The trade deadline is hours away, and rumors continue to swirl. Several names have been connected to the Cincinnati Reds, and I honestly have no idea what general manager Walt Jocketty is going to do.
There are a few players that have been mentioned for weeks such as Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre, and Denard Span. Rumors about Span have cooled lately, but, in my opinion, he might be the most attractive option of the three. He is young, he may be the best defender in the group, and he is under a team-friendly contract through 2014.
Pierre is having a very good season, but is a poor defender in comparison to the other names mentioned, and hasn’t played centerfield regularly in years. Trading for him would either mean a severe downgrade defensively in centerfield or taking a productive Ryan Ludwick out of the lineup. Yesterday, it was reported that the Reds were “zeroing in” on Pierre, before later reports suggested that “the Reds’ interest in him appears to have been exaggerated” and that Victorino is Cincinnati’s top target.
Victorino is the biggest name of the three and also the most expensive. The two-time All-Star is having one of his worst offensive seasons, but is still having a better season than Stubbs. He is starting to turn things around in the second half, hitting .357 with five steals since the break. It was reported yesterday that the Reds and Dodgers are the last two suitors remaining for the Flyin’ Hawaiian. A few days ago it was rumored that the Reds nearly completed a Victorino-for-Logan Ondrusek trade. If he can still be had at that price, I think I would close the deal. Nothing against Ondrusek, but with Nick Masset returning soon and J.J. Hoover pitching well in Louisville, Ondrusek may be expendable. It may also be possible to re-sign or extend Victorino as his salary may be manageable next season with Scott Rolen likely coming off the payroll.
Lately a flurry of new names have surfaced as well. The Reds have reportedly shown interest in Shin-Soo Choo, although Cleveland is reluctant to move him and it’s unclear what position he would play if he were acquired.
Just yesterday, it was reported that the Reds inquired about Jacoby Ellsbury. A healthy Ellsbury, who was the runner-up in last year’s AL MVP voting and had a 30-30 season, could put the Reds over the top as National League favorites. He owns a career line of .299/.353/.449. Three years ago he led the majors with 70 steals. But Ellsbury has been dogged by injuries two of the last three seasons and it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would trade him, at least until the winter.
Last night, Lyle Overbay was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks and the Reds were said to be discussing a trade for the first baseman. Overbay is batting .292/.367/.448 while playing part-time this season and could fill in at first base while Joey Votto eases back into his full-time role. He would also be a good, cheap, left-handed power bat off the bench.
Perhaps most surprising of all were reports that Cincinnati was looking at Matt Garza, although it makes sense. The Reds have been lucky to have made it this far with only five starters, because they have almost no starting pitching depth. Acquiring Garza would likely send Mike Leake to Louisville, where he could be a much-needed fill-in starter if someone gets hurt.
That’s seven names that have been mentioned within the last week. And keep in mind, the two deals Jocketty made in the offseason for Mat Latos and Sean Marshall came completely out of left field. Who knows who else the Reds might be after?
Of course, there is also a strong possibility that Jocketty doesn’t make a trade at all. Cincinnati has one of the best records in baseball and will be adding one of the best hitters in baseball shortly. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theory has gained popularity with the fans as the team has been winning lately, although ten games is a small sample size, and just because something isn’t broken doesn‘t mean it can’t be improved upon. I seem to remember a lot of fans not being so pleased in the middle of April.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be an interesting afternoon. Buckle up.
Tags: Baseball Cincinnati Reds Denard Span Jacoby Ellsbury Juan Pierre Lyle Overbay Matt Garza MLB MLB Trade Rumors NL Central Reds Trade Rumors Shane Victorino Shin-Soo Choo Trade Deadline Walt Jocketty