The Reds have acquired IF Jorge Cantu, OF Shaun Cumberland, and cash from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for P Brian Shackelford, P Calvin Medlock, and future considerations.
The key to the deal for the Reds would be Cantu, who is 25 years old and has played mostly 2B and 3B in the majors, with a handful of appearances at 1B and one at SS. In 2005, his best season with the Devil Rays, he put up .286/.311/.497 BA/OBP/SLG with a 112 OPS, hitting 40 doubles, 28 HRs, and collecting 117 RBI. The writers in Tampa voted him the D-Rays' MVP that year.
The following year was an injury-plagued letdown, and although he hit a respectable .255 this spring he was beaten out by B.J. Upton and ended up being one of the final cuts in spring training, reportedly due in part to being defensively suspect. He was not happy and let it known that he wished to be traded. He did get called up several weeks later, but mostly sat on the bench, and a week ago Thursday was sent to Class-AAA Durham. He again asked to be traded, telling reporters in St. Petersberg, “I'm not a minor league player. I think a change of scenery would be best” and “I don't have anything to prove down there. I guess I have to go.”
His agent is Steve Canter, who has compared Cantu's situation to Milton Bradley and Shea Hillebrand and characterized Cantu as “an experienced second baseman with a power bat.”
The Reds, of course, already have one of those in Brandon Phillips, so it remains to be seen what the future holds for Cantu with the Reds' organization. He's on the 40-man roster but will be assigned to Louisville.
I would be remiss in my duties as Crack Hard Facts Staff if I were to fail to report that Cantu also has, or had, his own blog. Although there hasn't been a new entry since August 23, 2006, you can get a glimpse of Cantu up close and personal by visiting Jose Cantu's World:
Shaun Cumberland is 22 years old with no major league experience. He'll be assigned to Chattanooga. He was playing at Class-AA Montgomery, where he was hitting .246 with half a dozen dingers and 34 ribbies. Last season he was at Class-A Vidalia California League), where he hit .258 with 16 homers and a hundred ribbies and swiped 28 bases, but struck out 133 times in 530 at-bats.