This offseason, the Cincinnati Reds have already acquired ace Mat Latos, star Ryan Madson and underrated setup man Sean Marshall. At the end of last season, Walt Jocketty mentioned that the payroll would increase in 2012, projected to be around $85 million (via MLB Trade Rumors).
The Reds current payroll has them entering the season with about a $77 million-$78 million payroll. This means the Reds have at least $7 million or $8 million left to spend.
Do they want to wait until the trade deadline? I don't know.
Do they want to pocket this money for contracts, I don't know.
But here are some options they might have if they want to use their money now or at the deadline, via trade.
I like BJ Upton, but i think the Tampa Bay Rays are in it to win it. Mike Morse of the Nats is 30 and entering the last year of his contract, and the Nats have committed major money to Gio Gonzalez and might not be done, but I think they are also in it to win it.
What about the Reds waiting to see where Fielder lands, then stealing a player from that team? The rumored teams are: Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals.
Take out the Brewers and Rangers, and there are players the Reds could obtain from any of these teams, considering they’d most likely be willing to dump payroll.
Marlins: Can Gaby Sanchez play left? He puts up incredible numbers, and the Marlins have to do something with him if Fielder were signed, but their outfield is full so they might not have the same options the Reds do with him.
Jays: Not much talent that interests me that seems realistic for the Reds.
Orioles: Adam Jones? He’s got great talent. It would probably take Bailey, Heisey, Jordan Smith plus cash to get him, but he is a great player. He can bat anywhere in the lineup.
Cubs: Soriano? Could platoon. He doesn’t really interest me any more than Ludwick, but the Cubs might eat some of his money giving the Reds a maybe $3 or 4 million a year situation.
Nats: Maybe the Nats have their offensive man and are willing to trade Morse now so they don’t have to deal with trade deadline or a nasty offseason with him.
The San Francisco Giants have also been rumored, but there’s no one that I really see there going to the Reds. I doubt they’d trade Huff, but he would be that veteran that Walt’s looking for.
There’s always BJ Upton, but with the Rays recent signings and lack of trading from their starting rotation that was rumored to happen, it looks like they want to win. Out of any free agents, I’d take Ludwick. Maybe he can do something like he did a few years ago with those 37 homers. It's unlikely, but he seems to have the most FA upside.
Fukudome would be worst-case scenario, but his on-base has been fine the last few years.
I doubt Shin Soo Choo would happen. The Indians appear to also want offense, which means they too are serious about winning.
Most exciting thought (realistically)
Either Adam Jones or Mark Trumbo. We know there have been rumors about the Angels needing to trade an outfielder now that Trumbo has moved to the outfield to make room for Albert.
Sure—Wells, Hunter and Abreu would be nice (better than Ludwick), but I like Trumbo more than any of those guys. He has more upside and his batting average is down but he's still young with good power.
I like him as a player. Jones is a straight-up player who would really put the Reds over the top in the outfield.
Most exciting thought (maybe…?)
Mike Morse is exciting to think about. Maybe Martin Prado. Shane Victorino is also possible.
The Phillies want money for a Hamels deal, and are going to have to part ways with Victo at years end. They have Dom Brown and Mayberry ready to play.
I do like Seth Smith a lot. High OBP for me in left field is what the Reds need. Gaby Sanchez would be great too, but I have no idea whether or not he plays left.
Basically, the Reds need to fill the left field hole. People are worried about third, but I think Francisco is fine to backup Rolen or even start if Rolen goes down.
Cozart is great at short. I really don't see Heisey as a problem, but most people do. They need a fourth outfielder anyway, so why not go for a real one rather than a Fukudome or Damon caliber player? Would Roy Oswalt shape up their pitching staff and add the depth that they desperately need?
That's something to think about.
Either way, this should be a fun season for Reds fans. Walt has implied more moves could be made. Let's see what happens.