Another cold winter, watching way over hyped football, college basketball, and hockey. While it was entertaining as usual, it just isn't baseball. Finally I got the Reds to look forward to, except I can't put my finger on what exactly it is I actually "look forward to" about the Reds, I guess I just love watching them no matter how bad they are.
So anyway, here we are after the long offseason, where our biggest name signed was Willy Taveras. Ugh. I don't think Taveras is necessarily a bad player, and maybe he can rebound and give us an actual leadoff hitter for once, but it just makes me shudder to say that is our "biggest" signing. Especially since we'll be paying him 4 mil next yr right after I just saw Bobby Abreu sign for 5 mil.
Alright, on to the actual point of this post. Since it's the Cincinnati Reds we talk about here, no doubt we can talk about the annual table scraps the Reds picked up off the floor in free agency. But rather than be negative the rest of the way (since I already got that part out of the way) I'm wondering what exactly did we find in baseball's trash dump? Is it possible for any of the guys no one else wanted might actually turn out to be something useful?
Jonny Gomes - A lot of people have this guy tabbed as a darkhorse breakout canidate. After finishing 2005 with a .904 OPS when he finished 3rd in ROY voting (behind Huston Street and Robinson Cano) he's been in steady decline since. Since then he's posted OPS's of .756, .782, and a horrid .665 last year. A move from the AL east might jump his numbers a bit, also he'll get a chance to play more than he would on the Rays. Will be interesting to see how he does, he strikes out a pretty fair amount so he'll fit right in on this team.
Jacque Jones - Had some real good seasons with the Twins and a couple with the Cubs. He doesn't strike out at a bad rate, but his OBP is similiar to Phillips. Without seeing the guy more than a handful of times, looking at his stats tells me he takes a lot of swings but makes decent contact. He just doesn't create enough walks. The question here is at 33 can he return to form late in his career. It's at least possible, maybe a new start will renergize him after a horrible season last year.
Daryle Ward - Early in his career he wasn't much more than a role player stats wise. His OBP has been a problem of his during his career. What's weird is other than last year his numbers in the later part of his career actually got better. More specifically his 2006 and 2007 seasons were actually pretty decent, especially 2007 when he batted .327 with a .436 OBP, though it was only in 79 games, that and 102 of his 110 ABs that year were against RH pitchers. You'd be insane to bat him against LH, but I wouldn't put anything past Dusty. Useful? Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Laynce Nix - While his major league stats have been downright below average (.235 / .272 / .401) his minor league numbers have actually been decent (.280 / .347 / .481). Could he be a guy who just needed some time to find his way in the majors. I wouldn't count on it, but anything is possible. Personally I think he's just blocking Dorn's path to the majors, but at least he was cheap.
Humberto Cota - He....uhhh....well....let me put it this way: if we see this guy get any sort of regular playing time on the Reds, you can pretty much guarantee the season is lost. People keep mentioning his .319 avg in AAA last year, but if a .300 season in the majors can be considered an anomoly, you can pretty much write this dude off as anything more than an emergency option at catcher.