In the category of “give credit where credit is due”, John Fay, the Enquirer’s own Reds beat writer, took information straight from the source of one Walt Jocketty to put some rumors to rest. Not signing free agent Michael Bourn is not a surprise - he’s clearly off budget. Not trading Zack Cozart or Didi Gregorius? That comes as somewhat of a relief but still doesn’t mean something couldn’t happen (considering there’s a difference between “not taking offers” and “willing to consider” offers). Not looking to an extension of Jay Bruce? Truth to the rumor, but, smartly, it is WAY beyond the radar with the years of Jay still under team control.
One free agent clearly made his choice: Dioner Navarro is now a Chicago Cub. While I liked Navarro’s bat down the stretch, Devin Mesoraco is clearly the right transitional path into the future. Keeping Mes blocked behind Navarro really makes little sense. He is the only free agent from the Reds to have signed elsewhere so far, but I won’t be surprised to see others start to sign very soon if the right offers come along. Ryan Ludwick seemingly has more impetus to walk in light of the Detroit Tigers dumping a boatload of cash on an older Torii Hunter. Whether Ludwick receives a similar offer elsewhere remains to be seen, but, if he does, there’s almost no way the Reds will match it.
Some conversation on Twitter did start to lead me in a different line of thinking around whether Todd Frazier would really be the everyday third baseman next season or transition into left field full-time pending other opportunities. I still personally think Frazier is a right fit going forward on the infield than the outfield, and the availability of more outfielders in the marketplace *seems* to drive to that conclusion. To me, Angel Pagan is still a very worthy pickup if the price would be right. Whether he fits from a price standpoint, I don’t know, but he could help at the top of the order immediately. Other names are still floating in the ethos, including Shane Victorino. A name that intrigues me, if for nothing else what he *used to be* capable of doing, is Grady Sizemore. His health would be a lingering concern just based on the past couple of seasons, but he still would seem to have something left in the tank and something to prove. Not saying he’s the best choice but maybe just a consideration if nothing else. A separate line of thinking is being able to make something happen within the internal ranks, maybe even having the ability to play both Cozart and Gregorius (transition one to third base, perhaps). A natural SS transitioning to 3B isn’t completely out of the question, but it may be risky as well. It will really all depend where things go forward from here.
I anticipate more activity will be picking up in the coming weeks to continue to shake things out and provide clarity.
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