It’s been another busy week for Reds General Manager, Walt Jocketty. He’s brought another Ryan into the fold, this week outfielder Ryan Ludwick. He’ll fit in nicely with Ryan Madson, the closer Jocketty has ticketed to Cincinnati this summer (and wouldn’t it be GREAT if the Reds signed infielder Ryan Theriot and thereby create their slogan for this summer. Come To Cincinnati And Check Out Our Ryans!).
His Walt-ness then turned his attention to his arbitration eligible players and got Paul Janish, Homer Bailey and Bill Bray to all re-up without incident. Bailey fell into it, agreeing to a one year deal worth in excess of $2.4 million. That represents a two million dollar jump from last year. Not bad for a guy who missed the first two months of the season with a bum shoulder. Imagine the millions more he could have made if was simply healthy on Opening Day. By the way, I feel for Janish who only gets a bump to $850,000. Not bad for a guy who can barely hit his weight.
Only pitchers Jose Arrendondo (who had his arm pieced together a couple of years ago) and Nick Massett (who had his arm picked apart by opposing batters last season) remain to be signed.
As the elite play for the right to go to the Super Bowl this Sunday in the conference championship games, I’m getting a lot of emails and tweets from fans who are convinced the Bengals need to spend one of their first round draft picks on a running back. Please, for the good of mankind, please refrain from falling into this trap. Here’s my headline:
YOU CAN FIND A RUNNING BACK ANYWHERE
The Giants drafted Ahmad Bradshaw in round four. The 49ers got Frank Gore in round three. The Patriots’ BenJarvis Green-Ellis was a street free agent. And maybe the best running back in the game right now, Arian Foster of the Texans, was also undrafted. Even the Ravens waited until round 2 to draft Ray Rice.
This is a passing league. And whomever is your running back had better be able to catch the ball as well as run with it.
Here’s where the Bengals need the most help in this off-season IMHO: offensive line, cornerback, safety. Landing a playmaking linebacker wouldn’t be a bad idea either. The Bengals defense is a pack of tacklers. The team desperately needs playmakers, players who take the ball away from the oppposition.
It’s no secret and should be no surprise that three of the four teams left standing (Patriots excluded) all have elite defenses that can take the ball away. If you want the Bengals to be playing on this weekend next year, you had better hope that between now and then, they make their defense better.