The Cincinnati Reds are in the unique position to have a set of young prospects and major leaguers to make an offer for Mike Trout.
The Cincinnati Reds could make a big splash to accelerate their rebuilding process. The Los Angeles Angels are a team on the way down. The Reds could use that to their advantage.
The buzz from Los Angeles this off-season is that the Angels want to make one more run at the World Series with Mike Trout before Albert Pujols retires. With a talent like Mike Trout, much like perennial MVP candidate Joey Votto, the goal should be to win every year. Rebuilds are not the way to manage the career of an elite player.
The Reds have the players that make sense for both organizations.
The Reds could start the deal with Brandon Phillips, Raisel Iglesias and Blake Wood. Then they could add Robert Stephenson and Jesse Winker. Phillips gets included so the Reds can financially afford to do it, but sending their top two prospects not named Nick Senzel should get the conversation started.
The great part of this is that the Reds have the depth of mid-level prospects to add more to the deal. Barrett Astin and Wandy Peralta, a pair of relievers, could be added with little impact on the Reds’ pitching plans for the next few years. The Reds could also offer Billy Hamilton, if the Angels were interested.
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The Reds could go with other prospect options, as well. They have some younger prospects like shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez that the Reds don’t have in their long term plans yet. The Reds need a shopping list from the Angels and to decide whether or not to go for a World Series.
The Cincinnati Reds would put Mike Trout on top of a line-up with Joey Votto batting at the heart of it.
The key to this radical idea is that Trout would have to bat lead-off. There just isn’t anyone else, unless the Reds move Trout to right. Hamilton could stay in center in that case.
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Another key is that the Reds would need to keep their current big two in the rotation together for multiple years. Trout would improve the offense in the outfield with either Dilson Herrera or Jose Peraza replacing Brandon Phillips at second. The pitching staff would consist of the young pitchers not involved in the deal.
The Angels have fooled themselves into thinking that they are close to competing, but their pitching tells another story.
The Angels made the mistake of not investing enough in pitching during the past several years of Trout’s career.
Instead, they have wasted a year or two of Trout’s career by not accumulating enough pitching talent. They let themselves believe the core was going to be good enough for another few years with Trout at center.
If the Reds are able to convince Trout to embrace the lead-off role again and keep the core of Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan together, they could compete with either the Chicago Cubs or the Los Angeles Dodgers. The trick in today’s MLB is to get into a short series with the dominant team in the playoffs, but not a long one. The Reds could lean heavily on Michael Lorenzen during a five game series.
Instead of this, the Reds aren’t asking and the Angels are not shopping Mike Trout. However, the point is that the Reds must take more action. Even if this sort of idea is a year early, it cannot wait. The conversation finally needs to happen at Great American Ballpark on a weekly basis.