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      What does "formidable" mean?
    Oh this is too good. The Reds have added Eric Milton to an already "formidable" rotation.

    Now, I am aware that articles on MLB.com are intended to get casual fans excited about their teams chances in the upcoming season, but this one is just too much.

    for·mi·da·ble adjective
    1 : causing fear, dread, or apprehension
    2 : having qualities that discourage approach or attack
    3 : tending to inspire awe or wonder

    Lets throw out definition #2 for a second, and concentrate on the first and third. Eric Milton hasn't been formidable since he was a left-handed prospect in AA. Even then its debatable.

    Wait. Eric Milton is formidable. He certainly causes fear, dread, AND apprehension in his homea fans. Unintended formidability. And I'm not sure how he inspires awe, but he at least inspired wonder in me as to how he finagled a 3-year $25.5M contract for being the exact opposite of a formidable starting pitcher.

    The Reds are referred to as taking "yet another step toward contention". Let's instead talk about how this signing takes the Reds completely out of contention. They just signed Eric Milton to a 3-year $25.5M contract. That's the same exact contract Matt Clement got a few days earlier from the Red Sox. Who would you rather have?
    Matt Clement
    2002 32 12-11 205.0 162 215 85 18 3.60 1.20
    2003 32 14-12 201.6 169 171 79 22 4.11 1.23
    2004 30 9-13 181.0 155 190 77 23 3.68 1.28

    Eric Milton
    2002 29 13-9 171.0 173 121 30 24 4.84 1.19
    2003 3 0-0 17.0 15 7 1 2 2.65 0.94
    2004 34 14-6 201.0 196 161 75 43 4.75 1.35
    No, that 43 home runs in 2004 is not a typo. And before you get all crazy saying Citizens Bank was a hitters park, it sure played neutral in 2004 (101), while Clement pitched in the friendly confines of Wrigley (105).

    Reds GM Dan O'Brien on the signing,
    "Eric is only 29 years old and, in our opinion, is just reaching the peak years of his career,"
    Oh good, I'm glad you think a 4.75 ERA and 43 home runs given up is the peak of his career. In that case I'm sure you'll enjoy blowing $25.5M. If Milton was a hitter, that $25.5M would be a bargain for 43 home runs a year.

    Thankfully, O'Brien continues:
    "But, in truth, I couldn't envision that the ultimate conclusion to our offseason plan would culminate today with the addition of a legitimate upper-tier Major League starting pitcher like Eric Milton."
    Well Dan, thanks for letting us know you're done with offseason moves. Let me be the first, but not last, to tell you that your team will not contend in 2005. Let me also be the first, but not last, to tell you that there is no way in heaven Eric Milton is a "legitimate upper-tier Major League starting pitcher". What could possess a man to get up in front of a podium and delude himself and his team's fans into thinking that?

    Now to be fair, Milton is talented. He's a lefty. He was once a big time prospect. He looks to be fully healthy once again. He could, conceivably, take a huge step forward an actually be worth $8.5M a year, but he hasn't done a single thing to establish himself as the type of pitcher who deserves this contract.

    Eric Milton deserves an incentive-laden 2-year $8M contract, similar to whats being handed out to Woody Williams and David Wells. This contract is just insane and confirms the doom of 2005 (and beyond) Cincinnati Reds baseball. It's like Dan O'Brien is trying to recreate the 2004 Texas Rangers: some great young bats and several mediocre starting pitchers.

    But I'm not sure if Dan O'Brien paid much attention to the American League last year, the Rangers faded miserably down the stretch. They got lucky to get such flukey good starts from such a horrible pitching staff.

    The Reds will be going into 2005 attempting to ride a team similar to the 2004 Rangers, they'll have a decent offense around a few great young stars, and some mediocre pitching that they'll hope to get lucky on.

    If the Reds do get lucky, and a few of their pitchers have good years, they've got a chance to do exactly as the 2004 Rangers: fade miserably down the stretch. Considering two of the pitchers the Reds are counting on (Ramon Ortiz & Paul Wilson) have already had their flukey good career years, it doesn't seem likely that they caught lightning in this bottle. Oh well, at least they have the Bengals.