Remember Ryan Freel? He’s wondering where he fits into the Reds’ equation this year (tip of the cap to preach).

The answer is probably that he’ll be on the outside looking in, but I wouldn’t mind having Freel around. The guy can play several positions adequately enough that he’ll get 400 ABs if he can stay healthy, even if he isn’t an everyday starter. A guy like that is too valuable just to throw away.

Another benefit to having Freel on the roster is that he might be the starter in CF rather than Corey Patterson when Jay Bruce is sent to AAA and Junior Griffey gets hurt. For all his faults, Freel is twice the player that Patterson is.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 21 Comments

  1. He’s also right handed on a heavy lefty team. With him and Keppinger around you have a lot of versatility in the field while keeping a right handed presence on the bench. I’m assuming that was one consideration in letting Cantu walk. I think a guy like that adds more to a club than he could acquire in a trade, unless you use him as a piece of a package deal. If I needed a CF straight up, I would choose Patterson over Freel anyday, everyday. But because of versatility, keep Farney around. I just hope he holds himself together off the field now better than he has in the past. His on-field injuries aren’t my only concern with Mr. Grande’s favorite “little guy”.

  2. freel has a career OPS that’s 20 points higher than patterson’s, and his success rate stealing is 5% lower than patterson’s. Patterson is generally considered a better fielder i think.

    Freel was also nowhere close to his career numbers last year, while patterson still has upside. They may be going in opposite directions at this point.

    While i’m still pulling for Bruce in center, i think it’s going a bit far to say that freel is twice the player patterson is. They’re basically the same player, except patterson may get better, and is probably better in the field.

  3. Well i think the problem with freel is that he gets TOO many at bats. What i mean is that i think he seems to get run down as the season goes on. I think if he is healthy and he has around 300 ab’s then he will put up good numbers.

  4. I think, al, that the ‘twice the player’ comment, while I don’t completely agree, was geared more toward versatility than ability at any one position or part of the game. I also agree with Ryan’s assesment that Freel should not get over 300 AB’s. Injuries, however, could make that difficult. I think a lot of Freel’s value comes in the form of double switches and pinch running, which do not involve him swinging a bat. Obviously, you cannot keep a player on the roster solely for that purpose, but along with being right-handed and the always present injury situation, I think a successful team needs a guy like this on it. As I stated earlier, I don’t think that he himself could command much in the way of trade value, but a utility guy packaged with a prospect could net some pretty good things. I still think a trade is coming, not sure what Kriv is after, but perhaps Farney feels the same thing and is whispering in Freel’s ear about it.

  5. what about a trade with the yankees are looking for player like who fill and lead off when damon takes a day off
    wilson betemit for freel would work.
    we have enough of’s. betemit could fill in at ss,2b,3b and 1st. plus he is a switch hitter any thouths

  6. (Fingers Crossed that Freel stays) What will the REDS highlight reels look like without the diving grabs and wall smashing catches? Freel’s got heart, lots and lots of heart!

  7. preach, i’m not sure that i buy the argument that being able to play a passable 2nd and 3rd base doubles your value, or that that’s what chad was saying originally.

    personally i think all this super-versatility talk is a little over-hyped. is it better to be able to play more positions? sure, but marginally. between hopper, javy, and keppinger we have the whole field covered. for the other 2 guys to be able to play 7 positions or whatever, seems like a small bonus.

    to me, the point is that we wouldn’t be takling about this is freel hadn’t stunk last season. he’s getting outplayed, and you can’t feel bad about guys not making the team if they get outplayed, even if they are fan faves.

  8. Well, I admit to using some hyperbole in saying that Freel is twice the player. That said, I do believe that Freel is the more valuable player. There is serious value in a guy who won’t kill you on defense at multiple positions, plus has some on-base skills. It gives you a lot of options, especially in-game.

    Give me Freel over Patterson anyday. At least Dusty Baker probably won’t be tempted to start Freel every day. I’m not so sure about Patterson.

  9. i guess in the end it depends on what their roll on the team is going to be. I agree that freel is the more valuable bench player, where versatility does count. I think i’d rather have patterson as the starting center fielder.

    That said, i think Bruce should be the starting CF, so starting patterson to me is the better of two bad options.

  10. Freel’s extreme problems with lefties last year was a considerable problem. I don’t think you can afford to use righties who can’t hit lefties consistently. See Hoppers splits and you will pencil him in against lefties. Not to stir up controversy but Hopper had a higher avg, obp, AND slg against lefties than Dunn or Griffey. There are limitations to those stats as you have to look at runs and rbi to see what kind of production was generated. Still, the stats indicate Hopper should play against lefties. I’d like to see more platooning in baseball, not specifically with the Reds, but it makes sense for smaller market teams to get affordable guys who are one-sided. Wily Mo, for example, would give you production against lefties beyond his salary most likely unless he really “figures it all out”. Not saying I’m clamoring to have him back but I think a budgeting GM could pair him with a guy like Lofton (three straight years over .800 ops against righties) and get good production most nights. The reason for not going that route with the Reds is the youth movement where we want well rounded every day players. However, if Votto fails to develop against lefties after a couple years, it’s time to find a Cantu.

  11. You gotta keep in mind that what – 80% of the innings are thrown by righties? But yeah, I agree that platoons are underutilized.

    The interesting thing about Freel has always been how badly he falls off after something like 8 days of consecutive play. I looked at this a couple years back, and it was uncanny.

  12. thinking of centerfielders, just to be a masochist i wandered over to the rangers site. this is why jay bruce has to start in center field.

    josh hamilton’s spring line so far:

    .522/.542/1.043 11 rbi, 5 r, 2 2b, 2 3b, 2 hr 3 k in 23 ABs

    i know there are injury concerns, and relapse concerns, but as avid reds fans who saw what he can do, we know those numbers aren’t as ridiculous as they might seem. he may be the best natural player i’ve ever seen.

    and i’m fine with the trade! i really am, i’ve liked it from the start. but you DO NOT trade that man away unless you a) get someone good in return that you are going to PLAY, and b) have a plan to replace him. a plan not named corey patterson.

    it all made sense to me… bruce comes in, volquez dominates on the mound, we’re all happy. if bruce and volquez aren’t on the opening day roster, and corey patterson and josh fogg are, and josh hamilton does what josh hamilton does for texas, i will not be happy.

  13. Maybe Farney will make the team, but Freel will be cut… 😀

  14. I would be saddened by a Freel departure. 2 season’s ago, Sportscenter was even referring to the Webgems portion of their Baseball Tonight Program as “What Ryan Freel Did Today”. I will never forget the catch he made to rob Pujols of a loooong double in the later innings of a shootout (score was something like 10-8) and then a couple games later he dove into the wall in foul territory against the Braves. The guy plays with enthusiasm and I think the energy can be contagious. There should always be room for a guy like Freel on your roster.

  15. The acquisition of Patterson makes me wonder about Freel’s future with this team. I agree that he’s too valuable to just get rid of, but I wonder if the Reds feel that way. Bruce is definately the future, but there is no other reason to pick up Patterson but to either start in CF until Bruce is ready or to back up Bruce. With Keppinger backing up most of the infield positions, where does that leave Freel? Possibly as trade bait or as a DUMB, late spring training release.
    I can’t imagine that either Krivsky or Baker have that high of an opinion of Freel or they would not have picked up Patterson. I sense a dumb move is about to be made.

  16. I heard Sparky Anderson at a coaches clinic say, “There is a fine line between being aggressive and being an idiot.” Ryan to many times crosses that line.

    Hopefully he proves he is healthy so he can be traded to a contender. He could be a nice bench piece for an established good team. Unfortunately the Reds are not in that category yet.

    To say Ryan Freel is twice the player as Corey Patterson is nuts. Patterson’s problem is that the Cubs rushed him to the Big Leagues and did not give him that full year in AAA he needed. Remember that Jay Bruce suporters.

    Bruce is in the same position as Homer Bailey last spring when everyone was clamoring for him. How did that work out?

  17. Ryan Freel has always reminded me of Rudy. He’s only good enough because he tries so damn hard. I’ve always liked him, but he has been pretty overrated lately.

    I honestly don’t think “versatility” is 1) something that Freel has any more of than anyone else and 2) (perhaps because of 1) is all that important of a quality. These guys are professional athletes. They are just plain good at sports. Look at Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson (and no, I can’t believe I’m bringing them up while talking about Freel, either). They didn’t just happen to be great at football and great at baseball. They were incredible athletes which made them good at all sports. Anyone who is a good enough athlete to play major league baseball is just very likely to be at least somewhat adept at different positions, pitcher and catcher excluded.

  18. I’ve never rooted against a Reds player as hard as I have been rooting against Corey Patterson.

  19. I actually like Patterson, as a fourth outfielder. But since he has the ‘Dusty connection’ and is just oozing with veteran presence, I’m afraid he will block the young Mr. Bruce. Jay will have to have a tremendous Spring to earn his way into the lineup. I understand the arb thing, but with the weakness of the division and only having Jr and Dunn around this year guaranteed, I think you have to make the push for the post season right now and hope it continues into next year and just get Jay his pay day a little early.

  20. Also, Hamilton is hitting at a .577 clip with 12 RBI’s so far in the 10 games he’s played. Think EV is feeling any pressure? What about Krivsky? He better play Bruce.

  21. Freel is a great athlete, Jared. He’s quick, fast as can be, and has excellent hand-eye coordination. The guy has made some of the most amazing defensive plays I’ve ever seen, and you don’t get there are grit and such. He scrunches up his face, and moves his arms around a lot when he runs – and yeah, he’s out of control most of the time, but the dude’s an exceptional athlete.

    As for Jay Bruce, I don’t buy Meyers’ assumption that because Homer bailey had a bad 8 starts, and because Corey Patterson’s career has been disappointing, then Jay Bruce needs to spend another year in AAA. ARod, Griffey, Andruw Jones, among others, played well at 19. Bruce will be 21 this year. If he’s a notch below those guys, he could still be ready.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Category

2008 Reds, Reds - General