Jeremy Reed: M's Picked out a Winner

InsidethePark.com sat down with newly acquired outfielder Jeremy Reed before his first game with the Tacoma Rainiers. The 23-year-old spoke openly of his thoughts on being traded, and what kind of player he sees in himself. By the way, guess who his favorite player was growing up?

There he was yesterday afternoon, Jeremy Reed, the man of the hour. Sporting a No. 14 Tacoma uniform, the newly-acquired 23-year-old outfielder sat in the home dugout hours before the Rainiers game with Portland taking one media request after another.

Being the new guy is never easy, especially when it involves quickly packing your bags and moving across the country to a new organization, but Reed handled everything about as well as could have been expected on his first day in the Mariners organization.

Talking about his situation, and all that happened after being involved in a big trade as he was Sunday as once of the center pieces in the Freddy Garcia deal, Reed was candid with his remarks.

"I heard a lot of rumors," he said. "I didn't necessarily expect anything, but you hear rumors and you heard that either me or (Joe) Borchard were going to be gone. Then (the White Sox) came out and said that Borchard wasn't going to be traded, so I kind of figured I could be the one to go."

For Reed, a toolsy Southern California native who prides himself on getting on base, he says he the trade to Seattle is "a good thing."

"It's a new start and it's one of those things where somebody wants you, obviously, if they are willing to trade for you," he said. "I'm happy to be here and ready to play again."

Reed was on a bus Sunday with his Triple-A Charlotte team when he got the news, heading from Ottawa, Canada to Syracuse, New York.

"I got a phone call on the bus from Dave Wilder, the minor league director of the White Sox, saying that I'd been traded in the Freddy Garcia trade. From then on, it was just going back to North Carolina and packing up and I left yesterday."

Interestingly enough, Reed says he grew up in Southern California as an Angels fan. Doubly interesting is the fact that he lives with Anaheim second baseman Adam Kennedy in the offseason down in Newport Beach, Calif.

Even so, he'll gladly suit up for the Mariners, welcoming more than anything a return to the west coast.

"I haven't been to Seattle, but I'm looking forward to it," said Reed, who grew up idolizing Ken Griffey Jr. "I'm happy and I'm ready to play. Maybe this is a good fit for me. Things happen for a reason and I'm looking forward to it."

"I always watched Griffey. To be able to run around where he ran around for all those years would be something special."

In his first start with the Rainiers on Thursday, Reed played in center field and wasted little time showing why he was named the Topps Minor League Player of the Year in 2003.

Defensively, he showed off his arm in the second inning when he turned what appeared to be a sure RBI single into a close play at the plate when the runner from second, Alex Fernandez, narrowly beat the tag of Rainiers' backstop Jim Horner.

He followed that up later in the game with a line-drive two-run homer down the right field line, and later reached on a bunt base hit.

Prior to the game, Reed put on a show in batting practice, ripping one line drive after another into the Cheney Stadium power alleys. And when he wanted to, he hit them out. At one point, the 6-foot, 185-pounder ripped three-straight homers onto the hill beyond the right field wall.

"I feel like I'm an on-base style hitter," said Reed. "I'm not a homerun hitter. I'm a guy who hits it in the gap. I feel like I can steal some bases here and there. I'm not necessarily a real fast guy but when the opportunity is right and can steal some. I just try to get on."

"Getting on" is something the Mariners could use, as they've had more than a little trouble in that department so far in 2004. By the way that Reed carries himself, there's little doubt he'll be carrying his act to Seattle in the not-too-distant future.

When he gets there, he says he hopes Mariners fans will notice one thing will stand out about him more than anything else.

That one thing? "My ability to give it my all and help my team win," said Reed.

Sounds like a winner already.

Joe Kaiser and Jason A. Churchill contributed jointly to this report.

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