I just wanna ramble a bit about recent events. Is that alright?
The last few weeks have been more interesting, from a Reds hot stove perspective, than we’ve seen in years. Do I agree with every move Walt Jocketty has made? No. Do I think the Reds are better now than they were a few weeks ago? Yeah, probably. That’s a good thing.
The Aroldis Chapman signing was a slam dunk. Sure, some of you thought it was way too much money to spend on an unproven commodity, and I can see that argument. I don’t agree, but I understand. I think it was a spectacularly good idea, the type of acquisition that the Reds must look to make going forward.
The current management is positioning this organization as an attractive destination for Latin American players, and I think that’s a fantastic development. From a pitching coach who speaks Spanish, to a roving instructor named Mario Soto, to the likes of Volquez, Cueto, and CoCo…it’s a very inviting environment for young Spanish-speakers who aren’t subject to the draft. Focusing on these players is a fine way for the Reds to help close the gap.
So: Chapman = good. Got it?
I was pretty vocal about my wish that Walt Jocketty avoid signing Orlando Cabrera. I had my reasons, which you can read at the links provided, but Cabrera is now the starting shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s true: Jocketty doesn’t listen to my usually ill-informed opinions. Yes, I’m very sad about this development.
So, Cabrera is here now, and the analysis is different. Chances are excellent that he’ll be a better Red than his brother ever was. Whether he’ll help the Reds in
2009 2010 is an open question. I don’t think Cabrera will hurt the team much, if at all. He may be marginally worse than Paul Janish would’ve been overall (thanks to Janish’s tremendous defense). Frankly, though, he may be marginally better.
I never like the idea of signing a 35-year-old shortstop, especially one who played pretty poorly last year. There is some outside shot that he’ll regain the fountain of youth and play like he did a few years ago. That’s not likely, and committing several million to that hope seems like a foolish game to play, but let’s face it: Janish stinks too. We’re just talking about different shades of suckitude. Neither guy is going to be the guy to lead the Reds to the next level.
All this gnashing of teeth over two bad shortstops, Orlando Cabrera and Paul Janish, makes me think one thing: I really miss Barry Larkin.
At this point, Janish probably goes to AAA or to the far end of the bench, away from where Dusty is chewing on his toothpick. If he’s on the major league roster to start the year, Baker will take him out of storage, dust him off, and let him play 3 or 4 innings a week, maybe. Most of the backup infield innings will likely be chewed up by Drew Sutton and …
…Aaron Miles. Did you hear that the Reds acquired Aaron Miles? Yeah, the Reds traded Willy Taveras, and everyone seems to be pretty pleased with that move. I can’t imagine why.
Getting rid of Taveras is big. As long as he was on the roster, there was always the chance that Dusty would play him more than he deserved (see Perez, Neifi), so taking him out of the mix improves the Reds immediately. As much as I’d like to compliment Jocketty on finding a taker for Wee Willy, I can’t just forget that Jocketty is the guy who signed Taveras to an absurd two-year contract in the first place, when no one else wanted the guy.
Most people seem happy to have sent Adam Rosales off to Oakland, as well, but I’m not in that camp. Rosie was bad last year, true. But the guy was a good hitter in the minors and I think chances are excellent that he’ll be a very good backup infielder for the next 3-4 years.
As for Aaron Miles, well, he’s not good. That’s just a fact, I’m afraid, but I don’t mind having him around for a few reasons. Number one, he’s a backup infielder who can play a lot of spots (including pitcher, where he’s better than Janish). Like Jerry Hairston, Jr., before him, there is value in a guy like that. The Nation’s objection to Hairston was that Dusty Baker wanted to play him too much, and he gets exposed if used like a starter. Miles is similar. As a fill-in around the diamond (even in the outfield), he can help a team with his versatility, even if his on-base skills are nonexistent.
Which leads us to the next reason I don’t mind having Miles around. Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I don’t see Baker being as tempted to use him every day as he was with Taveras. I hope that’s true.
Perhaps the biggest reason I don’t mind having Miles around is that, in spring training of 2004, he proved that, yes, Aaron Miles is Batman.
(I am concerned, however, that Jocketty is trying to obtain all the 2006 Cardinals. Next acquisition: So Taguchi!*)
In the end, the Reds are, slowly but surely, improving as an organization. If Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto and Drew Stubbs continue to improve, and if Scott Rolen and Orlando Cabrera don’t fall off a cliff, the Reds could be okay. We might actually have a little fun this year.
I’ve been waiting a long time for that….
*I wouldn’t mind Jocketty acquiring a couple more of those 2006 Cardinals. Namely, Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter.