Would have to scrounge up $$$: Alex Rios
Age: 33 Bats: Right
Contract: '14 $12.5M, '15 $13.5M (team option/buyout $1M)
2014 stats: .302-.330-.435-.765, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 16 SB
Career games/position: 1,118 RF, 427 CF
I just don't see it candidate: Marlon Byrd
Byrd, who turns 37 on August 39th, is due at least $11.1M and potentially $19M.
Walt Jocketty allowed Byrd to pass through waivers last year and the Pirates claimed Byrd on August 27 for an eventual waiver trade. Bryd played 30 games for the Pirates down the stretch in 2013: .318-.357-.486-.843, 3 HR, 17 RBI. Last year was the final year of his contract. The Phillies signed him this past November to a 2-year/$16M deal with a vesting option for 2016.
2014 stats: .270-.321-.480-.801, 19 HR, 59 RBI (As of July 25)
Age: 36 Bats: Right
Contract status: '14 $8M, '15 $8M, '16 $8M (vesting option)
Per Baseball-Reference: option for '16 vests with 600 PA in 2015 or 550 PA in 2015 and a total of 1100 PA in 2014 and 2015. If the option does not vest, it becomes a team option.
Career games/position: 845 CF, 345 RF, 144 LF
Career at GABP: 38 games, 136 plate appearances
.310-.353-.508-.861, 6 HR, 20 RBI
The Reds LHP is on the DL at Louisville with a left shoulder strain.
He has not pitched in a game since June 19.
Candidates for the Reds
The best shot to take: Ben Zobrist
Rays, 2B, LF, SS
Age: 33. Bats: Both
Zobrist thriving as deadline looms
Zobrist has upped his production to a .311/.411/.487 line since June 11, scoring 18 times and driving in as many runs in 90 fewer plate appearances. Now that Zobrist is 100 percent healthy from both sides of the plate, he is becoming the key cog near the top of the lineup that the Tampa Bay offense relies upon to keep the line moving. The revitalized offensive production and continued defensive versatility is why Zobrist has frequently been mentioned in trade rumors in recent weeks as multiple teams -- the Mariners, Reds and Angels -- look for middle-infield help.
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
My thoughts on Zobrist
He is the option that makes a lot of sense. He will also be in high demand, if the Rays decide they are out of the race. At the moment, the Rays are rolling, 11-4 in July and 23-11 since June 10. Zobrist is 33-years old, a switch-hitter and a two time All-Star that can play all over the diamond.
1. Position flexiblity. He can play 2B, SS, LF, RF. He could flip between 2B/LF with Skip Schumaker and offer a day off for Cozart. Career games played: 2B 522, RF 317, SS 220, LF 36, CF 27, 1B 17. He could also play LF in 2015 and be the bridge to Jesse Winker for 2016.
2. Contract status. He is owed about $3.5M the remainder of this year and has a team option at $7.5M in 2015, with a buyout of $500K. That is probably a tough nut to crack for Walt with Bob.
3. He's not exactly tearing it up this season, but his .268-.353-.406-.759 slash line is better than what the Reds are getting at 2B, LF or SS this year. He's got some pop, hitting 20+ HR's three times. He's been productive batting 2nd this year: .304-.394-.489-.882 in 35 starts. He could bat 2nd and allow Bryan Price to move Todd Frazier down in the order. Downside? Zobrist hits LHP better than RHP for his career, and is struggling vs RHP this year (.239/.332)
4. The unknown. What would it take to get him? I'd start with Double-A pitcher Ben Lively. Would that be enough? Probably not.
Not a bad Plan B: Daniel Murphy
Daniel Murphy, Mets, 2B, 1B, LF
Age: 29. Bats: Left
2014: 2nd year arbitration, $5.7M. (prorated $2.85M)
2016: Free agent
2014: .297-.345-.417-.763, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 23 doubles, 11 SB, 113 hits.
vs RHP: .289-.345-.417-763
vs LHP: .322-.364-.444-.808
Career games by position:
2B: 402, 1B: 173, LF: 60, 3B: 28
Not hitting, but a veteran getting on base, with just 2 months left on deal
Josh Willingham, Twins, LF
Age: 35 Bats: Right
2014: .217-.365-.422-.787, 9 HR, 28 RBI
The resurrection project: Casey McGehee
Casey McGehee, Marlilns, 3B, 1B, 2B
Age: 31 Bats: Right
Played in Japan in 2013
2011-12 with Brewers/Pirates/Yankees: .221-.282-.351-.632 in 269 games
2014: $1.1M, Arbitration '15, Free Agent '16
2014: .322-.389-.399-.788, 2 HR, 56 RBI
ESPN: McGehee's changes at plate working
Career: Positions/games: 494 3B, 96 1B, 23 2B
Go ahead and just cross these names off your list, based on $$/contract.
Justin Morneau: '14 $6.75M, '15 $6.75M, '16 $9M (mutual/$750K buyout)
Martin Prado: '14 $11M, '15 $11M, '16 $11M
Chase Utley: '14 $15M, '15 $10M, '16 $15M*, '17 $15M*, '18 $15M* (*vesting option kick in based on 500 plate appearances previous year)
Aaron Hill: '14 $11M, '15 $12M, '16 $12M
Elvis Andrus: Owed at least $118M through at least 2022
Troy Tulowitzki: Owed at least $126M through 2020
Alex Gordon: '14 $12.5M, '15 $12.5M. '16 $12.5M (team option)
Tools of the Trade
I know everyone likes to play GM and create a trade, but keep these things in mind:
*Why would the other team do the deal?
Before you work on coming up with your deal, answer this question first.
If you want to get rid of a player, why would the other team want him?
*Contract status of player you are targeting for the Reds.
It's always easy to spend someone else's money. The Reds had little/no payroll flexibility entering the season. Start with the money and follow the money. How much is the player owed this year (prorated for half a season), and how much is the player owed into the future? Is there an option/buyout on the deal? Would the player be a two month rental or longer term solution? This will be the deal breaker more often than not.
*What package of players it would take to acquire your target?
Can the Reds afford to part with top prospects? Who are the untouchables?
Trades for Latos, Marshall and Broxton left a gap in the system. The Reds top prospects are the likes of pitchers Robert Stephenson, Michael Lorenzen, Ben Lively. Their top hitting prospect is Jesse Winker. Keep in mind, with the big contracts on the books already, the Reds will need young/cheap players to plug in at some point.
*Who are the Reds prospects and how are they doing?
Baseball America Mid-Season Top 50:
20. Robert Stephenson 29. Jesse Winker.
Baseball Prospects Mid-Season Top 50:
10. Robert Stephenson 42. Jesse Winker 47. Michael Lorenzen.
The best site for tracking Reds prospects is Doug Gray's RedsMinorLeagues.com.
Get all minor league player stats at MILB.com
*Contract status of the Reds roster
What contracts are on the book and for how long? Who could leave soon? Who will be here a while? Who will eventually need to be replaced?
*What position(s) can the trade target play?
Can he provide flexibility? Can he play the position the Reds need or are you playing fantasy baseball with him and just moving him?
*What type of production can the trade target give the Reds?
Is the player at the end of the line for his career? Is he a prospect? Is he in the final year of his deal, perhaps with motivation to preform for another deal? Is he a platoon player? Is he producing this year or are you hoping to catch lighting in a bottle with a change of scenery?
*It's not happening in a vacuum
In most cases, the Reds won't be the only team in pursuit of the trade target.
The Reds will have to stack theire chips up against multiple teams with more payroll flexibility and trade chips.
*Give to get
Always remember, the old adage is, "you've gotta give up something, to get something."
Tools to help your deal
Bookmark the two sites below. They will show you the contract status of each ML player and their current/career stats.
Baseball-Reference Just type in the players name and pull up his page. You will find everything you would ever want to know, how they hit LHP, RHP, home, road, w/RISP, etc. You can also find their contract status.
Cots Baseball Includes contracts and payroll totals for every team. Pick a team, pick a player and get contract, options, bonuses, etc.