The Reds are offering Yonder Alonso as trade bait in their search for a closer or a No. 2 starter, reports Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. Reds GM Walt Jocketty has spoken to several teams --- including the A's, Blue Jays, Indians and Rays --- about Alonso, though we heard earlier this week that the Reds thought Alonso was too much to give up for Oakland closer Andrew Bailey.
Alonso is regarded as Cincinnati's top hitting prospect, if one without a Major League position since Joey Votto is cemented at first base. The 24-year-old has an OPS of .837 in four minor league seasons and hit .330/.398/.545 in 98 plate appearances with the Reds last year.
If the Reds were willing to move him, you would think Alonso would be too much to deal for any closer, not just Bailey. Jocketty has said his club's top priority is finding a starting pitcher this offseason, so while the Jays and Indians have some good young arms, they wouldn't be willing to deal a top-of-the-rotation caliber of starter for which the Reds are looking. The Jays and Tribe also have other options at first base, though Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Matt LaPorta wouldn't be major obstacles if Toronto or Cleveland had a legitimate shot at Alonso. The A's and Reds might not be a match on Bailey, but Jocketty might deem possibly-available pitchers like Gio Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill worthy of moving Alonso.
The most logical match would appear to be Tampa Bay, who has a big hole at first base, lots of pitching and a need for a controllable young talent like Alonso. The Rays could offer Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann, though the Reds are more likely looking for a pitcher like James Shields. (Obviously David Price and Jeremy Hellickson are staying put.)