Talk about making a spash on the free agent market. Alfonso Soriano be damned! The Redlegs just announced the pickup of two marquee names out of this year's free agent class: Alex Gonzalez and Mike Stanton. Now this is exactly the kind of move that we have grown to expect in the 'Nati. So, fellas, let me be one of the first to welcome you to town.
This is Cincinnati, where we strive not so much to be the Yankees, or even the Cardinals. Think Minnesota Twins. Heck, we even hired our GM from them. Over a decade of lowered expectations should make your stay in the Queen City a pleasant one. Sure, people will call into talk radio shows to complain after miring in fourth place in the division all year, but really their passion will be tempered by realistic expectations. Breakout your new clubhouse slippers and practice your bubble gum and sunflower seed skills. One bit of advice, though: be sure to load up your iPod, I hear Adam Dunn likes to really blast the country music.
Alex, I have to admit I was a little concerned when I read about your pickup. You could easily have been that other Alex Gonzalez. Admittedly, I would like to shake the hand of that guy for how he completely screwed the Cubs and made it look like an accident. But, I'm not sure I want him playing for my team. I have to also confess that I was slightly wary of your less than .300 OBP last season, just me being picky I guess. But those fears were dashed when I was told that you are a fantastic defensive shortstop. Congratulations on your one tool, sir. Surely that is worth the almost $5 million that you will be paid next year. Certainly the Reds could not find a AAA shortshop to not get on base, play solid defense and make the minimum salary. You just might be the final piece to the puzzle.
The final piece, if not for you, Mike Stanton. Checking in at a young 40 years of age (only as old as you feel, right grandpa?) you'll bring that much needed veteran experience and maturity we haven't gotten from Kent Mercker, David Weathers and Chris Hammond in the past few years. Can't get enough good clubhouse guys. And, from what I understand you might just be our opening day closer by default. Way to go champ! Am I worried that you haven't pitched over 80 1/3 innings in your entire career? Of course not. Welcome to the bullpen, help yourself to some geritol and icy-hot. We're stocked up. It's gonna be a big year!