According to MLB.com, the Reds have signed Ryan Freel to a contract extension through 2009. The deal covers his arbitration years, so he’ll still become a free agent in 2010 as originally scheduled. He’ll make $7MM for 2008-09, a fine price for Cincinnati.
Freel failed to break through with the Blue Jays and Devil Rays, and both clubs chose not to re-sign him. The Reds finally gave him a shot and he’s shown great speed with a strong walk rate.
It’s tough to put a price on a player like Freel, a useful guy who plays 2B, 3B, and all outfield spots. Plenty of teams have a player like this but most don’t get on base like Freel (.367 career OBP). At his press conference today, Freel talked about how he’s happy to play infield to give Josh Hamilton more ABs. He described Hamilton as a "game-changing guy" and the most talented on the team.