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  • Trade Target Team Profile: Cincinnati Reds

    The Big Picture
    The Reds are currently 44-37 and one game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central. They are just 1.5 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds last won a playoff game in 1995 when they beat the LA Dodgers in the Division Series before being swept by the Braves in the NLCS that year. The last time they won a World Series title was a year before the Twins last won one (1990, beating the Aís in 4 games). The Reds have former MVP Joey Votto, who is also the odds-on favorite to win the award for the second time in 2012.

    Why They Will Trade With the Twins
    Votto and outfielder Jay Bruce provide a ton of left-handed power. When healthy, Scott Rolen is a nice bat in the middle of the lineup. Todd Frazier got an opportunity this year (due to Rolen injury) and played well enough that they are finding positions for him to play. Brandon Phillips remains one of the better second baseman in the league. However, the Reds should absolutely covet a right-handed power bat in the middle of their lineup. If there is a team that might need OF Josh Willinghamís bat more than any others, it would be the Reds. Willingham would slot in well between Votto and Bruce in the middle of the Reds lineup.

    If the teams couldnít work out a Willingham trade, the Reds could also be interested in Denard Span. Reds CF Drew Stubbs is a tremendous athlete with great speed and some power, but he is the teamís leadoff hitter and he strikes out about every third at bat and is currently posting a .289 on-base percentage. (to be fair, thatís affected by his last eight games during which he is 0-28.) Span would get on base a lot more often and he could be a 12-15 home run hitter in the Great American Ballpark.

    Finally, with Zack Cozart at shortstop, they may want some depth at that position. Jamey Carroll would make a lot of sense, except the Reds may not want his 2013 contract. Thatís why I think that Alexi Casilla could make a lot of sense for the Reds as a utility infielder.

    Why They Won't Trade With the Twins
    Glen Perkins and Jared Burton are the two bullpen arms that Terry Ryan should be getting phone calls about throughout June. Although any team would like to have them, the Reds may not make sense for either. Burton was one of the top bullpen arms for the Reds until he started having arm problems. They may have some interest in bringing back the talented right-hander, but the Twins asking price should be quite high. Perkins is as good as it gets among left-handers in the bullpen, but the Reds already boast lefties Aroldis Chapman, Bill Bray and Sean Marshall in their bullpen. Although they likely would have interest in Perkins (and his very fair contract), the would have little reason to meet the Twins asking price.

    The Reds are a team that have been linked to Francisco Liriano in recent weeks. They currently have a starting rotation of Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Mat Latos and (should-be) All Star Johnny Cueto. They gave up a huge package to acquire Latos from the Padres in the offseason, so they may not be able to match offers the Twins get from other teams. Also, the Reds team ERA of 3.46 is fourth in baseball while their rotation is sixth in quality starts.

    Conclusion
    Despite just three playoff appearances in the past 33 seasons, Cincinnati remains a strong baseball community. They have a strong pitching staff in a small ballpark, so I think that the matches between the Twins and Reds would involve a bat. The Reds are currently 20th in batting average (.247), 22nd in on-base percentage (.313), 12th in slugging percentage (.413) and 17th in runs scored. Span and Willingham would each help the Reds get more runners on base.

    The Reds appear to be fighting the Pirates for the division title which has to bring back memories of the 1970s when the two teams often fought for NL pennants. The Reds went to the playoffs six time in the Ď70s, went to the World Series four times and The Big Red Machine won back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976. Of course, the St. Louis Cardinals are still likely to make a push as well, which is why I think that the Reds are primed to be quite active at the trade deadline.

    ~~~

    Possible Trade Targets


    Daniel Corcino - RHP
    Corcino is often compared to Johnny Cueto, which by itself is kind of exciting. He will turn 22 in late August. Last year he was 11-7 with a 3.42 ERA in the Midwest League (Low A). In 139.1 innings, he walked just 34 and struckout 156. He skipped Hi-A ball this year, jumping straight to AA. He is currently is 5-4 with a 3.17 ERA. In 88 innings, he has walked 41 and struck out 83.

    Billy Hamilton - SS
    He has 24 errors right now at shortstop. OK, had to start with the negative because there isnít much of it. You know of him because he already has 101 stolen bases this season (in 122 attempts). He is the fastest man in the minors. He is a Top 50 prospect in baseball and wonít turn 22 until September. In High-A this year, he is hitting .322/.413/.439 with 17 doubles, nine triples and a home run. He has walked 49 times and struck out 54 times in 380 plate appearances. Can you imagine a lineup with Hamilton and Ben Revere at the top of it?

    Tony Cingrani - LHP
    Cingrani was the Reds 3rd round pick in 2011 out of Rice University. He turned 23 years old today. He started this season at High-A and went 5-1 with a 1.11 ERA in 56.2 innings. He walked just 13 and struck out 71. He moved up to AA where he is 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA. In 36 innings, he walked 12 and struck out 47. The Twins obviously scout players at Rice a lot considering they drafted both of their closers this year. Cingrani is a guy who has moved up quickly and could be big league ready early in the 2013 season.

    (Note Ė These first three guys are likely unavailable, but if the Twins did send Willingham or Span to the Reds, they should expect one of them in return!)

    Kyle Lotzkar - RHP

    Lotzkar is just 22 years old. He had Tommy John surgery back in 2009 and is still working his way back, although he has been quite good in 2012. He began by making five starts in Hi-A. He went 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA. In 26.1 innings, he walked 10 and struck out 27. He moved up to AA where he is 4-3 with a 4.72 ERA yet in 55.1 innings, he walked 29 and struck out 58. He throws hard and misses bats. Still just 22 and in AA, he is certainly intriguing.

    Didi Gregorius - SS
    The 22 year old shortstop was signed from The Netherlands. This year, he is hitting .280/.346/.367 with 11 doubles, six triples and a home run. Believed to be a solid defender with plenty of room for improvement, Gregorius could be an interesting prospect in time.

    Please add your thoughts and trade ideas (and other names the Twins could pursue) in the comments below!

    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Target Team Profile: Cincinnati Reds started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 22 Comments
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Lord, but I love the idea of getting Hamilton.
    1. PMKI's Avatar
      PMKI -
      I would love to get Billy Hamilton but would also be shocked if they traded him.
    1. TheBaseballGeek's Avatar
      TheBaseballGeek -
      I would die of happiness if they could get Hamilton. Alas, it''s almost a sure bet that he's untouchable.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheBaseballGeek View Post
      I would die of happiness if they could get Hamilton. Alas, it''s almost a sure bet that he's untouchable.
      I am not one to trade an established player like Willingham or Span, without getting at least TWO prospects in return. One is not enough. You're trading someone who is nearly at the high point of their career for someone who hasn't gotten to the big show yet. Two prospects help increase the odds that at least one coming in return will make it to the majors.*

      As for Hamilton, obviously he needs seasoning at SS, with 24 errors. Either he must spend more time in the minors honing his defense, or be switched to a different position.
    1. fetch's Avatar
      fetch -
      I don't get why they don't just throw Hamilton in center field.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by fetch View Post
      I don't get why they don't just throw Hamilton in center field.
      Because filling shortstop with quality talent is considerably more difficult than center. If he can stick at short they'll be much better off in the long run.
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      104 (now) SB is just a ridiculous figure. It might be more shocking than when the Babe suddenly exploded for 54 homeruns. That's how unheard of that statistic is.
    1. fetch's Avatar
      fetch -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Because filling shortstop with quality talent is considerably more difficult than center. If he can stick at short they'll be much better off in the long run.
      But no one thinks he can. So make him an 80 center fielder and let him move up the minors rather than wasting his development.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Billy Hamilton... what a great name for his skills. Before Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock and even Ty Cobb, baseball had Sliding Billy Hamilton (944 career SBs, over 100 four times, HOF).

      He is probably an OF, but of course the Twins would want such an exciting player at any position. I can't imagine why the Reds would trade him. He is guaranteed to sell tickets when he arrives.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I'm still anti-Hamilton although he is a top 50 prospect. I want to see how he hits outside of the cal league. It makes the PCL look like a pitcher's league with its thin air (less pitch movement), hard infield (allowing balls thru) and deep fences (the ball rolls forever). It's perfect for Hamilton. The SB's are ridiculous though.

      I'm a lot more interested in Corcino since he doesn't come with the hype. Willingham for corcino and a 2nd decent prospect (top 100 tweener).
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Hamilton was promoted to AA today.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Really got to scratch your head with all the love for a 22 year old who just got promoted to AA and has a career .738 OPS in the minors (Rookie to high A) and is a Butcher on the field, while the Twins have a 24 year old in the majors with very similar skill set and .732 OPS this season in the majors and is pretty darn good on the field. And that someone is not seen as a "long term solution" (whatever that might be) for the Twins by a whole bunch of fans. Got to love the irony.

      On the other hand, the Twins need MLB-ready SPs in return to a Liriano (and/or a Span) trade. This is not the draft where you go for the best player available and develop them, you got to fill need.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      On the other hand, the Twins need MLB-ready SPs in return to a Liriano (and/or a Span) trade. This is not the draft where you go for the best player available and develop them, you got to fill need.
      You still take the best talent. I would rather get a better OF prospect than a mediocre SP prospect even if that's not what the Twins need. There will only be a couple of teams interested in a player and you have to take what is available in their systems.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      You still take the best talent. I would rather get a better OF prospect than a mediocre SP prospect even if that's not what the Twins need. There will only be a couple of teams interested in a player and you have to take what is available in their systems.
      My point is that the Twins should not be after prospects. They need MLB-ready SPs, which means AAA and/or AA high level pitchers who are stuck behind others in their organizations but who are better now or in 2013 than what the Twins have left for their 2013 rotations. I don't care if it is the top 10 prospect in a system and is at Rk level... The Twins do not need that because unless they have a solid rotation in 2013 and 2014, there will be another 90+ loss season. And right now the 2013 rotation projects worse than the 2012 rotation that is awful.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I guess that I've accepted that 2013 is going to be ugly. I would rather add the most talent to the org regardless of where the player is (minors/majors) or what position he plays.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I guess that I've accepted that 2013 is going to be ugly. I would rather add the most talent to the org regardless of where the player is (minors/majors) or what position he plays.
      No way the Twins agree with you on this (2013 being ugly). If nothing else they have to sell tickets. But I would even argue they are two solid starters and a couple of things continuing on from being a contender in the Central. That is far from impossible to fill with $30 million in payroll and Span as an asset to trade.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Really got to scratch your head with all the love for a 22 year old who just got promoted to AA and has a career .738 OPS in the minors (Rookie to high A) and is a Butcher on the field, while the Twins have a 24 year old in the majors with very similar skill set and .732 OPS this season in the majors and is pretty darn good on the field. And that someone is not seen as a "long term solution" (whatever that might be) for the Twins by a whole bunch of fans. Got to love the irony.

      On the other hand, the Twins need MLB-ready SPs in return to a Liriano (and/or a Span) trade. This is not the draft where you go for the best player available and develop them, you got to fill need.
      First off, Hamilton is only 21 and is now in AA, it's not like he is 26 and repeating various levels.

      Second off, Hamilton has shown quite a bit of improvement this year in his power over last year, in 2010 he showed pretty decent pop as well so his 2011 campaign is looking like the outlier at this point.

      He has his issues at SS, but there is no reason why he couldn't make it work at 2B or CF. He is taking a lot more walks this year (almost 2x as often as his career average) and is a good bet to swipe 150+ bases by the end of this season. That is simply amazing.

      Assuming he doesn't fall off a cliff in AA we are looking at a top 20 prospect. How you can say the Twins wouldn't be well off with gettng Hamilton is a bit mind boggling.

      With all that said I highly doubt the Reds trade him for anyone we can offer. Liriano won't bring back enough and I imagine we'd have to include another piece with Span.

      I for one would be absolutely thrilled with a Span for Hamilton straight up trade, and Hamilton is the type of prospect who could be ready to contribute at the major league level sometime in the 2013 season. (He will almost certainly be up with the Reds in sept for a playoff run as a weapon off the bench)
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      You still take the best talent. I would rather get a better OF prospect than a mediocre SP prospect even if that's not what the Twins need. There will only be a couple of teams interested in a player and you have to take what is available in their systems.
      Agreed, take the guy with the highest upside/most talent and if everything works out you can always trade another bat later.
      Also if they do trade Span this year it does take an additional 4.75 mil(2013) and 6 mil (2014) off the books, just more money they could use to try to land some good free agent pitchers.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      The Reds beat writer, John Fay, wrote the other day about the Reds needing a leadoff hitter and specifically mentioned Denard Span, talking about how he could play center field, about his on-base percentage and about his long-term contract.

      Assuming the Reds won't offer Hamilton, do they have a package that intrigues you? Would Cingrani or Corcino be enough?

      How about the young SS Cozart? Say the Twins send Span and Carroll and get back...Corcino and Cozart?
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      I don't know if the Reds would do it, but Dusty refuses to give Mesoraco consistant playing time. Boom...he's the everyday C with Joe backing up and playing DH and 1B. Doumit as your 3rd and backup at 1B, OF & C.

      One more year of the dumb Canuck and there ya go.
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