The Cincinnati Reds have traded closer Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees for prospects Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis, Tony Renda and Caleb Cotham. So much for me taking a sick day today…. but I’m going to power through this one. Let’s talk about each of the players that the Reds received in return.
Eric Jagielo | 3B
The 23-year-old was the New York Yankees 1st round pick in the 2013 draft (26th overall) out of Notre Dame. He’s a left handed hitter who is listed at 6′ 2″ and 215 lbs. He’s coming off of his best season in the minors, but he only played in 58 games due to knee surgery to clean out “loose bodies” in there. In those 58 games, all at the Double-A level, Jagielo hit .284/.347/.495 with 16 doubles, two triples and nine home runs.
Where Jagielo shines is in the power department where he’s got plus raw power and he’s hit for plenty of in-game power in the minor leagues. It’s legit home run pop and he’s already showing it and there’s room for improvement here.
On the not-so-shiny side of things, Jagielo has been very injury prone in his career, though some are out of his control. He was hit by a pitch in the face and missed some time, but has also only played roughly half-of-a-season in 2014 due to an injury and then missed more than half-of-a-season in 2015 with the knee injury. His walk rate declined in 2015, but was pretty solid in his first two years as a pro and was acceptable (but on the lower end of acceptable) in 2015. Perhaps the biggest concern is his defense, where it would seem that a majority of scouts believe that he’s simply not athletic enough to play third base in the long run and profiles best as a first baseman.
Tony Renda | 2B
Tony Renda was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft by the Washington Nationals. He was traded to the Yankees in June of 2015, who have now traded him to the Reds. The 24-year-old is coming off of a season where he hit .269/.330/.358 in Double-A over 532 plate appearances.
In two of his four seasons since being drafted, Renda has walked more than he has struck out, including the 2015 season where he had 43 walks and just 39 strikeouts. Putting the bat on the ball is a big skill for the 5′ 8″ and 175 pounder. Hitting for power isn’t, as he’s managed just si home runs in 440 career games. There does seem to be at least a little bit of gap power to his game, with 43 doubles in 2013 and 30 in 2015. Don’t expect many to go over the fence, but he’s got enough there to hit plenty of doubles. Defensively he won’t stick out, but he projects to be an average defender at second base.
Rookie Davis | RHP
Arguably the best prospect in this trade is Rookie Davis, who took a step forward in 2015 on the mound. Originally drafted in the 14th round of the 2011 draft out of high school, the 22-year-old spent most of his time in Advaned-A, but threw 33.1 innings in Double-A at the end of the year.
The right hander walked just 26 batters in 130.2 innings and had 129 strikeouts. His fastball works in the 92-95 MPH range, though it’s a bit straight. He gets around that somewhat by showing strong control of the pitch and leaves it out of the middle of the zone. The righty mixes in a good curveball in the mid-70’s and a change up in the low 80’s.
Caleb Cotham | RHP
The Yankees drafted Caleb Cotham way back in 2009. The now 27-year-old made his big league debut in 2015, throwing 9.2 innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts to go with a 6.52 ERA and four home runs allowed. He dominated in Double-A and Triple-A in the minors during the season, posting a 2.21 ERA in 57.0 innings with just two home runs allowed, 13 walks and 61 strikeouts.
His fastball works in the 92-94 MPH range and has touched 96. He also throws a slider in the 87-91 MPH range to go with a mid-to-high 70’s curveball. He’s going to be a big league reliever, but he probably profiles better as one of the earlier guys out of the bullpen than someone pitching later innings.
The rosy picture for this trade from my point of view is that the Cincinnati Reds look like they just acquired four future big leaguers in this trade. The big thing that this trade hinges on, at least from my point of view is whether or not Eric Jagielo can stick at third base. While the Reds haven’t stated it publicly yet, you have to imagine that they believe that he can. There’s no reasonable explanation as to why they would accept him back in a trade if they didn’t believe that. He’s too good of a prospect for them to include in this kind of trade for them to think he’s going to be a future first baseman. If he’s able to stick at third base, it’s a big boost to this trade. Jagielo, combined with Rookie Davis gives this trade a look of a deal that gives the Reds an every day player and a starting pitcher in the future (at least one who could be – but with the Reds pitching depth, that may not work out). Tony Renda looks like he’s at least got a future as a utility player at the big league level and Caleb Cotham seems like a safe bet to be a big league reliever, as early as 2016.
On the flip side, you can ask if the Reds did as well as they could have. The Aroldis Chapman legal situation certainly makes it a lot tougher to judge things as we simply don’t know what exactly the situation cost the Reds in the long run here. They probably got less today than they would have gotten, but no matter what we want to think, the situation happened and it changed the math of the equation. With no big time, Top 100 caliber prospect coming back in the trade the lack of an “elite” prospect in the deal could rub some the wrong way, and if you don’t believe Jagielo can remain at third base it certainly paints a different picture of how this trade looks.
My initial thoughts are good on this trade. I would have preferred grabbing one big time prospect and a throw in, but the Reds got four future big leaguers and two of the guys have potential to be quality every day/starting pitcher caliber players. As I said, the key will be whether or not Eric Jagielo can remain at third base, but I believe the Reds are sold that he can and that’s good enough for me until I hear otherwise from them.