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  • Trade Talk: Cincinnati Reds

    Buyers or Sellers?

    The Reds have all the makings of an aggressive deadline buyer. They entered the season with high expectations and a large payroll, and as we move into mid-July they are within four games of first place in a division that looks winnable. They also have some clear needs that ought to be addressed if they hope to overcome the Pirates and Cardinals in the final months.


    What They Need

    Unfortunately, the most glaring of those needs is a right-handed masher. The best hitters in Cincy's lineup -- Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo -- all bat from the left side. Ryan Ludwick was expected to add punch from the opposite side but he suffered a major shoulder injury in April and won't return until at least mid-August. With Ludwick absent most the year, the Reds have gotten an ugly .234/.305/.354 hitting line from their left fielders.

    Clearly, Josh Willingham would have been a potential fit here, so the timing of his injury is unfortunate. Trevor Plouffe's right-handed pop could be of some interest, but the Reds already have a fairly similar third baseman in Todd Frazier.

    Another area where Cincinnati might be looking for deadline help, like most contenders, is the bullpen. The closer spot is already anchored by Aroldis Chapman, who might be the only left-handed reliever in baseball more dominant than Glen Perkins, but the Reds could use some help in the middle innings. Setup men Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall have been mired on the disabled list, and with Tony Cingrani's return to the rotation, Manny Parra is now the only southpaw available beyond Chapman.

    What Might Work

    Cincinnati's clearest need (that the Twins can help with) is a reliever who can be counted in high-leverage innings, preferably a lefty. The Reds probably won't pay the price for Perkins since they already have a closer, but Brian Duensing might make sense. Jared Burton or Casey Fien may also hold some appeal, as GM Walt Jocketty would likely welcome impact bullpen help in any form.

    Sleeper Targets

    J.J. Hoover - RHP - MLB - 25 years old
    If the Reds are willing to swap young promise for certified experience, Hoover could be in play. He's a rising young relief star with big stuff, but he's got some command problems and is mostly unproven. If the Reds were to try and make a play for Perkins, you'd have to imagine that Hoover -- a potential closer down the road -- would be involved.

    Daniel Corcino - RHP - Triple-A - 22 years old

    Corcino was viewed as a fringe Top 100 prospect coming into this year but he has come off the tracks in Triple-A, where he holds a 6.72 ERA, 1.78 WHIP and 56/43 K/BB ratio in 83 innings. He definitely looks like a fixer-upper project, and he's young enough that it might be worthwhile.

    Jon Moscot - RHP - High-A - 21 years old
    A fourth-round pick out of Pepperdine University in the 2012 draft, Moscot impressed in his rookie-ball debut last year but has seemingly stalled out in Single-A, with a 1-11 record and 5.10 ERA. However, his solid peripherals (1.36 WHIP, 83/30 K/BB in 85 IP) tell a much different story. He's known as a strike-throwing ground ball guy in the Twins' mold, so he'd be a logical buy-low target.

    Ismael Guillon - LHP - Low-A - 21 years old
    Interesting upside, major control problems. Over 69 2/3 innings in Low-A this season, Guillon has piled up 84 strikeouts along with 67 walks. That's nearly a walk per inning.

    Dream Target

    Robert Stephenson - RHP - Low-A - 20 years old
    Stephenson was taken three picks ahead of Levi Michael in the 2011 draft. He emerged as a prominent pitching prospect with a strong pro debut last year, and has continued to build his stock by dominating the Midwest League this season, with a 2.97 ERA and 85/17 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 frames. Among pitchers with 60 or more innings in the MWL, Stephenson's 11.5 K/9 rate leads the way (J.O. Berrios, at 10.7, ranks third).

    With Billy Hamilton scuffling in Triple-A, Stephenson might be Cincinnati's top prospect. That means he won't be going anywhere for less than a king's ransom.
    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Talk: Cincinnati Reds started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Uncle Jesse's Mullet's Avatar
      Uncle Jesse's Mullet -
      How long is Willingham out? Could we flip Plouffe, Perkins, and Willingham (as a PTBNL) for Stephenson and Guillon?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I've been a fan of Cingrani for a while, but I'm guessing he's not an option. Stephenson is technically the higher rated prospect, who I believe is a top 100 guy. I don't think they will part with him... not for Fein or Duensing, maybe for Perkins, but I highly doubt it.. Corcino at this point is a throw in to any deal. Not really a prospect anymore.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      The Reds weren't willing to part with a top prospect last year for Span. They didn't have to give up a good prospect for Broxton. It is very hard to get teams to part with good prospects.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Clearly, Josh Willingham would have been a potential fit here, so the timing of his injury is unfortunate. Trevor Plouffe's right-handed pop could be of some interest, but the Reds already have a fairly similar third baseman in Todd Frazier.
      How about Plouffe playing Left Field for the Reds?
    1. Ozziedavisfan's Avatar
      Ozziedavisfan -
      I say this as I know that the reds are willing to trade with us but being what we have to trade. I dont see a case where we get stephenson.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ozziedavisfan View Post
      I say this as I know that the reds are willing to trade with us but being what we have to trade. I dont see a case where we get stephenson.
      I agree. Unless the Reds are crazy, there is no way the Twins could get Stephenson. Maybe - MAYBE!!! - they would consider it for a 100% healthy and effective Willingham, but even that seems like a stretch.
    1. Ozziedavisfan's Avatar
      Ozziedavisfan -
      This my problem with the twins. They have asset and they hang on to it to long. So the fact that they didn't trade willingham at the start of the season didn't suprise me. this what they do. They are in rebuilding mode, so everyone expect mauer, and the players there trying to delvelop. Any why shouldn't trade mauer, first off the twins hold two of the top ten propects and anyone they get back would not be comprobable to them. Second, why trade your best player, whenour teams is build around him.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ozziedavisfan View Post
      This my problem with the twins. They have asset and they hang on to it to long. So the fact that they didn't trade willingham at the start of the season didn't suprise me. this what they do. They are in rebuilding mode, so everyone expect mauer, and the players there trying to delvelop. Any why shouldn't trade mauer, first off the twins hold two of the top ten propects and anyone they get back would not be comprobable to them. Second, why trade your best player, whenour teams is build around him.
      How often do other teams trade players at a near peak value? I would not count any trade where a player was headed to free agency (Grienke). That player has for forced the teams hand in those cases.

      Looking at last winter. The Rays traded Shields. The Twins traded Span. The Twins traded Revere.

      If Ryan was willing to trade Span and Revere, why wouldn't he trade Willingham if offered reasonable prospects?

      Why would team offer a good prospect for a decline phase player with a history of injury trouble? Who would be willing to endure his continued decline in the field? Why risk that two year commitment and risk losing a good prospect?

      I am sure teams offered to take Willingham's contract for a return of marginal prospects. I think J.C. Sulbaran was a name mentioned last year and the Reds eventually traded him for Broxton. Should Ryan have traded Willingham for a prospect like Sulbaran?
    1. Rick Niedermann's Avatar
      Rick Niedermann -
      No one on this list interests me at all. We have enough projects in our own system.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rick Niedermann View Post
      No one on this list interests me at all. We have enough projects in our own system.
      You have pretty high standards if Stephenson doesn't interest you... He was a top 50 guy on BA's list today.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      You have pretty high standards if Stephenson doesn't interest you... He was a top 50 guy on BA's list today.
      I think he's referring to the realistic targets. The Twins aren't getting Stephenson, or Cingrani (who is also quite appealing). And I tend to agree with that take... as I was researching this list, all I could think was, "Woof." Nearly all of their top position players are outfielders, too. Just not much of a match here.
    1. Ozziedavisfan's Avatar
      Ozziedavisfan -
      my only point about about willingham is that it is easier to get something for him when he had just hit thirty five homers then when he was hitting 215. your probably going to get a better prospect. I trust terry ryan, he got David ortiz for dave hollins, I trust his judgement more often then he finds players. So if last year he shopped willingham and didn't get anything that could help you i'm glad he didn't make the trade. I just find it odd that willingham had a silver slugger season and couldn't get a very good propect for him. while he got meyer, for span, and worley and May for revere. I'll give you they are younger, still i wonder what he got offered that was so bad, aside from sulbran
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ozziedavisfan View Post
      I just find it odd that willingham had a silver slugger season and couldn't get a very good propect for him. while he got meyer, for span, and worley and May for revere.
      The league obviously had its notions about Willingham. I mean the guy was a free agent one year earlier, coming off a 29-HR season in a pitcher-friendly park, and yet he barely drew any interest in free agency. The bidding came down to Cleveland and Minnesota, two non-contenders, and the Twins won with a pretty dang low bid.

      Yes, Willingham had an awesome season last year. But one great season isn't going to change the perception of him that much. He didn't get a huge contract because he was in his mid-30s, injury-prone and a terrible fielder. A career year in 2012 didn't change any of those things.
    1. Ozziedavisfan's Avatar
      Ozziedavisfan -
      All i'm saying basicilly is that what you could have gotten for willingham at the start of the season and what you could get for him now has dropped. So while I don't expect them to esp, it is fair assume that willingham might have more value at the start of the season come off two seasons of hitting 29 and 35 home runs then what his value is now, which is much less. That being said I think the flaws of willingham you talked about is part of the reason he doesn't draw a big prospect, but who ever we get back if we trade him I like the odds of terry ryan finding something because I see this as front office strength. do you agree?
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