Sunday, October 21, 2007
Despite Dusty Baker's love for veterans, the Front Office may see the potential for its younger players and stick with them. I'm not saying that Jeff Keppinger and Norris Hopper have at all proven themselves, but they have shown that they can contribute and deserve a fair look. Also, Encarnacion has shown great strides at third base and will get a good look while Votto and Jay Bruce should get spots in the lineup. I see them starting the year with Hatteberg at first, Votto in left, and a platoon of Bruce and Hamilton in center. However, when Dunn comes back I think, depending on how Hatteberg and Votto preform, that their time will be reduced and one will get the everyday job. Furthermore, if Bruce and Hamilton both do well and Griffey starts to slow down in right, it is possible that the Reds will trade Griffey once he accomplishes 600 homeruns. But Freel, a utility player who hits around .270, should draw considerable interest. I would attack the Padres bullpen in a trade involving Freel. He would be a great fall back option if they miss out on Fukudome and would provide them with a legitimate lead off man. Jim Edmonds is starting to slow down in center for the Cardinals and is probably in his last years, so he could fill in their. Also, the Cardinals might lose Eckstein at shortstop with the Front Office in limbo and Freel could platoon there as well. I think Freel would be a great player to bring in and play not only center, but shortstop, third base, and the other outfield positions. The Cardinals do not have much to offer though. Maybe Ryan Franklin and P.J. Walters, but maybe the Reds want something more close to ready with Franklin. Other teams that might be interested in Freel are the Twins, Blue Jays, Marlins, Braves, Giants, or Nationals.