Okay, so imagine yourself as the general manager of a team that is
currently seven games out of the division lead (behind four other
teams) and eight-and-a-half games out of the wild card (behind eight
other teams). Might be time to wise up and cut bait on expensive
veterans, right? Not if you are Reds general manager Walt Jocketty.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Reds are discussing a trade for third baseman Scott Rolen:
The Reds, who have lost five straight games, are widely expected to
sell at the deadline. But acquiring Rolen would give the team a head
start on planning for 2010, since Rolen is already under contract for
next year at $11 million.
The sides are still trying to determine which players would head to
Toronto in the deal, but the source said that third baseman Edwin
Encarnacion would be included.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Reds would be better
off with Edwin Encarnacion manning third base. They wouldn’t. He’s
awful over there. One of the worst in the sport, even. And Rolen has
been a great comeback story this season, putting together an awesome
.316/.371/.467 line. But why take the $11 million risk for a player in
his mid-30s, who isn’t the Gold Glover he used to be, and with a
well-documented injury history to boot? Well, Jocketty is a fan of
Rolen from their days together in St. Louis; the veteran third baseman
fits the bill as the righty bat the Reds have been seeking.
Wouldn’t you know it, Encarnacion is also right-handed and under the
organization’s control through 2012. He will make just $4.7 million in
2010. If the Reds are truly that unhappy with Encarnacion’s defense,
they would be better served to move him to a corner outfield spot. They
shouldn’t give up on a relatively inexpensive 26-year-old with real
30-homer potential who is showing some tangible progress in his
approach (15.7% walk rate this season) at the plate.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.