The Reds finally took a dip into the free agent well this winter! And they scooped up a shiny new…Emmanuel Burriss… Oh.
While Burriss is something, I believe he is simply going to become at best the replacement for Wilson Valdez on the “Player I Make Ceaseless OBP & WAR Jokes About That My Wife Doesn’t Get” list or a cut in spring training. Seriously, go take a look at his OBP and WAR for 2011 and 2012. A .253 and .270 OBP over those two seasons respectively! And his 2012 season culminated in a -1.2 WAR. That is definitely not the leadoff hitter so desperately desired or the big right handed bat to replace the ridiculous contract I know an AL team will be giving Ryan Ludwick.
This move along with the relatively vague types of comments heard from those close to the Reds’ front office regarding specific players or offseason strategy is sending a signal. From reading those tea leaves, it is becoming apparent that this particular offseason will be closely resembling two years ago when despite restless internet overtures that the Reds’ roster needed some retooling, hands were sat on and only fringe moves were made. The talks of possible 2013 payroll numbers start to make that seem likely as well. John Fay wrote last week that his guesses are that the potential payroll will fall at $92 million in 2013 but a team insider said “that payroll number could start with an eight.”. Steve also wrote about this number a few days ago here on BRM.
Given this and the fact that the Reds’ currently stand at $71 million for 2013 with a whole bevy of arbitration eligible players, standing pat may be the only fiscal option. My best guess is that a run is taken at a mid-level closer option (Jonathan Broxton anyone?) and then fingers are crossed that the market on Ludwick dries up so a good deal can be had (not happening). That is best case scenario.
I do feel better about standing pat during this offseason than in some prior, but there are definitely some aspects of the team that need addressing regardless of the avenue or the Reds are doomed to display the similar characteristics that led to the historic flameout that we all still have fresh in our minds as Reds’ fans.