Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Red Reporter Looks at Potential Free Agent Pitchers

It isn't pretty, is it?

Tony Armas: Armas is a good age, turning 28 next April, and he's had some success in the past (4.03 ERA in 2001, 4.44 ERA in 2002). He's suffered from injury problems the past couple of years, but if he's healthy he's slightly intriguing. The Reds haven't been able to turn guys like this around in recent years, but maybe they'll have better success with Vern Ruhle taking over the pitching coaching duties.

Jeff Weaver: It's tough to tell what kind of money Weaver will command, but he's clearly the best of the rest after the Rangers signing of Kevin Millwood. The major downside for the Reds is the 35 home runs that Weaver gave up last season playing in pitcher friendly Dodger Stadium. Probably won't be worth the money he gets, but that's not new in his case. I could really see Dan O'Brien getting excited about Weaver, so I really wouldn't be too shocked if the Reds made a play for him.

Byung-Hyun Kim: This is the guy the Reds should sign if they're going to get anyone. He can come out of the pen if necessary, and he could even close if asked. Strikes people out. Had a tough year last year but he had it in Colorado which means it doesn't really count, although his stats were actually worse on the road. I like the idea of signing Kim for the pen and using him as a swing guy who can be called upon to spot start when needed.

Other guys the Reds might be interested in (but really shouldn't be):

Joe Mays: He was sort of good years ago, and he's struggled badly of late. Dan O'Brien has been quoted talking about how teams like the Reds need to take chances on guys having bounceback season ... so a guy like Joe Mays might look attractive to DanO. Unfortunately.

Shawn Estes: Might not ever be willing to play for the Reds again, but I could see DanO being interested. He's a veteran "name" who "knows how to win". He keeps the ball in the park, but there's not much else I can say positive about the guy. One time around was enough for me.

Ismael Valdez: I've always kind of thought of him the same way I used to think of Ramon Ortiz. Even I don't really know what I mean by that, but I do know that it's not a complimentary association.

Al Leiter: Vet. Knows how to win. Coming off just one bad year, possibly due for a bounceback.

/channeling DanO some more

Jose Lima: Lima time baby! It'd just be too perfect wouldn't it? With Lima the Reds could have two pitchers threatening an over 7.00 ERA, which would make me want to gouge out my eyes.

Kevin Brown: Yeah, DanO type player, you know why by now. Would remind me a lot of the Eric Milton signing if he came to Cincinnati, because it would excite a lot of fans but would ultimately bring everyone a great deal of misery.

I mean, when you're reduced to hoping for a BY Kim pickup, you know the free agent pickings are slim. I like the idea that people understand we need to think groundball pitchers in our ballpark. Its just obvious that we aren't going to get a #1 or #2 starter without making a trade, or that we're going to have to adjust our strategy and go for a bunch of league average pitchers.

Any kind of thinking that we need a "bounceback" guy harkens back to the days of the Gullett/Bowden regime, and is the kind of thinking that got Jimmy Haynes here, among many others. Its like having your strategy be to win the lottery.

Finally, Redleg Nation quotes John Sickels (minor league blogger) with a key question about whether Ryan Wagner is going to more like Billy Wagner, or Matt Anderson. Sickels fears he is tending toward the latter--or he wouldn't have asked the question.

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