Possible Trade Partner: Cincinnati Reds


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.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Mario Lopez says:

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

  2. Robert says:

    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…

  3. FLYER7 says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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 says:

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

  4. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

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

  5. Murderers' Row Boat says:

    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 says:

      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!!!

  6. Gonzo says:

    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.

  7. KennyH123 says:

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

  8. dalelama says:

    This is getting real depressing real fast.

  9. Jacob says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

        • Jacob says:

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

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

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

          • YanksFanInBeantown says:

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

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              Like the New England Patriots.

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

              • Gonzo says:

                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.

    • dalelama says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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.

  10. Ethan says:

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

  11. ClayDavis says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

          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.

  12. Neil says:

    I would be okay with:



  13. I Collect Brett Gardner Cards says:

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

  14. Jacob says:


  15. Jacob says:

    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…— Mark Teixeira (@teixeiramark25) December 3, 2012

    • vin says:

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

  16. Gonzo says:

    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.

  17. Patty M. says:

    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?

  18. theyankeewarrior says:

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


    Spoiled Yankee Fan

  19. Rambis says:

    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.

  20. Brian F says:

    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.

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