In what looks like a clear win/win situation, the Giants signed Jeremy Affeldt to a two year deal worth $4M per season. The Giants get a very effective lefty who can handle a heavy workload (78.1 Innings in 2008) and the Reds get a compensatory draft pick and salary relief to sign a replacement.
If the compensatory pick wasn't available, then I would have been happy to have Affeldt back on the $8M deal the Giants cut. However, the Giants and Reds weren't in the same situation, as the draft pick tips the scales the Reds gambled on Affeldt last off-season on a one year contract and it paid off in a big way. It's impossible for an outsider to say that the Reds planned to sign Affeldt in hopes of landing a compensatory pick, but one can certainly hope. If that wasn't the plan, then hopefully they can now see the value in churning players. And, hopefully they can see it in a hurry, because they are waffling back and forth on David Weathers.
Before the free agency period began, Walt Jocketty stated that they had made an offer to Weathers and I was none-to-pleased. However, Weathers and his agent stated that no offer had been made. When free agency arrived, Weathers announced that he had "flipped the page" on the Reds and it looked like a second compensatory pick was forthcoming. However, it looks like the Reds are back in the mix, as negotiations are on-going.
One would have to hope that the Reds realize that the draft pick is going to yield more value to the organization than a 39 year old reliever, but the Reds may just choose to ride the value of Weathers right into the ground.
Turning back to Affeldt, his departure opens up a slot in the bullpen for a second southpaw. Personally, I'd be very interested in seeing what Danny Herrera could do as the second lefty out of the bullpen. Billy Bray should be just fine as the primary lefty, but the Reds seem heistant to rely on Herrera. They may well be right, as depth is an important attribute for an MLB team, but I think Herrera and Matt Maloney could both do a nice job out of the bullpen. I'd still like to see Maloney in the rotation, but if he falls short then he could be in the mix for the spot in the bullpen vacated by Jeremy Affeldt.
In 2008, Herrera struck out 9.82 batters per nine innings and posted a 3.50 GB/FB ratio. In 7.1 innings, Herrera racked up 8 strikeouts, 14 ground balls, 4 fly balls, and 4 line drives. Unfortunately, those stats come with a 7.36 ERA, but that is likely the result of his poor luck. He posted a very unlucky BABIP at .415 (should be ~ .300) and LOB% at 58.8% (should be around 70%), so he allowed more hits than was to be expected and stranded fewer runners than you would expect. Admittedly, it's difficult to draw any significant conclusions based on such a small sample size, but I do think there are some real positives there. Best of all, Herrera is a groundball machine, which helped him succeed at high altitude for the University of New Mexico. Of course, he doesn't fit the mold of a major league pitcher, topping out at 5'7" and 83.8 mph. Still, height and velocity aren't everything, so Herrera could be an intriguing fit in Great American Ballpark. But, will he get a chance?