Cincinnati Reds Revisited: Josh Hamilton and Other Reds Who Have Moved on
It is usually refreshing to take a look behind us and see what was once there. Baseball teams are no different.
Ever since Curt Flood opened the door to free agency with his lawsuit in 1969, players come and players go.
When old school fans like to look at Al Kaline, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle, they remember them as a Tiger, Cardinal, Red Sock (I guess?) and Yankee.
Not that loyalty doesn't still raise its head from the groundhog hole occasionally, such as with Barry Larkin, Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter, it is not the trend.
It's hard to imagine that Albert Pujols is not a Cardinal. At least Stan Musial can rest securely as the greatest Cardinal ever.
The Reds, as every other team in existence, deal yearly, calling up, waiving, trading, buying and selling players as if they were heads of cattle or stocks in a corporation.
It would be interesting to see what kind of team could be fielded using ex-Reds.
The place to begin is behind the plate and moving around the diamond numerically as on a scorecard.
Let us proceed!
Catcher: Ramon Hernandez
Ramon Hernandez was with Cincinnati from 2009-11. He shared much of the time with Ryan Hanigan, but was considered the starting catcher. With the Reds he batted .280/.348/.413 with 24 HR and 124 RBI.
He signed with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent at the end of the 2012 season and he is currently hitting .279 with 4 HR and 14 RBI in 17 games.
First Base: Adam Dunn
First Baseman Adam Dunn (or Big Donkey as he was affectionately named) was a 40 HR per year man with the Reds. He played from 2001-08 in Cincinnati and was a run-producing, striking-out machine.
.247/.380/.520 was his line with the Reds along with 270 round-trippers and 646 RBI. He led the league in strikeouts with the Reds three consecutive seasons.
He was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks in August of 2008 for Dallas Buck, Wilkin Castillo and Micah Owings.
He is currently with the Chicago White Sox as a designated hitter and has his career returned to an upright position with seven HR and 19 RBI so far this season.
Second Base: Jeff Keppinger
Alright, Keppinger played mostly shortstop while in Cincinnati from 2007-08, but to be honest he played nearly everywhere.
His line of .289/.342/.391 was very steady, as was the fact that he rarely struck out. He was whisked away to Houston seemingly the morning of the '09 season opener.
He is presently with the Tampa Bay Rays and is batting .298 with a pair of homers.
Third Base: Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin "Double E" Encarnacion gave new meaning to the term "hot corner." With him you just never new what to expect. He could play like Scott Rolen one game and the next look like a croquet wicket.
His power was never suspect however, as he led the Reds in home runs in 2008 with 26. Encarnacion played with the Reds from 2005-09, when he went to Toronto in a deal that saw Rolen come to Cincinnati.
Encarnacion produced a .262/.345/.449 line with 71 HR and 263 RBI with the Reds.
He is still with the Blue Jays and is currently leading the American League with nine HR, and is one RBI behind league leader Josh Hamilton with 24.
Shortstop: Alex Gonzalez
Alex Gonzalez was in Cincinnati from 2007-09. He missed all of 2008 due to injuries. It seemed that when he was with the Reds he was gone, on the bench or on the shelf half the time.
He had a line of .248/.299/.403 with the Reds, contributing 19 HR and 81 RBI.
Left Field: Cody Ross
Cody Ross had a cup of coffee, if you will, in Cincinnati in 2006 while in transit from Los Angeles to Florida. He appeared in two games for the Reds and really never had a chance to display his talents.
He has since played with Florida, San Francisco and Boston.
He is remembered for his terrific play in the post-season with the Giants in 2010, when he clubbed five homers to go with 10 RBI and a .294 average, along with the NLCS MVP award.
He is currently hitting .268 with 5 HR and 18 RBI with Boston.
Center Field: Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton could be the the best player that was ever given away by a team. He played half of the 2007 season with the Reds and was traded that December to the Texas Rangers for Edinson Volquez and Danny Hererra.
Since Hererra is no longer with Cincy and Volquez was given as 25 percent payment for Mat Latos, it is safe to say Hamilton was given away.
Of course he is a rags-to-riches, bad boy-to-superstar story in his own right. He has made the All-Star team in every season since and was the 2010 American League MVP.
The Reds obviously couldn't wait for Hamilton to mature. Sound familiar, Yonder?
Right Field: Laynce Nix
Jonny Gomes could just as easily have fit in this role, but was overlooked by the fact he is disliked by most Reds fans.
Laynce Nix played with the Reds in 2009-10. He split his time mostly with Gomes, but did hit 15 home runs in 116 games in 2009.
He is currently .342/.419/.658 with a pair of homers and 10 RBI.
The pitchers will be dealt with in two frames: starters and relievers. The starting pitchers consist of Kyle Lohse, Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang, Micah Owings and Travis Wood.
Wood is the only one of the lot who is toiling on the farm. Lohse has turned into one of the premier starters in the National League with the Cardinals.
Volquez, acquired for Hamilton, has pitched effectively thus far for the Padres.
Harang struck out nine straight batters the other day for the Dodgers and had a 14-7 record with a 3.64 ERA with the Padres last season.
Owings, also with San Diego, is used now in spot starts and relief, but still has his shoulder to the wheel.
Wood who had such an exceptional future with the Reds was sent packing to the Cubs for current closer Sean Marshall.
Not much can be said for the relief corps of this makeshift squad. It consists of Matt Belisle (Rockies), Todd Coffey (Dodgers), Jared Burton (MIN), Jeremy Affeldt (Giants), Arthur Rhodes and closer Francisco Cordero (Blue Jays).
Rhodes hasn't connected to a team this season, but his phone is still plugged in.
All the others listed are still working on the Major League level and are contributing to the success of their respective teams.