Jeff Conine was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 58th round of the 1987 amateur draft out of UCLA. He arrived in the big leagues in only his third professional season in 1990, but didn't stick in the majors until he was chosen as the 22nd pick in the 1992 expansion draft by the Florida Marlins in what might have been the best selection of that draft. He immediately became a regular for the Marlins, coming in third in the 1993 rookie of the year voting and becoming an outstanding player in 1994 (0.319/0.373/0.525) and 1995 (0.302/0.379/0.520). Unfortunately, his offense seemed to have tapered off by 1997 (he was already 31), and the Marlins traded him to back to the Royals for someone named Blaine Mull in the offseason following Florida's World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Since then, Conine has managed to maintain regular work with both the Baltimore Orioles and the Florida Marlins, to whom he returned in 2003 and yet again won a World Series (apparently he "knows how to win"). Throughout his 30's, Conine has been a consistent, durable, and generally respectable hitter (though certainly sub-average for his high-offense positions), keeping his OPS in the upper 700's most years. Last year, however, he may have finally begun to show his age.
|2006/PHI||107||11%||5%||0.9%||0||--- ||0.327||0.390||0.717||0.245||0.249||0.3 ||0.715|
Conine is going to turn 41 next June, which puts him at least three years older than anyone else on the Reds' squad. Hopefully he'll pull a Julio Franco on us and rediscover something in his 40's that will make him valuable again. ... But that doesn't happen very often. He'll need to rebound to at least his 2005 form to be a useful player. Otherwise, there is absolutely no point in carrying him on the roster beyond his veteran presence.
Let's take a very quick look at who we lost in that trade: