I personally have shot down Garrett Atkins, the other Rockies who stink, Mark Mulder, et al. as names have surfaced. So who do we think the Reds SHOULD pursue? I can’t speak for the entire OMGReds staff, but I’d like to see the Reds go after Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy, who, by the way, was mentioned as possible trade bait in a Ken Rosenthal story earlier this week. Here’s what I like …
1) He’s available. As Rosenthal points out, Hardy suddenly is expendable due to the rise of top shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar. So maybe they wouldn’t demand Edinson Volquez and Jay Bruce in return. (Sounds like they will want pitching though. Arroyo? And maybe we could deal them a serviceable infielder they could use until Escobar – who’s only 21 – is ready for full-time.)
2) He’s 26. He’s getting better. He’s not like Garrett Atkins who had an amazing year in 2006 but struck out a lot more last year. Hardy is coming off another solid year, and he did just about the same thing in 2008 (.283-24-74) that he did in 2007 (.277-26-80). Do I wish he could steal bases? Sure. But I don’t think we were going to get steals from that position anyway, as long as we keep BP at second (as Dusty insists). Gonzalez and Keppinger don’t steal bases either. And, as Rick Pitino would say, Jose Reyes is not walking through that door.
3) By the way, it’s sounding more and more like Gonzalez won’t even be an option. Which really stinks, but it makes shortstop our second most significant need, in my opinion, behind catcher.
4) Among starting National League shortstops, only Furcal (in 143 at-bats), Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew had better slugging percentages than Hardy (.478). Believe it or not, Hardy led all National League shortstops with the 74 RBIs. And his on-base percentage (.343) is pretty good.
5) He’s about the same age as Drew and their numbers are very similar, but I think the Reds would have an easier time getting Hardy from the Brewers than they would getting Drew from Arizona (see point No. 1).
OK, can’t think of any others, just wanted to throw a name out there of a guy who would be a great acquisition.