Yonder Alonso acquisition could stir the pot further in San Diego


 

Former Cincinnati top-prospect Yonder Alonso is bringing his bat to San Diego.

The Reds have acquired Mat Latos from the Padres, according to Ken Rosenthal, while blue-chip prospect Yonder Alonso heads to the Padres along with Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.

While the Padres give up their emerging ace in Latos, who started to put it together at the end of last season, the front office struck while the iron was hot, receiving a major haul of prospects. Alonso (#3), Grandal (#4) and Boxberger (#10) are all among the top-10 prospects in the Reds organization according to Baseball America. In addition, the Padres replaced (in a sense) their ace with another legitimate front-of-the-rotation starter in Volquez, who was a first-time All-Star in 2008. However, he has been hindered by injuries the last few years.

Many rival executives already are speculating on corresponding Padres moves because Anthony Rizzo is at first base and Alonso is also more suited for first. Many believe Rizzo will be the next to go, being as Alonso doesn’t fit in PETCO Park’s spacious outfield and his natural position is first base. One things is almost certain, this is the first of many moves by the Padres this winter. Here’s a breakdown of the prospects the Padres acquired:

Yonder Alonso
Age: 24
Bats: Left
Height: 6’-2”
Weight: 210 lbs

Scouting Report: Alonso is mechanically sound from the left side with very good plate discipline. He uses all fields spraying the ball with authority. He has very good power and should hit for a high average as well. His good plate recognition and approach, and accompanied with his raw power, he should be an OBP-machine while flirting with 20-25 home runs (if not more) perennially. He has good bat speed with an effortless swing. He has below-average speed, but not uncommon for a first baseman. He should grow into a average first baseman defensively. The Reds tinkered around with him in the outfield because of this guy named Joey Votto, wasn’t sure if you had heard of him, but Alonso’s future is at first. Last year, upon his promotion to bigs, Alonso looked more than ready hitting .330/.398/.545 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 88 AB. Last year, in triple-A, he hit .296/.374/.486 with 24 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR and 56 RBI in 358 AB.

Yasmani Grandal
Age: 23
Bats: Switch
Height: 6’-2”
Weight: 210 lbs

Scouting Report: Grandal has a sound hitting approach, decent bat speed, and profiles as an above-average hitting catcher at the major-league level. He currently has raw untapped power, but he has the potential to be an above-average, power-hitting catcher moving forward. His bat profiles more favorably from the left side, like many switch-hitters’ do. Defensively, he is a solid receiver behind the dish with a strong and accurate arm. Last year between high-A, double-A and triple-A, Grandal made great strides flourishing at each level, hitting .305/.401/.500 with 31 2B, 14 HR and 68 RBI in 374 AB.

Brad Boxberger
Age: 23
Throws: Right
Height: 6’-2”
Weight: 200 lbs

Scouting Report: Boxberger is a three-pitch pitcher. His fastball sits comfortably between 91-92 mph, and on occasion can touch 94 mph with good action to either side of the plate. He has two secondary pitches, a curveball and a circle change-up. Boxberger was the Reds best reliever prospect and has very good promise as a potential closer very soon. In two seasons in the Reds organization, the right-hander has a combined 3.75 ERA in 153.2 IP with 70 BB (4.1 BB/9) and 203 K (11.9 SO/9). Last year, he dominated with a 2.03 ERA between double-A and triple-A with a 13.5 strikeout per 9 innings pitched ratio with 93 Ks in 62 IP.

Volquez can be a front-of-the-rotation starter when healthy. Having said that, he has had problems staying on the field the last few seasons. The 2008 All-Star went 5-7 with a underwhelming 5.71 ERA in arguably the best hitters park in baseball last year in 108.2 IP. He did strikeout 104, so almost a strikeout per inning pitched. If Volquez can remain healthy, he, like any pitcher to step foot into PETCO Park, will benefit from its hitter-friendly confines.

I know for Padres fans it’s hard to see a bulldog competitor, emerging ace and fan-favorite go in Latos, but the Padres are trying to build a complete team for the long-term and a winning team during a transition year. The consensus, thus far, from rival executives, is Padres GM Josh Byrnes received a very very good haul.

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  1. Good points Jamie. I agree, less probably would have been enough! Then again, the Padres had the leverage to demand that asking price. I’m not sure they do it for MUCH less. What a haul…

  2. I can’t believe the Reds gave up that much for Latos. I think a trade of Alonso and Volquez almost gets this done, not alone two other very good prospects. 

    I wonder if the Braves could even get half this package for Jurrjens!

  3. I am hearing there is very little in Hudson unless the Padres eat his payroll. That would be hard for a small market team. I still think one gets moved, and I agree it could be Bartlett because of Hudson’s lack of value.

    Bingo. Byrnes is just warming up!

  4. Absolutely! You trade for the best players out there, and stockpile if that’s the best option. That opens up deals down the road, although many fans don’t understand that logic.
    I believe Bartlett will be easier to move than Hudson, and hopefully for that corner outfielder your talking about. I also think Cabrera should be given a shot at starting at short this spring, or at second if the team can dump Hudson.
    One thing for sure is that Byrnes isn’t done yet. He’s been very aggressive in trying to improve this club.

  5. I am very high on both Erlin and Wieland. Both are built for Petco Park and not far away from the bigs. Latos was expendable because of the depth of pitching in their system. Alonso is far better than Rizzo and could erupt any moment. And Grandal will be a solid major league catcher. This was a great trade for the Padres.

    By the way, Cory Spangenberg is going to be a beast.

  6. Good points Steve. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Volquez flipped. The Rockies had interest in him, and have interest in Headley. It’s hard to imagine an inter-division trade, but I wouldn’t rule it for the right pieces. 

    Another reason I could see them flipping Volquez, their recent interest in Garza. Maybe they are trying to pull off a three way trade.

    Having said that, I do think if any pitcher can get it together, it would be in Petco park/NL West and under Black/Balsely.

    I can see teams scrambling to find up the middle help closer to Spring Training. I still believe it’s a priority to move at least one of Hudson or Bartlett. 

    Alonso seems to fit Petco park better (better contact ratio, gap power to the opposite field, less K’s, and more polished all the way around) than Rizzo, and I like the strides Grandal has made. In hindsight, the Padres should have drafted him instead of Tate. Since moving Boxberger to the pen his velocity has increased, which is not uncommon.

    I really like this deal. Ideally, it would have been better to receive maybe a corner outfielder prospect which power and maybe a SS. However, the Padres went after the most talent regardless of position which was key! That should be applauded, not criticized.

  7. Good assessment, Mickey. I’ve always liked Alonso and Grandel, both alums of “The U”, and the other kid could be a sleeper. It all depends on Volquez and whether or not he can get his head straight. Since ’08, he’s done nothing but whine and serve a 50 game suspension. My read on Latino players is usually pretty accurate, and I can tell you that Volquez, Cueto and Chapman have been a triple headache for the Reds. Dusty speaks pretty good Spanish and has held things together. But it was time for somebody to go, and the Padres inherited Edinson (or whatever his name is). I hope this guy realizes that he can turn his career around in spacious Petco Park, because he has a world of talent.

    If Volquez can win a dozen games and throw 150 innings next season, this will be a great trade for the Padres. Now if Byrnes can possibly move Bartlett/Hudson for more prospects, the Padres will be looking good. But it will be hard to dump almost $12 million without eating some of it.

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