What a week for the Reds

Wow — you miss a little, you miss a lot.

I knew some things could go down with the Reds while I was away last week but I can’t say I expected them to knock out their entire remaining off-season wishlist. I would have liked to cover/report on those stories.

You’ve gotten Shin-Soo Choo analysis from everywhere already but I’ll add my thoughts anyway. Despite a couple of shortcomings, this is a very good trade for the Reds. They found their leadoff hitter, got $3.5 million cash in the process, didn’t block Billy Hamilton’s path to the Majors and did the deal without having to give up a starting pitcher or future starting pitcher. I’d say that’s pretty, pretty good.

Instead they moved a talented shortstop in Didi Gregorius, who was always going to be blocked by Zack Cozart, and Drew Stubbs — who could be the change-of-scenery guy. If so, good for him. But it wasn’t going to happen in Cincinnati.

Choo will indeed be a one-year stopgap. He’s represented by Scott Boras and will look to cash in big as a free agent in 2014. But it could be quite a year if he meets projections as an on-base percentage guy. He’s a well-regarded hitter in general and from what I’ve heard, a dedicated hard worker that will pull his weight. And if nothing else, he’s one less foe the Reds have to deal with. Choo was tough on Cincinnati in Ohio Cup meetings, especially vs. Bronson Arroyo. In the meantime, the Reds don’t have to rush Billy Hamilton and he can continue to develop as a leadoff hitter while learning to play center field in the Minors.

This is a move that shows again that the Reds are serious — not just about contending, but going further. The only people on the club probably not doing cartwheels over this trade are Reds pitchers since the Reds sacrificed quite a bit defensively. Choo has played only 10 big league games in center field and none since 2009. At least GABP isn’t a vast canyon. If the Reds do visit a larger park, Chris Heisey could potentially step in.

Other stuff:

*It slipped through the cracks last week here that the Reds hired a new assistant hitting coach in Ronnie Ortegon. Assistant hitting coaches at the big league level have become a trend in recent years and several teams employ them — including the Cardinals.

*The Reds also named their Minor League managers, including Jim Riggleman at Triple-A Louisville. Riggleman was with Double-A Pensacola last season.

*As many of you know, MLB teams use a special mud to rub up brand new baseballs so they aren’t so slick. There’s a fantastic story behind where this mud comes from and it’s been written by MLB.com’s Doug Miller. Click here to check it out.

12 Comments

Glad you are back Mark, you picked a bad week to take off lol.

Great to see you back, you missed a good one ha ha

The pitchers might like having Choo in the outfield, because the offense might put some runs on the board, now.

Not at all the primary concern of the pitching staff…Sheldon is right to infer this. I posted the other day that the pitchers will be yearning for Stubbs’ return by mid-season.

I think Stubbs was an amazing defender, but I believe he makes maybe 1 play every two weeks that no one else can make. I believe Choo can make produce more runs than Stubbs on Offense than he gives up on defense. Ludwick and especially Bruce are good fielders. You can scheme more to allow Bruce to cover more ground in RF.

I think you will see a lot more of Heisey in CF than most think. Ludwick is going to end up being the odd man out in a big ballpark. At home, Choo won’t have a problem running CF at all. But he won’t be Stubbs out there. But he also won’t be Stubbs at the plate. Huge upgrade for the Reds here and I’d really like to see them lock up Choo long term. Just not to sure its possible.

I simply disagree. The numbers don’t reflect the situation. You have to watch with the eyes of a scout and compare. It isn’t just the balls in the gaps that this gazelle was able to run down when no one else got close, and even just with that, the frequency was much greater than you allow for. But it was the fact of a constant presence, especially with the accuracy and power of his arm. People soon chose not to run on him at all. So, again, the conventional numbers don’t capture it. Instead, his sometimes low assist number was actually reflecting that there were no opportunities for assists due to his preceding reputation. And, over the course of many games, not taking an extra base saves many runs. The pitching staff’s ERA won’t be nearly as miniscule as a year ago. Scouts will know and these pitchers will know!.

Choo has a very good arm as well and is considered better than Stubbs. But I do agree if its not tested much then not a lot of opportunities, Example Bruce has one of the best arms in the OF.

Valid points all around, but ask any pitcher if they would rather pitch in a 0-0 game or pitch with a lead, and you will always get the same answer. Choo will give them the ability to get a lead early in games and will allow the Pitchers to be more aggressive pitching with a lead. It should all transfer into more wins. There is no question that Stubbs D-fense will be missed, but there are tradeoffs with a small market team, and with the solid D in the in-field and the need for offense, this is a tradeoff the Reds were willing to take.

I think it was the perfect move for the Reds for all of the reasons that Mark mentioned. Jocketty continues to impress me! I’m so glad he’s our GM! With moves like this, he’s taken our team from 10 years of losing to perennial contenders in the central. How many more days until pitchers and catchers report? I’m ready!!

Best of luck to Drew Stubbs – I hope the new locale helps him become the great player we’ve all thought he could be.

Ben, I agree … Christmas is just an irritating obstruciton standing between us and mid-February. But, while on the subject, Merry Christmas to you, Mark, and your family and to all you fellow Reds fans out there! Maybe Santa will bring us another Cuban refugee or another Rule 5 natural or another batallion of announcers. We just have to believe!

Please, please no more new announcers. Enough. Merry christmas mark and thanks for the updates.

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