Wladimir Balentien is the newest Cincinnati Red. Image by Baseball player photos via FlickrShort post, as I'm beat tonight. The Reds picked up RHB OF Wladimir Balentien tonight for Robert Manuel.
Stats in quick 'n dirty fashion via fangraphs:
But maybe he can fix it and get better. His ZIPS over the rest of the season is actually above-replacement level, and that was in the tougher AL. We have a guy who's quite a bit below replacement level playing center field for us these days. And, of course, Bruce and Dickerson are on the DL, so we need all the help we can get.
Fielding-wise, not sure. His LF numbers are good (+4 UZR), but CF and RF numbers are weaker (-2 and -2). Fan's Scouting Report rated him as a below-average fielder last year, which I trust more than UZR givne the small sample sizes. The breakdown on him shows somebody who's somewhat toolsy but quite raw--average speed, plus arm strength, but poor instincts, hands, and release on his throws. Again, maybe there's the possibility that he could get better...
He's still under club control for what should be four more years. He's definitely a project. But there's something to like here, especially given that it "only" cost the Reds a solid relief prospect in Robert Manuel. I like Manuel, but the Reds need some offense--especially from the right side--and while I doubt that Balentien is likely to deliver that this year, he might just be a decent hitter down the line.
The only "bad" thing I see about him is that he basically looks like a raw-er, less good version of Johnny Gomes. Maybe with better fielding, but there's no guarantee of that. And I'd like to see the Reds try to keep Gomes on this team next year. No reason they can't have both players, of course...except that it works against the defense first, offense second strategy the Reds tried to employ this year. Maybe the complete lack of offense is making the front office re-evaluate.