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OnBaseMachine
03-09-2008, 01:27 AM
Freel watches, waits and wonders about role
Fan favorite utility player wants to stay, but thinks he might be traded

By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Sunday, March 09, 2008

SARASOTA, Fla. Ryan Freel sits at his locker and senses his dilemma.

His position isn't center field. His position isn't second base. His position isn't right field.

His position is precarious.

He sees Norris Hopper. He sees Jay Bruce. He sees the Cincinnati Reds bring in Corey Patterson. He hears manager Dusty Baker say, "Who is having a better camp than (rookie outfielder) Chris Dickerson?"

And Freel wonders where he fits in all this, if he does.

Freel sat it out Saturday, March 8, with a minor contusion on his left wrist while the Reds beat up the Atlanta Braves 13-8 in another wind-blown extravaganza.

Freel loves it in Cincinnati, knows things are getting better and better. And he would like to be part of the baseball renaissance, but is there room at the inn? Probably not. He sees younger players making less money and two-and-two doesn't add up to five.

He isn't demanding a trade, but if the Reds have no plans for him, he wouldn't kick a fuss about a trade. And there have been rumblings about a possible deal.

"You can't help but look around I've been around the game awhile now and I can look around and see what is going on," he said. "I can see what they're trying to do and, hey, they're going in the right direction.

"When you get to a point in your age (32) and you see what's around you, one second you are at the top of their list and the next thing you know you don't know where you stand," Freel added. "You get an idea of how they're using guys and playing guys."

Freel has never come to camp with a job, never been told, "You're the guy." It is because of his versatility, his ability to play everywhere. That helps him when that type of player is needed. It hurts him when a younger, cheaper guy can do the same job.

"There are some guys on this team who can flat-out play, and it's all about winning right now," he said. "It's not about what is going on with me, but as an individual, what is going on in my head, I'm thinking, 'What's going to happen next?' I wonder what their options (are) and what they're thinking about me."

Manager Dusty Baker and General Manager Wayne Krivsky say Freel is an important piece to the puzzle and should continue to do what he does best play baseball with reckless abandon, dirty up and tear up his uniform. But Freel looks around and sees too many pieces for the puzzle.

"I hope I'm a part of this team because they are going in the right direction, no doubt, and you want to be a part of that," he said. "But as I sit here (Saturday morning), I wonder, 'Where will I be next?' I have a gut feeling about what is going on, but I just have to wait and see."

http://www.daytondailynews.com/s/content/oh/story/sports/pro/reds/2008/03/08/ddn030908reds.html

pedro
03-09-2008, 01:52 AM
Freel's a useful little guy. I like having him as a bench guy. He's going to be on the Reds unless they trade him, there's no way they'd ever cut him at his salary.

MartyFan
03-09-2008, 03:31 AM
That was a crappy story...I mean I get the entire thought going through a players head story angle but Hal just hoovered on it.

reds44
03-09-2008, 03:36 AM
That actually made me kind of feel bad for Ryan Freel, but then I rememberd the truckload of cash he just got last season.

Freel has a role on this team, the supersub role. It's where he belongs. Defensive replacement, pinch runner, spot starter. The issues with him come when a manager falls in love with him and puts him in every day.

fearofpopvol1
03-09-2008, 05:59 AM
I like Freel a lot. I think he's useful, but I think the big qualm is that he's not really an everyday player and he's expensive for someone in that role.

GAC
03-09-2008, 06:37 AM
I like Freel a lot. I think he's useful, but I think the big qualm is that he's not really an everyday player and he's expensive for someone in that role.

I didn't agree at all with giving him that money. That may make team's apprehensive at wanting to acquire him (+ his age).

mth123
03-09-2008, 07:21 AM
Freel's a useful little guy. I like having him as a bench guy. He's going to be on the Reds unless they trade him, there's no way they'd ever cut him at his salary.

I can't imagine him being cut. I've never been a big Freel fan, but Freel is easily a better and more useful guy than Hopper or Dickerson at this point. He is a top bench player and IMO is worth his contract (but moving that contract should make things easier in 2009 when the increases for Arroyo and Harang really kick-in). I have no issue if he is on the team, but a team in contention that needs some bench strength would likely have no qualms about taking Freel on at his salary. Add that Freel would probably bring more back in trade than the guys he's competing with will bring back. I could see the Mets, the Padres, the White Sox and possibly the Dodgers, Indians, Cardinals and Red Sox having some interest. Freel just needs to show that he's healthy and his skills are intact this spring.

The Reds clearly need an upgrade for the bullpen (especially the LH Relief roles) and packaging Freel with say a Coutlangus or a Coffey for a better reliever would improve this team overall. The Reds are in good shape to backfill for Freel should he be dealt, but dealing him would not mean that the backfill is necessarily a better player.

Chip R
03-09-2008, 11:10 AM
Wasn't Freel pretty much handed the CF job last spring?

redsfan4445
03-09-2008, 02:27 PM
i see him being dealt to the Mets. they said they need a #4 outfielder and he can be that there till alou is ready.. just my gut feeling..

KronoRed
03-09-2008, 03:38 PM
Wasn't Freel pretty much handed the CF job last spring?

Yep, but other "fan favorite" Hamilton got a lot of attention as well.

Sea Ray
03-10-2008, 11:20 AM
Freel, nor anyone else, should be miffed that he's not considered a starter. He's shown over and over again that he can't stay healthy for 150 games. No team can count on him as a starter for that reason alone.