Jesse Spector of The Sporting News had an interesting proposal for the Cincinnati Reds this morning: trade both Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips to the New York Yankees. Spector argues that the recent history of decline in returns for rentals suggests that the Reds will have a hard time getting adequate prospects in return for Cueto, but the best way to augment their end of any deal would be to shed salary. Enter the Yankees, who obviously have the financial wherewithal to stomach the 2 years and $27 million due to Phillips beyond 2015, and also conveniently have needs in their starting rotation and at 2B.
For the Reds, it would require Phillips agreeing to the trade thanks to him having 10/5 rights, but it would also mean a roll of the dice given the state of the other 2Bs in the system. For 2015, it'd be a lot of Ivan De Jesus and Kris Negron in an otherwise lost year, but there's some intrigue to the idea that in 2016 a healthy Zack Cozart could resume SS duties while Eugenio Suarez shifted to 2B. That concept along with some $30 million freed up via trade and a prospect of note from New York does have some legs. Hulking OF Aaron Judge just landed at #13 on Baseball America's midseason Top 50 prospect list, so he's probably out of the question (as is Luis Severino, who came in at #17), but a deal including C Gary Sanchez might be one worth exporing. Sanchez is still just 22 and has bounced around the back half of most every Top 100 prospect list for four years already, and he'd provide exactly the kind of catching depth that would replace Brayan Pena as he hits free agency and Devin Mesoraco (should he need time in LF as has been proposed).
It's interesting to think about, but I still have an awfully hard time believing Brandon Phillips ever gets traded by the Reds.
Speaking of Johnny Cueto, keep voting for him to reach the All Star Game. He's currently in the lead in the NL pool, and after last night's game it's impossible to vote for him too often. VOTE HERE.
As for AL East behemoths that may have interest in Cueto's services, the Boston Red Sox - who were an abject disaster and owned one of the worst records in the entire AL just weeks ago - have won 7 of their last 9 and sit just 5 games out of a playoff spot. Sure, they can absorb money the way the Yankees could, but Boston also has a cache of prospects that could help any team rebuild. Clay Bucholz is pitching better of late, yes, but that rotation could still use another ace like Johnny. And as Alex Skillin noted at Over The Monster, their bullpen could use some serious help, too. Perhaps an athletic freak with another year of team control, a 105.5 mph fastball, and a K/9 that needs commas would be of interest?
The Enquirer's John Fay was on hand for Cueto's mastery last night, too, and he walked away thinking he needed to re-evaluate what the Reds' ace is worth on the trade market.
On a different note, Grant Brisbee took a gander at a Top 10 list of players who have never made an All Star Game, and a pair of players Walt Jocketty went out and traded for make the list. If "not making an All Star team" means "underrated," and if "underrated" means "able to be had for cheap while actually much better than the price," Jocketty deserves some solid dap for his acquisitions of Mat Latos and Shin-Soo Choo, really.
Albert Pujols will be participating in the upcoming Dinger Derby in GABP. Why not? He's hit 24 homers in Cincinnati in his illustrious career already - 4 in Cinergyfront and 20 in GABP.
Finally, I'll be back on ESPN Radio with the Sports Huddle guys in Lexington today at 6:30 PM ET. You can stream it online live here, or you can tune your radios to 1300 AM in the Central Kentucky area should you care to hear me yap about the Reds. PLUG SO HARD, THAT SHAME CRAY.