Discussion: Yonder Alonso

Cincinnati has a long tradition of National League baseball, but the Yonder Alonso situation must make Reds fans wish for the designated hitter rule.  Reds manager Dusty Baker and GM Walt Jocketty both spoke about Alonso's future at the team's spring camp in Arizona today, and MLB.com's Mark Sheldon sums up the situation within a larger piece about Alonso's development.

The basic problem is that Alonso, the top prospect in Cincinnati's system, is blocked at his natural first base position by the Reds' best player, Joey Votto.  As John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer points out, Alonso will be out of options after the 2011 season since he signed a major league contract for five years and worth $4.55MM after being taken seventh overall in the 2008 June Amateur Draft.

At one point it seemed as if Votto, who has some experience playing in left, would move back to the outfield when Alonso was ready for the majors.  But as Fay notes, Votto "doesn’t want to move and he’s worked hard at first base."  Fangraphs lists Votto as having an above-average 3.8 UZR/150 rating at first base, though it's taken from a sample size of just 291 games.

As Sheldon and Fay both report, Alonso has been worked out this spring as a corner outfielder and at third base, where he would presumably serve as the heir apparent to Scott Rolen if all things worked out perfectly for the Reds.  There has even been some talk of trying out Alonso at catcher.

Provided that Alonso doesn't sink to Incaviglia-esque depths in left or right field, he should be able to handle life away from first.  But if the position switch doesn't take or, even worse, affects Alonso's bat, then the Reds have a real issue on their hands.  Alonso's name popped up in the Rolen trade talks with Toronto last summer, and there would be no shortage of teams that would be interested in acquiring the young slugger if he were put on the market. 

The other alternative, albeit the more unlikely one, is that Votto would be traded.  Votto is eligible for arbitration after 2010 and is under team control through 2013; combine that with his proven major league production and the Reds could net a gold mine of players and prospects in a deal.  But, Votto's big league track record is exactly the reason why it's far more probable that Cincinnati would hold onto him and move Alonso if it came to a choice between the two.


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89 Comments on "Discussion: Yonder Alonso"


Guest
5 years 6 months ago

There was talk of converting him to a catcher. I don’t think thats the right thing to do but Yonder’s bat is so good. He’s is an extreme Doubles hitter with tons of pop.

This is such a catch-22.

I want to see Yonder Alonso in the big leagues so bad yet the only place to play him (really) is where the best all around Reds hitter is and we don’t want to see him go.

Maybe they should have taken Gordon Beckham in the 2008 draft. But they didn’t so maybe they could package Francisco and Alonso for a stud pitcher(s) or an all-star left fielder or Catcher.

What about Alonso and Francisco for Grady Sizemore? Maybe they can form another package for Grady Sizemore…As I said, this is the ultimate catch-22!

shockey12
5 years 6 months ago

The Indians already have laporta for 1st base…

5 years 6 months ago

He could DH for the Indians but I wouldn’t trade both Fransisco and Alonso for Sizemore

letsgogiants
5 years 6 months ago

Alonso would be a good trade candidate to acquire a player like Halladay who could become available either at the trade deadline or offseason. The Reds could use pitching. And if anyone above average is available that they could plug into the top of their rotation or even acquire a position player they could plug in their lineup depending on what position it would fill, it would certainly boost the Reds overall. They aren’t that far off from contention.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

There isn’t a chance Roy Halladay gets traded.

letsgogiants
5 years 6 months ago

Dude, of course Halladay wouldn’t be traded since he just got traded and extended by the Phillies. I was just using him as an example.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Gotcha. Maybe the Giants could send Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford for Yonder Alonso? supposing Aubrey Huff doesn’t stay on the Giants past this season.

letsgogiants
5 years 6 months ago

The Giants could use Alonso at first given they don’t have any legit 1st base prospects with Villalona looking doubtful to even play ball again. But I doubt the Giants would give up Posey given that he is their future catcher and don’t have anyone else to take over for awhile. There is Thomas Joesph who the Giants drafted last year who is a catcher, but he may be moved to another position given the raw power he has and may not even be ready for awhile.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Supposing that if Chapman and Volquez come back and Travis Wood is doing his thing, Harang or Arroyo could be traded mid-season. Maybe both. So maybe a trade for a Quality Starting Pitcher as you said. Maybe the Mets and Reds could work out at trade involving Fernando Martinez? Maybe the Dodgers could send Dee Gordon and Russell Martin to the Reds for Alonso and Arroyo?

letsgogiants
5 years 6 months ago

I dunno. Unless the Reds ate most of Arroyo’s contract, I doubt he gets traded to the Dodgers given that they don’t have much money for him. Plus, the Dodgers have Loney long-term who, unless he was traded, will probably stay on the Dodgers for awhile. And Martinez at this point just needs to be healthy for him to even be traded for Alonso plus more.

redsandyanksfan
5 years 6 months ago

i would trade alonso for f mart he is overrated a ton and we dont really need outfielder with heisly (sp) frazier can play out there dickerson gomes etc.. you dont really hear of many teams trading prospects for prospects but wonder if they would trade him the yanks for austin romine who they said has reminded scouts of posada and maybe someone like Andrew brackman. romine would be there future catcher which they really need

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

I know it’s the internet and all, but a little punctuation might make you look less like EE Cummings and sound less like a homeless guy babbling on the street corner.

I say that as your friend

Ricky Bones
5 years 6 months ago

But why when there are plenty of other pitchers who actually could get traded to use as an example?

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 6 months ago

How about the rare prospect trade? Alonso to the Rays for Davis or Hellickson?

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

That would be a fantastic idea. Depth is always good (the Rays rotation) but there is really no place for Hellickson, although then again, unless Harang or Arroyo is traded, there will be no room in the Reds rotation either. For the first half of the season (unless Chapman makes the opening day rotation) there is that rotation spot but Volquez will be back soon!

dizzle4
5 years 6 months ago

Yeah, when I thought of a trade the Rays came to mind too, with their need opening up at first base. Another option would be the Orioles, who also don’t have a stud prospect at first base. Maybe for Jake Arietta?

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

What about Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford for Yonder Alonso?

Yankees10
5 years 6 months ago

What? Buster Posey is one of the top 5 prospects in baseball. There is no way the Giants would trade him and Crawford for Alonso.

5 years 6 months ago

Yeah, I don’t think the Giants make a good trade partner; Posey, Neal, and Bumgarner are all overpays (okay, Neal may not be), and all of the rest of the talent is low-minors high upside stuff.

Ethanator99
5 years 6 months ago

Alonso and another for Carlos Santana? Maybe Boxberger or Francisco?

I’m just spitballin here.

I wish the Reds could resolve this in a way that keeps both of them in Cinci.

dizzle4
5 years 6 months ago

Probably unlikely now, but imagine this situation: What if Lou Marson comes flying out of the gate? Would certainly make the option of trading Santana at least something to consider. Then again, the Indians have LaPorta at first base. Maybe we’d just see a giant prospect swap. All the teams with blocked prospects just swap them away. That’d be fun!

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

maybe Francisco and Boxberger for Santana. The Indians really love Carlos Santana. It would take a lot to pry him out of the Tribe’s system.

TheBunk
5 years 6 months ago

No way do any of those names get it done for Santana

BoSoxSam
5 years 6 months ago

Do I remember right about some rumor that the designated hitter might extend to the National League in a couple years? Who knows, maybe this’ll work itself out! 😉

Shoeless_Joe
5 years 6 months ago

Moving Votto is out of the question I would think. He’s been one of the most productive hitters in the MLB the last few years, and is the type of player you build a team around.

Alonso is a good prospect, but no world beater as of yet. If I were Cincinnati I would try him out in left this season and if he doesn’t stick, trade him for another controllable young player who fits a need. Like mentioned Tampa seems like a good fit next season with a lot of pitching and an 1b opening.

$1529282
5 years 6 months ago

Alonso for Brignac would make sense (maybe not straight up, but with a piece or two added on each side), given that both are highly-regarded prospects who are blocked for the foreseeable future within their own organization, but fill an immediate (or 2011) need in the other organization.

Brignac can take over SS full-time in 2011 in Cinci, same for Alonso at 1B in Tampa Bay, or if Pena gets hurt/Burrell tanks again.

dizzle4
5 years 6 months ago

That’s an interesting one, I can see it, like you said, with an extra piece or so thrown in. Since Alonso would have to play this year, though, Pena would have to move over to DH and Burrell goes to the outfield for the year, meaning an extra year in the minors for Desmond Jennings. Unless Crawford gets moved at the deadline.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

I really think Hellickson would almost have to be part of a Yonder Alonso deal.

dizzle4
5 years 6 months ago

Ah wait, I misread the initial post, he’s out of options after the season – so they could keep him in the minors for the year. Another possibility – if the Rays are out of the race mid-season, and the Reds are in the hunt as a lot of people suspect: flip Crawford for Alonso at the deadline. The Rays may certainly be in the hunt, but in the event they weren’t, I could see a move like this.

TheBunk
5 years 6 months ago

? I think Hellickson has way more value than Alonso.

Alonso for Brignac makes quite a bit of sense

TheBunk
5 years 6 months ago

Woops, I guess not WAY more value, I thought there was a bigger disparity on prospect websites. But still, Hellickson seems to have more value, especially since he doesn’t need to be rushed to the majors because of a major league deal.

$1529282
5 years 6 months ago

Agreed. Hellickson is probably too much, and besides, the Reds are looking at a potential rotation including Chapman, Volquez, Cueto, and Bailey in the years to come, but have no elite shortstop prospects anywhere near ready.

Reid Brignac makes far more sense in terms of their immediate needs. I don’t see why Hellickson would have to be included at all. He’s ranked considerably higher in the Top 100 and he doesn’t fit Cincinnati’s needs as well.

os4life
5 years 6 months ago

O’s are in serious need of a bat at 1B! What about a Tillman or Arietta? I would even throw in a low level prospect to get it done. I love Alonso’s bat.

dizzle4
5 years 6 months ago

Maybe they can alter that trade with the Jays for the summer! Swap Alonso for the rest of the package the Jays got, Roenicke and Zack Stewart. Then the Jays can flip Alonso to the Rays for Reid Brignac. Creativity!

Ian_Smell
5 years 6 months ago

I ponder where Yonder will yonder if he’s squandered to a fonder team.

Votto4MVP
5 years 6 months ago

I really hope that Alonso can learn to be a Catcher

Votto + Alonso = Bash Brothers V2

icedrake523
5 years 6 months ago

I can see the loser of the Adrian Gonzalez sweepstakes attempting to get Votto this (2010-11) offseason.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 6 months ago

And I see the Reds either simply laughing at any offer or asking for something essentially similar to baseball’s top 4 prospects and then some.

icedrake523
5 years 6 months ago

It’s Joey Votto, not Joe Mauer. Yes, he’ll cost a lot but you’re overvaluing him to a certain degree.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 6 months ago

He’s under team control for 4 years, had an OPS last year beat out only by Fielder, Mauer, and Pujols, and he’s still getting better. I was being slightly sarcastic about the price, but right now Votto would probably cost more in prospects than most players.

5 years 6 months ago

Given that high-production arb eligible players frequently get paid like FAs, having team control through 2013 isn’t that much better than a FA contract. Votto could probably command a bad system’s top prospect or good system’s #2, a B/B- prospect, and a C prospect, but guys like Evan Longoria blow him out of the water in terms of trade value.

5 years 6 months ago

One more year of progression for Votto, with the passing of his father and the issues that came with it in the past, and Votto will be right next to Longoria on trade value. He is the next elite hitter in MLB and this can be said because he has the work ethic it takes to be great. Look what he accomplished in the Reds lineup. Give him some better protection and top of the order players in front of him and his #’s will go even higher

dustyfresh
5 years 6 months ago

the reds will never trade votto, won’t happen! He is there best player, there marque guy, Castellini loves Votto. Cincinnati and their fans would revolt if they traded Votto

mattinglyfan
5 years 6 months ago

The Reds have a good problem of having too much young talent. Between Alonso, Francisco, Frazier, Votto, Bruce, and on and on, this team is begging to be contenders soon.

icedrake523
5 years 6 months ago

Too bad they have the problem that their manager hates young talent.

5 years 6 months ago

Drew Stubbs and Joey Votto disagree.

ctownboy
5 years 6 months ago

Uh, Stubbs and Votto DO agree.

In 2008, Votto was better than King Griffey Jr BUT Toothpick Baker continued to bat KGJ third in the order (“out of respect”) while Votto languished in the seven hole.

In 2009, Wee Willie Taveras sucked HARD, both on offense and defense, yet Stubbs was stuck in the Minors. It was ONLY when Taveras went on the DL that Stubbs was called up and ONLY when Taveras didn’t work hard did Stubbs get to stay in the line up.

In short, BOTH Stubbs and Votto were BETTER than the veterans they eventually replaced but it took one veteran getting traded and the other veteran going on the DL for Toothpick Baker to let the younger guy play and bat where it helped the team most.

Oh yeah, to start the 2008 campaign, Votto was in a platoon situation with Scott Hatteberg for the frst two weeks of the season.

5 years 6 months ago

As a Giants fan, you’re right. Baker luckily had a GM in Sabean who has just as much of a hard-on for vets as he does (to the extent that he signed Type A FAs to punt draft picks), and he was not wanton to give young guys a shot. But if you were 30+, you got every chance plus one to make up for bad play.

ctownboy
5 years 6 months ago

Yep, the Reds have had nine straight LOSING seasons and FINALLY have some young talent on the big league club and MUCH more in the Minors but what do they do? Do they punt the 2010 season and let the young kids play to see what they can do? No!!! They stay in WIN NOW mode and give Baker MORE veterans to play and misuse/overuse.

Last year they traded 26 year-old Josh Roenicke (who didn’t really start pitching until college), 22 year-old Zach Stewart and 26 year-old Edwin Encarnacion for injury prone 34 year-old Scot Rolen. To make matters worse, this Winter they reworked Rolen’s contract and added on another two years and $13 million dollars.

So instead of letting EE recover from his wrist injury and see what he could do for a full season, they traded him and two young Pitchers for an OLD player. The Reds were OUT OF CONTENTION last year and didn’t NEED Rolen. So they could have just waited until this off season to go after him. This is ESPECIALLY true since Rolen wanted OUT of Toronto and wanted to get TO Cincinnati.

The Reds HAD Ryan Hanigan and Paul Janish (two GOOD Defensive players) but instead of letting them play and see if their offense would improve, the Reds resigned 34 year-old Ramon Hernandez (whose Defense wasn’t very good and who missed time last season with a kneee injury and subsequent surgery) and 35 year-old Orlando Cabrera ( hwo led the Majors in Errors at Short Stop).

If the Reds new motto is pitching and defense then having Hernandez at Catcher and Cabrera at Short Stop does NOT go along with that them.

What makes it WORSE is the Reds also brought back 29 year-old Jonny Gomes (bad on defense) and 29 year-old Lance Nix for the Outfield. So instead of giving 27 year-old Chris Dickerson, 25 year-old Wladimiere Balentien or one of the other youngsters a chance to play, they have given Toothpick Baker MORE veteran ammunition to play with.

Oh yeah, the Reds ALSO brought in 35 year-old Miguel Cairo, 33 year-old Aaron Miles and retained 33 year-old Corky Miller.

So, even if the Reds DO have a winning season in 2010 they will STILL not know what a lot of these young kids can do in the Majors and thus 2011 wil still be a question mark about them.

Again, I say they should have punted the 2010 season, played the kids to see what they could do and then, with a LOT of money coming off the books for 2011, used that cash to sign Free Agents to fill the holes the kids couldn’t fill.

5 years 6 months ago

With respect to Votto, I was referring to getting the job over Hatteberg. Votto didn’t “languish” in the 7th spot and he didn’t “replace” KGJ. Votto and Hatteberg gave Baker every reason during spring training to go with Hatteberg, with Votto’s return to AAA a possibility. However, all the ST interviews I heard that year from Baker, was that he was sticking with Votto, and Votto was his 1st baseman. Yes, he and Hatteberg split starts the first 10 days of the season, but after Votto’s spring, that short-term approach seemed to have paid off for him.

With respect to Stubbs, how much experience do you let a prospect have in AAA and how much time do you give someone who you just signed to a 2-yr $6 million contract. Taveras should have never been brought in in the first place, but once Jocketty gives him that deal, I don’t think it was Baker’s call to place Taveras who was on his roster and Stubbs who wasn’t on the 25-man. Stubbs didn’t help himself mid-summer with a poor June in AAA.

However, once he was up, Baker stuck with him and did not send him to the bench in favor of Taveras. Taveras is no longer in the organization, and Baker has said it is Stubbs job to lose, much to Dickerson’s dismay.

ctownboy
5 years 6 months ago

Look it up, every month that Votto and KGJ were on the team, Votto outproduced KGJ on Offense. The difference is that Votto was batting 7th while KGJ was batting third an THAT was because Toothpick Baker was doing it “out of respect” for KGJ.

Horse puckey. MLB is about WINNING ball games, NOT stroking egos. Votto was and is the future for the Reds while KGJ was a faded image of past greatness. For the Reds to be better IN THE FUTURE, Votto SHOULD have been batting third and KGJ 7th.

Tom Stadler
5 years 6 months ago

I’d say the best option here would be trading Alonso for another prospect that’s equal to his value but at a different position, simply for the reason that Votto is proven and he isn’t. There’s no guarantee Alonso will be the real deal in the MLB, gotta go with the sure thing.

Even if he does prove to be a stud, I’d say it’s worth trying to get something for him than dealing your already proven 1B. This is all of course, if the Reds conclude he and Votto are 1B and 1B only.

Eltiante34
5 years 6 months ago

Would this be a type of player the Red Sox might try and target should he become available? They have a need for young power hitters, and 1B could be open sometime next year with Youk shifting across the diamond once Beltre leaves

5 years 6 months ago

I really believe Alonso will work out enough in LF over time to become serviceable and all this trade talk will go away. The only thing to derail this thought is if the Reds are in serious contention this year and swing him for a big time LF stud. The Reds have a prospect of their own at SS coming for 2011 so no need to trade for a prospect there. I could really only see the Reds trading Yonder for another prospect if that prospect was an elite prospect at catcher. Other than that they might as well sit on it for another year at least and see what happens

kevinmaltsberger
5 years 6 months ago

Alonso= Cuban…went to Miami….maybe a trade to the marlins (with other young pieces) for Hanley Ramirez? I know it is VERY unlikely, but Alonso could be a hometown hero in Miami and the Reds would love to have such a great ss

5 years 6 months ago

Here’s what I don’t get: Joey Votto doesn’t want to pay in the outfield. Guess what? Who cares! If the manager tells you to go play the outfield, you go play the outfield. I get that he’s worked hard at 1B, and that he’s proud of his effort, but he should be prouder of the fact that they think he’s also better in the OF than Alonso. I mean, if having Alonso’s bat in the lineup makes them better, why wouldn’t Votto do what’s best for the team?

If you’re a Reds’ fan, you obviously want both of those bats in your lineup, so which defensive alignment looks better to you? Votto at 1B and Alonso in LF, or Alonso at 1B and Votto in LF? Keep in mind that Votto has played at least a few games in the OF at both the MiLB and MLB level, and that Alonso runs so well he’s stolen exactly zero bases since college. I’m not saying Votto is a gazelle, but he moves a lot better than Alonso.

ctownboy
5 years 6 months ago

Votto is STILL having anxiety problems. So the last thing you want to happen is for him to be moved to a new position and increase the stress and pressure on him which causes either his production to go down, him to go on the Dl again or both.

Ricky Bones
5 years 6 months ago

You don’t want him to become sad like Khalil Greene.

5 years 6 months ago

I wouldn’t downplay it so much; social anxiety problems have crushed the career of one of the best young shortstops in the game. Votto is a franchise-building player, and if he’s had social anxiety problems in the past, pushing him to a new position may be seriously harmful to him and therefore to the club, more so than a lot of other players.

Ricky Bones
5 years 6 months ago

People can sugar coat it however they want, but either a guy can cut it & keep his head in order or he can’t. Everyone has issues that could push them over the edge. Some deal w/ them & others wallow in them. I’d bet the major leaguers who served their country in war, some twice (Ted Williams) had some issues when they returned home as well. They put their pants on & got back to business. Nobody was going to coddle them.

5 years 6 months ago

John Fay’s blog post yesterday was the first time I had read that “Votto didn’t want to move.” I think it is more of an insight to Joey’s preference, and not a fact-based incident where the club approached Votto about playing LF and Votto said “no”.

Most players’ prefer to stay at their original position. Ask Chris Dickerson. Ask Brandon Phillips. Jay Bruce wasn’t eager to move to RF either.

The bigger question in my mind – why has neither Votto nor Alonso played a position other than 1st base with the Reds organization since Alonso was drafted?

5 years 6 months ago

@GregD…I know, right? Votto played about 50 games in LF between AAA and MLB the year before Alonso was drafted, but once they had a second prime 1B prospect in the system they figured he didn’t need to learn the OF? That doesn’t make sense.

ctownboy
5 years 6 months ago

It is because the ownership, Front Office and Toothpick Baker have a hard time thinking outside the box. It is like things are set in stone and unchangable.

Votto MUST stay at First Base.

Phillips MUST stay at Second Base.

The Center Fielder MUST bat lead off while the Short Stop MUST bat second.

Stubbs MUST start in Center Field over Dickerson (without any competition) because Stubbs is younger and a higher Draft pick and because Dickerson is “fragile”.

To those things I say horse puckey.

Pete Rose changed positions four times and did quite well for himself and helped his teams by doing so.

Wade Boggs was a slow Third Baseman and did quite well for himself (and his teams did well) with him batting lead off. Unlike FAST Corey Paterson and FASTER Willie Taveras, Boggs lead off many a game and “clogged the bases” for the RBI guys.

As far as Dickerson NOT getting a shot at starting in Center Field because of his health reasons, would Toothpick Baker and the organization be saying the SAME things about Eric Davis? I mean, Davis was fragile BUT he put up the numbers. Heck, Jocketty’s boy Scot Rolen is a china doll also but I don’t hear anybody in the organization saying HE should be playing another position because of his fragility.

Some people talk about team chemistry being a necessity for winning. I don’t believe all of that stuff. The 1977 and 1978 Yankees couldn’t stand each other but won back to back World Series BECAUSE OF THEIR TALENT!

However, I DO believe team chemistry can be HURT because of an inflexible Manager or Front Office who CONTINUE to play the wrong players or bat them in the wrong positions. This is because the OTHER players keep thinking to themselves how BAD the guy is and how THEY are going to have to work harder and produce more to make up for the lack of production from the guys who is sucking HARD.

I mean, just imagine a family owned business where the owners Son works for the company and is paid 10 times what you are but does less work than you. How happy would YOU (or your felloe co-workers) be when YOU didn’t get a raise or a promotion because the company didn’t have enough money to pay you even though YOU deserved it?

5 years 6 months ago

I’ve been wondering about this for awhile now. Cincy also has Frazier whose best position is LF so moving Alonso would block their other top prospect. I think some people on here are on the right track with Brignac and Hellickson but I think it is going to be Votto going to Tampa.

Stengel
5 years 6 months ago

Yonder, Alonso approacheth.