It eventually had to happen, didn’t it? Here we are four week away from the non-waiver trade deadline and the rumors are as hot as the weather in Southwestern Ohio. And if you live in that area (or practically any area in the Midwest), you know what I mean.
Rumors? Here ya go!
Shane Victorino, Philadelphia
Victorino can leadoff although his 2012 leadoff splits are a little lacking (.231/.259/.385 in only 6 games), but even if you include these, he owns a career leadoff slash of .252/.322/.420. Even then, they aren’t stellar or anywhere close to it. Looking at both Victorino’s 2012 and career leadoff numbers, they are greater than what little production the Reds have gotten from the spot thus far in 2012 (.198/.242/.307). He is a three-time Gold Glove winner (’08, ’09, ’10), so defense will not be a concern.
But there is a concern: the fall off in his offensive output. With the Phillies missing Ryan Howard and, until recently, Chase Utley, the Phils desperately needed the Flyin’ Hawaiian to pick up the slack. Hasn’t happened. He’s having his worst offensive season since, well, ever. Being a switch-hitter adds to his mystique, but in 2012, he is vastly better from the right side of the plate (.325) than from the left (.231).
While his leadoff splits are “there”, his greatest offensive career contribution has come from batting 6th (.324/.375/.531) and fir this season, it’s been in the 3-hole. I’m not even going to list Victorino’s numbers for there as the Reds already have a guy that can adequately fill that #3 slot in the batting order. I don’t think the Reds would trade for him and bat him that far down in the order.
A bigger dilemma could be which defensive position: left or center? I mentioned the Gold Gloves. Defensively, I think Drew Stubbs can more than hold his own in center. In fact, I think he’s underrated defensively. Some tout him as being a future Gold Glove winner.
It would take more than a player or two to nab Victorino from Philly. Add that he will be a free agent after this season and due to remainder of a $9.5MM salary makes Victorino a little less enticing. A rental? Most likely unless an outfielder goes in the deal. I don’t think that happens either as the Reds are thin at the position organizationally, ut I won’t say “never”. You’ll see why in a bit.
Ken Rosenthal believes the Reds are just one team that could be interested in Victorino. (Video). Victorino had asked the Phillies for a five-year deal, but softened that stance shortly afterwards. I can’t see the Reds making such an offer either.
Cole Hamels, Phildelphia
If Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. is looking to dump a lot of payroll, why not deal Hamels, too. Anyone who is alive in the postseason hunt will be ringing Amaro’s phone or texting him repeatedly to get a shot at Hamels. Heck, rival GMs may even send him a friend’s request on Facebook.
Hamels will gain interest from at least a half dozen teams. Not sure how the Reds fit into it though except that it would be as a rental. But as we’ve seen in 2012, you never say never like when we said the Reds would never sign a player to a ten-year deal.
Landing Hamels may prove to be even more difficult land than Victorino. Reportedly, the Phils are looking for 4 to 5 prospects. Add that Hamels is in his walk year and still collecting on a $15MM salary, things look shaky at best. Many speculate that the Pirates will be a team that could actively pursue the lefty along with the Yankees. I can see these two teams as the top “bidders”.
Did you ever think you’d see the day Pittsburgh could be considered a front runner to land a player via trade? Yes, they are…and I think they will.
One thing we know is that Hamels can pitch in a hitter-friendly park. While Citizens Bank Park won’t surrender as many home runs as Great American, Hamels has that experience plus he has the experience of playing in the postseason on his side as well. That will also be a key aspect of trading for him. Another plus is that Hamels won’t be 29 until December. Of course, if you can’t keep him, that means zilch except for what you do in 2012. If you can keep him beyond 2012, it could be a win-win.
If it’s prospects the Phils want, the Reds may call elsewhere. You know the names of Billy Hamilton, Tony Cingrani and Daniel Corcino (at least) will be mentioned. Sure, they’re all a couple of years away, but the higher level was depleted in the round of trades made this past winter. Can’t go depleting the system even more.
Now keep in mind that Philly isn’t exactly shopping Victorino or Hamels as of yet. I stress, yet.
Zack Greinke, Milwaukee
Like the others mentioned, Greinke is in the final year of his deal with the Brewers. Milwaukee gave up a far amount to snag him from the Royals, so I would imagine they will want a decent haul in return. According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune says the Reds could be players. (Here’s the link. If you want to read the piece, you must register for an account. It honestly doesn’t say a lot except Gerinke trade, Reds possible as suitor.) Steve Watkins of Cincy Biz Blog (yes, he covers sports and the business side of sports…before you wonder) says the Brewers are looking at a shortstop and other prospects. Shortstop makes sense considering the Brewers are currently starting either Cesar Izturis or Cody Ransom. And the Reds have some depth there, but I’m not so sure the front office would be willing to deal Zack Cozart, Didi Gregorius or, obviously, Hamilton.
Wait. Paul Janish? Soft J? Possibly, plus there would need to be other players heading to Milwaukee. Maybe an established arm I’m guessing.
Trading within the division could make the price for Greinke higher for the Reds and Pirates then, say Atlanta. Greinke’s all for the move to a bigger city (9th biggest market in the US) and the Braves did send down a shortstop earlier this season in Tyler Pastornicky. With Andrelton Simmons shoring up the shortstop position (for now) at the MLB level, Pastonicky could become expendable.
Atlanta seemingly owns a mother lode of arms (when don’t they?), so if Milwaukee’s looking for that in addition to a shortstop, Atlanta can provide.
Think it would be nice to land one of these guys? Who wouldn’t want the arms and Victorino may become rejuvenated in a new city. Any way you shake it, for Cincinnati to land any of these three, you would be looking at a further depletion of the farm system even if an MLB player is involved in the deal. You must ask if it would be worth it to get only a half a season from that one player?
I can see Walt making a call or two and even putting a package together for a deal. After that, who knows. We can read/hear all the rumors, but with Walt, you simply cannot tell unless he states something publicly. And how often does that happen?