With the trade deadline rapidly approaching (only three and a half weeks away) the Reds are obviously poised to be sellers. What moves would you like to see Jocketty make leading up to his first deadline with the Reds? Be as specific (and realistic) as possible.
Per another thread, here are my suggestions:
1. Acquire a RH-power hitting OF
There are two available options here: Matt Kemp and Jason Bay
A.) Matt Kemp would be the most ideal considering his age and contract situation. Offer the Dodgers any kind of package that might include guys like Dunn, Stubbs, Francisco, Valaika, Arroyo, Hairston, and/or Keppinger for Matt Kemp. Obviously the package wouldn't include all of these guys, but see who they like, and if they're willing to bite. I would be willing to move any three guys off this list for Kemp. If they want four or five, then I'd ask them to include one of the prospects named below. I do know they are open to discussing Kemp, and they have had interest in Adam Dunn in the past. They also are currently shopping for a SS because Furcal can't stay healthy and most likely won't be re-signed. Additionally, if they take a liking to several guys mentioned above, the Dodgers have some interesting prospects that could be included in the deal like Andy LaRoche (3B) and Chin-Ling Hu (SS). While I really like what Hairston and Keppinger have done, I agree with REDREAD's sentiments and therefore would be willing to include one of them in the deal in order to get it done, and let the other one man SS for the time being. Kemp has superstar potential, and has shown he can hit in the majors at a young age. Additionally, he is right-handed and above-average defensively. An OF of Votto, Kemp, and Bruce for the next 5+ years has me salivating.
B.) The Pirates have been trying to move Jason Bay, a notorious Reds killer, for some time. While I believe he is a FA after the 2009 season, I think he would be a great target for the Reds, and would go a long way towards replacing Dunn and Jr.'s production in the offense. Also like Kemp, Bay is above average defensively. However Pittsburgh would love to rid themselves of Bay's salary and get a nice young prospect in return. Meanwhile, Homer Bailey has been an enigma no one in Cincinnati can figure out. While as a general rule, I like hanging on to all top-notch pitching prospects, I truly believe that Homer may never see big league success in Cincinnati. He would be well served by a change of scenery. Offer Bailey to Pittsburgh for Bay, and I think you might well have a deal. If you can't acquire Kemp, (or maybe even if you can), having Bay in the OF would be the next best option. In this scenario, I would then let Dunn walk and take the comp. picks in order to help replenish the farm system. Bay would give you at least one year of Dunn-like offensive production with much better defense (and arguably a better approach/attitude.) Then you could look into re-signing him for much less than you'd ever have to pay Dunn.
2. Upgrade the catching position
Now this is an interesting task considering the fact that most teams are looking to do the very same thing. However, there is one team with an abundant surplus at the position, the Texas Rangers. With Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia manning the position at the major league level, the Rangers have two prospects in the high minors that are tearing the cover off the ball with no hope of ever catching for the big league club: Max Ramirez and Taylor Teagarden. I would be on the phone with Jon Daniels yesterday figuring out what it would take to pry one of them loose. There has been much speculation on these boards as to what it would take, but logic says that pitching would be the name of the game. Homer Bailey might well be a name they'd be interested in, and the Reds might have to consider that given the reasoning listed above in the Bay proposal. I would start the bidding much lower, but would consider moving Bailey if that's what it took. Bailey for Nelson Cruz and Teagarden or Ramirez might be the winner. Now if Bailey has already gone to Pittsburgh in the Bay deal, I would see if the Rangers had interest in guys like Matt Maloney, Drew Stubbs (although probably not considering they have Hamilton) and Juan Francisco.
3. Upgrade the SS position
This is the least critical of the three mandatory moves as Keppinger and Hairston have been very serviceable at the position. However, their defense leaves something to be desired, and their respective track recoreds are not yet long enough to be relied upon for the long term. While I have been advocating moving Phillips to SS for a couple years now, I just don't believe that's really in the Reds' plans. I don't have as specific of targets picked out as with the other two options. As mentioned above, Hu of the Dodgers could be an interesting target. The Angels also have a couple of interesting names in Erick Aybar and Brandon Wood. With the injuries to Brad Penny and Kelvim Escobar, the two LA teams might have an interest in Bronson Arroyo. While I don't believe it is critical to shed Arroyo and his contract at this point because I do think he provides very good production for a #4 pitcher, it wouldn't be a bad thing to get out from under that deal, especially going forward. I would gauge their interest in Arroyo and take it from there, they may have to throw in a couple of sweeteners in order to get something done, as I don't think either of the three prospects projects to anything above average at this point. Another interesting name is Reid Brignac of the Devil Rays. With the drafting of Tim Beckham and the performance of the major league team, Brignac will most certainly be available. The Rays are in need of bullpen help at the major league level, and might be willing to divulge Brignac for the services of David Weathers and Florida-native Ken Griffey Jr. I would include $4 million in the deal if I'm the Reds to cover Jr.'s buyout, if in fact this could get the deal done.
If the Reds approach the above moves as I have suggested (and don't believe they are unrealistic), I think they will inject a tremendous amount of talent into the organization at positions of need, without disrupting the core and losing sight of the near future. Thoughts?