Joey Votto is the best hitter in baseball.
The numbers he has put up in his short time with the Cincinnati Reds have him on track for a Hall of Fame caliber career if he stays healthy.
The Reds would be crazy to trade him.
Unfortunately, they just might not have any choice.
NBC Sports Hardball Talk is reporting that the Reds are not shopping Joey Votto, but they are willing to listen to offers from other teams—which is basically the same as shopping him.
This is a face saving stance that a team does strictly so that they can say to their fans "listen, we didn't want to trade Joey, but the Blue Jays gave us such a great offer that we couldn't turn it down."
The Reds front office is anticipating that they won't have the money to sign their best player, and instead of losing him to free agency and getting nothing in return, they are looking at ways to maximize his trade value now.
The emergence of Yonder Alonso certainly makes this a little bit easier to swallow, but ultimately, any scenario that involves losing Joey Votto is likely a bad one.
As a Reds fan, here are three trades that would at least prevent me from spiraling into a deep, lonely, cupcake-filled depression.
Joey Votto, Bronson Arroyo and Paul Janish
for Kyle Drabek, Eric Thames, Jake Marisnick and Asher Wojciechowski.
I'm a fan of anything that gets Bronson Arroyo off our payroll.
If Toronto wants Joey Votto, then we need to force them to take on Arroyo's contract as well.
This would give the Reds a top young pitching prospect in Kyle Drabek, an average left fielder in Eric Thames and two good prospects in Marisnick and Wojciechowski.
Joey Votto and Bronson Arroyo
for Matt Moore, Hak-Ju Lee, Shawn O'Malley and Marquis Fleming.
The Reds get the best left handed pitching prospect in baseball for the best actual hitter in baseball. Lee is an above average defensive shortstop with an okay bat and O'Malley and Fleming are lower tier prospects with potential.
Joey Votto, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, and Devin Mesoraco
for Julio Teheran and Jason Heyward.
Teheran is the real deal and would give the Reds a legitimate front of the line starter type pitcher.
Heyward or Bruce would have to switch to left field, but this gives the Reds a solid foundation and opens up money to go after a certain Mets free agent shortstop.
We'd have to put a prospect like Mesoraco in the deal if we can expect them to take on Arroyo's salary also.