It was one year ago today that I started this blog. The impetus was the trade of Coco Crisp to the Royals by the Red Sox (no relation). I had picked up Coco late in the 2007 season on my Blue Sox keeper fantasy league team, hoping that he would find a regular job in 2008 and be my complimentary steals guy (with Kinsler and Sizemore) at a very cheap price. The trade (early in the hot stove league) really got me ramped up for the season, and I needed an outlet (other than telling my wife about it) to talk about the upcoming season in real and fantasy baseball.
Since then, I've had almost 4,000 hits on the blog (and about 12 ad clicks). I can't say for sure on the numbers because I didn't start tracking hits right away. Needless to say, I'm very thankful to my loyal (and occassional) readers. Without the positive reinforcement, I don't think I would have lasted this long.
I guess I would argue that my season on the blog went better than Coco's, as he tore his labrum and ended up missing most of the season after surgery. He's now a free agent and expected to be ready to go for spring training.
I know the Reds have decided to lay-low in the free agent market, but I recommend they go after Coco as a free agent. Their biggest holes (now that they've signed Hernandez to catch) are left field and shortstop. But this assumes that Drew Stubbs will play center field and lead-off. (At least I hope Taveras is not the guy they intend to rely on again this year.) Jockety and Baker have shown a desire to have a lead-off hitter centerfielder, who is a veteran. But both C. Patterson and Taveras failed miserably (at least that's the fans' assessment; I'm not sure Dusty noticed). It will cost a little money (not a lot) but I think the Reds should offer Gomesy arbitration and sign Crisp. This would take some pressure off of Stubbs, who could play left or center (with Crisp in the other spot -- although Crisp loses a lot of his value if he's playing in a corner instead of centerfield) with Gomes as a great fall-back if Stubbs struggles. With Crisp and Stubbs providing decent offense (hopefully) the Reds could utilize Janish at short for his defense and let him bat eighth (please, Dusty, if Janish does play, don't bat him second).
Here is what a couple of experts have said about Crisp in the free agent market:
Coco Crisp (Royals) - Crisp got off to an excellent start as Kansas City's leadoff hitter and center fielder before his shoulder started bothering him. His play quickly fell off, and he ended up undergoing season-ending surgery for a torn labrum in June. Crisp should be ready to play next season, and he could turn out to be a bargain. He's one of the few legitimate leadoff options available, and he'll probably be an above average defender for a couple of more years anyway. Prediction: Padres - one year, $4 million. [Matthew Pouliot of Circling the Bases.]
Coco Crisp: Look past the .228 batting average, because Crisp was playing out of his mind when he tore his right labrum, ending his season in June, with more walks than strikeouts, 13-for-15 on the bases, and 16 extra-base hits. The condition of his shoulder, on which he underwent significant surgery, has to drive any decision on him. However Crisp is one of the top buy-low guys in this market and a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year in '10. [Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus.]
In fact, Joe Sheehan listed his free agents by most likely to be a good value, and listed Coco Crisp as his top free agent outfielder, ahead of Bay, Matsui, Cameron, Holliday, and Damon.
Defensively, how does this sound: Bruce, Crisp, and Stubbs in the outfield, Votto, BP, Janish, and Rolen on the infield, and Hernandez behind the plate. I'm not quite ready for my 25-man roster predictions or my position-by-position hot stove reports, so I'll wait on laying out line-ups, etc. but that's a pretty solid defensive squad that only adds about $5 mil. to the payroll.