MLB Free Agents: Cincinnati Reds Keep Watching as the List Dwindles

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MLB Free Agents: Cincinnati Reds Keep Watching as the List Dwindles
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Paul Maholm was just signed by the Chicago Cubs, according to MLB Trade Rumors.com.  He is probably the last of the decent starting pitchers of the affordable persuasion.

We, as Reds fans, go through this on a consistent and continual basis. The Reds are a small-market team, yada, yada, yada. Sometimes you have to squeeze the proverbial blood out of the turnip.

Maholm was signed for one year at $4.75 million. If the Reds couldn't afford that for an end-of-the-rotation starter, they should just play with what they have.

The Reds still haven't found a suitable left-fielder, although Walt Jocketty is said to still be dealing. Let's look at what is left. It resembles the table scraps at Aunt Bertha's Thanksgiving table at 5:30. Not much lean meat there.

Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel—the list goes on but gets no better. Burrell, Ludwick and Ankiel appear to have shot their wad already, leaving Ross standing alone. He is capable but not a name that makes you want to jump up and fist bump the wife. He has good power, can play all three outfield slots and wouldn't come with a superstar contract.

Seth Smith is a name that has been bandied about over the hot stove. Unbeknown to many Reds fans, he is said to have been a pawn in a move that would have sent him to Tampa Bay. Apparently the Rays had no real interest in Smith, as they were going to "flip" him to the Reds for catcher Ryan Hanigan.

How would that have been swallowed by the Reds faithful?

In my opinion Smith, 29, is a capable player with average power. He averages 17 HR for 162 games. That is mediocre at best for a corner fielder. He doesn't strike out much, only averaging 17 strikeouts in 100 AB.

Would you have liked a trade sending Hanigan away for Seth Smith?

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His .275 career average is better than any of the Reds' existing outfielders.

But at what price would he have arrived in the Queen City? Letting an able-bodied catcher like Hanigan go when your best backup hope is Corky Miller is frightening.

I think a straight trade, Hanigan for Smith, is a good deal for everyone, but not after letting Ramon Hernandez walk to Colorado and then sending Yasmani Grandal to San Diego.

Since the "affordable"  starting pitchers have essentially been taken, and the outfield pickup looks like it will be a dud, let us look toward the bullpen.

The Reds are apparently now interested in veteran reliever Kerry Wood. He is all but done in the Windy City, according to Dave Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. The Reds, however, are still dealing with closer Francisco Cordero. There is no way the Reds will sign both pitchers. Jocketty said he will know about Cordero one way or another this week.

If Cordero is not signed and the Reds do sign Wood, it could make for an interesting scenario. Sean Marshall was recently signed by the Reds as either a setup man or a closer. Both he and Wood were setup men in Chicago in front of closer Carlos Marmol.

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