That the arm in the picture above obscures the player’s face makes him somewhat anonymous. That he’s wearing an Oakland A’s jersey further exacerbates his anonymity.
As the Cincinnati Reds continue their quest to be a Major League Baseball team refusing to even attempt to win Major League Baseball games, free agents galore have come flying off the board at record rates. A billion bucks worth of shortstops have signed elsewhere while the Reds – who had the second worst fWAR production among all MLB teams in 2022 other traded away Kyle Farmer, their best performer at the position – have done nothing there but add Kevin Newman.
(Since the start of the 2020 MLB season, 160 MLB players have logged at least 1000 PA. A grand total of one (1) of them has a worse wOBA in that time than Kevin Newman (.266). They didn’t just happen to have him and didn’t know what to do with him, they sought him out and traded for him. I digress.)
Anyway, as it becomes increasingly clear that the Reds aren’t going to add players who’ll help pile up wins this year and, instead, target placeholders to bid more time, here’s an updated mid-December list of guys who look to a ) fit that mold at the numerous positions where the Reds have obvious holes on the big league roster, b) still be incredibly available, and c) explained briefly, ranked.
- Chad Pinder, OV/IF/SU: Because he couldn’t possibly be more anonymous and plays multiple positions at slightly below average rates. A poor-man’s modern-day Matt Reynolds, though I’ve just been told the Reds so actually have Matt Reynolds already anyway.
- Chris Archer, SP: A stitched-back-together starting option to help soak up IP, one who Derek Johnson likely could’ve paired with tremendously 6-7 years ago but will instead get to try as he nears age 35.
- Kole Calhoun, OF/DH: Hasn’t hit for two years, but did once upon a time! A GABP rebound candidate in something akin to the Tyler Naquin mold, even though he, too, hits lefty like the rest of the limited OF options already around. The Reds need dingers, though, and for someone on a lower salary than Moose to make Moose look worthy of his higher salary.
- Dallas Keuchel, SP: At his peak, an absolute ace. Since the start of the 2021 season, a 6.35 ERA in 222.2 IP. Still, his ground-ball induction is epic when he’s right and he’ll be looking for a chance to prove he’s still got it at age 35.
- Andrew McCutchen, OF/DH: Frankly, he’d be higher on this list if I didn’t think he was still a tad too good to settle for a Reds club destined for 70 wins. Since he is, I think he’ll end up latching on as a 4th/5th OF with a better club instead of as the 3rd/4th with the Reds. That’s what I’d do in his situation, I think, as I sit here assuming I’d have any clue what I’d do with over $123 million in career earnings and the ability to still crush dingers.
- Wil Myers, OF/DH: He doesn’t use gloves when hitting, and that’s cool. he’s from North Carolina, which is kind of close to being almost close to Reds country.
- Daniel Norris, LHP: The Reds need left-handed relief help in a tremendous way, and Norris’ history as a starter means he could well help soak up some IP, too. His history as a star high school prospect in Tennessee when Johnson was ‘cruitin’ across the state in Nashville means there’s likely a familiarity there, too, which a stretch that feels like it’s just me making here but maybe, just maybe, is actually real .
- Touki Toussaint, RHP: Former Vandy commit and 1st round pick is still just 26 years old, and he’s another who’d be higher on this list if I didn’t feel like he’s still capable of getting a fresher gig. Still, the Reds might be his best shot back to the bigs as a starter again.
- Ben Gamel, OF: I overlooked him in my initial rundown of current free agents and when I read through a fifth time and saw ‘Ben Gamel’ right there on the list it hit me that it’s almost certainly going to be Ben Gamel who’s the outfielder signed this winter, isn ‘t it?
- Luke Williams, IV: Luke Williams has 2 career big league homers and I have never heard of him before.