He is a power-hitting first baseman that has worn red all of his career.
He is the game's most complete and most valuable first baseman.
No, we're not talking about Albert Pujols.
Joey Votto, ladies and gentlemen, could be the hottest name on the trade market this winter, and you can believe that nearly any team in baseball would love to have him.
The price will be steep. Votto is owed $30.5 million over the next two years and is only 28 years old. There will be plenty of MVP-type seasons left in Votto to whichever team ends up with him.
Now, let me put this out here right away—I believe there is a relatively low chance that Votto is traded. In fact, it would surprise me much more if he was moved than if he wasn't.
But it's fun to speculate, so I put on my GM hat and thought about which teams could use Votto and the return they would offer the Reds.
So, here goes. In order of likelihood, here are eight great deals teams could offer for Joey Votto.
-RHP Fausto Carmona
-3B Lonnie Chisenhall
This might not be enough to get it done, but it would make sense for both teams. The Indians have been thought to be taking offers for Carmona, and he would fit well into Cincinnati's rotation. Chisenhall is the top prospect for Cleveland but would learn a ton under current Reds third baseman Scott Rolen. Don't look for this one to happen, though.
-RHP James Shields
-RHP Alex Colome
-SS Tim Beckham
It is highly unlikely that the Rays would be thrilled with taking on Votto's salary, but if the Reds agree to pay part of that amount, this might be feasible. The Rays have never been a team to trade for the present, but they would retain all of their top pitching prospects while acquiring the big bat they've been longing for.
-RHP Brad Peacock
-LHP Matt Purke
-OF Brian Goodwin
-SS Ian Desmond
For a variety of reasons, this matchup isn't overly likely. The Nationals have seen Michael Morse blossom at first base, so acquiring Votto isn't too logical unless they plan to convert Morse into an outfielder. This trade would stock the Reds with some good talent, including two MLB-ready players (Peacock and Desmond) and two guys who are still a few years out.
-LHP Madison Bumgarner
-OF Francisco Peguero
The season, the Giants showed they are not afraid to pull the trigger on a trade involving some of their top young players. Although the trade deadline deal that sent top pitcher Zach Wheeler to the Mets can be considered somewhat of a rip-off, that should not deter Brian Sabean from looking into a trade for Votto.
This trade would cost the Giants big-time and would probably signal Brandon Belt's shift to outfield. But would this be the trade that reclaims the NL West for the Giants?
-RHP Michael Pineda
-2B/SS Nick Franklin
-3B Kyle Seager
The Mariners already have an excellent first baseman of the future in Justin Smoak, but he is a far cry from Votto. The cost to Seattle would be steep, though. The Mariners would likely have to part with Michael Pineda as well as two top prospects in Nick Franklin and Kyle Seager. In the absence of acquiring Prince Fielder or David Wright this winter, however, the Mariners might consider this trade.
-RHP Colby Lewis
-3B Mike Olt
-LHP Michael Kirkman
-OF Leonys Martin
Stop for a second and imagine the Rangers' lineup with Joey Votto. Holy #%(#.
Seriously, though, for a team that is itching to win the World Series on their third try, getting Votto might be the last piece of the puzzle. It would cost them dependable righty Colby Lewis along with three top prospects, but that is chump change to Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels, who are absolutely still in win-now mode.
Blue Jays trade:
-LHP Ricky Romero
-OF Travis Snider
-RHP Deck McGuire
The Blue Jays are thought to be front runners for Votto for several reasons. One, Votto is a native Canadian. Two, the Jays have the ability to offer Votto a contract extension. This trade makes sense for the Reds, as they would acquire a top lefty in Ricky Romero, a very good hitter in Travis Snider, and a good pitching prospect in Deck McGuire.
Blue Jays trade:
-RHP Kyle Drabek
-RHP Henderson Alvarez
-OF Anthony Gose
-LHP Justin Nicolino
This trade involves, quite literally, trading the farm. The Blue Jays would be parting with three of their best pitching prospects along with a top outfielder in Anthony Gose. It's a very steep price to pay for what might ultimately result in contention.
Some combination of players from the two trades I've proposed might get the deal done for the Blue Jays.