I don't know if you've heard...but Joey Votto is apparently the hottest thing to hit Cincinnati since the Big Red Machine. He's 26, coming into his prime, a recently-named All-Star, and he is the leader of the Red's playoff-bound (hopefully) 2010 squad.
So, now the question becomes...what does Cincinnati do with Yonder Alonso?
For those of you not familiar with the name, Alonso was Cincinnati's 2008 first-round pick, out of the University of Miami, where he cranked out 52 home runs in only three years. The Reds tabbed Alonso before Votto was a known quantity, and he was expected to develop into their future first-baseman.
Little did the Reds know Votto would put up back-to-back stellar seasons, entrenching himself at first.
So what do the Reds do with Alonso?
A position change could be in order. He doesn't have the footwork or arm strength to play third, and shortstop or second is out. The Reds, once upon a time, had plans to move him behind the plate, but anyone who's anyone knows that chance is beyond very unlikely.
That leaves the outfield, more specifically leftfield. Jay Bruce hasn't exactly set the world afire, a la Jason Heyward, but he is the future there, no doubt. In center the Reds have speedy Drew Stubbs, who offers a little bit of everything, including pretty solid defense.
Leftfield is a bit more wide open. Right now the Reds are perfectly content with the play of incumbent Jonny Gomes, who appears to be quite a good player when healthy. This season Gomes is hitting .279 with 10 homers and 56 RBI, four off the team-leading pace of Votto.
Long-term at the position the Reds have several intriguing options, starting with Chris Heisey. Heisey is an infielder by trade, but with no real space to play there, he could also be in the mix for a long-term position change. As could the heralded Todd Frazier. Add in true outfielders Jose Duran and Yorman Rodriguez.
That leaves the Reds with two options: deal Votto, or deal Alonso.
You can't deal a guy who just won the last vote by the fans, so that really leaves only one true choice.
So who's the best suitor for young Yonder?
You would have had to say the Rangers before today's deal for Justin Smoak, but now that they're out, you have to consider any other team that has decent pitching that the Reds might be interested in.
Granted, the Reds rotation isn't a total mess. Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto have been superb, while Bronson Arroyo has been his typical self. Travis Wood and Matt Maloney offer some decent upside as well.
The only real poison has been Aaron Harang, whose impressive strikeout to walk ratio is more than somewhat negated by his 6.73 ERA.
There's still some decent pitching out there, and it seems one of the most intriguing arms resides in Baltimore in Jeremy Guthrie.
Guthrie has been particularly ugly as of late, but he is a pretty good innings eater and a solid number three or four guy in a rotation like Cincinnati's.
So, what could the O's package with Guthrie to bring Alonso to Baltimore?
For starters, some utility infield help could help get a deal done. Ty Wiggington would be a welcomed addition to any team. He can play every infield position but shortstop, and could probably play the outfield corners if a team needed him to.
Guthrie, Wiggington and what else?
Brandon Snyder has long been compared to Sean Casey, a first-baseman who can hit for a high-average with decent but not great pop. Toss him in.
The Reds would probably still want more for Alonso, and the O's shouldn't skimp here, as Alonso could be the guy to hold down first base for the next decade for them.
That said, toss in a mid-level arm, maybe Ryan Berry, or even Brett Jacobson, the reliever the O's acquired last year for Aubrey Huff.
That should be enough to get the deal done.
And if the Reds want to try to even it out, I would gladly welcome Arthur Rhodes and his 87-year old self back to Baltimore.