Much has been made of Yonder Alonso and how he fits into the Reds' plans ever since he was promoted from AAA Louisvile back in July. Heck, that's been a topic of conversation the second he was drafted back in 2008.
From day one there's been no shortage of speculation so far as how to best utilize Alonso. Trade him? Trade Votto? Play him at first? Find a new position for him? Beg the NL to institute the DH?
Yonder has a place on the Reds, but it's definitely not where he currently resides.
Yes, I'm sure the guy is a certifiable rock star when it comes to his capacity to play the pine. He could amply play fill-in at first base every 80th day or so. When one of his teammates retires to the dugout after a well-laid sac. bunt; I'm sure the guy reciprocally lays down some of the finest fist bumps around.
Not to mention, he's got the kind of gluts that were made for endurance warming the plank.
All that said, he could be better utilized elsewhere.
First base? As we all know, the reigning MVP resides there and is none too hot on the notion of switching spots.
So then, do you trade away Votto to make room for Yonder at first?
Well, I'm always of the mind that no one player in baseball is untouchable or without a price and there is plenty of merit in the idea of trading away Votto for a rich return in prospects. I say no to the idea though.
I think the potential downgrade in total output from the position coupled with the overall positives Yonder could bring to another position rule this one out. Plus, you don't find guys like Votto that hit in the neighborhood of a thousand OPS just laying around everyday.
Make Alonso available for trade?
For my feelings on player trade-value see fifteen seconds ago or about six lines up. I think Alonso fits a pretty big need for the Reds at the moment and don't really see the value in trading him away for prospects just to sew up the situation. He has a very good bat and the Reds could still use one or two more of those things.
So where do you play the guy? Left field? Dusty's went on record saying that he doesn't plan on playing Alonso there, but I don't put much weight into Dusty's rationale.
The guy manages so superstitiously and ritualistic-like it's like someone hired Pedro Cerrano as skipper. Keep giving Alonso looks in left through the rest of the season and if he's a defensive flop - no important baseball was affected.
Where else? There is also always third. Dusty, to his credit has said that he plans on giving Yonder looks there, but gleaning things from what he's said, that might be once a week at best.
I'm actually very high on the idea of placing Alonso at third. The Reds definitely need someone to step up as the heir apparent to the ghost of Scott Rolen.
One promising bit is that Alonso considers third his natural position. He just hasn't been able to get much playing time there in several years due to circumstance. At Miami U, he had to concede the spot to a smooth-fielding Danny Valencia.
In the minors he's always been considered a first baseman, but I definitely don't think you can discount positional experience from a player's formative baseball years. No matter the level of competition repetition is repetition, so the guy definitely has some experience under his belt.
If Yonder can play just a marginal defensive third-base, then he'll provide all the value the Reds need at third.
I just beg of him not to do anything that'll send me spiraling into flashbacks of Edwin Encarnacion at the hot corner.