December 12, 2012
Wednesday, December 12
It started innocently enough, with this early-afternoon tweet from CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler suggesting that a two-way trade between the Indians and Reds was imminent. Over the rest of the day, we learned that the deal was in fact a three-team blockbuster expanded by the Diamondbacks, who acquired their new shortstop by sending Trevor Bauer to Cleveland. For more on that deal, check out the Transaction Analysis; today’s Roundup begins with a look at the Reds’ next move.
After adding Choo, Reds eye utility man to complete roster
So, too, are the bullpen—now anchored by Jonathan Broxton—and the starting rotation, now featuring Aroldis Chapman. Tuesday’s trade also sent infielder Jason Donald from Cleveland to Cincinnati, presumably to round out the bench. But FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported later in the evening that Jocketty is staying busy, with his focus turning to the market for utility men.
The Reds could survive with a five-man infield comprised of Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, and Donald, so the need for a second reserve is not urgent. There are two notable factors, though, that may be at the root of Jocketty’s search. The first is that four of the five existing infielders hit right-handed, and while Bruce and Choo help to balance the offense, Baker’s bench currently has just one lefty, outfielder Xavier Paul. The second is that Frazier’s defense at the hot corner remains a question mark, and with two ground-ball pitchers (Broxton and Sean Marshall) set to work the highest-leverage frames out of the bullpen, a late-inning substitute could prove useful.
With Gregorius en route to Arizona, the only other middle infielder on the Reds’ 40-man roster is Henry Rodriguez, a 22-year-old switch-hitter who tore up Double-A but scuffled in Triple-A before earning a September call up. Rodriguez was Cincinnati’s 10th-ranked prospect heading into last season, and while he has a bright future, a return to Louisville is probably in order. Connect all of those dots, and Jocketty’s desire to pick up a utility man makes sense.
The question, of course, is who appears on Jocketty’s wish list. Rosenthal’s colleague, Jon Morosi, tweeted from Nashville last week that the Reds were one of the teams in the bidding war for Jack Hannahan. That bidding war rages on, and as a plus hot-corner defender who bats left-handed, Hannahan fits the job description to a tee. Unfortunately, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis, Hannahan’s first choice is to sign with his hometown Twins. If the former Indian does land in Minnesota—from scanning the free-agent listings at Cot’s Contracts—Jocketty’s fallback options could include Adam Kennedy and Kelly Johnson. Neither of them has been tied to the Reds so far.