Reds first baseman Joey Votto hits a hanging breaking ball into the cheap seats against the San Diego Padres.
"If only he had someone to play with."
How many times have we heard this in Toronto Sports?
Mats Sundin goes years without having line-mates and a legitimate goal scoring threat on his line when he captained the Maple Leafs. Vince Carter was a one-man wrecking crew in Toronto, without very much help around him. He had Tracy McGrady before he turned into T-Mac and he also had Chris Bosh, but we all know how that turned out.
The Toronto Argonauts have had some great receivers and running backs lately, but there was no one to throw them the ball and call a great game.
The point is, when you have something great, you have to surround the player with pieces that will maximize their potential.
Right now the Jays have quite possibly the best hitter in the game in Jose Bautista, batting essentially with no protection whatsoever. Adam Lind since the All-Star break has stunk, and really has provided no protection for the man affectionately known as "Joey Bats."
The Jays also have a great third baseman who is growing in front of our very eyes. With every at bat Brett Lawrie, a Langley, British Columbia native, is showing how good he will be.
After 100 at bats, he's got a new MLB record for a 21-year-old for WAR according to FanGraphs.com, and has cemented himself a spot as the starting third baseman next season. Lawrie, in comparison with Evan Longoria after his first 100 at bats, is about .100 ahead in batting average, has hit three more home runs and lastly has five more RBI's.
Longoria is on the covers of video games and is likely a top two third baseman in the game today, along with David Wright of the New York Mets.
With that said, the Jays current situation is marvelous.
They have plenty of farm depth and they have what I call a massive hole in the fourth spot of the order.
With prospect Yonder Alonso mashing the ball at a .407 clip and struggling defensively out in left field, the Reds may have to either move Votto to left field, or trade him in order to fit Alonso in the lineup.
Personally, a trade may be the better of two options for the Reds.
Now who has the pieces to acquire such a talent? That's where Toronto comes into the equation.
A package I believe that includes 1B/LF Adam Lind, SS Adeiny Hechavarria and SP Kyle Drabek could be a good basis for discussion with the Reds.
Lind can play both first base and left field, Hechavarria fills a hole at shortstop for the Reds and Drabek easily becomes the Reds best pitching prospect.
All of these pieces I feel are replaceable for the Jays, as Votto fills in for Lind, Yunel Escobar is signed long-term with the Jays and Kyle Drabek may be getting passed in the organizational depth chart by fire-baller Henderson Alvarez, control artist Drew Hutchinson, workhorse Deck McGuire and southpaw Daniel Norris as the organization's best pitchers in the minors.
Does Votto to Toronto make sense for both clubs? By the looks of it, it does. The best part of the whole thing is that if Votto does become available, the only real competition I feel will come from the Rangers, who also could use a first basemen and have plenty of good depth in the minors.
Should the Jays put up an offer the Reds can't refuse? The thought of a middle of the order that could include Bautista, Votto and Lawrie leaves me salivating and frothing from the mouth.
Feel free to post your thoughts below.
Thanks for reading.