Monday, July 6, 2015

Potential Trade Targets: Cincinnati Reds

The New York Yankees have reclaimed first place in the American League East all by their lonesome after a pair of walk-off victories in the Bronx this weekend and look to stay that way going forward. No team in the AL East is without flaws this season and no one is running away with this thing meaning that the July 31st trade deadline will undoubtedly separate the contenders from the pretenders in the division. The Yankees expect to be active at the deadline, although a blockbuster is unlikely, while teams like the Cincinnati Reds expect to sell so do these two teams match up in any potential trades this summer?

The Reds have a ton of talent available but the problem for the Yankees is most of the talent is top heavy and would come as rentals. I say top heavy because of the fact that Johnny Cueto is probably the best starting pitcher available and Aroldis Chapman is possibly the best closer available at the trade deadline presumably this season. The Yankees aren't keen on giving up Luis Severino, Aaron Judge and other top prospects so trades for either of these guys seems likely for New York and instead the club will focus on potential trades with Brandon Phillips, Mike Leake and possibly Marlon Byrd.

Phillips we have discussed before on the blog and will discuss again later as my piece was the most popular article of the week so we will focus less on him and more on Leake. Leake is just 27 years old and comes with less than 1,000 innings on his right arm. Leake is a true rental and is a free agent after the 2015 season meaning the Reds would presumably take less for him in a deal in terms of prospects just to get rid of the remaining salary left on his $9.78 million deal. At the time of this writing Leake was pitching to a 4.38 ERA in 100 innings in a very hitting friendly ballpark. Normally you would expect a full run to be added onto an ERA when a pitcher comes from the National League to the American League East but in a down year for the AL East mixed in with the fact that Leake has been pitching in the Great American Ball Park this season Leake may now be the pitcher we would see if he were pitching in the Bronx.

According to a fake Twitter account the Yankees acquired Marlon Byrd last year, only after I had a 2,300 blog post written about it did I realize that it was a fake account. The Yankees really could acquire Byrd at this year's trading deadline after seeing half the outfielders on the 40 man roster head to the disabled list. Byrd battled a wrist injury that many thought would end his season but is back in the lineup looking to add to his .240/.298/.466 triple slash and 14 home run and 32 RBI totals. Byrd is intriguing because he's right handed, adds some pop to the lineup, comes with a vesting/team option for 2016 and would allow me to finally post that 2,300 word blog post I've had saved as a draft for over a year now.

The Yankees likely won't make a run at Cueto or Chapman unless the deal absolutely makes too much sense to pass up but the team may be able to swing a deal for either Leake, Phillips, Byrd or all three. The Reds just need to get the idea out of their heads that they may be able to make a second half run and need to start selling off pieces, now.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)