Reds don't anticipate much roster movement
Likelihood of adding center fielder to take pressure off Hamilton decreasing
CINCINNATI -- The movement of Reds offseason activity has become about as frozen as the near zero-degree temperatures expected in the region.
Part of that can be blamed on the holidays.
"It has been quiet," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Friday. "I really don't expect much to happen, if at all, until next week or so. There just hasn't been much talk at all with clubs or agents or anything."
Shin-Soo Choo is gone to Texas as a pricey free-agent departure. At the moment, Billy Hamilton is Choo's replacement as the center fielder and leadoff hitter. But even before Choo's expected departure, Jocketty was seeking a short-term solution to serve as a level of protection for Hamilton,
Now as the calendar flips to 2014 and the second half of the offseason, that box on the checklist remains unchecked.
The reported efforts to acquire Brett Gardner in a trade from the Yankees were unsuccessful. The free-agent market for this type of player is thin, at best.
Perhaps the biggest name on the list is former Indians star Grady Sizemore, who has endured microfracture surgery on both of his knees and hasn't played a game since 2011. Jocketty told MLB.com that Cincinnati has been in touch with Sizemore's representatives.
"We have [talked]," Jocketty said. "I'm not sure where that is right now. With the holidays, not much has happened."
If the 31-year-old Sizemore is healthy -- a big and colossal if -- he could be an interesting addition that could help give Hamilton more time ease into becoming a consistent big league hitter.
Jocketty believed Sizemore was healthy to try resuming his career.
"We think so. He appears to be," the GM said.
During his three straight All-Star seasons from 2006-08, Sizemore batted .279 with a .380 on-base percentage while averaging 28 home runs per season.
Cincinnati did sign free-agent utility player Skip Schumaker to a two-year contract in November, and he could play some of the time in center field. Schumaker, who bats left-handed, is a career .300 hitter with a .357 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching. He might be able to take some of the pressure off Hamilton when the matchup isn't favorable.
Still, the Reds remain quite high on Hamilton and are hoping he can upgrade his skills at the plate enough to take on the job as a big league regular.
"I think we're pretty well set with Hamilton, but we'll continue to see if there are any other options," Jocketty said. "Right now, we're set with giving Billy an opportunity to see what he can do and add his speed and defense to our lineup."
From Friday, there were only 43 days until Reds pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in sunny Goodyear, Ariz. Barring the addition of someone like Sizemore, there's a good chance the makeup of roster will be unchanged.
"There really isn't much more we are in position to do," Jocketty said.
Because of the financial limitations, the Reds weren't expected to make a dynamic free-agent signing and hoped to upgrade via a trade. However, it appears the window for making any deals has all but closed as well.
"It's probably harder to do now than it was earlier. And it was hard enough to do earlier because we couldn't get anything done," Jocketty said. "That could change when people start calling next week. Right now, I don't anticipate anything."