The Miami Marlins are open for business. After paying an insane $1.2B to buy the Miami Marlins, the new ownership group came in and started trying to find ways to immediately cut payroll as well as find more investors in the team. Over On Friday night and Saturday morning they made their first big move, trading Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees. They reportedly still need to cut some payroll.
The Cincinnati Reds have more than a few needs. They need a shortstop, and they need a center fielder. They need pitching. The Marlins don’t exactly have much pitching. The Marlins don’t seem to have a shortstop worth looking into. What the Marlins do have is more outfielders. Both Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna are All-Star caliber players.
Marcell Ozuna may be the better player of the two right now. He’s a year older and is coming off of a year where he hit .312/.376/.548 with a 145 OPS+. After playing center field in 2016 the team shifted him to left in favor of Yelich. However, in a year in which the baseball was massively juiced, the 2017 season was not like the rest of the career for Ozuna. He had never previously posted an OPS over .773. From a contract standpoint, he has two years remaining on his deal and is due for a raise from his $3.5M salary that he got in 2017. After the year he had, arbitration will likely award him a big raise.
Christian Yelich is a year younger than Ozuna, he’ll be 26-years-old in 2018. Last season he wasn’t as good at the plate as Ozuna was, posting a .282/.369/.439 line with 16 steals in 18 attempts. After seeing some time in center the previous few seasons the Marlins moved him there full time in 2017. For his career he’s been a far more consistent player than Ozuna has been with a career OPS+ of 120, and it’s never been lower than 112. What really separates Ozuna and Yelich though, is their contracts. Yelich is under control for the next five seasons and is only owed $58M in that span (though you could cut $13.75M off and a year if you wanted to buy out his deal after 2021).
Both players would be a significant upgrade to the Cincinnati Reds, especially if you could play either of them in center field. Yelich has the much better contract, is a year younger, and at least in recent terms, plays the position that is of more need. The cost acquisition for the two players would vary quite a bit given their contracts, but both would likely require a strong package of players.
What could the Cincinnati Reds offer?
While I don’t have an exact idea of what it would take to make a trade for either player, I do believe the Reds could use their surplus at several spots in the organization to make an offer that could get the deal done. Starting pitching is a need for the Reds, but it’s also an area where the team has a lot of options to work with, too. Could they move one quality pitching prospect/young pitcher in the deal and likely not be completely barren? Yes, they could. While the team would be looking to acquire an outfielder in this deal, it’s also an area where they have depth that they could look to move in a deal. The same could be said among infielders.
|Sal Romano||Jesse Winker||Scooter Gennett|
|Robert Stephenson||Adam Duvall||Dilson Herrera|
|Tyler Mahle||Scott Schebler||Shed Long|
|Amir Garrett||Billy Hamilton||Alex Blandino|
|Cody Reed||Taylor Trammell||Jeter Downs|
|Jackson Stephens||Jose Siri||Miguel Hernandez|
|Jose Lopez||Aristides Aquino||Gavin LaValley|
|Vladimir Gutierrez||Miles Gordon|
|Tony Santillan||Stuart Fairchild|
If the Reds were to pick one of those top three starting pitchers, and added in a few other players from the rest of the list, I believe that the offer would be strong enough to bring back Christian Yelich. For example, Tyler Mahle, Billy Hamilton, Taylor Trammell and Vladimir Gutierrez – I’d be surprised if that weren’t enough to bring him back. And in that scenario, while it’s a lot to give up, the Reds are likely better on the field for at least the next 3-4 years, and they don’t have the risk involved that the prospects don’t develop.
Is now the time to go for it?
The Reds are in a situation right now, I believe, like they were when they made the Mat Latos trade. They have enough depth in some areas that they could “overpay” to bring in an All-Star caliber player with team control and not have it crush the future. Is right now the time to make that kind of deal? I’m not sure, but you can’t always pick when a player like that is available on the market, either. When they are, you need to explore your options. The Winter Meetings kick off today. The Reds should be meeting with the Marlins before the sun goes down tonight. They have parts that the Reds desperately need and the Reds seem to have the pieces to make it work.