Oct 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds first basemanJoey Votto
(19) pauses in the batters box against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Reds
*Disclaimed* this one is a pipe dream, but one very fun one to ponder about.
If I’m the Rays and I see the return the Reds just got for Todd Frazier, I’m thinking: hey, maybe we can fleece them too?
Don’t get me wrong, in order for the Rays to acquire someone like Joey Votto, the Reds would have to pay half of his salary for the remainder of his contract, no doubt about it, and possibly more. When the Dodgers dealt Matt Kemp, they were forced to cover the majority of his contract for the Padres, and the Reds would have to do the same in this case.
But what the Rays do have in-house are the prospects – and pitching prospects in particular – to aid the Reds in rebuilding this thing from the floor up.
What the Rays would get in Votto is a middle-of-the-lineup piece for years to come. Paired with Evan Longoria and Steven Souza, they’d form a core that would rival some of the best in the division and would finally provide the Rays with the production they need at 1B to compete in the A.L.
Another scenario to ponder with the Reds is that the Rays wind up acquiring Jay Bruce to play LF instead, and that the Reds move Votto elsewhere, to a team willing to take on his entire salary (such as the Orioles if they miss out on Chris Davis or the aforementioned Angels to split DH/1B duties with Pujols).
Trading for Bruce makes more sense financially for the Rays since he solves a need and would only cost $2.5 million more than Loney is expected to.
The James Loney market is very thin, but it exists. IF the Rays get creative and aggressive enough, they could both upgrade their production from 1B and improve elsewhere on the field, most notably LF.
If I were forced to pick the best option of the three, I’d say that acquiring Meadows makes the most sense of all since it adds a piece that is controllable long-term and solves one of the Rays biggest needs going forward.