The Cincinnati Reds were busy yesterday, making two deals to add depth to the club.
First, they traded left-handed pitcher Jeremy Horst to the Philadelphia Phillies for utility infielder Wilson Valdez. And really, “depth” is the nicest way to describe Valdez.
Next season, he’ll be 34 years-old. He’s never hit well, posting a career .290 on-base percentage and a weak slugging percentage of .330. He’s the definition of light-hitting. And his defense hasn’t been rated as stellar either. While I made the joke that recently acquired Willie Harris could be the next Corey Patterson, there’s a chance that this guy could supplant him. Dusty Baker has some bad tendencies with players like this.
The other transaction seems like a much better one. In a move clearly meant to bolster their starting pitching, the Reds signed former Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeff Francis to a minor-league contract.
Francis has been an average, innings-eating pitcher for his career. His ERA+ sits right at 98. He had an excellent career year with the Colorado Rockies in 2007, and finished 9th in Cy Young voting. He’s unlikely to reach that high, but he seems more than capable of taking a few starts. Considering how injury-prone the projected Reds starters are–Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey were both on the disabled list last year–I expect Francis to make quite a few appearances.
So there you go. One kind of bad deal–more due to manager Baker’s weaknesses–and one solid one.