Reds Trades: A Rumor and A Possibility?

The biggest trade rumor that has involved the Reds is the one regarding David Wright of the New York Mets. It was suggested by Mark Simon of that Cincy could be one of five teams that have interest in Wright.

(Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)

Don’t know if I would honestly classify this as a rumor, but let’s look at this.

Considering the state of affairs with the Mets payroll, lopping off Wright’s $16MM salary would continue a direction the team has taken since the end of the 2010 season. The Mets shaved almost $50MM from their 2011 Opening Day payroll of $142.8MM to $94.5MM for 2012’s Opening Day salary numbers. Their payroll commitments heading into 2013 are at roughly $74.2MM. Between Wright’s $16MM, Johan Santana ($25.5MM) and Jason Bay ($18.1MM), that’s almost $60MM for the 2013 season.

Simon mentions the names of Mike Leake, Drew Stubbs, Homer Bailey, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco. All are interesting inclusions because all would come on the cheap. Leake and Stubbs enter their first year of being arbitration eligible. Bailey is in his final year and is a candidate for a long-term deal. Frazier and Mesoraco will make what they’re given (it’s not that harsh). The highest priced name would be that of Bailey.

And here’s why this may not make sense for the Reds. Think back to the Mat Latos trade. From a payroll perspective, the Reds were winners. I won’t go too far into it as Matt’s words perfectly matched my opinion. This potential move for Wright is in a direct contrast to that of previously held payroll philosophy.

You could switch that up and subscribe to this theory…

With the extra monies from recent TV deals to come in at the beginning of the 2014 season, you might say “go for it now” and attempt to sign Wright long-term deal, but with a low-end salary for the first year (maybe even a second) of that deal along with a deferral like that of Bronson Arroyo‘s most recent contract. When that new revenue hits for 2014, might not be such a strain on the payroll.

Add that Wright will be 30 in November. Another point. Wright will most likely want a deal north of what the Reds gave Brandon Phillips in his extension (six years, $72.5MM). Wright has this as a track record: 6-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner (some think he should have won this year) and two Silver Slugger awards. Wright would be entitled to at least what BP received.

The problem in any of this? There have already been reports that the Mets and Wright want a long-term deal. That’s not a guarantee there still can’t be a deal. As long as some rival executive believes a new deal could still benefit their team, a trade could happen. Less likely, but it could. Any potential trade partner (if one even exists) would prefer to do the new deals themselves.

Yes, it would be nice to pencil in Wright as the Reds clean-up guy…right in between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.

But if your Mets GM Sandy Alderson, can you honestly afford to trade Wright? Wright is the face of that franchise. Trading Wright would mean not only dealing that face, but having to find a new one…and the name of Josh Hamilton has been mentioned on more than one occasion. Not sure that’s a good move and neither does Alderson.

One to an interesting find…

A few days ago, Michael Engel, my co-hort over on Kings of Kauffman (FanSided’s site for the Kansas City Royals) had an interesting piece in regards to Royals players that might be available. That piece mentioned a Buster Olney Insider article that states that the Royals could look to deal some of their bats in order to acquire pitching.

Here’s a bit from Michael…

You have to give something up to get something back, and if the Royals are serious about getting a pitcher (or two), they’ll have to move some important pieces. Buster Olney mentioned the core of Royals hitters who many be available in such a deal, specifically listing Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler as options, noting that Hosmer has the most value. They call that the trade that hurts, because at least in free agency, you’re just giving away payroll to acquire a pitcher. Giving up legitimate players for a pitcher can create a new gap.

While Hosmer has the most value for the Royals (in the mind of Olney), he would not be a piece the Reds would look to add. Neither would Butler. Gordon and Moustakas could be another matter.

(Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE)

I mention this because I received an interesting comment on BRM’s Facebook page concerning Gordon. It was suggested that the Reds package a deal of Leake or Bailey along with a pair of prospects for Gordon.

For the past two seasons, what is there not to like about Gordon? A pair of Gold Gloves. A guy that can bat lead-off successfully (career lead-off slash: .306/.381/.501). Downside, as you can guess, dollars. Gordon is due $31.5MM over the next three years plus a $12.5 player option for a fourth season. That would be more affordable than Wright.

If there is another positive to spin on Gordon, he won’t turn 29 until next April. In obtaining Gordon, you would have the added payroll, but, as I will again state, you have the new monies from TV deals beginning in 2014. For one year, would you be willing to bite the bullet on payroll?

Moustakas in an intriguing inclusion in that he and Hosmer have been the two big names we’ve been hearing about for the past couple of years. For those of us outside Kansas City, the buzz was that the Royals were going to build the franchise around these two. What’s changed?

While Moustakas fell off in 2012 in comparison to his half-season of 2011, he could benefit from GABP more than Gordon. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove (I know this topic still stings for some Reds fans) and could potentially replace pop in the lineup should Ryan Ludwick not return. That would necessitate Todd Frazier moving to left field.

Same as the David Wright scenario, and I don’t think there would be a lot of complaints there.

Of course, with the Royals acquiring Ervin Santana, this may all be moot. But as Michael suggests, the Royals could look for two starting pitchers. That could leave the Redlegs as a viable trade partner.

The only player that addresses the lead-off spot is Gordon. Acquiring Moustakas could even free up a little bit of dough. In obtaining Wright, you are adding to payroll (less with Gordon), but run the risk of having less to no money in order to land a lead-off guy if for only one season. With Gordon, you fill left field and gain a lead-off guy. The only questions you must answer are if you want his contract and where do put Gordon as far as the makeup of the lineup once Billy Hamilton is ready to claim the lead-off spot.

And take this all a step further. If the Reds were to trade Leake or Bailey, you know what that would mean, don’t you?