Recently, the Cincinnati Reds have locked up their two franchise players, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. The team also has other key players locked up, including Jay Bruce, Sean Marshall, Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto.
The signing of Votto has likely doomed high-ranking organizational prospects Neftali Soto and Donald Lutz to careers as backups. The only chance for Soto now is to make the shift to left field.
Lutz, however, much like former Red Yonder Alonso, is locked in at first base and is unlikely to play any other position.
The Phillips signing has similar effects on prospects like Brodie Greene and Ryan Wright.
The question created by these signings is: What will the organization do with these blocked prospects?
The last time the Reds had this problem the answer came in the form of Mat Latos. The Reds should make a similar decision now and sell high.
Soto and Lutz put up big seasons in the minors last year. Greene also had a solid season, so he could fetch a decent price when packaged with either Soto or Lutz.
In addition to two of these four prospects, to please the seemingly endless number of Homer Bailey haters, throw him in the deal as well.
The Reds also have an abundance of talent at shortstop. Prospects Didi Gregorius, Billy Hamilton, Chris Valaika and Paul Janish are still sitting in the minors.
Hamilton will likely be shifted to the outfield before he gets his call to Cincy, but that still leaves the Reds with three capable shortstops in the minors. One of them will have to go.
Despite the popular belief that the Reds depleted their farm system when they brought in Latos, the organization still has a lot of depth and talent.
The Reds could make an intriguing package with the players mentioned.
But who could they bring in?
I'm still of the belief that the Phillies cannot retain Cole Hamels. If this is in fact the case, the Reds may be able to pry him away.
With the Oakland A's in rebuilding mode, they could be willing to part with Brandon McCarthy.
The Tampa Bay Rays have a surplus of starting pitching, and with Wade Davis booted to the bullpen, they could be tempted to trade him away.
These are just a few of the names that come to mind. Though all three are solid pitchers, it's not unrealistic to think that the Reds could bring one of them in.
What is unrealistic is that the Reds will keep all these prospects who are blocked by young established talent.
After locking up Phillips and Votto, it's highly unlikely that Soto, Lutz, Greene or Wright will fill any major roles with the Reds. It does no good to keep them if they aren't going to impact the major league club.
The team should look to sell high based on some of the promising 2011 campaigns turned in by their minor league talent.
Who should the Reds look to trade away and who do you think they could bring in?