MLB Trade Possibility: Yonder Alonso for Josh Tomlin?

We’ve read and heard so many trade rumors involving Yonder Alonso that it is becoming old hat. Maybe even making a few heads spin. Within the past week, I think I’ve mentioned “Alonso” and “trade” in the same sentence more than a few times. Here’s yet another one.

Our FanSided site for the Cleveland Indians, Wahoo’s on First, submitted that a deal with Yonder departing for Cleveland (again) and the Reds receiving right hander Josh Tomlin in return. While if you look only at Tomlin’s numbers from his two seasons as a starter, it isn’t all that bad.

But there could be an issue with this…

I’ll get this out of the way now. Wahoo’s on First editor Lewie Pollis states that the Indians would most likely need to throw in a player to potentially equal out the deal. Jason Donald is a candidate Lewie suggests. Considering Walt Jocketty is looking for a #2 starter if Alonso were to be included in a deal, Tomlin may not appear to be that type of piece.

Here is why I think this deal would not benefit the Reds.

I do completely agree with Lewie that Tomlin could help stabilize the starting staff, but my issue is this: the Reds already have a pitcher that’s very similar to Tomlin. His name is Mike Leake. They are so similar (except for a couple of aspects) that it is downright scary. Eerie, even…

Physically, both are 6-1. Tomlin is listed at 175, Leake at 186. Tomlin is 27, Leake is 24. Both have two MLB seasons under their belts.

But just look at their numbers from 2010….

Leake’s stats are only for those games in which he started and do not include three relief appearances.

The only difference here is…walks and strikeouts. Tomlin walks less than Leake. Leake posts more strikeouts than Tomlin. That’s about it. They surrender about the same number of hits and home runs. But that’s not the entire story here. Here’s where they are even more alike…

Tomlin relies on his fastball far more than Leake does, but Tomlin’s curve is better which is why he throws it twice as much as Leake twirls his. Leake will go to a slider far more often. The other pitches are about the same. The velocities are not that far off either, just the dependency on a particular pitch.

More likenesses. Tomlin’s WAR for 2011 was 1.8, Leake’s 1.5. And on Baseball Prospectus, both have the same WARP of 2.5.

Here’s the main difference…

Tomlin had the pleasure of pitching half of his innings (83 of his 165.1 IP to be exact) at Progressive Field, a pitcher’s ballpark (Pitching Park Factor of 97 according to Baseball Reference) while Leake toiled for 96.1 innings, or 58% of his innings as a starter, at GABP (PPF of 102). GABP is far less pitcher friendly (as we all know) than that of Progressive Field even though the ballparks are similar as far as dimensions are concerned. (Courtesy of

Progressive Field – Dimensions: Left field: 325 ft.; left-center: 370 ft.;center field: 405 ft.; right-center: 375 ft.; right field: 325 ft.; foul territory: small.

Fences: Left field: 19 ft.; center and right fields: 8 ft.

Great American – Dimensions: Left field foul pole: 328 feet; left field power alley: 379 feet; center field: 404 feet; right field power alley: 370 feet; right field foul pole: 325 feet; foul territory: small.

Fences: Left field: 12 feet; center field: 8 feet; right field: 8 feet.

The obvious difference is the left field wall: 19 feet high at Progressive v. 12 feet at GABP. And that can make a difference, too. As many times as Reds fans see homers barely clear that left field wall at GABP, those would not be home runs at Progressive Field. But there’s another reason why that is important.

Tomlin is far more prone to fly balls and line drives than Leake. Those line drives can and, on occasion, will translate to home runs in Cincinnati.

Anyway you cut it, there are teams with interest in Alonso. It’s something that cannot be denied despite what sources tell FOX Sport’s Ken Rosenthal

“I don’t know if he has a position,” one rival GM says. “He’s terrible in the outfield. His best position is first base — and he’s not great at first, either.”Adds another GM: “He has to be one of the top hitters in the game to have significant value. You’ll probably always be looking to move him to DH.”

Then why, oh whay, is there so much Alonso chatter if this is the case?

Add this. John Fay interviewed Alonso and he has made some “changes”.

Alonso, in early for some pre-Redsfest interviews, said he lost 18 pounds this offseason. He hired a personal chef and tailored his workouts toward being an outfielder.

This shows that Alonso is serious about playing another position. As he told the Fayman, it’s “part of being a professional”.

So you may want to ask yourself this question: Would you trade Yonder Alonso for Mike Leake and, as suggested by Lewie, Jason Donald? That might be what you should really consider here.

Me? I don’t like this deal for the Reds even with Donald thrown in.