TO Padres:

Edinson Volquez, RHP, SP
and three of REDS’ top 10 prospects:
Brad Boxberger [#6], RHP, RP [CL?]
Yonder Alonso, 1B [#2], OF [?]
Yasmani Grandal [#5], C, B:L&R


Mat Latos, SP [#3]

Latos projects as a #2/3 rotation starter; his 2011 performance split into two opposite half-seasons; he was mediocre in the first half; 5-10, 4.04 ERA. But the 23-year-old Latos was absolutely en fuego in September, allowing eight earned runs in 36 2/3 innings for a 1.96 ERA. He K’d 42, 5 Ws and lowered his ERA to 3.47. He posted a 2.87 ERA in the second half. Since he was a victim of a poor offense and with a career 3.37 ERA and 413 K’s through 72 starts he should be able to post improved overall numbers in 2012.  With a better D behind him and Votto out producing the entire Padre batting order, plus his familiarity with NL hitters, look for Latos to finish above .500 and allow the REDS to last longer in the NL Central race.

"The Padres got four players in this deal: Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, and Yasmani Grandal."

The Padres are hoping that Volquez can overcome arm problems and take the ball 40+ times. He is 28, 30-18 with a 4.17 ERA since. In his first full Cincy season in 2008, he went 17-6, 3.21 ERA, 206 Ks/196 innings, and was named to the National League All-Star Team. Downside: Reds’ Opening Day starter last season, he went 5-7 with a 5.71 ERA, 20 starts. In 2009-2010 combined, he only saw action in 21 games.

"“Volquez will try to fill the role that Harang left vacant in San Diego. While his control has always been terrible (4.84 BB/9 in his career, including 5.38 last year), he really struggled with the long ball last season. Volquez allowed 1.57 HR/9 innings as over 20% of fly balls hit against him left the park. Going from a terrific park for power hitters like The Great American Ballpark to Petco should help to turn things around for him a bit. The deal certainly makes Volquez an intriguing sleeper to consider for the 2012 season.”"

If he is healthy, he can slot into the #2 rotation spot and in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, make .500.

Imagine a bulkier version of John Olerud and you have Yonder Alonso. Although blocked by Votto at 1b in Cincy and sent, yonder, to attempt playing OF, Alosno may be able to re-claim his natural position, besting SDs current Bag One suspects: J. Guzman (team’s best hitter in the second half, but weak on D), A. Rizzo (Good glove, BA .141), M. Kotsay (converted OF), K. Blanks (slow-footed OF). These four have nothing over Yonder.

As a hitting/fielding package, Yonder is better than any of these other pretenders; he can make the routine play and bat near .300, spraying doubles around Petco Park; Alonso, 24, hit .330/.398/.543 in 47 games for Cincy and .296 with 12 home runs in 91 games for Triple-A Louisville last season. The left-handed hitter was recently named the No. 3 prospect in the Reds organization by Baseball America. Ceiling: Top Ten Hitters.

Boxberger;  RHP, the REDS’ #6, [MLB], #10 [Baseball America] prospect, split time between AA Carolina and AAA Louisville last year,  2.03 ERA and averaged 13.5 SO/9.

The 23 year-old was 2-4 with 11 saves, a 2.03 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 55 relief appearances last season, splitting the year between Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville.

His stuff projects better in the pen with a power arm that works well in short relief, even though he has the pitch assortment to be a starter. He worked out of the pen back in Double-A in 2011, then earned a promotion to Triple-A at the end of June and continued to work as a reliever. He is MLB-ready. Ceiling: Padres’ closer 2012.

Yasmani Grandal may turn out to be the hidden gem in this deal. A rare switch-hitting catcher, think “Yadir Molina-Lite,” he rocketed through the minors last year, improving his offensive averages each stop: High A Bakersfield, AA Carolina, and AAA Louisville. Overall he batted .305 with 14 HR and 68 RBI, 402 ABs,  .401 OBP, .500 slugging percentage in 105 games; named the No. 4 prospect in the Reds organization by Baseball America.

Both Grandal and Alonso were drafted out of the excellent University of Miami program. “Our young starting pitching depth allowed us to make a move like this,” crowed Padres General Manager Josh Byrnes. “We’ve added four credentialed young players who can help us win in the short and long term.”

Grandal was overshadowed by C prospect, Devin Mesoraco, #1 REDS’ prospect,
drafted 2007, 1st (15 overall). Mesoraco can hit for average and power, and his plus arm allows him to shut down a running game. After his breakout 2010, which saw him play at three levels, he played very well in Triple-A while working on his overall catching game. That earned him his first callup to the big leagues in September. Mesoraco made Grandal expendable, as he is ready to play in tandem with Hannigan.

Taken No. 12 overall in the 2010 Draft, Grandal got a big league deal and was in Major League camp for his first Spring Training. A natural leader behind the plate, he’s a slightly better defender than Mesoraco all-around but not as good a hitter. Like Yadir Molina, he does have occasional power.

Grandal may have a shot at breaking camp with the club, but the low-budget Padres have a pretty good excuse to delay his arbitration clock.

Look for him to back-up Hannigan after the All-Star break and take over the starting job in 2013.


REDS’ GM, Walt Jocketty must have felt the pressure from fans and management to justify his hotel and meal money at the Winter meetings, because he got jocked: he gave up 4 future starters to get one very good #2  starter.

Walt will look good in 2012, but, as these top prospects arrive in MLB, it will become apparent that he over-paid to Latos.

The Padres have several young pitchers in the pipeline and were able to deal Latos for a Future Star catcher, a MLB-ready closer, a starting 1b, and a maybe #4 rotation starter. If the boring, bu pleasant climate is more to his liking in SD and his arm recovers, Volquez could go 10-15, or he could spend most of the year on the DL.

Boxberger will step right into the jock of former closer Heath Bell and collect all the SVs that the Padres can muster, maybe 25-30.

If Alonso takes over at 1b, he will be in the NL Top Ten batters for AVG. and may set a record for doubles in a season; he will hit 15-20 bombs and record 70-80 Ribbies; put him down for ZERO steals. He is not fleet afoot, but can handle the tight, nimble footwork at 1b; however, if they stick him in the OF, it will affect his hitting.

With his only competition ‘a Hundley, a Baker and a candlestick maker,’ Grandal will likely hone his hitting skills in AAA and, as soon as the Friars realize they are fried, around September 1, he will get the call up and gradually take over the job.

The REDS did well to get a solid #2 starter who will be an improvement on Volquez.

The Padres did better; they got a Top Ten Batter 1b, a new closer, a sore-arm starter with some upside and a switch-hitting C with All-Star potential.

“The envelope, please…”

[Scoring from 0 to 100 points]

REDS:    75
Padres: 90

You got a problem with that? Bring it!

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