FOX reporter Jon Paul Morosi reports the Reds are drawing considerable interest at the winter GM meetings in CA, since many teams are looking for a shortstop. Jocketty confirmed with Morosi that the Reds would be willing to part with either Zack Cozart or Didi Gregorius, the two shortstops on the Reds 40-man roster, if the return is right.
The Reds have two talented shortstops on their 40-man roster: Zack Cozart, 27, and Didi Gregorius, 22. Both are far away from free agency, meaning one could be dealt to fill a more immediate need. In fact, Jocketty told FOXSports.com Thursday that it’s possible he will trade one of them this winter. “It depends if we get back what we need,” Jocketty said. “If we don’t, then I won’t mind holding onto them.” Cozart was the Reds’ everyday shortstop this year, but Gregorius was impressive in a September cameo.
Mark Polishuk at MLBTR speculates that Gregorius may have already replaced Cozart in the eyes of the organization:
Cozart was the Reds’ everyday shortstop in 2012, hitting .246/.288/.399 in an even 600 plate appearances and showing above-average glovework (a +9.0 UZR/150) in his first full Major League season. The 27-year-old Cozart was ranked as the 75th-best prospect in the game by Baseball America before the season, though he may have already been replaced by a newer model, as Jocketty considers the 22-year-old Gregorius to be “an everyday player…It’s just a question of when and how we manage it.” Gregorius, a native of Amsterdam, has a .699 OPS in five minor league seasons.
Speculation centers on the Reds receiving in return either an established closer, which would allow the organization to (finally!) accomplish the reported move of Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation, or an outfielder who would be able to lead-off. Morosi lists the Oakland A’s, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Tampa Bay Rays as possible matches.
The Oakland A’s are a potential trade partner, because of their need at shortstop and deep stable of relievers. Oakland also has a surplus of outfielders, including veteran leadoff man Coco Crisp. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays also are interested in acquiring a shortstop this winter. Arizona (Adam Eaton/Gerardo Parra) and Minnesota (Denard Span/Ben Revere) have leadoff hitters to spare.
In other roster news, the Reds have parted ways with utility infielder Wilson Valdez and left-handed relief pitcher, Bill Bray.
Wilson Valdez (34) came to the Reds last year from the Phillies in a trade for left-handed relief pitcher, Jeremy Horst. Among the 347 major league players with more than 200 plate appearances Valdez (.206/.236/.227) finished dead last in OPS (JoeyMVP finished first). In 32 games with the Phillies, Horst (27) compiled a 11.5 K/9, 1.15 ERA and 2.39 FIP. In what can only be seen now as a terrible trade, Horst finished the year with a bWAR of .8 and Valdez with a -1.8 bWAR (yes, negative). It’s hard to say which was worse, the trade itself or that Valdez remained with the team all year.
Bill Bray (29) came to the Reds in the 2006 trade that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to the Washington Nationals. Over six seasons and 239 appearances for the Reds, Bray has struggled to stay healthy, missing the entire 2009 season and almost all of 2012. When on the mound, Bray was a solid (3.72 ERA), but not spectacular lefty match-up pitcher.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.