I've got 30 gallons of bottled water, enough canned goods to last until Easter and 24 bags of salt. So I guess I'm ready for the snow storm. I'm kidding, of course. But for those of you who don't live in the Cincinnati area, let's just say folks around here (particularly TV news people) get a tad worked up when it's snows.
I've got a good solid inch on my driveway. But before I clear the driveway, let's warm things up with a like Hot Stove talk. Let's continue free agent discussion. Here's the right-hander hitters available with my take on the chances of the Reds signing them and the merits of such a move:
Jerry Hairston Jr.: He's the most likely to sign because he's only one out there with an offer from the Reds. I think he'll sign. But it's not a lock. He's got offers from the defending World Series champion Phillies and the Mariners. He's close to Seattle's new manager. I think it would be good signing for the Reds, but losing him wouldn't be a killer blow. As good as he was last year, he played only 80 games.
Willy Taveras: The Reds called him as soon as he became a free agent, so the interest is there. The best thing about him is he's 26. If his on-base is .367 -- like it was in 2007 -- he's a good leadoff man. If it's .308 -- like it was in '08 -- not so much. He has no power but those 68 steals got him into scoring position a lot last year.
Juan Rivera: The Reds have been talking to him at least since the Winter Meetings. He was on his way to being star until he broke his leg. If he can approach what he did in 2006 (.310/.362/.525), you'e got something. At the very at least, the Reds could platoon him with Chris Dickerson.
Ty Wigginton: A very good right-handed bat. If he was a natural outfielder, he'd be worth the money. He's not great in the outfield, neither was Adam Dunn. Is it worth moving Edwin Encarnacion to left and playing Wigginton at third? I've heard Wigginton is a great clubhouse leader. The fact the Reds didn't act quickly tells me they won't sign him.
Pat Burrell: He, like a lot of other free agents, is looking around. But I think his price is too high for the Reds. His numbers are similar to Adam Dunn's -- only with less power. The length of the deal would be the key for me. You don't want to sign a 31-year-old guy for any longer than three years.
Milton Bradley: His numbers last season (.321/.436/.563) were excellent. He only made $5.2 million and he's only 30. The risk is huge given his past problems but so is the reward. I don't see it happening. But it would make things interesting.
Rocco Baldelli: His health makes him a huge question. But this guy was a Jay Bruce-type prospect five years ago. I wouldn't be surprised if the Reds had Doc Kremchek and Co. at least looking at the medical reports. I think he's worth a shot if he's willing to come in as a fourth outfield. If he get past his medical problems, you've got a five-tool player.
Gabe Kapler: He hit .310./.340/.498 with the Brewers last year after coming out of the retirement. He's only 32. He might make a good option for the fifth outfielder.