The Deal: The Reds were looking for a righthanded hitter who could platoon with Scott Hatteberg at first base and also man the outfield corners. They got their man Thursday in Jeff Conine, who came over from the Phillies in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers, outfielder Javon Moran and third baseman Brad Key.
The Big Leaguers: Conine, 40, is coming off the worst season of his 16-year big league career, having hit .268/.325/.399 with 10 homers and 66 RBIs in 142 games. He started the year with the Orioles and went to Philadelphia in a late-August deal for minor league shortstop Angel Chavez. While the Reds want Conine for a platoon role, he was only marginally more effective against lefties (.260/.337/.400) than righties (.271/.320/.398) last year.
The Prospects: Moran, 24, originally signed with the Phillies in 2003 as a fifth-round pick out of Auburn and went to Cincinnati in an August 2004 trade for Cory Lidle. Moran’s standout tools are his well above-average speed and his center-field range. Though he played just 73 games in 2006 while battling wrist and ankle injuries, he had a good year at the plate, hitting .328/.363/.403 with one homer, 15 RBIs and 20 steals. He has little power or on-base ability, so he has to hit for a high average to be at all productive offensively.
Key, 23, signed as a 48th-round pick out from South Carolina-Aiken in 2004. He has some raw power but hasn’t hit consistently in the minors. He batted just .220/.299/.309 with one homer and six RBIs in 42 games during an injury-plagued 2006 split between low Class A Dayton and high Class A Sarasota. Key also pitched in college and has a strong arm at third base.
Quick Take: This deal shouldn’t have much of an impact on either club. Conine is near the end of the line, while Moran projects as an extra outfielder and Key as a longshot.