Cincinnati Reds: Jesse Winker is a valuable trade chip

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 31: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 31: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

As the Winter Meetings approach the home stretch, the Cincinnati Reds have yet to make a move. While most Reds fans have focused on free agency, a potential deal involving outfielder Jesse Winker could provide huge dividends.

Every team in baseball would covet a 26-year-old left handed slugger who has posted a 120 OPS+ with a .379 OBP over 249 career games. Jesse Winker is that player. Take into account he won’t hit free agency until the 2024 season, and the Cincinnati Reds can afford to go big-game hunting with Winker as the centerpiece.

While the Reds front office does some holiday shopping this week, there are several items on their wish list. A power-hitting corner outfielder, bullpen help, and starting pitching depth. The free agent market is always volatile. As a result, it may be time for Dick Williams and Nick Krall to get creative in trade talks.

What players may be available in trades? It’s no secret that a couple of division rivals are willing to listen regarding valuable assets. According to reports, the Cubs could possibly part with Kris Bryant and the Pirates could deal outfielder Starling Marte. If the Reds are interested in acquiring either of these players, rest assured, Winker would be part of any such deal.

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If Cincinnati is interest in acquiring starting pitch depth, they may want to speak with the Detroit Tigers. Coming off a disastrous 47-114 season, the Tigers are completely in rebuild mode. Motown left fielders ranked 21st in MLB with a .315 OBP. Jesse Winker would instantly be a major upgrade and is exactly the type of piece a rebuilding club desires.

A current Tiger who should be of interest to the Reds is southpaw starting pitcher Matthew Boyd.  The soon-to-be 29-year-old is first-year arbitration eligible this winter, meaning the Reds would have three years of club control. Making a play for Boyd makes too much sense.

Although the starting rotation is the Reds strength heading into the season, it will be an area of concern following the 2020 campaign. Both Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani will be free agents at the end of the upcoming season and Boyd would help alleviate some of the uncertainty.

Making 118 starts over parts of five seasons with some dreadful teams, Boyd is 31-47 with a 4.92 ERA. Granted those numbers are nothing special, but over the past two seasons, he’s posted an ERA+ of 102 and 105 respectively. The Washington native also ranked sixth in the AL with 238 strikeouts last year. There’s every reason to believe the left-hander is getting better.

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There’s no doubt in my mind that Jesse Winker will be a quality hitter for years to come, however, acquiring a corner outfielder can be achieved via free agency. Obtaining a young, cost-controlled starting pitcher requires some creativity. A trade featuring Winker and Boyd satisfies needs for the Tigers and the Reds.