The Reds are continuing their search for a right-handed hitting outfielder. Says John Fay:

In the quest for a right-handed hitting outfielder, the Reds have talked to representatives for free agents Rocco Baldelli and Juan Rivera.

The significant news: They plan to talk to Pat Burrell’s representatives as well.

“They called us,” Walt Jocketty said.

Well, that’s interesting.

I can’t imagine the Reds would be seriously interested in signing Pat Burrell. After all, he’s a right-handed (but less-productive, and older) Adam Dunn, and the Reds ran Adam Dunn out of town. I mean, I’d like to have Burrell on the team (though, as you know, I’d rather have Dunn), but I just can’t see that ever happening.

With respect to the rest of the talk, I’m intrigued by this idea from Doug:

Walt Jocketty has said he has spoken to the agents of Juan Rivera and Rocco Baldelli. Personally, I would love to see both of them brought in and platooned with Chris Dickerson in a 3 way platoon between CF and LF. Dickerson is less proven, but provides a lot of upside but still can’t hit lefties.

Interesting. Each player has their flaws, but taken together, they might be able to man two outfield positions adequately. Plus Baldelli probably can’t play every day anyway.

Of course, I keep having a premonition that Dusty Baker is going to see to it that Jerry Hairston, Jr., is going to be our Opening Day centerfielder.

33 Responses

  1. Y-City Jim

    Seeing how poorly the Reds did against RHed pitching (that’s correct, RHed pitching not LHed pitching) last year I think the “plan” should be to sign a big LHed bat if not just a good bat period. BTW, the Reds were 44-63 against righties and 30-25 against lefties. Sort of destroys the false perception that the Reds couldn’t hit lefties.

  2. John

    Offer Baldelli an incentive-laden contract that depends on him playing a certain amount of games or collecting a certain amount of PAs. If/when he turns it down, let some other team throw tons of money at a guy who’ll likely be out half the season with something.

    Burrell is pointless. Drive on.

    Juan Rivera? Seriously?

    I can’t believe these are the outfielders that are lighting the hot stove. Lukewarm coals, friends.

  3. Y-City Jim

    I think I would be more excited by a deal that would bring coaches Dave Duncan and Hal McRae to Cincinnati.

  4. Travis G.

    If they’re going to build a platoon, which I prefer over a more expensive one-man alternatives, I’d rather see Eric Hinske (career .805 OPS vs. RHP) and Gabe Kapler (career .828 OPS vs. LHP) team up in RF or LF. Both guys seem likely to take one-year deals and offer a little bit of defensive flexibility, to boot.

    Going that route might even save enough dough to throw at Rafael Furcal, who could do more to improve the Reds than any single player out there. A report yesterday indicated that he could be had for four years, $44 million.

  5. David

    Two words describe Rocco Baldelli – mitochondrial disease. The guy played 155 games the last three seasons. Why are we even talking about Rocco Baldelli?

  6. Dan

    How about Milton Bradley? He wouldn’t be cheap (I wonder how much?) but I really like him. Love that .370 career OBP.

    I’d do our homework on his health, but if things look OK, I’d go for it and count on him for 500 very good AB’s or so.

    Put Milton in the #3 hole in the lineup (and Phillips batting #7 vs. RHP’s where he belongs) and i’m liking that lineup a LOT more.

  7. GregD

    If they sign or trade for a RH hitter that pushes Phillips down in the order, does Phillips handle that mentally next year?

  8. David

    I don’t know that it pushes Phillips down in the order. It may push him UP in the order.

    Right now our leadoff hitter is Dickerson, correct? So Greg, in your lineup we’d have Dickerson, Votto, ?, Bruce … That’s three lefty bats in the first four with a RH heavy E5, Phillips, Hernandez, Gonzalez.

    What you’d probably see is Dickerson, Phillips, Votto, ?, Bruce, E5, Hernandez, Gonzalez. I’m not saying that’s optimal, I’m just saying that its probable.

  9. David

    The problems noted above are also why I’ve advocated DFA Gonzalez and sign Furcal. That gives you flexibility at the top with Dickerson, Furcal, Votto, ?, Bruce, etc. Facing a righty you get more beneficial matchups, facing a lefty it’s still balanced.

  10. preach

    I think Travis is onto something. We needed the right handed bat last year when we had Jr and Dunn in the lineup. Now we don’t have much power from either direction. I could live with a Hinske/Kapler (or something similar) platoon to give us a decent bat from either direction, add a little flexibility and leave us something to make a major signing. Doug’s idea is a good one too. As depleted as we are in the outfield and with the unknown quantity that is Dickerson, we should sign two guys out there anyway.

  11. NickP

    preach: He didn’t handle hitting cleanup mentally last year. Can’t be much worse, right?

    If we get Burrell, he almost has to play first, right? He’s a butcher in OF. Let Votto shag flies.

  12. preach

    While I would love to have Rios, I don’t think the Jays would part with him for anything short of our blue chip guys. Remember when they almost worked out a deal with the Giants? It would have cost San Fran Lincecrum. They realize what they have there. Farney, a spare part, and a fungo bat just won’t do it.

    If we don’t do something about our shortstop situation, we are through. Sign Rivera and let him platoon with Dickerson and put the good money toward Furcal. IMO, we contend immediately.

  13. Josh

    Reds signed Rhodes pending physical according to MLBTR.com.

  14. GregD

    “I don’t know that it pushes Phillips down in the order. It may push him UP in the order. ”

    That’s true. Hard telling where he’d bat without knowing who the SS will be. We know that Baker loves CF/SS batting 1/2, and I was expecting him to consider Phillips an RBI guy. But if A-Gon is back, I could see him putting more speed (Phillips) at #2.

    In my lineup, I wouldn’t be afraid to bat two lefties back-to-back, and I’d have Votto batting 3rd (without knowing the current answers to the ?’s at SS and LF.)

    I’d love to sign Furcal, too, though the rumors I’ve read the past couple of days from his agent says he’ll decide on a team by next week and the Reds aren’t in the list of teams under consideration. Interestingly, the KC Royals are.

  15. Fireball

    I like the idea of getting Furcal if he can be had for a little more than 10 million a year.

    That would improve the offense immensely and we could bargain shop for some outfielders.

  16. Travis G.

    Sign Rivera and let him platoon with Dickerson and put the good money toward Furcal. IMO, we contend immediately.

    But can Rivera even play CF? (Also, he’s mentioned often enough as a sleeper that he seems likely to cost a little bit more than he might be worth.)

    The problems Furcal would solve are so glaring that he’d almost be like getting two players for the price of one. To me, that sort of production is worth $44 million-$48 million of someone else’s money over four years. That’s still $2 million under the $80 million team payroll Fay projected yesterday.

    Hinske and Kapler each made about $800,000 last season, which keeps them just under Fay’s number and seems like a better value than the hypothetical “$6 or $7 million right-handed-hitting, run-producing outfielder” he suggests.

  17. Dan

    I want Milton Bradley!

    Mark my words – that guy will be one of the few good free agents signings from this offseason. I really think that will be true.

    I don’t want the Cubs to get him!

  18. Chad

    For what it’s worth, I agree totally about Milton Bradley. I would LOVE for the Reds to sign him.

  19. preach

    Milton Bradley would be worth acquiring just to hear the interviews with Marty…..

    I still think SS is a huge concern and I would rather sign a Furcal and add decent outfielders than spend my money on a Bradley and have Keppinger start at short. Now if Gonzo is healthy, then go for it.

    Is the Atkins talk dead?

  20. Travis G.

    Milton Bradley’s played 100 games or more just three times in his career. Despite his prowess in the batter’s box, that’s not the type of guy a team with limited resources and no DH slot should lavish $40 million upon across four years.

    Furcal provides far more value.

  21. zblakey

    Agree 100% Furcal over Bradley. Bradley is trouble looking for a place to happen. See today’s Romo / TO headlines.

  22. Joe C

    Hmmm….right handed hitter? Check.

    Logjam on his current team at his position? Check.

    Fan favorite? Double check.

    Sound like anyone who might be available……?

    Kevin Youkilis, Cincy native, if the SOX sign Texeira.

    Ship E5 and however much of a pitching surplus it takes to get it done, and sign a Rivera/Kapler type for the outfield.

    I’m just sayin….

  23. aaron

    The reds need another 25-30 hr hitter just to begin to fill Dunn’s void. Furcal? “Platoon” Hinske? “platoon 2” Kapler? and “Hurt throwing a temper tantrum” Bradley? We may want to save money but but Jocketty better remember to spend money to put fans in the seats. He better hope Bruce or Votto doesn’t go Kearns on us. We saved well over 20M without Griffey and Dunn, I think we could spend around 12 for Abreu, or even Votto in left and an unwanted (Cheaper?) Giambi just so we have a HR threat. We want playoffs not just .500

  24. pinson343

    I’m with Aaron on this. I was not happy about the Dunn trade, but am suspending judgment until seeing what we do with the saved money. In particular, what power hitter/RBI guy are we bringing in to replace him ?

  25. Travis G.

    You’re missing the point, Aaron. A Furcal signing wouldn’t be intended to replace Dunn’s production, but rather to address the team’s longstanding deficiency at the top of the lineup. We’ve got several viable candidates already on the 25-man roster who can capably fill the 3, 4 and 5 slots, but there’s no one who fits as a leadoff hitter. (I say this as someone who looks at speed as a nice bonus, not a necessary job qualification, and would have batter Votto first last season.)

    It doesn’t have to be Hinske/Kapler (who combined for 28 HR last season in 610 AB), but I think they’d provide an awful lot of value as hitters and defenders. And if you’re the sort of person who values veteran experience, it’s worth noting that they each played roles last season with young teams that made the playoffs.

    Abreu would be a hell of an addition, but he won’t come cheap and would provide significantly less value with his defensive skills and likely lineup slot.

  26. GregD

    One outfielder off the free agent market, though not on the Reds radar because he bats lefty. Raul Ibanez just signed with the Phillies. 3 yr/$30 mil. (and they lose their 1st round draft pick.)

  27. preach

    …and given the makeup of our 40 man, I would feel better to sign two outfielders instead of one. We were already short there when we had Freel. I would rather see the money spent on two moderately priced platoon guys and then plug that gaping hole at SS. As was pointed out, Furcal isn’t meant to replace all the production, but to give us a serious top of the order guy who can throw a little leather.

  28. GregD

    Unless the Reds magically find a leftfielder with an OPS in excess of 900, they’ll need to improve in other areas to offset the loss of Dunn in left field. A Furcal signing wouldn’t take his place in the power department, but would go a long way towards improving offense in the leadoff spot and defense up the middle.

    Reds OPS by position in 2008
    C – .681 (Hernandez is only .714 and .715 the past 2 seasons)
    1B – .859
    2B – .720
    SS – .689 (Furcal is .782 from 2006-2008)
    3B – .792
    LF – .861 (4 of the past 5 yrs, Dunn had a 900+ OPS)
    CF – .700
    RF – .764

  29. GRF

    Furcal would be my favorite as well, but I have not heard anything about us being in on him.

    According to Starks, Burrell might have to settle for a paycut and a 2 year deal. If we could get him for 2 years, 24 million, would you do it?

  30. pinson343

    I love the idea of signing Furcal, he’s an impact player, but WJ seems to just be looking for short-term insurance at SS. He is looking for a CF and leadoff hitter, which is good.

    But I maintain that the addition of a formidable power hitter is needed to revive our offense. The loss of Dunn was a huge blow. We can’t win games at GABP by scoring 2 or 3 runs. The big bat doesn’t have to be an OF, if options like moving Votto or EE to LF are considered. Also I’m not stuck on a RH power hitter, a lefty would be fine.

  31. pinson343

    PS Yes I would sign Burrell for 2 years at $24 M. I go to Philly and see a lot of games there, I like him.

  32. preach

    “According to Starks, Burrell might have to settle for a paycut and a 2 year deal. If we could get him for 2 years, 24 million, would you do it?”

    Nope. The only way I would even consider it is if he could play first and let Votto play OF. And that is a whole lot of money for a guy out of position. And while that replaces power, it still leaves us woefully short at the top of the lineup and we would be unable to spend any more money to fill our other holes. If we were just one bat away, I would consider it, still wouldn’t like it, but would consider it. With outfield and shortstop to contend with, I think the wise move is not to spend so heavily on a corner outfielder and make a run at Furcal. If we are out of the running for him, and by all accounts we were never in the running, I would rather trade Bailey for Dye and get a serviceable SS then spend that kind of money on Burrell. Besides, Burrell would be compared to Dunn so much that he would need to keep a one way ticket out of Cinci handy for when he got ran out.