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Reds' Free Agent & Trade Targets : Power Rankings

Looking at the field of players who are (or might kind of be) available this off-season. And won't require a second mortgage.

In Ohio, with a Red cap that has a C on it. He's already most of the way there.
In Ohio, with a Red cap that has a C on it. He's already most of the way there.

Some things are happening in off-season baseball, which usually wakes up and rummages around for a while between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of the players Walt Jocketty and the Reds may have been targeting are starting to come off the board. But what should their board look like in the first place?

I've tried to take the universe of players the Reds might acquire and rank them by one incredibly subjective criterion: how much they would improve the team, considering in-house options?

Answering this question can get messy: would Frazier in LF and a probably-not-available Chase Headley be better than a probably-not-available Justin Upton in LF and Frazier at 3B? To get around this problem, I've mostly ignored it.

To make the list, a player has to be two things:

  • Reasonably available. Dexter Fowler is here - even if the Rockis' trade ask might be absurd - because he's rumored to be available and plays for a rebuilding team. Chase Headley is not, since there really hasn't been any indication since the July deadline that the Padres are shopping him. Neither is Jacoby Ellsbury.
  • Reasonably affordable. Based on projected payroll, I figure the Reds can afford up to $7-$8M in new contracts, assuming they trade some arbitration-eligible players who are getting raises. That allows them to imagine re-signing Ryan Ludwick, but not going after Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn. Of course, the market can always do weird stuff. Just ask my stock broker I don't have.

Also, this is what I think the Reds need: (1) LF or 3B, (2) CF, (3) utility, (4) lefty reliever.

Overall ranking

I only considered 2013 salaries for free agents. Some of these guys might look less appealing, depending on how many years they can command.

Player Pos. Age Type 2 yr avg WAR Est salary/trade '13 salary
Alex Gordon LF 29 Trade 6.4 Bailey, Cingrani, Stephenson
Justin Upton RF 25 Trade 4.5 Gregorius, Corcino, Cingrani $9.75
Shin-soo Choo RF 30 Trade 2.1 Leake, Corcino, Cingrani
Arb 3
Dexter Fowler CF 27 Trade 2.75 Stubbs, Corcino, Cingrani Arb 2
Will Meyers RF 22 Trade -- Bailey, Corcino, Y-Rod Pre-arb
Angel Pagan CF 31 FA 2.85 $7M --
Shane Victorino CF 32 FA 4.6 $8.5 --
Ryan Ludwick LF 34 FA 1.6 $6M --
Cody Ross LF 32 FA 1.7 $5M --
Gerardo Parra OF 26 Trade 2.9 Heisey, Gregorius, Guillon Arb 1
Coco Crisp CF 33 Trade 2.6 H-Rod, Lotzkar, Guillon $7M
Kevin Youkilis 3B 34 FA 2.5 $6.5M --
Grady Sizemore CF 30 FA 0.2 $2.5M --
Tyler Colvin OF 27 Trade 0.8 Jose Arredondo, Chad Rodgers Pre-arb
Jeff Keppinger UTL 33 FA 1.6 $3M --
Eric Young, Jr.
OF 28 Trade 0.8 Ondrusek, LaMarre Pre-arb
Koji Uehara LHRP 38 FA 1.1 $4M --
Rich Hill LHRP 33 FA 0.4 $1.5M Arb 3
Sean Rodriguez UTL 28 NT 1.5 $1.5M Arb 1
Justin Maxwell OF 29 Trade 1.3 Carlos Contreras Pre-arb

NT = possible non-tender

OF = Can play all outfield positions

Also receiving votes:

Casey McGehee
Ronny Cedeno
Ryan Sweeney
Jack Hannahan
Ryan Roberts
Jair Jurrjens
Mark Reynolds

Profiles on individual players to come.