Alonso played some outfield last season, but he's simply not fast enough to play out there, he's really just a first baseman. Alonso was ranked the No. 49 prospect in baseball by MLB.com and No. 65 by ESPN.com's Keith Law. He's ranked the Reds' fourth-best prospect by Baseball America .
Alonso signed a major-league deal when he was drafted in 2008. Because of that, he'll be out of options after this season and seems to be certain to be traded. However, Bill Bavasi, the team's vice president of scouting, player development and international operations, said Wednesday at a fundraiser that the team wasn't interested in trading Alonso.
“We won’t trade him,” Bavasi said, according to the Dayton Daily News ' Hal McCoy . “We’ve tried him in the outfield and he gets to ball he should get to, but he doesn’t have the speed to make the great plays. But we can’t move him. He is exactly the kind of player Walt [Jocketty] loves -- he hits the ball hard, puts the ball in play, doesn’t strike out. I’m not so sure it would do him any good to sit on the bench this year so he’ll probably go back [to Class AAA Louisville] and play and work. He won’t be kept just to pinch-hit because it is tough for a kid to learn to do that.”
The Reds signed Votto to a three-year deal this month, buying out his arbitration years, but he will still be a free agent after the 2013 season. That seems too long to have Alonso sitting on the bench as a pinch-hitter, so the team almost has to trade him for a useful piece. He can be the perfect bit of trade bait if the Reds are looking for something at the trade deadline to put them over the hump, if they're still in the improved National League Central -- of course, other teams know they have to trade him, too, so Bavasi is likely just sandbagging.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans