Dave Cameron outlines a hypothetical deal between the Reds and the Red Sox. The Reds would send Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall to Boston for Yoenis Cespedes and a pitching prospect. The Reds receive a power-hitting left-fielder who they might be able to sign long-term (more likely than signing Cueto long-term), additional depth in young pitching and payroll relief in moving Marshall. Read the entire piece to see Cameron’s reasoning.

We’ve analyzed this concept already this fall. Nick Kirby (Should the Reds Trade for Yoenis Cespedes?) explains the case for the trade based on the dramatic offensive upgrade in LF as shown by this table: new

Nick’s main concern – that Cueto for Cespedes wouldn’t be a fair straight-up trade – is addressed by Cameron. The Reds would also receive pitching depth and ditch $6.5 million in salary which could be used to sign a one-year free agent SP to help replace the loss of Cueto.

While no pitcher on the free agent market can be expected to replace Cueto’s production, remember that the Reds’ strong defense will improve any starter’s numbers.

List of available free agent starting pitchers. To offer an idea of what that free agent SP market might look like, the starting pitchers who signed one-year major league contracts last year (for $10 million or less): In parentheses are their one-year salary and the fWAR they earned in 2014. Bruce Chen ($4.25 million, 0.1 WAR); Gavin Floyd ($4 million, 0.5 WAR); Jason Hammel ($6 million, 1.7 WAR); Dan Haren ($10 million, 1.0 WAR); Roberto Hernandez ($4.5 million, -0.5 WAR), Ryan Vogelsong ($5 million, 1.0 WAR); Edinson Volquez ($5 million, 0.7 WAR) and Jerome Williams ($2.1 million, 0.3 WAR).

In my series on Getting the Offseason Right, I wrote that the Reds need to be open to trading Cueto and Cespedes was on my list of possible LF trade targets.

Here’s what I wrote about Cespedes a few weeks ago:

Hitting: Short on OBP and BB% criteria but elite power and availability put him on our list. Sluggers with .200+ ISO are extremely rare. Only walked seven times in 51 games for Boston. Youngish for this group.

Defense: LF is his primary position. Superman’s arm. Other defensive skills neutral. Struggled with unusual LF in Fenway Park.

Contract Status: Owed $10.5 million in 2015, then free agent in 2016. One-year rental.

Conclusion: Red Sox might try to extend Cespedes, but he doesn’t fit their template of patient and disciplined hitters. Cespedes might have been the player the Reds were discussing at the trade deadline in the rumored Mat Latos talks. Boston needs SP, so that’s a fit. Given health uncertainty with Latos, Cueto is probably only Reds player that gets Cespedes.

Cespedes’ age is worth repeating. He’d play at age 29 this season for the Reds, which means a 3-year extension would take him through age 32, which is much preferable to signing a multi-year deal with the typical free agent who might be 33-34 already.

There might be concern that Cespedes doesn’t get on base much (even though he’d be an upgrade from the Reds LF last year). His elite power might be enough to offset that.

This is one type of trade the Reds could seek this offseason. It moves SP and salary for hitting, which in principle is what they should be looking at.