3 Rule 5 Draft-eligible prospects the Reds could trade for before today's deadline

If other teams are unwilling to protect these prospects, perhaps the Reds could work out a trade.

Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Hunter Feduccia
Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Hunter Feduccia / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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With the deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft quickly approaching, don't be surprised to see some wheeling and dealing on the part of baseball executives this afternoon. Some of these borderline prospects may not bring enough value to their current team, and may be traded.

While the Cincinnati Reds face some difficult decisions of their own, if the opportunity presents itself to secure a talented young player, president of baseball operations Nick Krall should do just that.

If the Reds are interested in adding more than just their own prospects to the 40-man roster before today's 6 PM ET deadline, here at three Rule 5 Draft-eligible prospects from other teams who should pique Cincinnati's interest.

1. Reds could trade for Dodgers Rule 5 Draft-eligible prospect Hunter Feduccia

The Cincinnati Reds re-signed Luke Maile already this offseason, but the team lost Curt Casali to free agency. Chuckie Robinson, who spent all of last season at Triple-A and put up solid numbers, also elected free agency this offseason.

The Reds catching depth is quite thin, and Tyler Stephenson's below-average 2023 campaign has raised some concerns among the Cincinanti faithful. Perhaps swinging a trade for Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Hunter Feduccia would be a wise move.

Feduccia, 26, has been in the Dodgers' farm system since 2018. But, as most baseball fans know all too well, developing a catcher takes time. Feduccia is well regarded for his defense, but the left-handed hitting backstop posted a slash line of .279/.387/.451 at Triple-A last season.

Adding a solid backup option like Hunter Feduccia would relieve some concerns for the Cincinnati Reds heading into 2024. If either Tyler Stephenson or Luke Maile goes down due to injury, the unproven Daniel Vellojin would likely be the top replacement.

The Reds need to secure some depth at catcher this offseason, and if the Dodgers are willing to part with Feduccia, that would be a good place to start. LA is loaded with top-flight catching talent, so offloading a player like Feduccia would not affect the Dodgers farm system at all.

2. Reds could trade for Rays Rule 5 Draft-eligible prospect Heriberto Hernandez

Nobody likes trading with the Tampa Bay Rays because fans assume that their favorite team is going to get taken to the cleaners. Soon enough, opposing fan bases will begin to feel the same way about making deals with the Cincinnati Reds.

Heriberto Hernandez is a name to watch as the 6 PM ET deadline approaches. Will the Rays just select the contract of Hernandez and add him to their 40-man roster, or will the outfielder be made available to the highest bidder?

A number of Reds fans have been clamoring for the team to pursue a power-hitting outfielder this offseason. Hernandez fits that requirement. The soon-to-be 24-year-old bats from the right side and posted 37 home runs the past two seasons in the minor leagues.

Heriberto Hernandez is power-over-hit, but does see a fair amount of walk as well. Last season at Double-A, the outfielder logged 76 free passes in 118 games. For his entire minor league career, Hernandez owns a 15.5-percent walk-rate according to FanGraphs.

The Tampa Bay Rays have some decisions to make today, as their current 40-man roster is maxed out. If the Rays are intent on adding any of their top prospects, they'll have to make some adjustments.

This also opens the door for fringe players like Hernandez to either be left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft or traded before today's deadline. Hernandez is definitely a player the Reds should have their eye on.

3. Reds could trade for White Sox Rule 5 Draft-eligible prospect Matthew Thompson

The Cincinnati Reds are always on the lookout for those power-arms, and Matthew Thompson certainly fits that description. The Chicago White Sox selected the Texas high school in Round 2 of the 2019 MLB Draft and he's been on a roller coaster ride since making his professional debut.

Thompson started 25 games in 2022 and logged over 100 innings. In 2023, the right-hander made 27 starts and posted a strikeout-rate near 24-percent. Unfortunately, the ERA was sitting at 4.85. His 136 punch outs were quite impressive, but Thompson also led the Southern League in free passes.

Thompson offers a mixed bag, and could be an intriguing option to pair with Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson to see if Cincinnati might be able to fix what's been ailing the young right-handed pitching prospect. Thompson is viewed as incredibly atheltic, something that should allow him to repeat his delivery.

The Chicago White Sox are retooling, rebuilding, or whatever you want to call it. Chicago's new GM Chris Getz has maintained that almost no player on the White Sox is off limits this offseason, so there's no way the South Siders are going to cling to a player like Thompson.

Matthew Thompson is one of those prospects who could be of interest in the Rule 5 Draft if he's left unprotected by the White Sox this winter. But if the plus-fastball is enough to grab the attention to the Reds' scouts, don't be shocked if Cincinnati swings a deal for Thompson before today's deadline.