By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave after finding out that former Cincinnati Reds interim manager/bench coach Jim Riggleman landed on his feet, signing a contract to be the bench coach for the New York Mets.
So how is the Reds search for starting pitching progressing? The Reds are finding tough sledding because the competition for available pitching is fierce.
The Reds, of course, find it difficult to convince pitchers to work in the Great American Smallpark bandbox and their recent history of last place occupancy.
Their best hope, other than big bags of money, is to hope somebody wants the challenge of coming in to be a No. 1 and be part of a resurrection.
But there is a problem over what they face in their pursuits. Nearly all their targets have more than one pursuer and most have more than a couple.
The one free agent probably most available is their own Matt Harvey and Reds Director of Baseball Operations Dick Williams has said the Reds have interest in retaining him. However, the Oakland A’s also are in the hunt for Harvey and a couple of other teams.
Perhaps the best available free agent is Arizona’s Patrick Corbin. But he visited the Philadelphia Phillies early this week and visited the New York Yankees Thursday. Those two teams seem to be the front-runners.
How about J.A. Happ of the Yankees? The Yankees have mild interest in re-signing him, but they’ve already traded for Seattle’s James Paxton and hope to nab Corbin.
But Happ also has interest from the Phillies, Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Brewers and Mets.
How about a trade? Can the Reds swing a deal? There are indications that the San Francisco Giants might be willing to trade Madison Bumgarner, even though he is as recognizable and revered in the Bay Area as the cable cars.
And the Reds do have interest and do have the pieces necessary to swing a deal. Unfortunately, if the Giants decide to make a deal, the usual suspects are in line to make offers: the Brewers, the Phillies, the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Padres — all the heavy-hitters plus a Padres organization stuffed with prospects.
Reports out of New York say the Mets are vacillating about trading Noah Syndergaard and list the possibility at 50/50. The Reds, too, are interested, but the Mets would look for a big package that would include Nick Senzel from the Reds. With no spot currently available on the big league roster for Senzel, that would make sense.
Again, though, the Mets have other suitors than includes at least six teams, with the Padres all-in on trying to get him.
The best possibility might be a deal with the Cleveland Indians for Trevor Bauer. Once again, though, the Reds have heavy-duty competition in this one because the filthy-rich Los Angeles Dodgers are sniffing around Bauer, too.
And here is one so far-fetched it merits mentioning. Somebody out there suggested that the Reds sign free agent outfielder Bryce Harper.
Why? For the same reason mentioned above — good pitchers might hesitate coming to Cincinnati, so the Reds should load up on hitting, stick Harper in with Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett. Of course, that $350 million (or more) investment would mean the Reds couldn’t sign any pitching. They would rely on bludgeoning opponents and hope the starting pitchers they now have make positive steps forward.
Yeah, yeah, it’s a dream. A pipe dream.