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.
*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.