I'm convinced Halloween is a conspiracy, designed to send us all into sugar highs to distract us from the fact that baseball is over. I think its Mars Incorporated's way of taking the focus off the fact the Chicago Cubs are once again not hosting home playoff games at Wrigley, and on to the fact that there are millions of chocolate bars that our kids need to eat. Go figure! What smashed pumpkins, frost advisories, and the trending of #ScottBoras mean, though, is that it's officially Trade Rumor season.
Given that the Reds have miniscule money/targets for free agents, I'll be breaking down trade targets division by division until Walt Jocketty and the Reds track down a few impact players, while most certainly using my usual bias and factless hunches to identify my personal preferences. Keep in mind I'm assuming the Reds and their front office are in the mood to win "now."
Tonight, we start with the NL West, they of 3 great pitching parks and the most hitter friendly field of our generation. Nothing like complicating the issues.
Onwards and upwards, Walter!San Francisco Giants
The Giants are a really interesting potential trade partner. Though they're rich in pitching, they also feature a stud young Catcher, a highly regarded MLB ready 1B, and an established stud at 3B; in other words, they're good at what the Reds need, but they're also loaded at the positions where the Reds best prospects play (Mesoraco, Alonso, END, Frazier). They obviously need an upgrade in CF/leadoff, and I just tend to think Drew Stubbs is the kind of player they'd be targeting given the park in which they play. Would Stubbs+Bailey be a big enough package to land Madison Bumgarner? Doubtful. One arm Stubby could probably land in return, though, is Sergio Romo, a guy who I think could be our closer for 2012 and beyond.
The Dodgers are a mess. With the emergence of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, and Clayton Kershaw, the landscape of their short term and long term payroll was going to change the path of this great franchise alone, but the pending bankruptcy and potential sale of the team parlay this into some tawdry affair. Yuck. I just don't see them getting rid of any of those three this year, though. Chad Billingsley would certainly be an upgrade to a part of the rotation, but if the Reds were going to take on his kind of salary I'd rather get a #1/#2 type starter...I think he's more of a #3 type guy. Alonso would be a great fit for them given James "Lonely" Loney's impending non-tender, and I think I could be persuaded to believe an Alonso (et al) deal for Billingsley dead is OK.
Comparing a roster built to play in PetCo Park to one built to play in GABP is tough. PetCo is notoriously gap friendly, and to the Padres' credit, they've built a roster around the ability to pitch, cover ground, and play defense. Their offense, however, is and has been pitiful. Since they picked up Anthony Rizzo in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, they seem to be set with their 1B of the future. While Nick Hundley has shown glimpses of promise, I'm sure they'd still covet Devin Mesoraco. Mat Latos would look pretty damn nice as a piece of the Reds 2012-2015 rotation, don't ya think?
The Rockies have their best two yound stars (Tulowitzki, Gonzalez) locked up for the rest of the decade, they traded their best young pitcher (Ubaldo Jimenez) last year, and have C Chris Ianetta and 1B Todd Helton signed for 2 more years for a lot of money, so they don't match up great on paper with the Reds. Seth Smith seems like an expensive marginal upgrade from Alonso at best, and I doubt Dexter Fowler could be acquired for a reasonable bounty. I see no reason to believe the Rockies would surrender Jhoulys Chacin for anything less than a package of Mesoraco and Slyde's magic TI-1990 stat-u-lator, and that's a hell of a lot to give up. Maybe the Reds make a play for Huston Street and his tailing fastball to be their closer, but sure as hell not for Mesoraco. For END and Volquez.....?
After the season Justin Upton just posted, I'm confident he's no longer considered in any trade talks. Steven Drew bent his ankle in an all-to-graphic ode to Robin Ventura and Jason Kendall, and there's no guarantee he'll be a serviceable SS anytime soon. They've got Paul Goldschmidt as their 1B of the future/now and Miguel Montero as effective catcher (though he is in his last year of arbitration and is looking at a solid raise from his 2011 salary of $3.2 million). Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson are going nowhere, and I'm pretty confident Micah Owings has seen his last game as a Red. A trade for J.J. Putz may be the only thing feasible here that helps the 2012 season.