The Cincinnati Reds made some roster moves yesterday, picking up Juan Grateol and Gabby Guerrero off of waivers and designating Ramon Cabrera and Keyvius Sampson for assignment to make room for them on the 40-man roster. Chad Dotson, supreme emperor of this blog covered this pretty well in his post yesterday here at Redleg Nation, but I thought I’d add a few thoughts as well, and also link to a video below that covers some more of my thoughts on it.
As Chad and I discussed briefly on twitter yesterday, the pick up of Guerrero is a confusing one. This team let Yorman Rodriguez walk to free agency after the season, then said they want to find a right handed hitting outfielder to compete for a spot in spring training. Guys, you just let one walk away. The team has now picked up Gabby Guerrero, who in 10 months of Double-A and Triple-A baseball over his professional career, has topped a .300 on-base percentage once. One month out of ten where he posted a .300 on-base percentage. He’s probably a guy who should be playing in Advanced-A, trying to figure out the strikezone. That’s not a guy that makes much sense to put on the 40-man roster. Yeah, he’s got big time power potential, and he’s got one of those laser-rocket arms like from those Peyton Manning commercials from eight years ago, but he’s got no ability to use that power because he swings at junk and pitchers know it. He’s an easy out at this point in his career. He’s a guy that makes sense to pick up on a minor league deal and hope for the best. He’s not a guy that makes sense to put on your 40-man roster.
It would appear that Major League Baseball will not be instituting an International Draft for the foreseeable future, as originally reported by Ken Rosenthal. This is both good and bad for the Cincinnati Reds. If baseball went to a draft situation, it would leave them at the will of how things unfold in a given year – both in terms of how their big league team performs, which would decide where they would pick, and it would be relying on the talent available in a given year. As we see with the far more popular Rule 4 draft (June amateur draft), some years are definitely stronger than others when it comes to the players available, especially at the very top of the draft. It would also help out a team like the Reds even the playing field somewhat, as they would be able to have more of a fair shot at some of the top prospects that they otherwise may not be able to get in on because of financial reasons, having the right contacts two years ago when a player was originally pegged to be a star and is now being shut out from half the teams in baseball or something else.
Where this hurts the Reds is that they are currently not allowed to sign any player in the next two international free agent signing periods for over $300,000 because they spent well over their allotment with Cuban signings Alfredo Rodriguez and Vladimir Gutierrez. The Reds haven’t always been big players in the international market, with several years having their top signing being someone under the $500,000 mark in the last six years. They have stepped things up in recent years though, signing two players each of the last two seasons for $650,000+ (something they hadn’t done in a single year since 2008). With the length of time it takes 16-and-17-year-olds to reach the big leagues, or even the upper levels of the minor leagues, we may not see this affect the Reds for nearly a decade, but it could have some ramifications in the long run.
There’s still a chance that things could change. Heading into the year, it seemed that everyone in baseball was working with the assumption that this was going to be the last year with the current rules and that all penalties (non-cash penalties) would be wiped clean. We won’t know if any of the rules change until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is completed, but it would appear that the owners were pushing hard for an International Draft and with that now off of the table, perhaps they stick with the current rules and try to come up with a solution before the next CBA is due.
The Rule 5 draft is in ten days and I’ve started my coverage over at RedsMinorLeagues.com if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Yesterday I took a look at what kind of players the Reds could be interested in selecting, if they choose to utilize the #2 pick in the draft. Later in the week I will get into specific players that may be worth targeting for the organization.