The Winter Meetings are currently underway down in Swampass, Florida, but the Marlins have already stolen the show. Or if you like a more appropriately dire metaphor, they already shot Lincoln in the head and now nobody really cares about the show. If you haven’t heard, they sold the MVP to the Yankees for a box of Bisquick and two Eggo’s. Somehow, every group who has ever owned that franchise has pioneered new and creative and more depressing ways to get area residents to hate everything about baseball. I’m upset that MLB keeps letting shit like this happen.
I feel kinda gross writing about a cynical and opportunistic “the Reds should take advantage of the shitshow in Miami” kinda thing, but here we are. I wanna take a minute and pay a penance for all the poor souls down there.
All that emotional crap aside, the Reds (and every other team) are in a position to pick over the carcass. They have already traded Dee Gordon and the aforementioned Giancarlo Stanton and the word is that they are far from finished. Anybody and everybody who makes more than the league minimum is on sale. And I’ve been sweetheartin’ about Christian Yelich for a good long time.
If you don’t know him, he’s a pretty good ballplayer. The past few years he has settled in between Stanton and Marcel Ozuna (who is also on sale) as their starting center fielder. He grades as about average with the glove in CF, but his bat his pretty special. He just turned 26 and he is a career .290/.369/.432 hitter. He has averaged about four WAR per season. The best part, though, is that he is under contract at very affordable rates up through his age-30 season, as he is owed just $48 million for the next five seasons. There is also a $15 million option for the 2022 season.
The point is, he is precisely the kind of player the Reds should be targeting at this point in their rebuild. They really don’t have any business adding veteran talent with a short shelf life, so they aren’t conventional buyers this offseason. But with five years (maybe six) of control on his contract, a guy like Yelich would be a plum in the Reds lineup through their next window of contention.
Of course, Yelich would be fantastically expensive to acquire. Guys at his age with his track record and contract are pretty much the most expensive thing on the baseball market. Teams never trade off players like him because of their incredible value. But the Marlins are different, sadly.
Nick Senzel is the top prospect in the Reds system, and not for nothing. He is a stud in the making and he should be ready to play at the top level very soon. Teams never trade off players like him because of their incredible value. But Yelich is basically the kind of player we all hope Senzel will be. And he is that player now.
I think it’s a bad idea for the Reds to trade from their impressive stable of top prospects right now. But this Marlins situation is exceptional (and exceptionally sad). I’d be happy to part with the necessary horde of talent it would take to get Yelich in Cincinnati because he is the kind of player who would actually be worth it. The hot stove will be at super nova levels over this guy because there are 29 teams who could use him right now, but only a few have the elite-caliber prospects to pull it off. The Reds are one of those teams, if they are willing to go for it.
And it would totally be worth it just to see Wick Terrell collapse into an orgiastic nervous conniption upon hearing the news.