What are the Reds doing?

I’m not a Reds fan, but because they’re close to me and because I have friends that are Reds fans I tend to obsess on their minor personnel moves more than I would that of other teams. This is one worth obsessing on a bit:

The Reds, securing protection at shortstop, have reached a preliminary agreement with free agent Jerry Hairston Jr. on a one-year, $2 million contract, according to major-league sources. The deal, expected to be announced on Wednesday, includes $2 million in incentive bonuses.

Hairston, 32, chose to remain with the Reds rather than sign with the Cardinals in part because he expects to play regularly at short, sources said.

Shortstop? He’s played 40 games at shortstop in his career, 34 of which came last season when he was 32 years old. Someone who knows anything about defense, tell me: is it even remotely possible that Hairston could handle shortstop for 150 games? And even if he can, while this may help his own bat look a bit better, doesn’t it mean that Norris Hopper and Chris Dickerson are your left fielders?

Given the stadium in which they play, it strikes me that the Reds cannot afford to give anyone any extra outs, as Hairston at short is likely to do. It also strikes me that they can’t devote two of their three outfield slots to guys who can’t hit, as the Dickerson/Hopper platoon + Willy Taveras in center situation is likely to do.

If this makes sense beyond what I’m seeing, someone, please tell me how.

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  1. CDH said...

    You quoted it yourself, “securing protection” and the article you linked talked about why with the uncertainty of Alex Gonzalez.

    Basically we re-signed depth to an incentive-loaded contract at the 2 places we do not have it in SS (Jeff Keppinger) and OF.  Albeit nothing to write home about, but the Reds were also something like 25-19 when he batted leadoff as well.

  2. Bedheaded said...

    Two words: Dusty Baker. When you’re one of Dusty’s guys, you’ll play no matter who’s waiting in the wings.

  3. UncleJoe said...

    They’re saying that Hairston will hold the position until Alex Gonzalez is healthy. But that’s nothing Keppinger couldn’t do, with better defense.  Bottom line, I get the feeling the Reds think Hairston’s ‘08 performance was legit. They think they’ve stumbled upon a late-career reclamation, and a leadoff hitter.  And it sounds like the SS job was key to getting him back.

  4. Grant said...

    Bedhead is right. Hairston appears to be the new Neifi Perez (albeit a little better). Dusty likes him, so Dusty gets him.

    You would think Walt Jockety wouldn’t put up with this, but who knows?

  5. Doug said...

    Honestly, I don’t think it is that bad a signing.  The Reds are not contending in 2009, and Hairston is just stop gap until 2010, which is when they hope to contend. I believe one of their top prospects in AAA right now is a shortstop, so he is likely taking over for 2010 anyways, a one year deal doesn’t kill this team.

  6. CDH said...

    That’s exactly what I think is going on.  Chris Valaika was our minor league player of the year and has hit effectively at every level, and the 1-year signing of Hairston I believe allows the farm system to mature another year instead of dealing a portion of it out for a continual rotation of SS over the next few years.

    The bad thing about it is that I have always heard of Valaika being a major league 2B.

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