Winter Meetings Declared ‘Boring’
The winter meetings are over, and this year's edition was a turkey. The Reds weren't involved in any big deals, and the one big rumor, about the Reds offering Mark Loretta a deal, was one that sounded just horrible.
They did manage to pick up a couple of guys, though: they selected right-hand pitcher Jared Burton from the As in the Rule 5 draft. The Cubs selected Josh Hamilton from the Devil Rays the same way, then traded him to the Reds. Which is really less of a trade than a sale. I mean, I don't go around saying I went to the store and traded $20 for a miniature statuette of Sean Casey grounding into a double play.
But I digress.
Of course, both deals are interesting, and of course, the Reds needed some pitching fodder. But all you're going to hear about is Hamilton.
Quotes via Marc about the deals:
Wayne on Hamilton:
“There's risk to everything you do. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
The risk, in this case, is the chance that Hamilton will succumb to the drug habit that has rendered him useless the last few seasons. Hamilton, however, sounds determined to stay clean:
UPDATE 2: Hamilton:
“When I got the news I started shaking because I was so excited.”
“Jerry (Narron) saw me catch and pitch in one game. I remember him being at the game and being in awe and knowing who he was.”
“I guarantee I'll come in in the best shape of my life.”
“I didn't think (the Devils Rays) thought that anyone would take a chance.”
So at least we won't have to worry about him going the way of Josh Hancock. That's a relief.
Since he's a Rule 5-er, Hamilton has to say on the 25-man roster all season, or the Reds have to offer him back to Tampa Bay. Personally, I think Kriv-dawg is too stubborn to do a thing like that, but apparently the Rays think different.
Quote from DDN, (ht BubbaFan):
The large hook in this deal is that the Reds must keep the 25-year-old outfielder on their 25-man roster for the entire 2007 season or offer him back to the Devil Rays for $25,000. And the Devil Rays fully expect to get him back.
“At this point of his development, he needs to play, and it will be difficult for him to stick on the Reds roster,” Tampa Bay Executive Vice President Andrew Friedman said. “If we had kept him, he would have played this year at Class A. We fully expect the Reds to offer him back and we'll take him with open arms.”
I’m not too worried about the drug issue. I think he’s turned it around there.
The injury issue is more of a concern. He seems very injury-prone.
But most troubling is that he doesn’t seem anywhere near ready for prime time. He’s only 25, and given the years he spent banned from baseball, he may yet turn out to be a good player, even a star. But…not yet. He was playing in A-ball this year, and not exactly raking. The highest he’s been is a short stint in AA ball, five or six years ago. And he hit .180 then.
This doesn’t bode well for his transition to the Big Show. And even if they keep him on the roster…it’s a bad idea to use a guy like him as a reserve outfielder. At this stage in his career, he needs to play every day. If he’s going to develop to his full potential, he needs lots of ABs, not just a game or two a week, or a few late-inning substitutions.
I have to think that they’ll work out a deal with the Rays that will let them send him to the minors. Or maybe trade him.
Then again…maybe they’re not thinking about this objectively. There’s apparently a [url=http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061208/SPT04/612080373/1071/SPT]personal connection[/url]. When Hamilton was 15, he was coached by Narron’s brother:
[quote] When Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky mentioned to manager Jerry Narron that the club had a plan to obtain Josh Hamilton, Narron had one thought:
Narron has known Hamilton since Hamilton was a 15-year-old. He knows Hamilton’s story – the decline from a can’t-miss prospect to a skid-row drug addict.
“I felt all along if anyone could help the kid, it was me because of the relationship I’ve had with him. I know his past. I know his family. He’s a good kid from a good family.
“He got caught up in something no one can explain. But I’m telling you, he’s not a bad kid.”[/quote]
I suspect they’ll stash him on the DL for most of the year.
Given his injury history, it’s a possibility.
But that wouldn’t be good for his development. He needs to play every day. He’s already lost four years to the drug suspensions, etc. Losing his entire age 26 year if he’s not really injured…that would be really unfair to him.