We need something different to talk about so...
As has been discussed a number of times on the board, the Reds have a surplus of middling "last guy on the staff" LH pitchers that some team with a lefty need might be interested in just for the different look that a lefty provides. The Reds also have some guys that can be kept in AAA so a trade shouldn't lead to a shortage. The list again goes like this:
Bill Bray (probably a keeper), Mike Stanton (doubtful he'd be moved), Rheal Cormier (a candidate I hope), Brian Shackleford (a team that appreciates a loogy might be interested), Jon Coutlangus (I hope they keep him), Phil Dumatrait (out of options, can be a long relief guy or 5th starter), Tyler Pelland (still has an option, I think, I'd keep him in the minors and see what happens), Bobby Livingston (not sure of his option status but he's only 24), Eric Milton (hard to move I'm sure but with the number of starter candidates it should be considered now IMO), Michael Gosling (NRI that could be kept in AAA to allow others to be moved and he's only 26), Jason Kershner (30 year-old, I don't see the point) and Eddie Guardado (rehabbing for later, color me skeptical) and possibly Kent Mercker (if he signs and can comeback).
Looking around I see some teams in need:
Arizona : Has Dana Eveland (if he’s not in the rotation) and borderline guys like Doug Slaten, Evan MacLane, Bill Murphy and Greg Smith. This is a team that might be willing to give-up “something” for a guy like Cormier or even Shackleford. I’d guess that the Reds would have to throw something in from the system but I’d love to get Tony Pena or Brandon Medders. If not, AZ has a deep system and a prospect that may not be quite in the top 10 would still probably be an interesting guy and a top 10 guy for the Reds. An IF like Emilio Bonaficio (2B lead-off type with speed) or Alberto Gonzalez (defensive SS) would be a good return for the likes of a Cormier.
Milwaukee: The Brewers have only Brian Shouse as a sure lefty for the pen. Zach Jackson and Manny Parra are the only other candidates in camp and both are starter candidates who may be better off in minor league rotations. Greg Aquino is an intriguing former closer candidate that might be a guy to take a shot with. Angel Salome is a 20 year old minor league catcher that Baseball America ranks number 11 in the Brewer’s system and says “has a 70 arm.” He went .292/.349/.447 in 418 Sally league ABs. The knock on him involves his catching mechanics.
Philadelphia: The Phillies have Eude Brito, Fabio Castro, and Matt Smith on the roster with Brito going to miss part of the year from an auto accident. NRI are young Starter JA Happ, and career fringe guys or minor leaguers Jim Crowell and Brian Mazzone. Not sure they would want Cormier back, but they need some one, I’d love to get Happ who could be a 4th starter type in a couple years (I mentioned him in the early fall). Otherwise Greg Golson is a former 1st round OF who has disappointed. He has CF defensive ability with speed and power that haven’t shown-up in his stats.
San Diego: The Padres have no established lefties on the 40 man roster with Royce Ring the most likely to stick and Sean Thompson, Ryan Ketchner and Justin Hampson as other candidates. Frank Brooks, Erick Burke and Shawn Estes are the NRI. Estes is coming off Tommy John and won’t be ready for a while at best. This is a team that looks like a good candidate for a bigger deal. Besides a shortage of LH pitchers, they have a real need for some one to play LF and lead-off. I’d love for the Reds to package Freel with a lefty or two (say Cormier and Shack) for Scott Linebrink. The Reds could make Linebrink closer with Coffey, Stanton and Bray setting him up. That would take a wretched bullpen and make it a minor strength. In a smaller straight deal, the Padres have a couple catching prospects. Nick Hundley is 23, has career minor league lines of .266/.363/.435 and is described as having “good hands and a strong, accurate arm” by Baseball America. For a lesser pitcher, Colt Morton is a 25 year old Catcher. He projects more as a back-up but is a 6-5 RH hitter with some power. His career minor league line is .241/.340/.459 in 1179 at bats and looks like he’s ready for AA this year.
In the AL the lefty/righty thing is less important (fewer PH moves and countermoves with the DH) but there are a few teams that have a need.
LA Angels: Have Joe Saunders (likely in the rotation with Colon injury issues), Phil Seibel and Darren Oliver. They could use a lefty. With Mike Napoli around and Hank Conger coming, they might be willing to move Jeff Mathis. Mathis is still a highly thought of catcher with a minor league line of .280/.344/.452. He bombed in the majors last year but he was considered the best defensive catcher in the Pacific Coast League. If that is aiming too high, Jose Arredondo, 23, is a RH pitcher with a power arm, who touches 97 MPH, who has fallen out of favor a little and Hainley Statia, 21, is a good defensive SS who is blocked by a SS glut in LA. Statia is probably best suited for High A right now and has gone .292/.363/.385 in 860 Abs. Bobby Wilson, 24, is another catcher ready for AAA in 2007. BA says Wilson’s “footwork and hands are adequate. He blocks the plate well, and has an average arm.” He’s gone .282/.334/.422 in 1472 minor league Abs.
Toronto: With BJ Ryan closing and Gustavo Chacin probably starting, the middle of the game is left to Scott Downs (surprisingly good in 2006), Davis Romero and Brain Tallet. With Jo Matumoto as a NRI. This team may be looking for a lefty. A guy to keep an eye on is Kyle Yates. Yates is a 24 year old RHP who split time starting and relieving in 2006. His fastball is not much at maybe 87 to 90 MPH and BA says “he has a tight curve ball that can buckle knees of lefties and righties alike.” BA also says that he “trusts his change-up and the action he generates makes it a key weapon against lefties.” Yates is rated Toronto’s number 15 prospect by BA, but led the AFL in Ks and finished 2006 in AA.
Tampa Bay: This is a special case. They have no established LH for the pen but do have JP Howell, Jeff Ridgeway, Chris Seddon and Jon Switzer. Perhaps a lefty can be the ticket to complete the Brendon Harris trade and/or allow the Reds to completely acquire Josh Hamilton’s rights.
This is a list of possible matches for some of the Reds glut of lefties at first glance. Of course injuries could bring another team to the forefront, and the Reds guys won’t bring a lot, but maybe they can get something useful as they pare down the roster.