Editor's Note: Jim Bowden selected five trade scenarios from more than 600 proposed by friends of the ESPN Baseball Tonight Facebook page. His analysis of each trade is included below.
PROPOSAL NO. 1
Facebook friend: Jimmy Maricle
Analysis: Obviously, it’s difficult to address the proposal without knowing who the top prospect would be or without a list of possible "players to be named later," so I will have to evaluate the deal without them.
The Reds would get a solid No. 2 starter in Dempster to put between Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo. Dempster would compete, provide valuable innings and improve the rotation. Soriano can still hit home runs and would probably hit 30 playing in Great American Ball Park. His legs are not what they used to be, and he’s a below-average defender. He profiles as a No. 6 hole hitter at this point in his career. His occasional three-run homers would help the bottom of the Reds' lineup.
The Cubs would receive Volquez with hopes that he can return to the form of 2008 when he won 17 games. Volquez is only 27, but there are concerns that he hasn’t been the same pitcher since the Tommy John surgery and positive PED test from 2009. He still would be a worthwhile gamble for the Cubs. Janish is a good defensive shortstop who’s not going to hit enough to be an everyday player but a suitable backup for Starlin Castro for years to come.
The contract of the players will play a huge part in evaluating this proposed trade. Soriano is in the midst of an eight-year deal for $136 million that expires in 2014. He also has a complete no-trade clause. Dempster is in the midst of a four-year deal for $52 million that expires after 2012. He too has no-trade rights. Volquez is under a one-year, $1.62 million deal with incentives that total $50,000. Janish is under a one-year deal for $437,500.
The Reds would never be able to make this deal financially unless the Cubs were willing to pay all of Soriano’s remaining contract. The deal would also hinge on both Dempster and Soriano eradicating their respective no-trade clauses, something that Dempster has said he’s not willing to do. Dempster and Soriano, however, would give the Reds two veteran players who have tremendous work ethic and veteran leadership capabilities.
For the Reds to make this deal, besides the Cubs' willingness to pay all of Soriano’s contract, they would have to be convinced that Volquez won’t bounce back in the next couple of years. When he’s healthy, he’s shown flashes of being a top-of-the-rotation starter, and the Reds control him for three more years. Janish is expendable because of the emergence of Zack Cozart. The Cubs would love to get out of Soriano’s contract, and if they trade Dempster, they would probably prefer dealing for a top prospect like first baseman Yonder Alonso or catcher Devin Mesoraco.
This deal is not going to happen because of the no-trade clauses and financial exposure the Reds would have to assume. However, strictly from a talent perspective, Jimmy, this was a good trade idea.
By the way, Jimmy, I would not change pitching coaches. Price has always been a top-tier major league pitching coach. Power will be one someday as well, but not at this time or at Price’s expense.