Something impossible is happening. The Reds are contending despite getting basically nothing from Joey Votto. This, as you all know, has happened thanks to triumveral emergence of Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco, and Billy Hamilton.
But the Reds are going to see some significant time without Votto around. First base is a not typically a position where you want to give away offense, so what options to the Reds have (other than Jay Bruce). Let’s be thorough and look both in and out of house.
This is a big ol’ yuck-fest right here. With Votto out, the current roster sends extra PAs to Ramon Santiago (47 wRC+), Skip Schumaker (71), Chris Heisey (65), and Brayan Pena (82). There are no good options there. None.
So let’s look at the minors. There is, of course, Neftali Soto who is hitting well in AAA. But we’re talk about 115 plate appearances with an unusually high BABIP and two previous years of very mediocre AAA numbers. I’m not buying Soto either.
There’s no one else in the system who is even close to ready. I want there to be, and I know you do, too. But it isn’t there.
What this all means is that there are no in-house candidates.
Outside the Organization
The problem with looking outside the organization is the Reds are looking for a stopgap. With the exception of LF, the Reds have a starter locked up for every position next year (unless you think something is changing with Cozart, I don’t), so you’re looking at getting a bat for half a season only. If you want to go beyond next season, it needs to be a corner-outfield guy, and even that’s dodgy as Jesse Winker is coming along fast and may be knocking on the door next year.
There aren’t a lot of candidates, but through a highly scientific process of looking at the rosters of crappy teams, I have compiled a short list of possible candidates…
Alfonso Soriano – He’s free. He hasn’t been hitting this year, but he did hit last year. Might be worth taking a chance on.
Bobby Abreu – I didn’t even know Abreu was back playing. He’s a statue in the field, but he continues to get on base. Could help for half a season.
Ichiro Suzuki – The Yankees are reportedly willing to trade him. He’s a free agent after this year. He’s having a good enough season.
Alex Rios – Rios is in the last year of that monster contract he signed. Texas isn’t going anywhere this October. Seems like he might be a good fit.
John Mayberry – This one is really intriguing to me. I don’t know what the Phillies would want for him. he would provide the Reds with a solid super-sub who hits well enough and can slide around a bit. They’d have him for two more years if they wanted him.
I have no idea if any of these are practical. I just know the Reds don’t have what they need in the organization. Lets fight about it in the comments.
Note: I’ll be away for a couple of weeks, so you’ll have to kick the other guys around in the meantime. Have fun.