December 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves
I have been staying away from posting on every rumor, but I have been thinking about this one for a while now. According to Dan Knobler of CBS, the Reds’ number one target is Jair Jurrjens. He says there has not been much progress yet, but I see a match there.
The Reds are only a year away from winning the NL Central, and their team is not all that different from that surprisingly stellar season. Cincinnati has a very good offense and sound defense, but they lack the pitching to compete with the better NL teams at this point.
Not that Jair Jurrjens will be the cure to all of their pitching needs, but he could step in and be one of the better starters on their roster. The Rockies were previously talking about acquiring Edinson Volquez for Huston Street, which would have opened up a spot in the Reds’ rotation. Street was traded to the Padres yesterday, but I imagine the Reds would still like to move Volquez after his league worst ERA in 2011.
With Jurrjens being their top target, I think they would be willing to give up more than most teams would to acquire his services. I don’t believe the Reds are a very sabermetric-inclined team, so they could value Jurrjens’ consistently low ERA more than most teams do. The injuries he suffered over the past two seasons, along with the drop in velocity may worry the Reds’ scouts and management, but they need to improve their rotation and do not have the financial capabilities to do it via free agency.
As Baseball America points out, the Reds have too many position player bats with not enough positions to fill. Todd Frazier is a name that Jake Humphrey and I keep bringing up, because the Reds seem filled at third and left field. The Reds need a third base backup in the same way the Braves do, since Scott Rolen is their starter, but Juan Francisco can fill that role as he also has nothing left to prove at triple-A.
This makes Frazier rather expendable, and the Braves may even be able to acquire Drew Stubbs as well. Stubbs has hovered around league average offense while performing well defensively and on the base paths over his two and a third year career. Acquiring both Stubbs and Frazier could cost more than just Jair Jurrjens, but the Braves are capable of adding in a prospect to even out the deal. Stubbs will have four years of team control, which means he can take over center field duties if Michael Bourn leaves for free agency and also serve as the backup center fielder this season. With the bench having only one spot left open and the backup shortstop and center field positions unoccupied, the starting left fielder being the backup in center would be a nice addition.
Frazier, as I have mentioned in the past, provides a lot of defensive flexibility and would give the Braves the opportunity to trade Martin Prado for prospects. Frazier is currently the Reds’ ninth ranked prospect, and was the team’s number one prospect in 2010. He was average offensively in his 121 Major Leauge plate appearances, but has been solid in almost every facet of the game in his professional career. He can hit for some power, he has some plate discipline, he he has some speed, and he has the ability to play good defense at a number of positions.
There may be no more ideal team to trade Jurrjens to than the Reds, as both teams are looking for what the other team has. Going after these two players would immediately make the 2012 roster better and cheaper. Subsequently trading Prado after would also likely make the team better in the future. With the Reds targeting Jurrjens heavily, I am sure Wren and company have scoured their system and had talks about these two already. A trade with the Reds and specifically for these two players is far from certain, but it is a trade I would absolutely welcome with open arms.