Sep 27, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza hits a single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning at US Cellular Field. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

Reds Trade Rumors: Still Looking at Lead-off

Yes, Ryan Ludwick is in the fold for at least another two years.

Can we please see what’s behind curtain #2? Or did we initially want #1? Either way, that may take a while…

A few days ago over on, Jason A. Churchill was stating there was a potential three-way trade involving the Reds, Colorado Rockies and Tampa Bay Rays (Insider only link). You’ve most likely read or heard of this. The Reds would land Dexter Fowler, the Rockies could acquire either Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields, and the Rays would have their hands on a catcher in Devin Mesoraco.

Well, this isn’t happening now, as “constructed”, in light of last night’s late news that the Rays had dealt Shields, Wade Davis and a PTBNL to the Royals in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi (who was part of the Zack Greinke trade), Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard. That trade has sent Royals fans, shall we say, screaming and cursing at Royals GM Dayton Moore for the transaction.

There’s also the fact that Mesoraco is going nowhere according to a John Fay tweet. In other words, this potential deal had not much spark.

There was another that emerged.

The Reds had apparently contacted the Chicago White Sox in regards to center fielder Alejandro De Aza. This is according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. To see the full article, you only need to register for the site. No Reds players are named within the article.

I find both of these intriguing. I have previously stated that the issue with Fowler (to me anyway) isn’t so much his home/away splits. His numbers at Coors Field are nice, but GABP isn’t exactly a pitcher-friendly park either. You would see some slippage, but not to the extent other teams would. No, it’s more of what to do with Fowler once Billy Hamilton is ready.

And on De Aza, you have a player coming off his first full year in the majors. And you have the same situation with De Aza as you do with Fowler: what to do when Hamilton is considered big league ready.

Both Fowler and De Aza are arbitration eligible and will not be free agents until 2016.

Sure, Hamilton’s no sure bet. No prospect is. Not even Wil Myers is for that matter. That’s what could make either Fowler or De Aza nice adds. One, you could have Hamilton in Louisville for the entire season. Two, if Hamilton does indeed show that he needs more time, you have someone already to cover the position both defensively and offensively.

I still prefer Fowler only because he has more time in the league and more of a proven track record. Fowler, 26, is two years younger than De Aza, 28.

De Aza would be the less expensive acquisition as far as money goes. He is entering his first year of arbitration and Tim Dierkes on MLB Trade Rumors estimates De Aza should land a contract for $1.7MM as compared to Folwer’s potential payday of $4MM.

The other part of the “price” would be what the Reds would have to part with in order to acquire either. There were those bits about Homer Bailey being part of a deal with the Rockies. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was so bold as to say Mike Leake and Drew Stubbs could be the right price.

Not everyone in Rockies land is on board with that. I kind of figured that would be the case.

As I previously stated, no names have been bantered about relating to a possible De Aza trade. With the White Sox rumored to be moving Gavin Floyd to any team not getting Zach Greinke, you have to believe that if Chicago does deal Floyd, an arm heading to the Pale Hose would, could, should be a given. You know the names: Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani and Daniel Corcino. Maybe Bailey’s as well.

Add this to your memory bank, too…

In a sense, Leake is a beneficiary of the Royals-Rays trade. How’s that? Seeing as he’s viewed as the same type of pitcher as Davis (go to Davis’s page on Baseball Reference and look under the “Similarity Scores” section. Leake is the first name listed.), his stock may have slightly risen. Davis is viewed by many as a back-end of the rotation guy, a 4/5 if you will, probably more of a 5 to some. As is Leake. He performed that exact role for Cincinnati in 2012. Not every rotation has guy in that particular role that owns three years of experience as does Leake and Davis even though Davis was in the bullpen this past season.

Also, if Leake or even Bailey is moved (and I am not saying that either should be), and if Aroldis Chapman does struggle as a starter, Chapman can move back to the ‘pen (a move that could completely break my heart) and you have Cingrani or Corcino in the wings.

A few “ifs” in there, huh? Point is, the Reds have other cards to play even among its own roster.

While many of us were looking for this one-year gap (even I fell into that), we may be somewhat missing the boat here. While we all dream of seeing Billy run (and run a lot!), we are neglecting the opposite end of the spectrum, and that’s what GM Walt Jocketty is doing here. If Hamilton needs more than one year or he doesn’t quite measure up, the Reds will already have a lead-off guy for multiple years. If Hamilton does prosper (and I honestly think he will), the Reds have another one of those nice problems…

Too many players for a certain position.

(A big BRM hat tip to our Facebook friend Jeff for some insight on this post.)

Tags: Cincinnati Reds MLB Hot Stove

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