I like cheering for players that are…likeable…and Yonder Alonso fits that mould. Listening to him articulate his approach to the game and to life is uplifting and energizing. He is the kind of player you want see succeed. Add to that an amazing ability to hit with maturity that belies his 24 years of age and the Reds have a commodity with high value in baseball. He is not a five tool player though and there is no chance that he will develop these tools with age.
A five tool player:
- Hits for average.
- Hits for power.
- Has speed on the base paths.
- Excellent fielding ability.
- Possesses a strong throwing arm.
Alonso is an excellent prospect in the batters box using both of those offensive tools but is slow, a weak fielder, and an average arm. When you consider these facts then take into consideration that the highest played position in baseball is the American League Designated Hitter, a solution to the Reds situation comes to mind as history does like to repeat itself. In 1972 the Reds traded an excellent hitting prospect with these same liabilities to the Kansas City Royals, his name of course was Hal McRae who became a central cog on that team.
So I decided to take a look across the American League and see who might be looking for a new designated hitter. First I decided to look at each team and make a list of all of the DHs that are over 30 years of age.
First note that Kansas City, Minnesota and Toronto have DH’s under 30 and are presumably not shopping for another. Now looking at this list I think it is safe to discount Detroit and Texas as they both have long term contracts with hitters who are excelling. Chicago still has Adam Dunn under contract for 2 years as well which seems a bitter pill for them to swallow no matter what they decide given his horrific year.
I do not think the Reds should sell cheaply as I consider Yonder to be a better long term hitting prospect than anyone on this table. High value players with intangible quality of character brings value to the team they play for. With that in mind I suggest the three best fits to offer a win-win situation for both teams are the Tampa Bay Rays (imagine how much they want to put the Manny Ramirez experiment behind them); the Boston Red Sox who know as good as Ortiz has been this year, his age is a huge factor; and the Chicago White Sox, who have to be looking for help given the disaster that is Adam Dunn.
I would particularly love to see the suggested move with the Rays as Jennings looks to be an excellent fielder committing just one error in 115 chances in his Major league career and only 11 errors over 6 years in the minors. In addition he looks like a disciplined hitter at the plate. This is the kind of player the Reds need to turn the corner and take a giant step forward. Yonder is an excellent hitter but his defense limits his usefulness compared to the value he offers to an American League squad.
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