Tired of  thinking about top-of-the-order OBP of Corey Patterson, Willy Taveras, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Drew Stubbs, Zack Cozart?

Then turn your attention to the market the Reds now face if they are considering acquiring an OF at the trade deadline. A new post at MLB Trade Rumors systematically outlines the players available.

The most interesting person to me on MLBTR’s list is Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox. He’s signed through 2014 with a team option for 2015. He makes $12.5 million this year and next. The 32-year-old Rios is hitting .278/.333/.442 this season and hit .304/.334/.516 in 2012 with 25 home runs and 23 stolen bases. He could hit second or fourth in the Reds’ lineup.

Rios is known as an excellent defensive RF and has extensive experience in CF, where he played most of the 2011 and 2010 seasons for the South Siders. In a world where Dusty Baker wasn’t protecting Shin-Soo Choo’s market value and ego, Rios could play CF and Ludwick in LF on days the Reds faced a left-handed starting pitcher.

The acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, assuming the Marlins would trade him, would be tremendously expensive in terms of prospects. Andre Ethier (Dodgers) is the wrong side of the platoon split. Alfonso Soriano (stupid Cubs) would arrive with an $18 million contract for 2014. I’m not crazy about his defense, either.

The other available healthy players wouldn’t move the needle much. A few of the targets that until recently would have been considered prime — Josh Willingham, Michael Morse, David DeJesus — are injured. Lucas Duda (Mets) is left-handed.

Alex Rios anyone?

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.

Join the conversation! 58 Comments

  1. Uhh, yeah.

    This sounds like the perfect move. Rios could bring the needed leadership this team is lacking right now as well. Might cost Cingrani and a few prospects but in my mind it would be worth it.

    • @TC: These ‘kids’ need a proven leader and someone they could emulate – they either are simply not listening to their coaches or are simply not being reached (Mesoroco, Cozart and Frazier). The Reds aren’t going very far with these players – an established veteran presence could definitely help them mature and maybe wake some of these guys up.

  2. The only problem is the Reds would have 3 RFs in their outfield.

  3. Yes to Rios, but there is no way the Reds would include Cingrani. It would have to be ML pitchers like Stephenson, etc. Cingrani is untouchable in my opinion.

    • @AnnapolisHoosier: Actually, I fall the other way. I’d trade Cingrani in a second for someone like this. Stephenson, while not untouchable, is the one I’d hold on to.

  4. I’ve been pushing this trade for a while. I think Cingrani could get it done, but the Sox would have to pay some of his salary for next year.

    It would present a tough situation for the manager when Ludwick comes back, with 4 highly paid starting OF. But A) there’s no reason to expect Ludwick to be great right when he comes back and this would be insurance, and B) we’ve been saying for years that the Reds bench needs help.

    This would be pricy bench help, but it would only be for a month or two this year, and would it really be that bad to have a good player on the bench for the playoffs?

  5. Rios would be a very good fit for us, but I’d hope we wouldn’t have to give up Cingrani. You’d have to think that’s what they’d ask for, but I’d insist on a minor league package.

    • @JMac1984: I think if you went with a minor league package you’d end up giving up better prospects overall, since our top guys are all low minors right now. You’d be looking at guys like Stephenson, Travieso, Winker…

      I think either Greg Reynolds or Armando Galaraga could be a serviceable 5th starter for a Reds team with a good offense. And none of those guys would be pitching in the post-season rotation.

  6. Olney at ESPN is saying that the Cards have talked to the Indians about Asdrubal Cabrera. He’s having a bit of a down year, but has a career .755 OPS. It would be a big lift to the Cards, but it could also be something the Reds could look into. They have the trade relationship with Cleveland from the offseason.

  7. Rios could be deadly in GABP. Would be a run producer that’s sorely needed. Very good arm. Will the Reds take on such a contract?? If they do, would it signal that they won’t re-sign Choo?
    That just isn’t WJ’s style though. It would be a bold, brash move. Something that is needed. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and do something bold and brash.

  8. Looking at WAR, Rios has 25.2 career war (Fangraphs.com), with a high of 5.4 and a low of -1.2. His 5.4 WAR year was in 2008. Assuming his “best” years are behind him, we could expect a ceiling of about 1.5 wins over the rest of the season, maybe. And a floor of replacement level.

    I don’t think giving up Cingrani or Stephenson (if that’s what it took) for 1.5 wins this year is worth it.

    • @prjeter: It’s definitely good to look at WAR for Rios. 1.5 WAR over half a season is pretty decent, and that’s the low end. He was at 4.1 WAR last year and has 2.0 already this season. But 1.5 is probably in the ballpark.

      He could play CF for the Reds next year, too.

      That said, no way I give up Cingrani for him. Not sure about Stephenson.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I hadn’t thought about next season, but that’s a possibility. He’d be a nice piece for next year. Is it the prevailing thought that Billy Hamilton won’t be ready next year? I sort of think he’ll need to improve his OBP skills to at least an above-averge AAA level befor the bigs. Anyways…

        It would give us a much better lineup when hitting at the AL stadiums when we are in the World Series! No more Paul, Meso, Heisy DHing!

        • @prjeter: Yeah, the reason this trade could work to me is that Hamilton looks like he needs more time to develop. Rios would be a nice stopgap for him, like Choo was this year, and if Hamilton is killing it at mid-season next year and there aren’t injuries, you could flip Rios.

      • Steve M,: @prjeter: It’s definitely good to look at WAR for Rios. 1.5 WAR over half a season is pretty decent, and that’s the low end. He was at 4.1 WAR last year and has 2.0 already this season. But 1.5 is probably in the ballpark.

        He could play CF for the Reds next year, too.

        That said, no way I give up Cingrani for him. Not sure about Stephenson.

        I’ve wanted to see Alex Rios with the Reds ever since there was a rumor that had him coming to the Reds years ago. But I agree, no way you give up Cingrani (young stud pitcher) for an OFer that age.

      • @prjeter: It’s definitely good to look at WAR for Rios. 1.5 WAR over half a season is pretty decent, and that’s the low end. He was at 4.1 WAR last year and has 2.0 already this season. But 1.5 is probably in the ballpark.

        He could play CF for the Reds next year, too.

        That said, no way I give up Cingrani for him. Not sure about Stephenson.

        Thank you. Giving up Cingrani would be crazy.

    • @prjeter: Boy oh boy, do I agree with you. Pitching is the only reason we’re still in contention and pitching is the only reason we would be in 3 or 4 years. Giving up young, high-ceiling pitching talent for a 32 year-old outfielder seems imprudent. One bat would help us this year, certainly, but is absolutely no guarantee of any post-season success.

  9. I just don’t think the Reds will deal for another OF while Ludwick is out. I just don’t think we are going to trade a lot for a platoon player, or bench player, or for a player who is going to put $7 million sitting on the bench. I am not doubting the Reds could use someone in LF better than what they have. But, they could also use someone like that at 3rd and SS, also.

    I think it would be more likely we deal for a 3rd baseman or SS first. Only as an example (for I don’t think it would happen), Todd Frazier (a 3rd baseman) plus extras to the Mets for Wright (a 3rd baseman).

    • @steveschoen: Oh man, could you image how much this place would erupt if the Reds got a SS? That would not be good.

    • @steveschoen: I don’t even know if we have enough to get David Wright from the Mets. It would take Cingrani/Stephenson, Hamilton and at least 2 other strong prospects or Frazier to get Wright. He’s still the face of their franchise even with Harvey. There’s a reason he’s the captain of the team, HR derby and was the de facto captain (Captain America) of the WBC team. It’s nice to dream, but that’s all he would be.

  10. Pass. If the cost (prospects & cash) was appropriate, this could be a good aquisition, but that ain’t happening. If the Reds can afford the $12MM payroll bump for another OF to get Rios, put the $$$ to better use and extend Choo.

    If the Reds want to grab another OF from the listed of candidates, Chris Denorfia (Padres) or Rajai Davis (Blue Jays) are better targets. They would fit the Reds’ budget better and would cost much less in prospects. Of course we would then have to trust Dusty to manage a proper OF platoon situation and trusting Dusty’s ability to manage anything is asking a lot.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I’m not disagreeing with your conclusion – that the cost may be too high for Rios – we don’t know the terms yet.

      But it’s unlikely that the deal would include BOTH the Reds picking up Rios’ salary and a giving up a top prospect. It’s one or the other. Reports have indicated the White Sox are willing to pay the salary part because they want the prospects.

      • @Steve Mancuso: The Reds need to take a good long look at Greg Reynolds – he may finally have found himself and he could be a real sleeper come the 2nd half of 2013. If the Reds mishandle Reynolds and then let him walk come Aug 10th they may really regret it (and once again end up empty with nothing to show for it – this team a good solid shake up – they look like they are sound asleep the last month and a half).

  11. I live in the Chicago market, and while Rios is decent, he’s too streaky for my taste. I don’t like the $$$ either, although that’s preferable to the prospects we’d give up (but I doubt we have the money to spend).

    If we have to have an outfielder, I’d be inclined to pick up Aoki from the Brewers. Eerily similar to Choo in that he’s a good OBP guy who can play all 3 OF spots, but Aoki can actually hit lefties WELL. He’s 31, available, and cost controlled thru 2015. Consider him Billy Hamilton insurance also. I’d send Heisey plus their choice of2 B prospects (i.e. Gelalich/YRod/Corcino, etc.)

    That said, outside of a blockbuster trade meant to shake the team awake (not in Walt’s DNA) or a Dusty firing for the same reason, I don’t see any positions where we could upgrade. Let’s face it guys, we’re gonna be nibbling at the margins while praying like heck for good health and improved performance.

  12. This is a bit (i.e.- a lot) off-topic, but interesting, nonetheless. I head an announcer years ago mention that Ichiro had once said to him that he (Ichiro) felt he could lead the league in home runs if he tried to. That’s how good of a hitter he was. However, batting 1st in the order in SEA, it was generally better for him to try and have a higher OBP, which would involve hitting the ball on the ground to leg out IFHs or line-drives to all fields.

    So I was thinking, could Votto do the same thing? He’s a great hitter and surely has more power than Ichiro. Some relevant stats so far for 2013:

    LD%: 25.9
    GB%: 45.1
    FB%: 28.9

    HR/FB%: 19.5

    So, Votto has hit a homer on 19.5% of batted balls classified as “fly balls.” Currently, his splits have produced 15 HR.

    What if he had kept the same % but hit as many balls in the air as Dan Uggla (46.4%) who leads the league in FB%. 24 homers. What if he hit the same amount as Pedro Alvaraz, who has the highest HR/FB%. 22 homers. What if Votto went crazy and only tried hitting homers and was able to get 60% of his balls in the air? 31 homers.

    Of course, this would come at a cost (.275 BA or so), as many people will undoubtedly realize. But it’s fun to think about! If Votto wanted to lead the league in homers, he very well may be able to do it as Ichiro once boasted.

    And for fun, Reds HR/FB% in decending order (along with FB%):
    Votto: 19.5% (28.9%)
    Bruce: 18.6% (37.3%)
    Choo: 16.9% (28.1%)
    Phillips: 12.5% (33.0%)
    Frazier: 12.0% (38.1%)
    Cozart: 6.7% (36.7%)


    Unless you want to see some guy on another team start spinning no hitters like Homer Bailey in a few years.

    I would trade Leake and with the year he is having, he could bring back a nice new toy.

    Chase Headley’s power numbers might look better in Cincy. I am thinking of a younger less expensive Wright

  14. I’m sure I’m in the minority in thinking Cingrani is the perfect trade chip. He may be an ace one day, who knows. He certainly is doing well in the bigs right now. I’m just not certain how long a 1 plus pitch pitcher will fair as a starter in the bigs. If he eventually goes to the bullpen, Rios has much great value.

    • @TC: I’m there with you. I like Cingrani, but he’s pretty unlikely to ever be an “ace”. It’s far more likely he settles in as a #3-type pitcher. Stephenson’s potential is significantly higher.

  15. While we’re on the subject of the White Sox, who would blink first in this proposal–

    Chris Sale for Chapman and Leake?

    • @Sultan of Swaff: white sox wouldn’t touch that with a 10 ft pole. I imagine it would take more to get Sale than it took to get Latos, but that would be a good starting point.

  16. The Sox would have to be insane to make that deal.

  17. In order for the Reds to pick Rios up the Sox would have to pick up some of the tab and that costs high level prospects to do that. He is the best candidate out there, but he isn’t enough value to give up any top level prospect like a Stephenson.

  18. Here is my question.

    We know the Cardinals will do something. They will get a starting pitcher and probably a bat.
    We know the Pirates will also do something. They are looking for a bat as well.

    But will the Reds do anything? The bullpen was a concern but they have proceeded to run off 31.2 consecutive scoreless innings to set a franchise record. Marshall should be back right after the break so I’d think bullpen help isn’t needed.
    We know that they won’t go after any starting pitching.
    That only leaves a bat.

    My guess is Walt will fold and not go “all in”. I think he will come out after the deadline and say, “We tried to go get a couple of guys to help us but we just couldn’t make a deal. The price wasn’t right.”

    • @Hunt4RedsOctober:

      What do the Reds really need? We’d like to have an upgrade in LF, but Ludwick will be back. We’d like to upgrade the bullpen, but Marshall will be back. We don’t need to upgrade the rotation, but Cueto will be back. The Reds are in a good position. They don’t need to deal just to deal. I’m also not that sure the Red Sox don’t trade Ellsbury for a starter.

      • @David: We need more hitters that can handle RH pitching. Votto, Bruce, and Choo are all fine against righties. Phillips isn’t going anywhere, so that’s a moot point.

        That leaves C, LF, SS, 3B. What we need is more production from those spots. Now, Jocketty may sit on his hands and say that Ludwick coming back takes care of that, but if you’ve been watching this team, you know that we have 4 weak spots, not 1, and that Ludwick is no guarantee.

  19. Trade Chapman to a team that thinks they can make him a starter and get a big, expensive bat in return. They have to thin that gazillion dollar bullpen if they want to get a hitter.

    • @John: I don’t believe they’d get a big expensive bat for Chapman. He’s not close to being a proven starter.

  20. Is Schierholtz of the Cubs available? He bats left and plays in RF, but I’m sure he could play on the other side. His slugging (at least this year) of .504 would be very welcome, he’s young so could potentially stay with the team for a while or turn into good future trade bait, and shouldn’t be that hard to get since the Cubs should be selling. It wouldn’t change the world for the Reds but might help.

  21. What is unsaid about Rios is that in 2011, he had an OPS of .613 (worse than Cozart now), with a WAR of -2.1. He had a .643 OPS in June.

    No thanks. I’ll take Heisey for $12 million less.

    • @Big Ed: Well, I hope we don’t trade for him in 2011.

      You’d rather have the replacement level player now, because the guy with multiple 4+ win seasons had a bad year two years ago?

  22. I’m sorry but I have no confidence in jocketty’s ability to consummate a trade that would drastically improve our team and its run to playing in October—and getting beyond the first round. He fell asleep at the switch at last year’s trade deadline and I’m not sure what he’s done this year to improve a moribund offense. Wasn’t he the GM who wanted to offer coco codero a contract extension? Sheesh. I miss Bob Howsam!

    • @santa barbara reds fan: It may not be inability on Jocketty’s part; it may be that the other teams wanted more than the Reds could reasonably give up. Do something even if it’s wrong is a good way to end up with another 10 or so years of futility.

  23. Pass on paying another 30-something guy over $10m in one year. Give me Norichika Aoki for like $1.5m/yr for two seasons or so. Even playing every day he’s not been exposed (Robinson/Paul), and he has over a .740 career OPS against both lefties and righties. Also a career .360 OBP.

    He can play in CF against left handed starters (Choo on the bench to PH against a righty reliever), and then LF against right handed starters, or something like that.

  24. Rios had a very good year in 2012 and a terrible one in 2011. His combined 2011-2012-2013 stats are 307/437/744. Awfully close to Heisey’s career stats with the Reds of 309/435/744. Rios is about at his career averages this year of 325/444/769. That still doesn’t look like an extra $16.5 million worth of production for 2014 which the Reds either have to pay the majority of or give up prospects to get the Sox to pay it.

    If the Reds are going to put a bunch of money into an OF for 2014, I would rather see it going toward re-signing Choo and save the prospects.

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About Steve Mancuso

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.


2013 Reds


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