First, let me just say that I consider Shafer highly expendable and probably traded at his highest value point–he is not going to help the Reds, despite what his AA numbers from last year might tell you. This is a salary dump for Oakland, plain and simple.
But Saarloos might be useful as a replacement for Ryan Franklin. I know, I know, Franklin was not brilliant for the Reds last year, but he was very flexible and useful in August and actually pulled the Reds out in some games with long relief stints. I like the pickup.
As for Bellhorn, he costs nothing and is just coming to camp to see if there is something left in the tank. Not exactly Rich Aurilia, but he just may beat out Jeff Keppinger for that 2B/3B bench slot (and he should, since Keppinger can’t hit at all and Castro can do all of the extra glove work that the team needs). Of course, Bellhorn has to bring *some* value–he’ll have to hit a lot better than he did last year for San Diego. I like that move too.
Baby steps, but positive ones.