Possible Trade Partner: Cincinnati Reds

Blue Jays claim Eli Whiteside off waivers
Jeter healing as expected, will shed boot in 6-7 weeks

The Reds finished this season with the second best record in baseball, but their World Series hopes came to a crashing halt when they blew a two games-to-none series lead over the eventual World Champion Giants in the NLDS. Their core remains very much intact though, so they’ll look to retool and improve what they already have rather than conduct some kind of rebuild. Should they decide to explore the trade market, they have some pieces who could be of interest to the Yankees.

(Donald Miralle/Getty)

Drew Stubbs
Stubbs, 28, is a true four-tool player and that’s a problem because the one tool he doesn’t have is the most important: the ability to make contact. He owns a career 29.3% strikeout rate and posted a career-worst 30.5% mark this year, leading to a .213/.277/.333 (64 wRC+) batting line in 544 plate appearances. Look at his various year-to-year graphs and you’ll see that he’s trending the wrong way in basically every significant offensive category. So, after all that, why would the Yankees want him? Because of those four other tools.

Stubbs has stolen 30+ bases in each of his three full seasons and is an above-average defender in center with a strong and accurate arm. Here, look. He’s hit at least 14 homers in his three full seasons with a solid 8.7% walk rate. Oh, and he’s a right-handed batter who mashes southpaws. Despite his miserable overall numbers this year, Stubbs still tagged lefties for a .283/.324/.464 (111 wRC+) line. He’s hit .275/.335/.448 (121 wRC+) against lefties since 2010, which is better than popular free target Scott Hairston (.263/.308/.464, 110 wRC+). Then you’ve got the stolen bases on top of it.

Stubbs has fallen so out of favor with the Reds that there was talk they would non-tender him prior to last week’s deadline, but they decided to hold onto him instead. MLBTR projects him to earn $2.9M next year (less than Hairston figures to get) and he’ll remain under team control through 2015. Stubbs is going to strike out a ton* and that’s just the way it’s going to be, but he can hit lefties while also contributing quite a bit both on the bases and in the field. This is a major buy-low candidate who can help a lot if he’s platooned properly going forward.

* It’s worth noting that while his strikeout rate is getting worse, his contact rate is actually getting better. He still swings and misses a lot, but a big part of his problem is that he’s taking more called strike threes than ever before.

Chris Heisey
Cincinnati’s other right-handed hitting outfielder, you might remember the 27-year-old Heisey from his three-homer game against the Yankees a few years ago (video). He’s a .259/.315/.438 (102 wRC+) career hitter with a reverse split, though that’s a small sample size issue rather than an accurate representation of his skills. Heisey owns a .214/.272/.376 (71 wRC+) line in 255 plate appearances against southpaws since breaking into the show three years ago. He’s rated as an average defender in the three outfield spots (though again, sample size) and doesn’t offer much speed either. Heisey is under team control through 2016 and should settle in as a right-handed platoon bat if used properly and given the opportunity.

(David Banks/Getty)

Ryan Hanigan & Devin Mesoraco
The Reds have two starting-caliber catchers, at least in theory. Manager Dusty Baker has been known to distrust young players, so the 24-year-old Mesoraco quickly fell out of favor this year when he didn’t hit (.212/.288/.352, 67 wRC+). Hanigan, 32, continued to serve as the team’s starter with a .274/.365/.338 (87 wRC+) batting line. He rated very well in 2012 catcher defense rankings and has more unintentional walks (92) than strikeouts (90) over the last three years.

Mesoraco is the big hotshot prospect (Baseball America ranked him 16th on their Top 100 List his year) while Hanigan is the reliable and generally underrated veteran. It’s worth noting that Hanigan is signed for just $2.05M next season and will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2014 as well. Mesoraco still has five years of team control left. If the Reds decide to commit to one as their starting guy going forward, the Yankees should have interest in acquiring the other regardless of who it is. Both Mesoraco and Hanigan make sense for New York.

* * *

The Yankees now have a need at third base given Alex Rodriguez‘s new hip injury and New Jersey native Todd Frasier sure would look nice in pinstripes, but he seems entrenched as Cincinnati’s third baseman of at least the present and most likely the future as well. I wouldn’t count on that happening despite the obvious fit.

The Reds are set in the rotation — their five main starters combined for 161 starts last year and now they’re now moving Aroldis Chapman into the rotation — and at most positions, but they are actively seeking a leadoff hitting outfielder. They were in on Denard Span before he was traded to the Nationals and they don’t really have the financial wherewithal to sign Michael Bourn. They’ve been linked to the more affordable Shane Victorino of late and were said to be considering Juan Pierre once upon a time.

The Yankees have a leadoff hitting outfielder to offer in Brett Gardner, but they are short on outfielders in general. They would be able to replace Gardner’s speed and defense by re-signing Ichiro Suzuki though, so he shouldn’t be completely off limits. My trade proposal sucks, but I think the Yankees would be better off in 2013 and 2014 if they could work out a Gardner plus prospect(s) for Stubbs plus one of the catchers trade while then re-signing Ichiro. Depends on the prospect(s) and which catcher of course, plus the team’s willingness to have zero starting outfielders under contract beyond 2013.

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Blue Jays claim Eli Whiteside off waivers
Jeter healing as expected, will shed boot in 6-7 weeks
  • Mario Lopez

    Reds are rumored to be interested in Fowler from Rockies, why not offer up Grandy, Cash $, & or prospect for #Stubbs & ?

    • Gonzo

      Is this really Mario Lopez? If so, is Khloe as scary in person as she looks like on TV?

  • Robert

    These trade guys bore me we might as well go with Melky Mesa,Z Almonte,A Almonte and Mustelier and wait for the Next generation of Mason,Slade,Austin and Flores, Thats 8 outfielders in our system I like the odds that 3 out of 8 make it…

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Except that these trade candidates have actual MLB experience, where as the guys you mention have nothing meaningful in that department. Let them develop a bit more in the minors and give them a shot when the inevitable injuries create roster space. In the mean time, use someone that you can actually gauge if the cost is right.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      The Almontes, the 30 year-old Cuban, and Melky Mesa in the outfield. That should go over well.

      • Jacob

        with luck ronnie will mash enough to make up for the fact the almontes have never really been above AA

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I have as much faith in a close-to-30 year-old in AAA than I do in Ronnie from “Jersey Shore.”

          • Robinson Tilapia

            …or Ronnie James Dio, and he’s dead.

          • Jacob

            dude is on steroids, according to the trolls on here all we need to do is give him a bat because baseball is easy >.>

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Ronnie Magro for 3rd. Deena the Meatball for catcher.

        • Ted Nelson

          Not sure if serious

          • Robinson Tilapia

            There should be a fantasy camp for guys like this in which we can send them out so they can what it’s like to be fans of the KC Royals for a week.

          • Jacob

            don’t worry it wasn’t

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Nice imitation. You never know.

              • Jacob

                What?

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  I could totally buy someone believing what you said up there.

                  • Jacob

                    Oh I was doing my best troll impression

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      I mean, to his credit, Mustellier hasn’t not hit since coming to the states, but he’s also never not been older than anyone he’s playing with.

                      I think he’s worth a look, but I’m not expecting what others seem to from him.

                      All of this, of course? Pulled straight out of my ass.

  • FLYER7

    Like the talk of a Cincy swap involving Gardner. A Cincy OF, Grandy and Ichiro/platoon partner makes sense. Then Reynolds and someone else on the infield like Drew and team has a revived look…

    • Cris Pengiucci

      I’m not in favor of giving up Gardner. I prefer to keep him at his cost even if he becomes a platoon player with a righty. I expect that Granderson will be gone next season if they plan on trying to keep Cano.

      • Preston

        I’d be fine with trading Gardner if it brought back a C like Mesoraco and an OF I actually wanted. Stubbs and Heisy don’t fit that bill. I’m not the biggest fan of his, but maybe get Billy Hamilton instead.

    • Ted Nelson

      The goal of moving Gardner would be to get one of the Cs, not to change the look or get an inferior OF.

    • Jersey Joe

      Would rather have Gardner than Ichiro. Doesn’t make sense.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Arod for Stubbs and Mesoraco, we pay 100% next year, 80% the year after, etc.

    • Gonzo

      There’s no DH in the NL.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        SHH.

  • Murderers’ Row Boat

    Stubbs is Granderson with even less discipline at the plate. Mesoraco is so prized that he didn’t go to the Padres for Latos. Thinking that the Reds would trade anyone on their roster for what the Yanks have left is insane.

    The Yankees are stuck with signing free agents without draft picks attached and drafting well for the next few years.

    • Ted Nelson

      Yeah, 3 or 4 top 50 prospects have no trade value!!! They’re doomed until the guys they draft now come up in 5-7 years!!!

  • Gonzo

    I hate to be in on the fallen prospect bandwagon, but I would love Mesoraco. I have no idea what he would cost though.

    Stubbs in a platoon situation might have some merit too.

  • KennyH123

    In what bizarro world does a .283 BA, and .324 OBP against lefties constitute “mashing”????? Really?

    • Ted Nelson

      In what bizarro world do we call tagging mashing and ignore power when talking about mashing?

  • dalelama

    This is getting real depressing real fast.

  • Jacob

    I feel like everything is screaming rebuild at us right now, I am a die hard fan and I HATE losing but seriously I would rather go through it now for a few years and be pretty good for a lot of years but I feel like right now if we keep holding it off the rebuilding could take a lot longer than if we did it now.

    • Jacob

      With that being said, because of what team this is we could still rebuild while feilding good teams so it would not be half as bad as people think.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        You re-tool. You don’t rebuild. This is exactly what you seem to be getting at with this second comment.

        • Jacob

          Yes somewhat, rebuild while not rebuilding. It made sense when I first said it.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I totally get it. You work in youth as you can and not all at one time.

          • YanksFanInBeantown

            Like how good football teams are in a constant state of rebuilding.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Like the New England Patriots.

              Now that I just said that, allow me to go jump in front of a bus.

              • Gonzo

                I hate that Patriots talk about rebuilding every year. It’s easy to say that when you have one of the best QB’s of all-time. Football if a different animal because of the QB position.

                The Pats swing and miss on guys all the time. Chad OchoCinco, Albert Haynesworth, Donte Stallworth, Brandon Lloyd, and Adalius Thomas. And to talking to a Pats fan you’d think they only had two draft picks in the past 7 years, Logan Mankins and Jerod Mayo.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  Isn’t the team massively young this year, or something? I really have not gotten into the swing of things with the NFL at all yet.

                  • Gonzo

                    It’s massively young on defense but they still had to trade for malcontent Aquib Talib because their secondary with all those high draft picks was leaking like a sieve.

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      Thanks.

                    • Gonzo

                      Any ammunition provided against Pats fans is well worth it.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Football is also different because of shelf-life. Players become obsolete in like 3 years. If you’re not constantly replenishing your talent you’re done.

                  Brady missed a year and the Pats didn’t miss a beat. 11-5 without him.

    • dalelama

      How do you rebuild when you are stuck with Sir Chokealot at third and Mr. Hammerhead at first who make $45M between the two of them.

      • Jacob

        Not signing anymore terrible contracts, no trading really good prospects for older guys. and keep going with the filler contracts. Let the big contracts play out or see if any idiot team would be ridiculous enough to take them on

        • Gonzo

          And that will last exactly till Cano’s contract expires.

          • Jacob

            Cano is my favorite player since Damon left (besides posada mo jeter and andy, they are all in seperate categories) but I am with Mike, he is going to want to much I do not think they should sign him

            • Gonzo

              I’m with you, but you know he’s going to get an albatross contract. You just know it.

              • Jacob

                Yea I do I try not to though

    • Gonzo

      It looked like they were selling out for 2013. That’s what made the Martin non-signing weird to me.

      That said, the real rebuilding move would be to trade Cano. You can’t trade him at the deadline because you’ll be in a playoff hunt, and you know this is the only way to avoid an albatross of a contract next year.

      Sends the completely wrong message though.

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t think it looked that way, fans were just advocating it against reason.

  • Ethan

    I think Votto is a realistic target. Let’s get him

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Johnny Bench for catcher

      • Jacob

        Babe Ruth for RF

        • Robinson Tilapia

          He was a Red?

          Bert Campeneris did play all nine positions in one game. We could use a guy like that.

          • Jacob

            Oh sure he was a Red, a red sox ;)

    • j

      hahahahaha

  • ClayDavis

    How absurd is it that words like “rebuild” and “budget” are being thrown around when the Steinbrenners just made the YES deal with NewsCorp. Despicable

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Because you’re making connection where they don’t exist? I know we really want to draw that straight line between Yes/NewsCorp and the Yankees, but it doesn’t really exist.

      Having all the money in the world does not mean you don’t have the right to not have to spend $50 million you don’t have to spend if you don’t want to. It’s still 50 fucking million dollars.

      • ClayDavis

        It is 50 fucking million dollars; but this is also the Yankees. An organization that’s worth billions. It seems fairly obvious that fielding a World Series contender is not feasible under these guidelines. If Hal and Hank don’t want to spend the money, sell the team.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I don’t think it’s fairly obvious at all. Look at the teams that have made the series recently.

          For all the panicking we’re doing, notice how none of it is about pitching.

          There is a lot of hot stove to go, my friend. A whole lot.

          Billionaires have the right to save money if they choose to.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      First off, we (the fans) are throwing around words like “rebuild”. The team is using budget and it aligns perfectly with the new NewsCorp/YEs deal. This is a business. The goal is to maximize profit. In simple terms,there are 2 ways to maximize profit: keep expenditures/costs low or provide a strong product with a lot of value that people are willing to pay a premium for. New ownership (in a sense, the younger Steinn’s are new ownership) seems to be fiddling with the mix to maximize profits. Despicable? No more so than any other for profit business. Tell them to give back, just like the folks of Occupy Wall Street did. That went over real well.

      • ClayDavis

        Find it ironic that the brothers are imposing this budget when they essentially inherited a business that was run with a much different mentality. George must be rolling over in his grave.

        • Ted Nelson

          George’s mentality wasn’t to lose money. He was never faced with this kind of mentality. And since you’re probably too young to remeber, he shot the team in the foot more than he helped it. It was only when he was suspended that they built a dynasty. He tried to trade Mo and Posada in the same deal when he got back.

  • Neil

    I would be okay with:

    Gardner
    Romine

    for
    Mesoraco
    Stubbs

    • JMK

      Sure, but why would Cincy be okay with that?

      • http://www.nesn.com/2011/01/2011-red-sox-will-challenge-1927-yankees-for-title-of-greatest-team-in-major-league-history.html wilk

        i’ll answer that for you: no.

  • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

    it would nvr happen, but just for Winter meeting conversations sake, would u do grandy for thole/dickey?

    • Knoxvillain

      Absolutely. But the Mets would have to re-hire Steve Phillips as their GM before that happens.

    • Jacob

      We sure do need to get rid of another OF for a 38 year old pitcher and to fill a non-offense position so yes I would pull the trigget…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      If I trade Grandy, I’m doing it for young talent.

      • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

        same here.
        I’d want some youngins for grandy
        it’d be a nice change to get rid of a veteran in exchange for young talent, not the other way around.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I understand why it rarely happens, though. Was there even anyone in between Henderson and Sheffield?

  • Jacob

    STEWART FOR J UPTON AND MIGUEL MONTERO

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Too bad they just gave up Eli Whitney.

      • Jacob

        Wait they want a ss so lets give them nix and maybe they will give us Trevor Bauer too

      • Buffalo Bill

        They had to, especially after those new cotton uniforms George Costanza got them wearing all started shrinking on them during the game.

      • jjyank

        Where’s Sammy Pearce when you need him?

  • Jacob

    Oh Mark I sure do like your wishfull.

    What happened the last time ARod had hip surgery and started the season on the DL?Oh yeah, he dominated and we wonsportsyapper.com/yapp/135457112…— Mark Teixeira (@teixeiramark25) December 3, 2012

    • vin

      People actually use sportsyapper?! I just thought it was wasted advertising dollars… like Angie’s List. Come on, no one uses that service, right?

  • Gonzo

    Remember all those questions about what the Yankees were going to do with all their excess catching talent?

    Yeah, don’t do that in the future.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      We tried to tell them. They wouldn’t listen.

      • Gonzo

        But if we tried harder!

        • Robinson Tilapia

          The posters of Salty, Teagarden, and Ramirez with “THIS COULD BE YOU” at the bottom didn’t work.

          I knew I should have gone for Wilson, Pulsipher, and Isringhausen instead.

    • Ted Nelson

      Not that I condone counting eggs, but I also don’t condone burritos. Yanks still have almost all of those Cs.

  • Patty M.

    I’d love to have Stubbs even with that K rate.

    Trade for Stubbs using the Grandyman as a trade chip and then perhaps make a run at resigning Swish?

  • theyankeewarrior

    Mike, I salute you for your dedication to this series. Also, this off-season is depressing thus far.

    Signed,

    Spoiled Yankee Fan

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I hope this doesn’t ge too depressing, though. Axisa may give us a “possible trade partner: bourbon” column.

      • Gonzo

        It’s still a toss up between 18 year Elijah Craig and Julio Borbón.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Black Maple Hills, which has become incredibly hard to find as of late.

          • Gonzo

            Try Whistle Pig. It’s Rye, but it’s good.

  • Rambis

    I would be very interested in Mesoraco. There is no real reason for the Reds to sell low, expect for the fact that Dusty probably won’t give him a chance any time soon.

    While he wasn’t as highly touted as Mesoraco, Hank Conger of the Angels is another catching prospect who has fallen out of favor with his organization. Pursuing a young, cost-controlled player would not only help the 2013 catching situation, it would help stay under the $189 million mark in 2014.

  • http://linkd.in/dD6EXV Brian F

    Strikeouts were the reason we were embarassed in the playoffs so I dont think Stubbs is the answer. However, if the yYnks did make a move for him, I guess he is a cheaper option to start in Swish’s place. He draws walks just as well as Swish, strikes out just as much, might not have the power like Swish, but who knows..maybe Yankee stadium could help make up for that. He also will steal more bases than Swish so that right there probably would make him a decent investment for his price. The only thing that scares me is the Ks.