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Monday, May 22, 2006

Top 100 San Diego Padres: #87 Jody Reed

The following is a guest article by Michael Baker of metalsupply, a San Diego Padres blog.

JODY ERIC REED | 2B | 1995-1996 | CAREER

Between 1989 and 1991, Jody Reed was one of the better second baseman in the major leagues. Suffice it to say, he did not play those three seasons with the San Diego Padres, but rather with the team that drafted him, the Boston Red Sox. Reed was selected by the BoSox in the eighth round of the 1984 draft, and surfaced with the big team at the end of 1987. He stayed with the Red Sox until 1992.

Jody Reed was a classic '80s middle infielder. He was solid with the glove, had some gap power, and was a heady baserunner (That would be in reference to going from first to third on a single, not stealing bases. His career high in stolen bases was only seven. But Jody played the game “The Right Way”, looked good in a uniform, and had that intangible quality we now call "scrappy." Jody epitomized scrappitude.

After a major step back in 1992, the Red Sox chose not to protect Reed in the 1993 expansion draft. He was drafted by the Rockies, and was replaced in the Red Sox lineup by veteran Scott Fletcher. In unceremonious fashion, the Beantown club had washed its hands of Jody Reed. Soon thereafter, the Rockies traded Reed to the Dodgers for recent Padre great Rudy Seanez.

I imagine that Jody's $2.5 million contract (the fifth highest in baseball among second basemen) was attractive neither to the expansion Rockies nor the Sox considering his feeble bat, but the Dodgers needed a second baseman pretty badly. No other reasoning could possibly explain the events following Reed's only season with the Dodgers.

Jody's 1993 was quite a bit like his 1992, given modest improvement in average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. He proved to be an eminently replaceable commodity if not for his reputed glovework, so much so that Dodgers GM Fred Claire was prepared to offer Jody a sizeable contract to continue with the Dodgers, somewhere in the arena of his previous year's contract, and for multiple years.

Jody would have none of it. His agent/brother-in-law decided to play hardball with Claire, and deemed Jody equal in value to Giant all-star second baseman Robby Thompson, who signed a multi-year pact that off-season for a $3.8-million annual salary. That was the moment that Fred Claire made the biggest bonehead move of his career. Desperate for a second baseman, but not willing to overpay for a mediocre player, Claire did exactly that in trading a young pitcher named Pedro Martinez to the Expos to acquire Delino DeShields. Thus, Jody Reed was left out in the cold. Or as Dodger Thoughts' Jon Weisman put it:
"Jody Reed booted nearly $8 million. Fred Claire booted Pedro Martinez. Both looked around and thought they had a better play to make. You can see the rationalization, so tantalizing. But what blindness. Neither saw that the correct play was right in front of them."

Jody claimed that it wasn't about the money, hinting that he was afraid of what might happen to him as Jose Offerman's double-play partner (a perfectly rational concern). In any event, Jody eventually signed a minor league contract with the Brewers for $750k, and the following year began his tenure in San Diego.

Jody's days with the Padres were like those of so many other veterans signed by the Padres (and Chargers, for that matter): his reputation in the big pond garnered him a lot of respect in San Diego's smaller pond, and he was a beloved member of the Padres 1996 NL West Championship team. He hit relatively well in the postseason that year, with two key hits off Donovan Osborne in the deciding Game 3.

That was the last game of Jody's two-season stint with the Padres. He was traded that offseason to Detroit for (among others) the late Mike Darr, and after one season with the Tigers he retired from baseball, probably not of his own choosing.

He currently resides in Tampa, Florida, where he grew up. His website, jodyreedbaseball.com, professes to teach kids to play baseball the right way. (Needless to say, his brother-in-law does not run a similar website for sports agents!) Says Jody:
"I will show you how to do everything the same way Major League ballplayers do it. Through video clips done by me, you will learn the same techniques and mechanics the best players in the world use. We also communicate through message boards, chat rooms and even live webcasts to allow you a more personal training experience with a former Major Leaguer."

Lo, how the mighty have fallen. Once one of the five highest-paid players at his position, he's now available for a person-to-person Internet chat for the low, low price of thirty American dollars - a small price for any true Padres fan.


Blogger LynchMob said...

Well done, Michael ... THANKS!

1:20 PM, May 23, 2006  

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