It’s time to take a look back at – among other things – how former Reds performed this past season and think about if only they were still Reds. With a position-by-position, I realize there are going to be guys in here who’ll make you say, “Come on, that guy was a Red for two months” or “Come on, we traded him years ago, get over it.” But there will also be guys on this list – THE MARLINS’ JORGE CANTU, FOR INSTANCE – who the Reds are maybe, just maybe wishing they hadn’t been so quick to get rid of. Yeah, I know that ends in a preposition, so what? Without further ado …
Catcher: Slim pickings fortunately … because we’d really be kicking ourselves if Dane Sardinha, Corky Miller, Jason LaRue or David Ross were tearing it up when we’ve got Paul Bako’s automatic out in our lineup.
First base: Sean Casey, Red Sox. He may not be an everyday player anymore … and we’re in very good shape with Votto at first … but this guy ends up with solid numbers (.322 in 199 at-bats) no matter how badly he slumps from time to time.
Second base: Felipe Lopez, Cardinals. Slim pickings here, too, and I know, you’re thinking he really hasn’t done much since the Reds traded him. But he makes this year’s squad for hitting .385 in 156 at-bats (including 8-for-12 with 7 runs scored in the final three games of the season against the Reds) since St. Louis acquired him in August.
Shortstop: Brendan Harris, Twins. Actually, he had an even better year last year with the Rays. All I really want to do is point out that this guy who was involved in the infamous Bray/Majewski-Kearns/Lopez deal has become a very solid everyday player … ever since he left the Reds.
Third base: Cantu. .277, 29 HRs, 95 RBIs. Reds let him walk. I think the Marlins are quite pleased they signed him to a minor-league free agent deal in January. Hard to complain about paying $500,000 for those numbers.
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Rangers. .304, 32 HRs, 130 RBIs (95 of those at the break). Yes, I love Volquez, too, he had a great year, and I’m not saying anything about the trade here … but that has nothing to do with Hamilton being an all ex-Red. Heck, he’s the MVP.
Outfield: Adam Dunn, Diamondbacks. I know, he only hit .243 after we traded him. But his OBP was .417. With Arizona, he only struck out two more times (44) than he walked (42). That’s UNHEARD OF for Dunn.
Outfield: Jose Guillen, Royals A headcase, yes … but he hit 20 homers for the fifth time in six seasons and he drove in 97 runs.
Starting pitcher: Ryan Dempster, Cubs. 17-6, 2.96 ERA, 187 Ks … he’ll probably finish just ahead of Volquez in Cy Young voting. Career year, without a doubt … especially compared to the 10-13, 5.38 season he had in 2002 (with the Marlins and Reds) and the 3-7, 6.54 year he had in 2003 as a Red. HONORABLE MENTION: Kyle Lohse, Cardinals.
Relief pitcher: Trevor Hoffman, Padres. He had a disappointing 2008 (for him, though he still ended up with 30 saves), but I think it’s important to remember that baseball’s all-time saves leader was drafted by the Reds in the 11th round of the 1989 draft (as an infielder, of course).