offseason plan.

Fill the Hole in Left Field.

Mission accomplished. Recently the Reds re-signed Ryan Ludwick to a two year, $15 million deal after a great season in left field, where he hit 26 home runs and drove in 80. Ludwick was a great fit for the team last year, and will continue to provide some pop behind Votto, Phillips, and Bruce. He’ll most likely hit 6th in the order next season.

Re-sign Broxton.

The Ryan Madson era was short lived. and is now officially over. The same day Madson signed with the Angels, the first newsworthy deal of this offseason occurred with the re-signing of Jonathan Broxton. The trade that sent him to the Reds from the Royals must have been good for him because his walk rate went down, and his strikeout rate went up. He provided a great late inning option out of the bullpen. Rumors have been hinting that he’ll close games next season with Chapman possibly moving to the rotation.

While I agree with Broxton coming in the 9th inning, I don’t agree with Chapman becoming a starter. If this is in fact the plan, it might not be the best idea looking back at previous closers who threw exceptionally hard and became starters. For example, Neftali Feliz, who threw hard as a closer for the Rangers, blew out his arm as a starter early on, which put him on the DL for quite a while. Whether Chapman gets hurt or not they will lose his overpowering stuff in the 9th, which will give the best bullpen in 2012 a slight disadvantage.

Acquire A Leadoff Hitter.

This was the biggest issue for the Reds last season, and the first priority this offseason was to either sign a hitter or acquire one in a trade by any means necessary. Well, just a couple of days ago the Reds were involved in a three team trade that sent Drew Stubbs to Cleveland and Didi Gregorius to the Diamondbacks. In return the Reds received Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald from the Indians. Choo has a career batting average of .289 and a .381 on base percentage, which needs no statistical comparison to the leadoff spot last season. While he’s no Michael Bourn, Choo is the cheaper route to take. Overall he’s definitely an upgrade and will most likely play centerfield next season.

While the three previous goals have been met there are two more goals the Reds should have this offseason.

Add An Insurance Policy For The Rotation.

Last season the Reds were pretty lucky to have good health in their rotation, and they were able to get away with not really having an experienced starter to call up if something were to happen. It would be nice to have someone that could be given a minor league contract to provide a little depth, while not speeding up the development of their prospects. Possiblities include Carlos Villanueva, Aaron Laffey, and Randy Wolf. Maybe Jocketty should tell Terry Ryan not to sign every single starting pitcher.

Add Insurance To The Bench.

It might seem unnecessary, but the World Series winning teams win because they had solid bench players that are reliable. This is especially true in the National League. So far, the Reds have signed Emmanuel Burriss to a minor league contract, acquired Jason Donald in the three team trade, and signed Jack Hannahan on a two year deal. Burriss isn’t much of an upgrade, and Donald is a good defensive middle infielder but lacks results at the plate. Either way, anything is better than Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo. With regards to Hannahan, who spent last season in Cleveland, he has been a career back up third baseman. He can play first as well as some second base, and will be a good back up to Frazier at third and Votto at first.
I would like to see the Reds sign a fourth outfielder, but at the same time I believe they should consider having Billy Hamilton on the bench as a fourth outfielder while also having him in pinch running situations. It is something to watch for in spring training whether or not the Reds believe he is ready for the majors. For me all signs point to yes.

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