Jun 13, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds general manager and president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Potential Reds Trade Target: Hot Stove Talk

It’s June, which means two things:

1) it’s officially no longer “early”
2) the stove is getting warm.

Multiple variables need to be in place to even begin discussing trades. The market has to be right. Both teams have to have a particular need. The $$ has to make sense.

I think there’s a perfect match just dying to happen. I see square peg and square mold dying to be introduced. I’m thinking Kevin Youkilis in a Reds uniform isn’t far fetched.

The variables are seemingly in place. Kevin Youkilis is the quintessential #4 hitter who brings both great contact and good power to any lineup. Currently, the line on Youkilis is .250 (BA), .318 (OBP), .406 (SLG). Not exactly taking anyone’s breath, but worth noting that he’s been dealing with injury all season. He’s only played in 27 games. Back at the end of April, he was hitting.219. It’s the beginning of June and he’s already back at .250. You can say his numbers are declining and you’d be right; however, it wasn’t but two seasons ago that Youk hit .307. Pretty impressive career numbers considering what division he’s spent his entire career in.

Apr 9, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis (20) bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

So there’s the need. Reds need help on offense. Todd Frazier has proven himself to be a good contributor who can come through when the Reds need him – though his batting average after his time in AAA was something to the tune of .261, which doesn’t scream major contributor on the rise to me; however, that doesn’t mean he can’t be an incredibly valuable addition to a bench that has been utterly worthless thus far. Not to mention, considering Youk’s injuries of late, Frazier could be a perfect, suitable spell for Youk every 3rd day.

The Red Sox will be in the market to deal him, because they simply don’t have the room to start him anymore – at least they won’t. Boston has an influx of corner infielders. Middlebrooks, their young stud, has been playing 3rd, which has moved Youk to first and has relegated Adrian Gonzalez to RF. That works right now. What about when Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury return?

The money could be a factor. He is set to make $12 mil, though my guess is that Boston would eat some of it considering his decreased production last season and his most recent stint with the DL that included a “walking program” he was given. Not to mention, we know Rolen will be off the books after this year, which will free up some room.

The only variable that I can’t account for: who do the Reds have to package? The farm system is nearly depleted. What once was a Top 5 farm in America has quickly been reduced to the likes of Baghdad following some big time trades last off-season. There’s a need from both sides. I think the money can be managed. But who do the Reds have to offer?

Kevin Youkilis is 33 years old. But there’s no denying his value. Furthermore, he’s already expressed interest in coming home.

“If I were to go anywhere, I would want to go to Cincinnati and play in front of my parents at home,” Youkilis said. “I think it would be really cool for my dad and my mom, but especially for my dad, growing up in Cincinnati, that would be a real cool thing.”

The Reds have reportedly denied interest. Scott Rolen is set to come back at some time. Reportedly. But when is the last time Walt ever came out and said they were actively pursuing anyone?

Also, this from MLBTR.com:

“The Giants, Diamondbacks and Dodgers are among the teams interested in Kevin Youkilis, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Los Angeles might be the most intriguing of these three, as the Dodgers are looking for position player help and would be the most able to absorb Youkilis’ salary thanks to their new ownership group. The Phillies and Indians have also been scouting the Red Sox infielder, while the Reds don’t seem interested.”

I think the Reds need to make a play. Youkilis batting 4th could get Brandon Phillips back to lead-off and help rejuvenate an offense that is prone to droughts.

Tags: Baseball Boston Red Sox Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker Hot Stove June MLB Trade Rumors Trades Walt Jocketty

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