Tag:Yonder Alonso
Posted on: August 8, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Reds' Alonso left in positional limbo

Yonder AlonsoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The moment Yonder Alonso was drafted by the Reds in the first round of the 2008 draft, the questions about where he'd play began. Alonso played first base at Miami and looked like he'd be limited to first base.

That's fine and good, except for when you have the reigning MVP at first base already and that player's just 27. 

Last spring the Reds started trying Alonso in left field and he played 30 games there in 2010 between Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville, but still played the bulk of his time at first base, logging 96 games there. This season with his bat ready for the big leagues, he was given more time in the left field, where he played 62 games in left compared to 21 at first base.

Since the left-handed hitting prospect was called up to the big leagues when Jonny Gomes was traded, he's started three games in left and none at first. The first part is going to change, the second may not.

Alonso's latest position may be third base after he struggled in two games in left at Wrigley Field this past weekend, playing one ball into an inside-the-park home run for Cubs rookie Tony Campana and then misplaying another ball for a crucial error in Saturday's loss.

When asked on Monday when Alonso would play left again, Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters, "not in the near future," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Alonso took ground balls at third base -- his main position growing up, he's said -- but Baker said he doesn't expect Alonso there anytime soon.

"You don't want to do it in the big leagues," Baker said, according to Fay. "But that's the position he started at. It's a mirror image of first base, really. You get more plays. Most first baseman are at first because they're left-handed or they don't have the arm to play third.

"We'll see. We're trying to find the best place to get his bat in the lineup."

Yonder AlonsoWhile Alonso's looked shaky in the field, he's been locked in at the plate, where he's started the season 8 for 16 with two doubles and a homer. The Reds called up another prospect, Dave Sappelt, on Sunday when Chris Heisey went on the disabled list and Sappelt will likely get a chance to play quite a bit in left and center. Sappelt had a hit leading off in his major-league debut on Sunday. Fred Lewis is starting in left on Monday.

Finding a spot for Alonso is tricky. The Reds thought he was the best hitter available when they took him with the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft and he's shown it in the minors, where he's combined to hit .293/.370/.466. He was hitting .296/.374/.486 with 12 homers when he was called up. Although he's 4 for 7 as a pinch-hitter so far this season, going forward he's going to be too valuable for filling just that role.

The Reds and Blue Jays reportedly talked about a blockbuster sending Joey Votto to his native Toronto in exchange for Jose Bautista, opening a spot for Alonso. Although that deal didn't go down, it does show how much the team values Alonso and feels he can be an impact player in the big leagues.

Votto is under contract through 2013, so he's in the team's immediate future but could be too expensive when he reaches free agency. Alonso would be a lower-cost alternative.

Alonso could also finish the season strong and be a more valuable trade piece in the offseason because of his early success in the big leagues. 

Physically, Alonso looks more like a first baseman -- or DH -- than third baseman, but he says he feels comfortable there. He didn't play third at Miami because current Twin Danny Valencia was at third base when he got there. The Reds have a need at third base. With Scott Rolen on the disabled list (and at 36), the Reds are using a combination of rookie Todd Frazier and veteran Miguel Cairo to man the position. Rolen is under contract through next season and the team's top prospect at the position, Juan Francisco, has been hurt this season and unproductive in a couple of big-league stints.

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 9:47 am
 

Pepper: Some Cubbie love from Lee



By Matt Snyder


At this time last week, we were busy pouring through rumor after rumor as the non-waiver trade deadline approached. There were a few Cubs' veterans we knew weren't going anywhere, despite playing for one of the worst teams in baseball. Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood in particular weren't going to waive their respective no-trade clauses. It might seem baffling to some people, but former teammate Derrek Lee says it's too great a place to play to want to leave.

"It's not that easy," Lee said (Chicago Tribune). "It's easy to look from the outside and say, 'Well, go play on a contender. This team is winning, so why don't you want to go there?' But you build roots in a place.

"Those guys have families. It's not that easy just to pack up and go. And how many cities are there as good as Chicago? You're going to have great crowds there every day, an atmosphere, and also those guys probably want the challenge of turning it around and winning there."

Baby steps: We've opined in this space several times about the sheer idiocy that are the MLB blackout rules and it appears there might be some ever-so-slight progress. Evidently MLB Extra Innings subscribers in northeast Ohio were all of a sudden blacked out from watching Pirates and Indians games due to a merger of several local cable providers. For once, Major League Baseball rectified an issue and lifted the blackout. So I guess that's a step in the right direction, but the rules are still absurd. (Biz of Baseball)

Remember me? Wednesday, we posted a video of an apparent Ichiro Suzuki fanatic in the Mariners crowd, who interfered with play by accident. Well, he was back at the ballpark the following day, once again dressed in full Ichiro garb. (Super Ichiro Crazy)

Bat-flavored beer: In Seattle, a brewing company has made a beer that soaked maple bats in it for three weeks. Interesting idea. Personally, I'm not sure I'd want to try it -- it just sounds weird, no? -- but who knows, maybe it's great. (ESPN.com)

Trade bait: Fangraphs.com has an excellent flow chart showing all the trades of Edwin Jackson, who has been dealt six times (and he's only 27 years old). Roughly 15 players have been traded for Jackson, though it's tough to very accurately say the proper number, as there have been a pair of three-way trades involving him.

Bad signings: Once you get past the Yankees, the Red Sox are generally maligned by casual fans for being a huge spender in free agency and just throwing money at players. The truth, however, is that the Red Sox are actually pretty good at developing their own. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon and more came directly from the system. Meanwhile, many free agent signings, like John Lackey and Carl Crawford, have thus far been a disaster (ESPN.com). Maybe Theo Epstein should stop spending so much on external players?

Back off, Tony: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa took exception with some comments from Brewers fans earlier this week, and I got his back. On this, however, I will not be doing so. He heard a Brewers announcer say the Cardinals throwing at Ryan Braun was "bush league" and called said announcer to discuss. I mean, really? The two did "clear the air," so I guess all's well that ends well. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Chipper return: Chipper Jones hasn't been in the starting lineup for over a week. He returned from the disabled list only to come down with a new injury and has been relegated to pinch-hit duty since. He's planning on returning to the lineup Friday, not surprisingly, against the Mets. He's hit more homers against the Mets than any other team in his career. (AJC.com)

Moose rests: Royals rookie Mike Moustakas has struggled, for the most part, since his promotion to the bigs. Manager Ned Yost gave Moustakas Wednesday night off to work on his swing mechanics. (Kansas City Star)

Alonso at third: Reds rookie Yonder Alonso projects as a very good major league hitter, according to most scouts, but he's a first baseman by trade. Not sure if you've heard, but the Reds have a decent 1B. Alonso has been played in left field, but most scouts see him as a bit of a butcher out there. Maybe third base could be a fit, with Scott Rolen being out for the next four to six weeks? He's been working out at third recently. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 11:40 pm
 

5 prospects to watch at the trade deadline

Yonder AlonsoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The trade deadline has increasingly become about prospects. A team selling needs to buy its future, and nothing screams future like prospects. Gone are the days that a fan base doesn't even blink at trading a young John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander -- even the buyers value their prospects more than ever now. No team wants to make the mistake the Braves made in 2007 when they sent Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus to Texas for a rental like Mark Teixeira.

However, that didn't seem to stop the Giants from taking that chance with right-hander Zach Wheeler, the prospect that triggered Wednesday's trade of Carlos Beltran from New York to San Francisco.

Wheeler, 21, is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA at high Class A San Jose this season. Wheeler was the Giants' first pick (sixth overall) in the 2009 draft out of a Georgia high school. Baseball America had him rated as the Giants' second-best prospect coming into the season behind Brandon Belt.

Here are some other prospects that may play a large role in whether a deal gets done or not by Sunday.

1. Yonder Alonso, Reds: The Reds raised eyebrows when they drafted Alonso in the first round in 2008 because of Joey Votto -- and that was before Votto had an MVP under his belt. Alonso has been playing left field in the minors, but is truly a first baseman and will have more value there than anywhere. 

The Reds called Alonso up to the big leagues on Tuesday, but he may not want to rent a place in Cincinnati quite yet. Alonso has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Todd Helton at first base for the Rockies if the Rockies pull the trigger on an Ubaldo Jimenez trade.

Alonso was hitting .296/.374/.486 with 12 homers and 56 RBI in 91 games at Triple-A before his call-up. In his first big-league at-bat of the season on Tuesday, Alonso doubled as a pinch hitter. Alonso picked up six hits in 22 games at the end of last season, but appeared mostly as a pinch-hitter with the Reds chasing the pennant and having an MVP in the lineup.

2. Robbie Erlin, Rangers: The left-hander is 5-2 with a 4.32 ERA at Double-A Frisco this season after dominating high Class A in his first nine starts of the season.

Erlin doesn't have overpowering stuff, but is extremely polished for a 20-year old. The Rangers drafted Erlin in the third round in 2009 and gave him over slot money to sign.

Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks noted that Erlin may not be the best fit for Rangers Ballpark because of his flyball tendancies. He also noted the team's first-rounder in 2011, Kevin Matthews, is similar to Erlin. Erlin's stuff projects much better to a National League team, Parks noted, especially a team like San Diego in a pitcher's park that can help out a flyball pitcher (see Harang, Aaron). And it just so happens, the Padres have exactly what the Rangers need -- bullpen help.

3. Jesus Montero, Yankees: Montero's name isn't quite as hot this year as he was last season when the Yankees were hot in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes and later in talks for Joakim Soria. But make no mistake about it, every team the Yankees call will bring up Montero quickly.

There are questions about where Montero will play in the future -- if he's a catcher, first baseman or DH -- but there are no questions about his bat. Montero, in his second year at Triple-A, has shown a drop in his slugging, but a .291/.350/.444 line with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 80 games is nothing to sneeze at, especially if he can catch.

4. Jonathan Singleton, Phillies: Like Alonso, Singleton is blocked by a superstar at first base. Not only is Ryan Howard an established star, he's also signed through 2016.

The Phillies are reluctant to deal top prospect Domonic Brown, but are open to offers for Singleton because of the Howard factor. Just 19, Singleton is hitting .284/.386/.413 with nine home runs and 47 RBI for high Class A Clearwater. Last season he was the youngest regular in the South Atlantic League and had the third-highest on-base percentage (.393) and fourth-best slugging percentage (.479).

5. Addison Reed, White Sox: Here's an interesting one -- the White Sox are still hanging around the race and with a victory over the Tigers on Wednesday, Chicago is just 3 1/2 games out of first place in the division and 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for second. The White Sox also upgraded their bullpen on Wednesday, adding Jason Frasor as well as minor leaguer Zach Stewart. Stewart made three starts for the Blue Jays, but has been used both as a starter and a reliever during his professional career.

Reed, a right-handed reliever, throws in the mid-90s and has a very good slider, projecting as a solid reliever and maybe future closer. However, minor-league relievers aren't as highly valued as any other position, meaning the White Sox may not get much for him straight up, but he would be a valuable add-in.

Reed, 22, was a closer for San Diego State behind Stephen Strasburg and has struck out 87 batters in 59 innings this season, pitching in four levels. He's currently at Triple-A Charlotte, where he's made one appearance.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Wednesday afternoon trade rumors

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We actually got the big trades on Wednesday with a three-way deal sending Colby Rasmus to Toronto and Edwin Jackson to St. Louis, as well as the biggest domino of the non-waiver trade deadline falling, as Carlos Beltran will join the Giants on Thursday. But that doesn't mean the rumors stopped, boy oh boy, are they still hot and heavy. Here's our roundup of the morning and early afternoon's rumors:

• One official for a contender told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that he believes the Rockies will move Ubaldo Jimenez. Apparently there's too much smoke for there not to be fire. The same official told Stark, "You don't do this with your best pitchers unless you're ready to trade him." 

• Even with the Cardinals rebuilding their bullpen in Wednesday's Rasmus deal, they're still talking to the Padres about Heath Bell and Mike Adams, CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller tweets.

• The Cubs are apparently interested in dumping two of their higher-priced players, Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted the Cubs are offering up much of the money left on their contracts. A rival front-office member told Heyman, "They'd have to pay 95 percent." Zambrano is making $17.875 million this season and $18 million next season. He has a $19.25 million vesting option for 2013 that takes effect if he is first or second in the 2011 Cy Young vote (not likely) or is in the top four of the 2012 Cy Young vote and is healthy. He has a full no-trade clause. Soriano is signed through 2014 at $18 million per season. The Cubs are hoping the Yankees bite, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.

• A's general manager Billy Beane tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's not interested in giving away any of the available A's players on the cheap. He said the team isn't looking to dump payroll.

• After Beltran turned down the Indians (or his agent did), Cleveland has moved on and is trying to land Rasmus, B.J. Upton and Hiroki Kuroda, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Of course, that was before Rasmus was off the table.

• The Astros say they want a "very top" pitching prospect in return for Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. He notes with that price tag, most expect Hunter to stay in Houston.

• FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets the Braves are now the most interested in Pence, but are also interested in the Padres' Ryan Ludwick.

• The Phillies have done background work on White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, Olney tweets. Philadelphia is searching for a bat that would basically replace what Jason Werth did for them last season.

• Rockies outfielder Ryan Spllborghs is a possibility for the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. He also adds the Twins are listening to offers for right-hander Kevin Slowey.

• The Yankees have asked about Florida's Ricky Nolasco, but was told the team would deal him, Heyman tweeted.

• The chances of the Dodgers trading Andre Ethier are "very slim" FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports. But there's a chance as Ethier will be a free agent after 2012.

• The Reds are telling teams catcher Devin Mesoraco and shortstop Billy Hamilton are "untouchable," Rosenthal writes. However, he also notes the Rockies wouldn't require either of those two. If a deal didn't include those, it would take some other big pieces, though. The Reds' system is deep enough to have those pieces, such as Yasmandi Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Travis Wood and Mike Leake.

• Even though the Rays have said James Shields is unavailable, Rosenthal tweets Cincinnati is targeting Sheilds over Ubaldo Jimenez.

• With Rasmus off the table, the Nationals are targeting the Twins' Denard Span and could move closer Drew Storen to get the outfielder, Rosenthal said on MLB Network.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 8:14 pm
 

Gomes traded to Nats, Reds promote Alonso

By Matt Snyder

It's not exactly a blockbuster, but we've got a trade here in the last week before the non-waiver deadline to pass along. The Cincinnati Reds have sent left fielder Jonny Gomes and cash considerations to the Washington Nationals for minor leaguers Chris Manno (LHP) and Bill Rhinehart (OF). As the Reds were left with an open spot on their major-league roster, they recalled touted prospect Yonder Alonso.

Alonso, 24, was hitting .296 with 12 home runs, 56 RBI and an .860 OPS in Triple-A. He can play first base, but with Joey Votto in house and left field a bit of a problem area for the Reds, that would seem the more likely destination for Alonso -- when he gets to start. He has played 62 games in left this season.

Gomes, 30, is hitting .211/336/.399 in part-time duty for the Reds. He still has power, with 11 home runs in 218 at-bats, but consistency has been an issue. The Nationals have reportedly been searching for a long-term replacement in center, so Gomes doesn't seem to be an answer in that regard. He'll simply continue a part-time role as a corner outfielder. The move is also noteworthy because it comes just two days after the Reds' promotion was Jonny Gomes bobblehead night.

Manno, 22, had a 1.04 ERA and 0.89 WHIP for Class-A Hagerstown.

Rhinehart, 26, had 21 home runs, 59 RBI and a .963 OPS for Double-A Harrisburg.

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Futures Game: Yonder Alonso on LF, Cuba and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX --Reds prospect Yonder Alonso is in his second Futures Game this weekend at Chase Field in Phoenix and is off to good start at Triple-A Louisville, but because he's primarily a first baseman, the Reds aren't in any need to bring him up to the big leagues because they're set at first base with reigning National League MVP Joey Votto playing first.

Alonso has started playing left field in an attempt to be more versatile and as a way to get his bat into the Reds' lineup. It's a good strategy, as he's hitting .298/.372/.490 with 11 home runs and 48 RBI for Triple-A Louisville. His manager, Rick Sweet, said he's making strides in left and is doing well in the field. Alonso said he's enjoying his time in the outfield as well. He's stating at first base for the World team on Sunday for the Futures Game, but said he had to take some extra infield because it's the first time he's play first in the last three weeks.

Born in Cuba, Alonso's family left the island when he was young and he grew up in Miami. He talks about the difficult feelings wearing the Cuban flag on his chest for the game brings up, among other topics.


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Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: March 6, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Phillie concern

Domonic Brown

By C. Trent Rosecrans

After nothing but (deserved) rave reviews this offseason, reality is hitting the Philadelphia Phillies.

Still the favorite in the National League East, the same problem that kept them in a division race last season is popping up again -- injuries.

Chase Utley is already getting cortisone shots and, as our own Danny Knobler wrote it perfectly, if the Phillies are concerned -- and they're saying they're concerned -- it's not a good sign.

And now Domonic Brown is out with a broken hamate bone in his hand. Although Brown was struggling this spring -- hitless in 15 at-bats -- and was likely headed to Triple-A, he was still part of the team's plans for 2011.

The hamate injury is a tricky one -- he'll likely be able to play this season, but he won't be the same. Last year when I was around the Reds a bit, I talked to two players who were in different stages of the same injury. One, Yonder Alonso, suffered the injury in 2009, the other, Chris Dickerson, had the surgery during last season.

Dickerson was able to return and even played with the Reds and Brewers after the surgery. Alonso had the surgery in June of 2009 and was back that season, as well. However, the injury saps power. Alonso told me several times that the ball just didn't jump off his bat the same, what would be a double in the past wasn't getting past outfielders, and what was a homer in the past just died in the outfield. As doctors told him, about a year fate the surgery, his power was back. 

Brown can return this season, but don't expect him to be the same player he has shown to be in the minor leagues and that he'll be in the future.

The Phillies are counting on Ben Francisco and Ross Gload to fill in for Jayson Werth until Brown is ready. Now they'll be counting on those two longer.

Pitching won't be a problem for Philadelphia, and it wasn't the problem last year. When the team got in trouble, it was injuries and offense. With uncertainly to the health of Utley and then general uncertainty with Jimmy Rollins, there's cause for concern in Philly.

That said, they're still the favorites, but maybe not quite the prohibitive favorites they were before.

STAYING PAT: The Yankees appear to be happy with the starters they have in camp -- CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova.

Brian Cashman tells the Boston Globe the team is unlikely to trade for a starter before opening day.

"Can't rule it out, but it's highly unlikely," Cashman said. "Normally anything of quality doesn't become available until after the June draft. That's why you try and get as much as you can get accomplished in winter."

HOT DOG RUN: Apparently because the team mom forgot the orange slices, after his stint in Saturday's game, Boston's Dustin Pedroia ducked out of the Red Sox clubhouse to the concession stand for three hot dogs.

"They probably didn't think he was a player," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters, including the Providence Journal. "Did you see that outfit he had on? He looks like he's going into second grade."

NATS OPTIMISM: A scout tells Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) that Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is "back." He's throwing 94-95 mph with a "superb" slider. Said the scout, "if they had [Stephen] Strasburg, they'd be dangerous."

The Nats don't, but Zimmermann offers hope for 2012, as he had Tommy John surgery in August of 2009, a year before Strasburg. 

AMBASSADOR GRIFFEY: Ken Griffey Jr.'s new job with the Mariners is to be an ambassador of sort, but before he does that, he served the same role for the U.S. State Department in the Philippines. 

Griffey just returned from working with coaches and youth players in the Philippines. 

USA Today's Paul White caught up with him last week before his trip. Griffey still refuses to talk about his exit from the game, but he'll likely be seen around the Mariners some this season. His new job requires about a month's worth of work with the team, doing a little bit of everything.

More importantly, he's being a dad. His daughter Taryn recently led Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School to the Florida girls basketball championship. Taryn Griffey, a freshman point guard, had 21 points in the championship game.

His son, Trey, is a junior safety and wide receiver who is being recruited, as well.

PIAZZA NOT BUYING Mets: Mike Piazza tells the New York Post he's interested in buying part of a baseball team "someday" but not now.

"I think everything is timing," Piazza said. "It's an interesting time in the game. There's a lot of change going on … but as far as anything on the forefront, there's nothing. Let's just say I talked to some people that are interested in getting into the game … It doesn't cost anything to talk. At least not yet."

NO PANIC FOR Braves: Atlanta's 23-year-old Craig Kimbrel has the inside track to replace Billy Wagner as the Braves' closer, but he's not been very good so far this spring. He's struggled with his command and has allowed four runs and six hits in three appearances this spring.

"If there is a trend like this later in the spring, then you start worrying about it," manager Fredi Gonzalez tells MLB.com. "But not right now."

CAIN FEELS BETTER: Giants pitcher Matt Cain played catch for about eight minutes on Saturday and felt no pain in his right elbow.

Cain was scratched from his last start and won't make his scheduled start on Tuesday, either. (MLB.com)

PIONEER LAID TO REST: About 500 people reportedly attended the funeral of Wally Yonamine in Hawaii on Saturday, according to Sanspo (via YakyuBaka.com). A memorial service will also be held in Tokyo later this month.

Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan, died earlier this week at 85. The New York Times had a good obituary earlier this week, and a column in the Honolulu Star Advertiser shed light on how Yonamine dealt with death threats and other pressures when he started playing in Japan.

However, Yonamine became a star in Japan and was elected to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also the first Asian-American to play in the NFL.

NOT THAT IT'S GONNA HAPPEN: But contraction isn't going to happen.

Union chief Michael Weiner tells the St. Petersburg Times that the union will fight any attempt to contract teams.

"Having been in bargaining in baseball since the late 80s, anything is fathomable, so we don't either take anything for granted or rule anything out," Weiner said. "All I would says is if that changes, if contraction becomes a goal of the owners in this negotiation, the tenor of the talks would change quickly and dramatically."

Bud Selig tells the Los Angeles Times it's not a goal for the owners, and it's certainly not a fight they want to take up.

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Posted on: January 27, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Reds not looking to trade Alonso

Yonder Alonso 'Tis the season for prospect lists, and one player on most of the lists is Reds first baseman Yonder Alonso. And one thing that shows up on all the lists is that he's blocked at the big-league level by National League MVP Joey Votto.

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

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