Though the Reds will not be in the sweepstakes for the major free agents like Carl Crawford or Cliff Lee, Walk Jocketty still might be looking at some cheaper options who could improve the ball club.
At shortstop position, the Reds have said that they would like to bring back Orlando Cabrera at a cheaper price than his option that the team declined last week. However, some believe that the club is ready to hand the starting job over to Paul Janish who is better defensively and had his best season to date in 2010. However, there are a few options on the free agent market that could also make sense of the Reds.
Juan Uribe from the San Francisco Giants could be an option for the Reds. He would provide a potent bat and a nice complement to Paul Janish. He, however, is no where near the defender that Janish is. Another option could be former Brewer JJ Hardy. If he is non-tendered by the Minnesota Twins, Jocketty may also take a look at him this Winter. On the trade market, it appears the Reds could look at SS Stephen Drew as they would certainly have the trade juice to acquire him.
In the bullpen, a lot will ride on the status of Aroldis Chapman. If he is sent back to the bullpen, one addition or a resigning of Arthur Rhodes would probably be sufficient. Masset, Rhodes, Cordero, and Chapman would help shorten games and slam the door. Now if Chapman is converted back to a starter, the Reds could look at free agents Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Jason Frasor or JJ Putz. Chapman or no Chapman, the Reds are in position to pose a very strong bullpen in 2011.
For left field there have been some rumors that Johnny Damon would fit with the Reds as he could hit leadoff and with Cincinnati’s small yard, his power would return. Let’s hope Walt Jocketty does NOT make this move. Damon is as bad an Gomes on defense, and the Reds would rather have a right handed bat than a lefty. Furthermore, Damon’s throwing arm is made of jello, and he continues to age. As was previously written, Scott Podsednik would be cheaper and better.
And finally at catcher, I would expect Ramon Hernandez to be resigned even though prospect Devin Mesoraco is on the horizon. Hernandez could be moved mid-season if Mesoraco continues to tear it up. Should Hernandez not be brought back and Mesoraco deemed not ready, John Buck from the Blue Jays could be a free agent that Walt Jocketty considers.