Now that the Cincinnati Reds are most definitely in the market for a second baseman with some pop in his bat to replace the injured Brandon Phillips, the time is right for a salty reunion between former St. Louis Cardinals‘ allies Tony La Russa and Walt Jocketty over the future of the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Martin Prado.
In the absence of Phillips, the Reds have a stopgap at second base in the combination of Skip Schumaker, Ramon Santiago and Kristopher Negron, but if they’re going to overcome the loss of Phillips combined with the injury status of Joey Votto, the Reds are going to have to cut a deal.
Prado has 224 starts in his career at second, 324 at third and 204 in left field. His versatility would make him the same kind of presence that teams will covet in Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays, but Prado won’t command the same level of prospects in return for trade in the event the Rays decide they’re out of contention in the AL East this year.
As a career .291 hitter with a 162-game average of just 12 home runs but 70 RBIs, Prado would be a decent three-hole hitter for the Reds for the remainder of this year but could also swing second if and when Votto reasserts himself in the Reds’ lineup this year.
A versatile player like Prado would also fit into the plans for the Reds the next two years as a starting left fielder who could play second and third whenever needed.
The Reds would face $11-million salaries in 2015 and 2016 if they were to acquire Prado, but if the Diamondbacks, under new chief baseball officer La Russa, are willing and Reds’ GM Jocketty is able, the Reds could offer starting pitcher Mike Leake in a package including a pair of solid minor-league prospects and a major-league-ready third baseman in Neftali Soto.
The D-Backs are likely to push trading current starting second baseman Aaron Hill much harder than Prado, but the Reds would have no use for Hill beyond this year and he’s under contract for another two years at $12 million per year.