Well, what a difference a few days makes for the Reds. True to his word, general manager Walt Jocketty didn't rest until he improved the club at the leadoff position. Tuesday's trade for the Indians Shin-Soo Choo (and backup shortstop Jason Donald) just about completed the offseason shopping list.
On the surface it might seem like the cost may have been too high to acquire a player likely to leave via free agency after the 2013 season. However, I commend Ken Rosenthal's article on Fox Sports.com who deftly explains why the three-team trade is a win-win-win for everybody -- especially for Cincinnati.
My only concern is whether Choo can handle centerfield. There's no question the trade weakens the Reds defensively, but Choo's production from the leadoff spot more than likely may offset any defensive deficiencies.
Wednesday's news of an impending deal with utilityman Jake Hannahan means the club's roster is likely set 2 months before Spring Training begins. Here's a projected look:
Infielders-- Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Donald & Hannahan
Outfielders--Ryan Ludwick, Choo, Jay Bruce, Chris Heisey & Xavier Paul
Catchers--Ryan Hanigan & Devin Mesoraco
Starters--Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey & Aroldis Chapman
Relievers--Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, Sam LeCure, Logan Ondrusek, Jose Arredondo, Alfredo Simon, J.J. Hoover
You may notice I left off Nick Masset and Mike Leake from the 25-man roster. My guess is Masset may begin the year on the disabled list as he comes back from shoulder surgery. As for Leake, well his future may be the most intriguing. Despite spending most of his first 3 seasons in the Reds rotation, his numbers weren't great in 2012 (8-9, 4.58 ERA) and if Chapman proves capable as a starter, Leake may get sent to the minors or he could end up in the bullpen.
Bottom line while the latest acquisitions make the Reds look like Indians South (joke), it provides the re-tooling the club needed to repeat as division champs and finally make at a World Series crown.