After a slow start this winter, the Reds picked up steam and are continuing to make deals. In a trade that sent pitcher Jeremy Horst to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Reds solidify their bench and infield with six-year veteran Wilson Valdez, according to MLB Trade Rumors.com.
With the addition of pitchers Mat Latos, Sean Marshall, Josh Judy, Kanekoa Texeira and Jeff Francis, it probably wasn't a gut-churner deciding whether or not to rid themselves of Horst. He appeared in only 15-plus innings, all in relief in 2011, had no decisions and an ERA of 2.93.
The acquisition of Valdez gives the Reds a solid backup at shortstop behind rookie Zack Cozart. How this fits in with the playing time of Paul Janish has yet to be seen. Valdez can also play second base and third base. He also has a 1-0 record as a pitcher against the Reds. Last year with the Phillies he had a slash line of .249/.294/.341/.634 in 300 plate appearances.
Earlier in the week, the Reds signed veteran utility player Willie Harris to a minor league contract. He spent 2011 with the New York Mets and had a line of .246/.351/.317/.668 in 240 AB. He can play virtually any position other than catcher.
Journeyman southpaw pitcher Jeff Francis was signed to a minor league contract yesterday. The big left-hander comes to Cincinnati with a career record of 61-66 and an ERA of 4.78. He spent the first six years of his career with the Colorado Rockies before going to the Kansas City Royals last season. With the Royals he was 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts.
It is difficult to imagine another signing in the near future. The Reds are probably down to the bottom line on their budget and would probably have to make a trade to get anyone else.
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