Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trade Target: Yonder Alonso

Name: Yonder Alonso
Position: First Base
Team: Cincinnati Reds
2012 Opening Day age: 24
Contract: 1 year, 1M remaining
Service time: ~1 year

Scouting Report:

Alonso is a thick (6'2", 240 lbs) first baseman who was drafted 7th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2008 draft. While he isn't the same gargantuan size, Alonso has an Adam Dunn look to his body. A career .293/.370/.466 hitter across 2+ minor league seasons, Alonso has the potential for 60 hit and power tools with a strong plate approach. He has shown some weakness to left handed pitching in the past, but Alonso actually hit lefties better than righties with Triple-A Louisville this season. While it's disappointing that his 17 home runs between 446 Triple-A and MLB at-bats were a personal best, Alonso pounded out a lot of doubles which leaves room for improvement. While his body looks mature, he's still growing as a hitter and more power should come down the road. Offensively, his ceiling is likely a .300/25 hitter, which is more than acceptable for a first baseman. Alonso has below average speed and will likely never improve, but he does have the potential to be a solid defensive first baseman.

2011 Statistics:

88 AB, .330/.398/.545 (.943 OPS), 4 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 0 SB, 10/21 BB/K

Why Toronto would want him:

Similar to the reasons touched on in the Joey Votto post, Adam Lind is not the answer at first base long term, and Toronto needs to begin looking for alternatives. While Alonso lacks the upside of Votto, he is a much cheaper alternative, both in terms of salary and trade cost. Alonso signed a 5 year, 4.55M (including 2M signing bonus) major league contract after being drafted in 2008, and while he has only 1 year worth 1M remaining on that contract, he would still be under team control through 2016. He could likely be acquired for only one of Toronto's MLB ready arms, whereas Votto would cost possibly 3 of Toronto's top 5 prospects. He could hit 2nd, 5th, or 6th in the Blue Jays lineup immediately, with the possibility of moving to 4th if he develops as hoped.

Why Cincinnati might trade him:

While the Reds have tried playing him at third base and in left field, Alonso's speed clearly limits him to first base. With Joey Votto in place, Cincinnati has a substantial decision to make this offseason. The first option would be to rebuild, trading Votto for a bounty of prospects and moving Alonso to first base full time. The other option would be to push all-in while they still have Votto under contract. If they choose the second option, it would be wise to capitalize on moving Alonso while he is still young, cheap, and projectable, as opposed to wasting him as a bench bat. An Alonso trade could result in the acquisition of a starting pitcher who could help them for the next two years on their quest for a championship.

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