The St. Louis Cardinals kicked off what is sure to be a frenzy of moves around MLB leading up to tomorrow’s trade deadline by acquiring Justin Masterson. With all kinds of rumors floating around the internet, there is one trade that seems to make so much sense yet no one is discussing it — Johnny Cueto to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With the Dodgers looking to acquire a third stud in their rotation, they have balked at the asking price of players such as David Price and Jon Lester. In return for those starters, rumor has it that both teams asked for top Dodgers prospects outfielder Joc Pederson and shortstop Corey Seager; that is where Los Angeles drew the line.
However, the Cincinnati Reds might just have the perfect way to land both highly touted prospects from Los Angeles in the form of Cueto and flame-thrower Aroldis Chapman. A trade involving the two All-Stars would have to be monumental in return, and that is exactly what this would be — a blockbuster trade for both teams.
The Dodgers rank 22nd in the majors with a 3.71 bullpen ERA, a number that would drastically improve with addition of Chapman. Combining Kenley Jansen and Chapman at the back of the bullpen would go a long way for the remainder of 2014 as well as the postseason for the Dodgers. Meanwhile, adding Cueto’s 2.08 ERA would give the Dodgers arguably the best rotation in baseball as he would join Clayton Kershaw (1.76 ERA), Zach Greinke (2.74), Josh Beckett (2.74) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (3.44).
Obviously in return for two premier pitchers with a year and a half left on their team-friendly contracts the Reds would demand quite a bit. And that they would receive in Pederson and Seager as well as 22-year-old southpaw Tom Windle and right-handed reliever Jose Dominguez.
Pederson (22 years old) is a left-handed center fielder who seems to be stuck behind Yasiel Puig and other outfielders (many with contracts so atrocious that they cannot be moved). In triple-A Albuquerque, Pederson is hitting .319/.450/.591, 14 2B, 23 HR, 25 SB, 56 RBI, 77 BB, 112 K. After transitioning him to left field, the addition of Pederson would give the Reds their power-hitting left fielder of the future.
20-year-old Seager is the prized prospect in the Dodgers’ organization and one they will fight until the bitter end to keep. However, the addition of Seager to the Reds would give them something they haven’t had in years — infield depth. He would be primed to replace Zack Cozart in 2016 (September 2015 at the earliest) and would give the Reds their most consistent prospect at short since Barry Larkin. During stops at single-A and double-A this season, Seager is hitting .349/.406/.623, 37 2B, 18 HR, 5 SB, 71 RBI, 31 BB, 87 K.
In addition to Pederson and Seager, the Reds would rebuild their pitching depth with second-tier prospects Windle and Dominguez. The 22-year-old Windle is a few years away, but he possesses great potential for being inserted into the rotation. This 2014 high-A statistics consisted of 103.2 IP, 4.69 ERA, 86 K, 31 BB. Meanwhile, Dominguez could feasibly take Chapman’s 40-man place and be inserted into the Reds’ bullpen. In triple-A, the right-handed reliever has been impressive, compiling a line of 33.1 IP, 3.24 ERA, 39 K, 18 BB.
Here is how the overall trade breakdown would look:
Dodgers acquire: SP Johnny Cueto, CL Aroldis Chapman
Reds acquire: OF Joc Pederson, SS Corey Seager, RHP Jose Dominguez, LHP Tom Windle
Granted, this is a huge trade and one that would shake up both organizations in different ways. The Dodgers would be set for the foreseeable future, as they could feasibly afford to re-sign both Chapman and Cueto after the 2015 season. The Reds would also finally be able to replenish a farm system with prospects who hold true potential of becoming long-term stars for the team. Pederson and Seager would fill two huge needs for the Reds without being forced to mortgage the future.
Finalizing this trade would be a gutsy move for both teams, yet it is a move that would be equally beneficial for all parties involved.