for a guy that can play every position on the field I think its a good sign. If Hamilton, Bruce, Stubbs all pan out and Dunn is still around Freel could still be at 3B or 2B depending on the situation in the future.
A couple more guesses/takes/assumptions/etc.
mlbtraderumors.com:Freel, in the second year of a two-year, $3 million contract, is now signed through the end of his arbitration years. Considering that he's 31 and injury prone, Freel is smart to take the guaranteed money when he can get it. This deal is probably worth $8 million-$9 million.
It's tough to put a value on a player like Freel, a useful guy who plays 2B, 3B, and all outfield spots. Plenty of teams have a player like this but most don't get on base like Freel (.367 career OBP). I'm not sure of the financials yet but the Reds probably got a good deal.
I doubt its more than 4 million a year. I'd say prob 3mil 2008, 3.5 2009
I know people are discourage bc freel is keeping fan favorite hamilton out of the line up but this is a great extension. Freel is a servicable guy that gives us a lot of flexibility. He is essentially and insurance policy on Phillips, Gonzalez (phillips to SS), EE, and all three OF. He is an above average lead off hitter, and he plays his heart out. He is an exciting player to watch.
I don't think there is any way the signing means we r getting rid of dunn, not favorable to hamilton, going to block bruce's rise etc... He is a role player who is VERY valuable to this ballclub and with Hamilton's production, should regain the super sub role, the role he flourishes in.
I can handle $4.5 mil/year for Freel. If Hamilton eventually assumes a FT role in the OF< that puts Freel back where he belongs--all over the place. And considering the woeful state of this team's bench, and the fact that Freel can actually contribute, I think this is a good signing.
Particularly when you consider that Junior is more likely than not to spend significant time on the DL this year, and Hamilton may very drift below the mendoza line rather soon. With Deno out (and perhaps never to return), if you take Freel out of the equation this team's outfield depth becomes practically nothing. And the IF depth isn't too hot either.
We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.
I'd like to see the dollars involved as that's a major sticking point to determining if this deal is likely to help or hurt the Reds over the next two seasons.
Strictly from a personnel standpoint, the Reds' outfield depth right now is rather lousy, and even their infield depth leaves quite a bit to be desired. Chris Denorfia's injury could have been one of the driving factors beyond this extension too. The Reds could have been preparing Denorfia to take Freel's place as an outfield starter/reserve while letting Freel walk, but now there's no guarantee how well Denorfia can recover from his injury. Also, as fantastic as Josh Hamilton has looked in spring training and early this season, there still are a few remaining question marks surrounding how high up the ladder he'll be able to climb. Anything less than 100 percent requires some sort of contingency plan, IMO.
Plus, there's not one outfielder currently down in Louisville that I ever want to see starting for the Reds, and honestly, with the possible exception of Norris Hopper as a fifth outfielder at best, I don't even want to see any of them on the Reds roster.
Down in Chattanooga and further down the lower minors, unless a guy like Cody Strait can break out this season, Jay Bruce is likely the next big league starting caliber outfielder to come out of our system. I'm a huge Jay Bruce fan, and I think he's going to be a star for the Reds, but he's just starting out in High-A ball this season and is still quite far away from the big leagues. We can't be expecting Jay Bruce to be starting for the Reds on Opening Day 2008.
So given everything ... no guarantees regarding Hamilton/Denorfia and zero major league caliber outfield help in Louisville, the Reds needed an outfield insurance policy. Provided the money isn't excessive, Freel should provide that insurance policy. If the money is indeed excessive, then all bets are off ...
FWIW, what could be an interesting sidenote is to see this extension stretching through 2009. It could be merely coincidental, or it could be foreshadowing what the Reds may elect to do with Griffey's option in 2009. By this time next year, the question marks surrounding Griffey's option will probably dominate Reds Nation, and there's still no guarantees that Jay Bruce will be ready on Opening Day 2009 (FWIW, I hope he is ready or very close by then). If Ryan Freel can continue putting up a .370 on-base percentage and play a decent outfield, he could allow the Reds to buy out Griffey's option and provide an easy transition (i.e. hopefully not a blockade) for Jay Bruce in 2009.
Kevin Gregg and Jason Marquis will bring back memories of the Lost Decade.
I'm guessing in the range of 4-6M per season.