Looking to stockpile power arms, Walt Jocketty announced the signing of RHP Jose Arredondo to a minor league deal last week.
Arredondo will not be an immediate impact player for the Reds. He will have surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, putting him on the shelf for 2010.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Arredondo, 25, went 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 52 games in 2008 with Angels. He led both leagues’ relievers in victories, and opponents batted only .190 against him.
He slipped to 2-3 with 6.00 ERA last season in 43 games. He dealt with elbow problems all season.
My take on the Arredondo signing: It’s an excellent move.
Baseball America had him pegged as the Angels' future closer after K-Rod left for New York. They also rated his fastball as the best in the organization in 2006.
Arredondo is young, talented, and when healthy, has an electric arm. If things turn out right, he will be a stronghold in the Reds' bullpen come 2011 and beyond.
If things don’t turn out as planned, oh well. He was signed to a minor league deal, so I assume it didn’t cost a lot of money. This is also known as a “low-risk, high reward” signing. Always a great move.
The signing reminded me of when the Reds signed Aussie reliever Grant Balfour in 2006.
Cincinnati acquired him as a free agent in 2006 knowing he was injured. They payed him $340K to rehab the entire season, only to release him, and let the Brewers claim him off waivers.
You might remember that Balfour went on to play for the Tampa Bay Rays, where he helped the club reach its first postseason and World Series appearance in 2008. In 51 games, he went 6-2 with an ERA of 1.54, had 82 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings pitched, and booked four saves.
I have no problem with the Reds signing and releasing a guy, only to see him have a stellar season with another club two years later. No one knows how a player is going to perform down the road (especially an injured player).
Besides, it’s just Grant Balfour, and he really only had one good season. Needless to say, I don’t lose sleep at night over this deal, like I sometimes do over the Reds' failure to obtain Trevor Hoffman.
The problem I had with the Balfour deal is that they paid him to rehab and never seemed interested in seeing any return on their investment (though little it may have been).
When you’re a small market club, you can’t afford to do things like that. If you’re going to pay a guy to rehab, you need to be committed to at least see what he can do for your club. If things don’t work out, that’s fine.
That being said, I don’t think the Reds will go that route with Jose Arredondo.
There’s far more upside with him than there had ever been with Grant Balfour. I personally hope the Reds continue to make deals like this in the future. Besides drafting wisely, I believe this is the best way a small market club can help itself compete.