David Schoenfield wrote an article this morning at ESPN on one blockbuster move for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. Some of those moves were free agent signings. But some of those moves were trades that make up the moves for several teams. For the Cincinnati Reds, Schoenfield indeed offered up a trade. And it was a big one, involving two other teams.

In a three-team blockbuster, the Houston Astros acquire C Willson Contreras from the Chicago Cubs and LHP Amir Garrett from the Cincinnati Reds; the Reds acquire 3B/OF Kris Bryant from the Cubs and RHP Josh James from the Astros; the Cubs acquire RHP Forrest Whitley and 3B Abraham Toro from the Astros and LHP Nick Lodolo and RHP Tony Santillan from the Reds.

The Reds in this deal pick up an elite hitter in Kris Bryant and put him in left field. And they also add reliever Josh James. One of those moves is certainly bigger than the other. But let’s also look at what the Reds would be giving up in this proposed blockbuster. The only Major Leaguer moved is reliever Amir Garrett. But the team would also be giving up 2019 1st round pick Nick Lodolo and another top five prospect in Tony Santillan.

Let’s talk about where this would help Cincinnati first. Kris Bryant is a stud. He’s a career .284/.385/.516 hitter, and that’s almost exactly what he was in 2019. With an offense that struggled to score runs, Bryant would go a very long way to putting that behind them. He’s a true middle of the order hitter. He hits for a good average, he gets on base at a very high rate, and he hits for a lot of power.

With Josh James you get a right-handed reliever who misses tons of bats. In his 84.1 career Major League innings he’s struck out 129 hitters. But, he’s also a guy who walked 35 hitters in 61.1 innings in 2019 and posted a 4.70 ERA. He’s not a sure thing, but there’s plenty of upside here if the walk rate can come down just a little bit.

On the flip side of this there are some concerns. The biggest issue may be one that isn’t talked about much. Kris Bryant’s free agency date is up in the air. If you recall, he filed a grievance against the Cubs after his rookie season for service time manipulation. That case is still pending, though it’s supposed to be heard this offseason. But right now the outcome is up in the air, and that means that there’s no way to know whether or not he’s a free agent following the 2020 season (an outcome that could be possible if he were to win) or the 2021 season (if he were to lose). That’s a very big deal.

Losing Amir Garrett in exchange for Josh James is probably a bit of a downgrade in the bullpen. As notes above, there’s upside with James, but Garrett was unquestionably better in 2019 and he’s got plenty of upside, too. Both are under team control for multiple years moving forward.

The Reds are also giving up two of their top three pitching prospects. This may or may not be as big of a deal to you depending on exactly where you fall. Currently the Reds have the top two guys in their rotation locked in for the next few years. Luis Castillo is not even arbitration eligible yet. Sonny Gray’s extension takes him through 2023 (team option for 2023). Tony Santillan’s 2019 season was a down one as he battled through several nagging, but non-long term injuries during the year. Still, he’s a guy who has plus stuff and has shown a high ceiling. He entered the year as a Top 75 prospect in all of baseball.

And then there’s Nick Lodolo. He was viewed as the best pitcher in the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. Very little he did after the draft showed that to be inaccurate. While his action was limited, he posted a 2.45 ERA with zero walks and 30 strikeouts between rookie-level Billings and Low-A Dayton. He’s expected to move quickly and could be ready to pitch in the Major Leagues quicker than most draft picks.

Neither of those prospect moves may matter because of what’s already at the top of the rotation. Maybe they mean something because the farm is likely going to have to eventually put pitchers into the Major Leagues. And with the Reds hiring of Kyle Boddy to help rebuild the entire process of development of pitching on the farm, you are taking two of the three highest upside arms in the farm system and moving on from them.

At the end of the day, this is just a full on thought process of fun. This is just pure speculation of one writer. But it’s a doozy of a trade and it is certainly a fun idea to debate.

Photo of Kris Bryant by Ian D’Andrea. Photo has been modified. License can be found here.

61 Responses

  1. FreeHouse

    They are not the same caliber player but I would rather go for Marte. Kris Bryant is just a rental and James has potential but he’s yet to prove himself so I wouldn’t trade Garrett, Lodolo and Santillan in that package.

    • Stock

      I agree FreeHouse. I would rather have Marte.

      • Bob Purkey

        No… No… No… Bryant will be a short term rental and he has had back problems if I am not mistaken. Who’s going to be the Lefty in the BP? Give up 2 of your top 2 pitching prospects??

        Bryant would go to LF(or Suarez) I assume and you can get Castellanos without giving up any of those guys for much less than it would cost for Bryant, who already has a legal battle to wave a year off of the MLB time served with the Cubs.

        No thanks. Cheaper options available that don’t give up as much.

    • G-Man

      Which Marte are you talking about…Starling or Ketel? Both can play CF. If it were me, and if both were available, then I would definitely go for Ketel as he is 5 years younger, had a breakout year in 2019, and has more upside.

      • Colorado Red

        Not sure which one,
        I would rather have Ketel.
        SS for several years.
        That I could go for.

      • RojoBenjy

        And Ketel didn’t lose a half season for PED.

      • Michael E

        He’s talking Starling, the one rumored to be available if a nice package is dangled. Ketel is not going anywhere. He’s already better than Starling and younger and cheaper moving forward.

        If were just wanting something not available then just say you want Ronald Acuna in a trade.

  2. CI3J

    Instead of the Cubs, I’d be more interested in the Indians and Lindor or the Dodgers and Seager. Lindor would cost a ton, but Seager might come cheaper than Bryant since he’s apparently fallen out of favor in Chavez Ravine.

    • Ghettotrout1

      I agree I’d rather get Lindor or Seager.

  3. Matt WI

    Fun idea– How great would it be to have Moustakas and Bryant trashing the NL Central as Reds? But in practicality, only if they can keep Lodolo based on the iffy nature of Bryant’s contract status.

  4. wizeman

    no way unless you know you get two years

  5. DHud

    I don’t like the idea of selling the farm for a potentially pending FA

    Would rather see them sign Castellanos than give up Lodolo

  6. Phil

    If for 2 years the lineup could be:
    Senzel – CF
    Votto – 1B
    Suarez – 3B
    Bryant – LF
    Moustakas – 2B
    Winker/Aquino – RF
    Galvis – SS
    Barnhart – C
    Castillo, Gray, Bauer, Mahle, DeSclafani – SP (Bauer and Disco each only have 1 year left)

    and it costs Garrett, Lodolo & Santillian

    I’m taking that deal

    • Matt WI

      Dang… Suarez, Bryant, Moose, and Aquino in a row. Killer!

    • Colorado Red

      Only after Bryant loses the grievance, else No stinking way.
      This per the trade values side (see other comments), the cubs make out like bandits, and the Astros get killed

  7. Linkster

    No way! Instead, Lindor and Kluber for the same Reds and throw in Aquino, Winker or Irvine.

  8. GhostRunner

    No way would I trade Lodolo for a rental player.

    • Michael E

      Lodolo already has me intrigued moreso than any other top 10 prospect. If you trade him, it’d better be for a 3 or 4 year controlled stud (Lodolo would headline a package). I agree with you Ghost.

      I’d rather see if Santillan, India and Winker and some other piece could land a very, very good upgrade at CF, SS, LF or SP.

  9. MK

    I say no. Giving up too much for one year Rental. Including Lodolo a deal breaker, especially within the Division. If the Reds get Bryant maybe they could get a couple more and start a natural defensive third baseman at every position,(Senzel cf, Suarez 3B, Blandino SS, Moustakas 2B, Bryant LF, Farmer C) with India waiting in the wings for some position yet to be determined.

    • doofus

      I believe the all third basemen in the lineup is their true strategy.

  10. BK

    It’s a lot to give up to upgrade LF where a platoon between Winker and Ervin could provide very strong output. If you’re going to sell the farm and go all in for a brief 1-2 year window of competitiveness, you must upgrade SS, C, or CF.

    How about:

    – Suarez to the Dodgers for Lux and Vedugo and Joe Kelly?

    – Iglesias and Santillan to the Dodgers for Pollock and Seager?

    – Mahle or Santillan to the Yankees for Clint Frazier?

    – Iglesias straight up for Joc Pederson?

    All of these would be better matches for either sides strengths and weaknesses and balance contracts and risks better than the Bryant suggestion.

    • doofus

      Pollock was just let go by Dodgers.

      • Colorado Red

        Do not see that anywhere, any links?

      • doofus

        My mistake he is still on the Dodger roster. I had some MLB network show on. Half-listening, I thought I overheard that he was non-tendered. Maybe it was a pundit saying that he thought he would have been non-tendered.

    • Michael E

      I like the idea of getting a Lux, Seager or Frazier, including trading Suarez. Yes, he is a bomber, but not quite a stud player by any means. If that got Lux and Verdugo, I’d be okay with that, though I understand neither have quite yet proven themselves at MLB.

      That said, I’d rather part with quantity over quality. I’d rather send a #5, #7 and #10 prospect than say our #2 and someone.

      If a fringy SP4/SP5 could land Clint Frazier, oh heck yeah, do it.

  11. GhostRunner

    Wheeler signing with the Phillies, per MLBTR

    • AirborneJayJay

      5 years and $118MM is a steep price. Almost $24MM per year. Good for Wheeler.
      I hate that it is the Phillies though.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Not upset that the Reds didn’t go that high. It would have been nice but not a necessity as we have other holes and a pretty strong rotation as it is.

      • Pablo

        Glad the Reds didn’t get saddled with that Wheeler contract

  12. Hotto4Votto

    No way in the world I do that deal. Take out Lodolo and add India…then maybe….if Bryant is controlled two years. If there’s no guarantee of two years then it’s a hard pass.

  13. B-town fan

    Do it only if we get Wheeler, and now it looks like he is going to Philly. So no way, not with giving up Lodolo also in that trade.

  14. 44Reds

    Now that Wheeler is off the board, I expect them to sign Ozuna. Ozuna could probably play CF at a Choo Level and really give us an offensive boost. This would relegate Senzel to a corner/utility slot. He could even be the right handed complement to Votto that we need.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Why would the Reds move Senzel to a corner to accommodate Ozuna? Ozuna’s not that great in LF, and Senzel was fine in CF. Makes no sense.

    • jon

      Ozuna will NEVER play cf. in the major leagues. He was horrible in LF this past year. No thanks. lmao!

  15. Steve Sutton

    Greene maybe, Lodolo no! But I am like others, I like Marte better.

    • doofus

      Cubs get: 89.2 in value.
      Stros: 34.9
      Reds: 53.7

      Cubs give up: 43.2
      Stros: 81.9
      Reds: 52.7

  16. Colorado Red

    that is a lot to give up.
    I would want an extension just Sonny Grey. (not at the same price, be much higher).
    Else, I would be too worried about the grievance.

  17. AirborneJayJay

    Bustner Olney is linking the Reds to LHP Madison Bumgardner, now that they lost out on Wheeler. Fewer years and much less money for Bumgardner I would assume.
    This might be more palatable for the Reds.

    • JB

      I would rather have Madbum. Reds need his attitude in that dugout. He would light a fire under their butts.

      • doofus

        Agree. Plus he can hit! Probably a better bat than Barnhart.

  18. RedlegBob

    I might start doing cartwheels if we get MadBum. And I ain’t no gymnast.

  19. RedlegBob

    I also would love to have Puig back. Decent speed, good defense, will fight you if need be, great teammate. Projections are 1 year for $8M? Would do that in a heartbeat.

    • Michael E

      I’d do that too, but realize that Puig won’t hit a lick for first 40+ games. If you have a few players that can’t play when it’s cold, you end up being 15 games out by mid May and a hard fight back to a WC slot.

  20. doofus

    I was thinking MadBum a couple days ago.

  21. doofus

    Switch Kyle Tucker for James; and, Mahle for Lodolo and I would consider.

    Who is this Schoenfield person?

  22. doofus

    Envision MadBum and Garrett leading a dugout emptying charge across the field to take on the Pirates!

    • Redleg Bob

      MadBum, Garrett, and Puig! Nobody would mess with us. MadBum and Puig would have to make up first, though.

      • greenmtred

        The problem is that the Reds are a baseball team– sort of– not a street-fighter team. Different sport. Different skill sets.

  23. Redleg Bob

    MadBum, Garrett, and Puig! Nobody would mess with us. MadBum and Puig would have to make up first, though.

  24. Satchmo

    Always been a MadBum fan. Love the fire in his belly, and he’s not as old as you’d think.

    • Michael E

      Plus he can actually PITCH and go deep into games. He isn’t quite as good as prime Bumgarner now, but he’d be a great SP3 or SP4, especially if he can get through 7 or 8 innings regularly (and he can if by-the-book mgr would leave in starters that are rolling).

  25. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I have no problem in trading for Bryant, but this package? First, I believe we give up too much in this trade. As well as, Bryant is going to be paid just this season well North of $12+ million, more each season since he’s in arbitration still, becoming a FA in 2022, where we will probably lose him; I believe a high financial cost. And, putting him in the OF? We already have what looks like is going to be Senzel, Winker, JVM, Ervin, and Aquino, then we add Bryant to that list? What are we going to do with so many major league ready OF’s? “Trade one”? Then, why not include one of them in the trade instead of someone like Lodolo?

    Nope, not this package.

  26. Gonzo Reds

    You know Doug… when I posted about this under the what’s next feed you deleted it and my subsequent comment about being willing to trade Lodelo and started a new story about the same thing here. I understand wanting to start a new story line but you could have at least moved my comment over rather than deleting it…

  27. Charles Lackey

    Don’t give up that much for Bryant. Reds have a g ok good outfield mix. Forget the Brand trade Reds it’s a No No

  28. David

    I love how the large market teams just think the hayseeds out here will give up three of our top pitchers for a rental. I read that and laughed out loud when I read that article.