Re: Marty and Hal believe a trade is brewing
Would not only be a shame, but also lame to let Freel go for bogus bullpen fodder. Freel is the team's most qualified lead-off hitter, he's just now entering his prime and he's signed cheap for a couple of years.
We may or may not need him at 2B, but he's our best heir apparent to succeed Junior in CF and gives us options at RF, LF and 3B. The fact is, Junior should not be manning CF for us this time next year. Maybe he's traded this summer or next winter in a package for pitching and prospects. Maybe he's converted to LF or 1B. But if he's still our CF, we're asking for trouble.
Junior can still rake, but he can no longer adequately field the position. If we can transition him to another position, fine. If not, he has to be moved, and we have to have someone waiting in the wings to patrol CF.
Everyone's building up Denorfia and he looks like the real deal. But I'd like to see him collect 250 ML at-bats before pronouncing him a long-term OF fixture. He should supersub as the fourth outfielder a good half-season or so before vanquishing Kearns, Dunn, Griffey or Freel.
If Freel is on the auction block, then this new regime is not thinking ahead. Womack, Phillips or Aurilia might between them be able to hold down 2B for awhile, but none of them will ever be an acceptable lead-off batter for the Reds or a possible replacement for Junior in CF, or someone who can get the fans jazzed the same way as Freel.
Yes, we have a logjam at 2B, but Freel belongs on the team, whether at 2B or elsewhere. He isn't dead wood to be cleared away. We need a table-setter, a catalyst for our powerful offense, and he's the obvious bird in hand. The brain trust isn't to be trusted if it can't recognize his talent or why we need a legitimate lead-off man.
Speaking for myself, I think that's a more important role to fill than having a designated closer. We don't have a clearcut closer, but we do have Freel. A cup half-filled is better than one that's empty.