I'm wondering if the Reds need to dig into their farm for a trade. They seem intent on landing a leadoff/centerfielder. They could be looking for something else that would improve the offense. Price has indeed highlighted the offense needing improvement and the winter meetings are important for that.
I don't believe the payroll will go above 110 milion, so any major free agent is out of the question, with a small, tiny chance at a surprise with Choo.
It doesn't sound like to me that the Reds are even dreaming about trading Bailey. They want to win a championship and know their rotation is affordable and dominant the way it is. I think any Bailey rumors are less likely than say a Choo signing. His value to the Reds in 2014 is higher than teams will pay (with all the other arms being floated about) for one year of Bailey. Even trading Leake would compromise the rotation, but for 2 years this time. The rotation, and bullpen, are set.
Phillips is still most likely to be traded, but the Reds might just jump in on the next 4 years with him. He's valuable to the all important 2014 season, that's for sure. His contract, in the context of all the TV money washing in, is average. The leverage other teams will try to use is his contract, but Walt may be able to point to Peralta, Choo and Ellsbury and say look what these players are getting! So that barrier will come down, I think. But even then, what is the return for Phillips? It's a hard comp to come up with. With Infante on the market, and Kendrick too, his value has, perhaps, never been lower. I do not think he could bring back even equal value to the team in 2014 if he was traded.
...Unless, the Reds decide to sell from the farm again. People will say, this is what Walt does, and their right, he trades players that have an already low shot at succeeding. So far, only Wood has burned them. People will also say, our farm is depleted and can't add enough value. But as we saw with Didi, beauty was in the eye of the beholder.
Just looking at things with an open mind, what return would you expect from the top 10 or 20 prospects?
Here is BA's list:
Phillip Ervin *can't be traded until June
Michael Lorenzen *cant' be traded until June
One more point, if the Angels are asking Tyler Skaggs for Mark Trumbo, what can we really expect for Stephenson? Then again, Doug Fister was had for very, very little. Walt has tended towards unloading some high level prospects in each deal, so what would you think about trading Stephenson or Winker or Hamilton, etc? Are these the players that can put a Phillips trade way over the top in value/return by their addition to a deal?