The Cincinnati Reds have been all over the rumor mill in recent weeks as they search for the right deal to put them over the top in the tight NL Central race. Despite being in the shadows of the NL Central division, the Reds are far from out of it.
This is a team with a supreme lineup in the National League, but desperately need pitching with Johnny Cueto serving as the team’s ace.
Ubaldo Jimenez is the clear-cut best possible target on the block. Yet it is apparently going to take a King’s Ransom to land the 27-year-old with an exceptional contract. This is why the Reds should stay away unless Colorado drastically lowers its demands.
“Jimenez could be a difference maker for the Reds both in the pennant race and the postseason. The Reds could try to center a package around two former No. 1 picks in first baseman Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal. However, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd will want a top-end starter in return, and the Reds don’t want to part with pitcher Homer Bailey, who still might develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter. If the Rockies can find another pitching prospect they like, this could be a good fit,” according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden.
The trade makes sense for both teams, but the Reds should not try to part ways with Yonder Alonso. Alonso is the man that will separate the Reds from the rest of the NL Central pack in a year or two.
Cincinnati has the ability to put together one of the top lineups across the Majors. Alonso was just called up this week and could very well be here to stay. He is going to be a monster in this league with his abilities at the plate.
The first baseman is expected to play in left field with Joey Votto stationed at first. Not only does Alonso give the Reds versatility, but he will put the Reds’ lineup over the top. A lineup consisting of Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Alonso moving forward for years is a recipe for success.
In a game of highly touted prospects, Yonder was raved about at the MLB Futures game during the All-Star break.
He is a 24-year-old 6’2”, 240-pound man who will develop into a great hitter at the plate. He was ESPN’s Keith Law No. 65 rated prospect back in January.
Some are concerned that he is lacking the power, but I remain confident that he will develop as he enters the prime of his life. He started to come around the past two seasons as he blasted 27 homers combined, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He hit 15 last year in the Minors and already had 12 before being called up.
More importantly, he is a patient hitter batting no worse than .290 over the past two seasons. In a lineup with Votto, Phillips and Bruce, how much power will he really need if he can simply put the ball in play to drive in runs? In the smallest sample size possible this season, he hit a double in his 2011 debut on July 26. How’s that for some noise!?
The Rockies desperately need a future first baseman with Todd Helton in the twilight of his career, which is why the Reds matchup well in a package for Ubaldo highlighted by Alonso. Yet the Reds have the opportunity to build a ferocious lineup with their sluggers and should take advantage of the opportunity.
As great as it may sound to bring in Jimenez, many are concerned that he was just a one-year wonder. He’s been up-and-down throughout the season with a 6-9 record, 4.20 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Just when you think he’s hot this summer, he puts together a stinker as evident by giving up five earned runs in five innings against Arizona on July 24.
Is Ubaldo a true ace? We still do not know. Yes, he would be a great acquisition and it would be a blockbuster move that would shockwaves through the Majors. Yet we also have every reason to believe Alonso will develop into a very good consistent hitter who can help complete a fantastic Reds lineup.