As the 2011 MLB trade deadline came and passed Sunday afternoon rumors swirled about a possible blockbuster deal in the works that would have sent reigning NL MVP Joey Votto and top Cincinnati pitching prospect Daniel Corcino to Toronto in exchange for Jose Bautista.
While many baseball fans, including myself, were perplexed by the proposal at first (it didn't seem to make sense for the Reds to trade the younger, more proven Votto for a breakout slugger who may only have a few years of production left in him) it has since become clear to me that the Reds could have benefited substantially had they made the deal.
Here's the low down:
Joey Votto may be one of the most talented players in the game, but he's also standing in the way of Yonder Alonso, a first base prospect in the Cincinnati organization that many expect to perform at a top-notch level in the majors. After trading left fielder Johnny Gomes to the Washington Nationals last week, the Reds were able to call up Alonso, but have been forced to rotate him with Chris Heisey in left field rather than allow him to play his natural first base position. Had the Reds been able to pull the trigger on the Bautista deal they would have lost a valuable asset in Votto, but would have opened the door for both Heisey and Alonso to develop as every day players.
With Heisey, Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce manning the outfield, and Alonso, Brandon Phillips, Zack Cozart and a plethora of quality catchers filling in around the horn, only one hole would remain in the Cincinnati lineup: third base. Scott Rolen may be a Hall of Famer down the road, but he has been injury-prone as of late and inconsistent to say the least. Who better to fill in at third than the league's most feared home run hitter in Jose Bautista?
I'd hate to see him go as much as anyone, but I'm not convinced that Votto (2010's Canadian Player of the Year) wouldn't have been happy to play ball in his hometown of Toronto.
Interesting isn't it?