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Meet the Sellers: Cincinnati Reds

It’s late May, which means that it’s not too early to look at players the Jays could trade for at the upcoming trade deadline.

Today, we’ll be looking at the Cincinnati Reds, timely, right?

Preface: I started writing for Blue Jays Nation just over a year ago. One of the first articles I wrote was about which Rockie players would have fit on the Jays. As I was new to writing, I included hypothetical trades to get Trevor Story and German Marquez.

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However, I want to steer clear of naming particular prospects in this series.

Joey Votto:

I feel the inclusion of Votto here is necessary, despite not really wanting the first baseman on the team for a multitude of reasons.

Statistics:

At one point, I’d give my first born to the Jays if they were to acquire the Canadian first baseman. However, his numbers have taken a huge hit in the 2022 season. Thus far in 94 plate appearances, he’s slashing .128/.277/.154 with a wRC+ of 37.

He has yet to hit a homer and his K% has been blown up to 30.9%, well above his career average of 18.4%. In fact, his numbers have been so bad that he has a -1.1 fWAR, well below average.

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Last season, the then 37-year old slashed .266/.375/.563 with 36 homers (one less than his career high) and a wRC+ of 140. Votto contracted COVID, which halted the start of his season, so it’s safe to assume that the 38-year-old would likely bounce back.

Contract:

Those numbers are fine as it’s Joey Votto, he’ll bounce back. However, his contract is much harder to stomach. In the next two seasons, Votto will make $25 million, as well as a club option for $20 million in 2024, where he’ll be 40-years-old.

That is a lot of money to take in for a 38-year-old who has shown signs of decline. Not just that, but he has a full no trade clause, meaning that he could say no to being traded to Toronto.

Positional need:

Votto is a first baseman. However, if the Jays were to acquire him, he wouldn’t be an everyday starter. It’s assumed that Votto would not want to move to a Designated Hitter/Pinch Hitter who’ll fill in for Vlad when he needs rest.

While the Jays need a backup natural first baseman, I reckon that Spencer Horwitz would be the better option, as he’s also a left handed batting 1B.

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Verdict:

As much as I love Joey Votto and his wonderful thirst trap on Tik Tok, I can’t justify the Jays getting the 38-year-old Votto. It just doesn’t make sense in a financial aspect, a positional aspect and even for Votto himself.

Luis Cessa:

The old homage goes: “You can never have enough pitchers”. The right-handed pitcher Luis Cessa would help the Jays improve their bullpen’s lack of swing and miss.

The 30-year-old Cessa uses his devastating slider 46.8% of the time and batters swing and miss on it 46.5% of the time. He also features a changeup and sinker, meaning a lot of ground balls for Matt Chapman.

Cessa also throws an occasional four seam fastball.

Statistics:

Cessa has only pitched 15.1 innings this season and has posted an ERA of 3.52 and a FIP of 2.63. Dating back to 2019, Cessa has pitched 182.2 innings where he has posted an ERA of 3.40 and a FIP of 4.03.

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While not a high leverage guy, he could certainly fit as a middle relief guy and would be an upgrade over quite a few guys currently in the pen.

Contract:

Cessa is currently under team control until 2024. This season, he is making only $1,800,000. While getting a player of Cessa’s quality who has team control would be wonderful for the Jays, it does also increase his value. This means that the Jays would have to give up more to get him.

Thankfully, relievers tend to be “cheaper” than position players or starters, so it’s possible that the Jays don’t need to give up one of their top 10 prospects for Cessa.

Verdict:

Absolutely. Cessa gives you swing and miss while giving you a guy that can pitch in middle relief. If there’s an option to trade for him, the Jays should do it.

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Tyler Naquin:

I won’t lie, prior to playing Out of the Park Baseball 23, I had never heard of Tyler Naquin. Why? Well I’d rather do a million different things than think about the Cincinnati Reds.

Stats:

The left handed batting Naquin is slashing .257/.306/.469 with four homers this season. He hasn’t taken many walks as he has a BB% of 5.7% and he strikes out above average at 27%. However, there’s a lot to like with his 114 wRC+ season.

In 2021, he slashed .270/.333/.477 with 19 homers (a career high) and struck out only 23.3% of the time while walking 7.7% of the time. He finished with a 110 wRC+ and it was his best season since his rookie season in 2016.

Defensively, Naquin is below average to average. In 2022, he has a 0 Defensive Runs Saved and -1 Outs Above Average in right field (the only position he’s played this season).

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Naquin definitely has more pop than Ramiel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer and I’d argue that he should platoon with Loudres Gurriel Jr in left.

Contract:

The 31-year-old will be a free agent at the end of the season, meaning that his value is lower than a player like Cessa’s. Furthermore, he produces above average offensive numbers on just a $4,025,000 contract.

Verdict:

The contract makes sense, the term makes sense, he fits a need positionally and he would be “cheap”. Tyler Naquin is a player that the Jays should be looking at come July 31st.

Are the Reds an ideal trading partner:

Absolutely. With a record of 11-27 nearing the end of May, there isn’t a high likelihood that the Reds can even come close to contending. If they want to shed salary, trading Votto is the way to go, even if they have to eat a bit of his salary. 

If Cincinnati wants to get the highest haul, they’d trade Luis Cessa for a bunch of prospects. If the Reds want to make sure they don’t lose Tyler Naquin for free, they’ll trade him for a few prospects.

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Perhaps the Jays could trade for both Cessa and Naquin? Perhaps the Jays are interested in Jeff Hoffman, who was not listed here. Who knows. All I know is that we’re in the exciting time of the baseball season.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. I’m not too sure who I’ll be writing about next. Perhaps Kansas City?


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