Should the Reds move Votto to LF?

I was checkin out John Fay's Blog this morning and caught an interesting tidbit from the Reds Farm Director, Terry Reynolds:

The Hawaii Winter League wrapped up Sunday. The Waikiki BeachBoys, featuring Reds' prospects Yonder Alonso and Todd Frazier, won the title.

Both put up excellent numbers: Alonso hit .308/.419/.510, Frazier .295/.375/.547. Frazier led the league in slugging.

"They both swung the bat really well," farm director Terry Reynolds. "Frazier came back OK from the concussion. It was good to see both of them play well."

The plan for Alonso?

"He'll compete for a job with Carolina," Reynolds said. "If that doesn't work out, he'll be the first baseman with Sarasota."

Apparently, the talk of playing Alonso at third base as well as first is over.

"I would doubt that he'll play any third," Reynolds said. "If he does, it would be out of necessity. He's a first baseman." 

So if we take what we know about how good Alonso is, how well he performed in Hawaii, and how the Reds currently do have any other true 1B prospects, you can bet Alonso starts at AA.  If he performs well there, he might be able to end the year in AAA, which would make an arrivial sometime in 2010 a big time possibility.  If the Reds don't think that Alonso could handle any other position, would 2009 be a wise time to go ahead and move Joey Votto to LF?


Votto played 6 Games of left with the Reds in 2007, and in the same year played 41 games of left field with Louisville.   In 2008, Joey ranked in the upper half of first basemen defensively in the NL, and I thought he played defense better than I, or even the Reds even thought he could.

Obviously, moving Votto creates a one to two year hole at first base.  Looking at the free agents, it is a hole you can fill easier, and probably more cost effective right now than LF. ( You could also try Encarnacion at 1st, a move I wouldn't oppose to, as most of his errors are in the throwing variety.)

Here are the corner INF options right now on the FA Market from MLB Trade Rumors:


Rich Aurilia (37)
Miguel Cairo (35)
Sean Casey (34)
Tony Clark (37)
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Jason Giambi (38)
Eric Hinske (31)
Doug Mientkiewicz (35)
Kevin Millar (37)
Richie Sexson (34)
Mark Sweeney (39)
Mark Teixeira (29) - Type A Free Agent
Daryle Ward (34)



Rich Aurilia (37)
Casey Blake (35) - Type B
Willie Bloomquist (31)
Aaron Boone (36)
Russell Branyan (33)
Craig Counsell (38)
Joe Crede (31)
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Mike Lamb (33)
Mark Loretta (37) - Type B
Ramon Martinez (36)
Pablo Ozuna (34)
Juan Uribe (30) - Type B
Ramon Vazquez (32)

You could get a lot of these guys (Except Teixeira and Blake) on a low-risk one year deal, maybe with a team option for 2010.  The nostalgic Reds fan in me thinks it would be cool to sign Sean Casey and platoon him with Keppinger or another RH 1B bat with some pop.  I think adding a guy like him even in a part time role would be great for the development of Bruce, Votto, etc. (Not to mention the guy can still get base hits (although the power is still not there).

Thoughts, anyone?  Should they leave Votto alone until Alonso is ready, or go ahead and get him adjusted to playing out there.  With the money the Reds have Alonso signed for, it is a move that has to happen sometime (unless the Reds trade one of the two).  Why not now?

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