Photo: Doug GrayReds minor league trade chips: The Infielders Doug Gray July 16, 2019 31 Comments This week is going to be spent looking at the various trade chips that the Cincinnati Reds could use over the next two weeks as the trade deadline approaches. The Reds have said that they are looking to be buyers. But they’ve also noted that they aren’t looking to buy rental players. Anyone they look to acquire will need to be someone that helps now and into the future. The Reds farm system entered the year as a top 10 farm system in baseball. But, the system has taken a hit. Nick Senzel graduated, and losing a Top 5 prospect in baseball hurts any farm system. Toss in that none of the top 10-15 guys behind him have really taken that next step forward, and some have taken a step back, and the system is down quite a bit. But, it’s not an empty farm system, either. There are certainly pieces of value, and some players have indeed improved their stock. Top 25 Prospect Infielders The midseason Top 25 Prospect list was updated on June 20th. Not a whole lot has changed since then. Let’s take a look at which infielders ranked inside the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 when that list came out: Jonathan India – #5 Tyler Stephenson – #6 Jose Garcia – #8 Rece Hinds – #12 Tyler Callihan – #13 Josh VanMeter – #17 Miguel Hernandez – #20 Juan Martinez – #22 That’s a solid group, but only three of those players are guys that a team acquiring them would view as “close to helping”. That may or may not be important to the other side. The close-to-helping group Josh VanMeter is ready to help out a Major League team today. He’s got some limited time in the Majors this year with the Reds in a utility role. In Triple-A this season he’s hit an absurd .356/.434/.684 with 23 walks and 34 strikeouts in 206 plate appearances. That’s just building on the .308/.367/.591 that he hit over the final 45 games for Louisville in 2018. Over the last calendar year here are his stats: He’s just 24-years-old. And he’s absolutely destroyed the Triple-A level for the last year. There’s value here if the Reds were to consider moving him. While Jonathan India is still in Advanced-A, he’s a guy that a team could look at as someone who could help soon. While the 2019 season seems out of the question, getting India to the Majors in 2020 isn’t out of the question. He’s probably ready to make the jump to Double-A right now, and starting there next season would put him on the brink of the Majors if he performs well. Tyler Stephenson is already nearly a full season into Double-A and he’s more than holding his own. Like India, 2019 is probably out of the question for a Major League debut. But 2020 doesn’t seem unreasonable at some point. Triple-A could be where he begins the 2020 season, and he’ll be on the 40-man roster. Both of those things, along with his performance as a catcher give him a real opportunity to see big league action very soon. The not-as-close but upside group The most recent draft saw the Reds pick up two high upside high schoolers in Rece Hinds and Tyler Callihan. Neither player can be traded today. But both could be players to be named later, and then named after the end of the World Series. Hinds has played in just three games with Greeneville this year. He’s been injured over the last 3-and-a-half weeks. Callihan has played in 18 games and is currently hitting .230/.269/.338 with 4 walks and 13 strikeouts in 78 plate appearances. Then there’s Jose Garcia in Daytona. Signed out of Cuba in June 2017 for $5M, his professional debut in 2018 didn’t go as planned. He struggled to hit in Dayton, but showed improvements each month. This season has been quite a bit different. His walk rate is up – nearly doubling from last season, and he’s showing a lot more power despite playing in the most power suppressing league in the minors. He’s got 30 extra-base hits in 66 games played for the Tortugas this season. Toss in that he’s a strong defender at shortstop and you’ve got a valuable chip. Will the Reds look to move anyone from the group It’s tough to say with any sort of certainty if a specific player would be on the move. Different teams are looking to address different needs and have different opinions of players. All offseason Jonathan India was talked about as a piece the Reds were trying to move. He’s still a Red. With all of that said, this group is a particularly strong one when it comes to trade value. If the Reds were going to make a “big” acquisition, don’t be surprised if the player going the other way comes from this group. There’s depth on the infield within the Cincinnati system. Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 31 Responses Colorado Red July 16, 2019 I do not want to Trade VanMeter lots of upside especially if we do not extend Puig. Also, do not trade for a rental (noted above). Lots of teams to pass for the division or WC. Tied for 4th now, yippee. Oldtimer July 16, 2019 Since June 10, Yasiel Puig has been the very best hitter in the major leagues, slashing .388/.430/.806 with a 210 wRC+. Wes July 16, 2019 He’s also 2nd in all mlb in steals at his position and he has the best arm in the league and is entertaining. Reds will make him an offer he can’t refuse- come to terms with it Oldtimer July 17, 2019 I hope Puig is a Red for a while. Solid RF star(ter). MK July 16, 2019 To me India would bring the best return and really does not have a position to play in short or long term plans. Garcia is the one I would not trade though I have never seen Hines or Callihan. Just don’t think Van Meter has the wow factor to bring much in return. To me Garcia has the physical tools to be a super star. Wes July 16, 2019 Reds need another frontline starter. Greinke and scherzer are big names but Matthew Boyd is another name that has a lot of control left. If they go for Boyd it’ll cost a lot. Like India/Santillan/moss. I hope reds make a big move. Been an exciting season so far RedsKoolAidDrinker July 16, 2019 Will take way more than that to get Boyd. Cguy July 16, 2019 I’d say begin the offer with Phil Ervin. Then go with Josh Van Meter. Add in Mitch Nay & Mike Siani. That’s a pretty fair offer for Detroit to consider. All valuable assets, all (I believe) have ML futures. Nothing core to the Reds future the next couple years. Boyd would be a big catch for the Reds. Rick in Va July 16, 2019 Scherzer isn’t going anywhere. The Nats would qualify as wild card today & are looking to get better. And Scherzer is particularly popular, both with the fans & ownership. Oh yes, and he makes about $30 million a year (some deferred) & is in his mid-thirties, so that’s probably not what the Reds are looking for. Wes July 16, 2019 Scherzer will make 15 a year for next 9.5 years and be under contract to play next 2.5 years. Pick up the rest of his contract and nats will trade him in 1/2 a heartbeat and not even ask for a return. Not saying reds should do that but nats will surely listen. India mahle and pay 5 of 15 per maybe ? Reds would pay 70 some million for 2.5 years of his 7 year 220 mil deal. Martino July 17, 2019 Would a distant relative of Sean Casey almost kill Boyd, a distant relative of Bob Feller playing catch with him? Optimist July 16, 2019 Every time I check, he looks even better, so I won’t go look at Josiah Gray’s updated stats. Still, I like the trade, particularly if they can reacquire prospects by trading on. Eric Wormus July 17, 2019 Gray: 2.14 ERA/2.54 FIP, 30% K rate, 4.9% BB rate and he’s given up 3 HRs in 90.2 innings this year. Also, Jeter Downs is slashing .257/.333/.476 which is good for a 122 wRC+ as a 20 year old in A+ this year, so that’s good too. At least the Reds got 3 good months of Yasiel Puig and a 3rd string catcher. AirborneJayJay July 16, 2019 The Reds 2020 INF could look like 1B-Votto, 2B-VanMeter, SS-Not Peraza/???, 3B- Nick Senzel, C-Casali/???. The OF could be LF-Winker/Ervin, CF-Inciarte/Ervin, RF-Suarez/Inciarte. >Make a trade for Braves OF/CF Ender Inciarte. The OF is covered. >Make a trade for a high caliber SS. Takes care of the INF. Before the deadline trade OF Yasiel Puig, SS Jose Iglesias, SP Tanner Roark, and RP Jared Hughes. The realization hits that the Reds will not receive anything on the trade market for SP Alex Wood, 2B Scooter Gennett and RP David Hernandez. Wood and Gennett play out the rest of the season giving Wood a chance at redemption and a possible contract from Cincinnati for 2020. Gennett just isn’t going to warrant a contract offer from the Reds. And Hernandez is released the first week of August. This winter trade SP Anthony DeSclafani and RP Raisel Iglesias. Either could be moved up to this deadline if a smart and tantalizing offer is made for one or the other. Could also be paired up in a package at this deadline or this coming winter for that elusive SS. Hoyce July 16, 2019 Did u cut Suarez? Lol Hoyce July 16, 2019 Nm. He’s in RF. Ha. That would be a TERRIBLE idea. Pretty slow afoot Oldtimer July 17, 2019 I hope you don’t replace Dick Williams anytime soon. Senzel is CF for next decade. VanMeter is one year MiLB star. Iglesias is a high caliber SS or is playing like one at least. Rich July 16, 2019 I personally see the Reds minor league infield corps beyond shortstop as a strength of the organization. What teams do you see as possible trade partners to possibly bolster some areas where we are not as strong. From my perspective, I believe that would be starting pitching, shortstop, catching, or possibly in the outfield/CF. AlphaZero July 16, 2019 I think they roll with the SP they have. Consider Alex Wood your deadline upgrade to the rotation. The most obvious spots to upgrade are SS and RP. If the Winker injury is fairly severe, an a LHH OF to throw into the mix could make sense too. Upgrading at catcher could be a possibility as well, but I’m okay rolling with what they have there for now. Big Ed July 16, 2019 Winker hit last night, so he isn’t really hurt. A guess is that he got dehydrated at altitude and had a cramp in a strange location. Tom July 16, 2019 The Reds really can’t afford to move many of their top 30 MiLB players. I’m not thrilled about the idea of any trades. They are 5 games under .500. If they really emerge in the next 2 weeks despite some glaring weakness, I can see plugging that hole with a cheap vet on a cheap deal like the Dodgers did when they got Cingrani from the Reds. But that’s it. Van Meter could be a great MLB player, how could you trade him now? The only player I’d trade would be Siri. I just don’t believe he’ll change. Siri for a former closer that could reasonably play two months under 2.00 era and handle some postseason innings well. Simon Cowell July 16, 2019 I hate to start a war but one of the big production spots in a baseball lineup is first base. The MLB team isn’t getting the typical amount of production out of that position or 2B as we should. RF and 3B seem to be the only spots that are “surging” if you will. Question do you think the Reds look to improve both our infield and our outfield or do they just look at this as players not playing up to their potential? I think the safest place to look for is at the Catcher position and possible 1 middle relief arm. I don’t think that the Reds will trade Puig, or replace Votto, Gennet/Dietrich, Iglesias. I think that for better or worse the Reds will stick to those players for the remainder of this season. I do think that this offseason is going to be one of our busiest in the past 25 years though. Haven July 16, 2019 So when can we start freaking out about Votto and his contract? RojoBenjy July 16, 2019 Haven’t most people in Reds’ Country been bellyaching about that contract since it was signed? Thanks to Franchester Martin Brennaman and Son telling them what to think. Franklin Hall July 16, 2019 I really think the Reds should approach Toronto to see what they would give up for Votto. Colorado Red July 16, 2019 Does Joey want to go there. How much to the Reds have to pick up? Jasonp July 16, 2019 I don’t see many spots on offense that we could trade for and get a significant boost from. Barnhart isn’t hitting but we have him signed to 2022. We have Casali for two more arbitration years. I don’t see them adding a hitting catcher because you would have to get rid of Barnhart’s contract or get rid of a good cheap backup in Casali. Votto is no longer a great offensive player and he did just have a good Jun (.299 average .896 ops) but you aren’t going to find someone that will pay him 25 mil a year until he is 42 and if you did he can veto the trade. At short Jose Iglesias is looking more like the player that could not find a starting job this last off season. I love his defense but there just isn’t a lot there on the offense side and he is a 30 year old free agent next year. Peraza isn’t great defensively but he hit well last year and has hit over .300 his last 30 games. I would like to upgrade here but I just don’t know if there is anything better out there that will help us this year. To get a great young short stop for next year/s would cost a ton to get. The outfield is pretty solid this year. I would like Winker with 20-30 more points in batting average but with .793 OPS he isn’t having a bad year but I had hoped the he would be doing more. Puig is now doing about as good as I could have hoped for. A free agent next year. I would like him back for another 2 years but I think if we ended up being able to sign him for 3-4 years he may end up blocking a better player in years 3 or 4. I would rather have Senzel at second base but he is not bad in center. Looks like a 20/20 guy and I think he has more average and some more power in him that we will see in future years. I think we are getting enough at second this year. Real good power from Dietrich and better defense and recent hitting from Peraza. I am not sure if we can find someone better then what those two (and others) are combining to do for us this year. Senzel is an option there next year. We have so many options at second I would not want to go out and add anymore. If Senzel is not the future at second then India might be in 2-3 years. So we are going to need a better offense and I just don’t see a place open for a huge upgrade. I think you could find an upgrade at a few spots for this year or next but it is going to take more then one player to get our offense to the point we need it to contend for the division. I don’t think they would trade him but I wonder if we could get Kyle Tucker from the Astros. They current have an outfield of Michael Brantley (.323 average .884 OPS), Josh Reddick (.288 average .755 OPS), George Springer (.303 average .990 OPS) and rookie Yordan Alvarez (.340 average 1.133 OPS 96 at bats 32 combined AAA/MLB HR). Tucker and Reddick are 32. Alvarez just is crushing the ball .340 average minors and .340 average in the MLB. With Alverez and a still young and great Springer would they consider trading Tucker? Would some combination of players like Roark, Santillan, one of our better relievers and an good A ball prospect get it done. It would be more of a trade for future years but I think we need one more good bat outside from our current prospects. Reds Snowman July 17, 2019 Doug, how excited should we be about Aquino? seeing a former high prospect who dropped bc he didn’t hit, Now finally hitting, it’s exciting. But he’s not on your ‘could help out soon’ list. Am I making too much of his hitting in AAA this year? IndyRedsFan July 17, 2019 He’s not listed here because this list is just infielders (incl catchers). I’m sure he’ll be on Doug’s list when he publishes the outfielders. Reds Snowman July 17, 2019 Just realized this is only infielders : ) Douglas Lottes July 22, 2019 My concerns early on were C (Barnhart) and Votto. Would Tucker return to 260 and top end D? And was Vottos 2018 truly an abomination or could we count on a return to something close to 2017? Now appears if neither is happening and I truly question whether this team can compete for a playoff spot. Which to me raises the question whether a significant C upgrade (Grandal, Realmuto) would be enough? Early on I thought we should have pulled the trigger on the Trammel for Realmuto deal. TT is not going to help this team near term …which is what ownership badly needs. But the Votto thing has suddenly become the elephant in the room. Realistically, can we compete with a slow baserunner who clogs the paths, drives in 50 extra base hits? If this isn’t going to improve, don’t we need an alternative plan?