The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly interested in Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames and free agent shortstop Dee Strange-Gordon according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. One of these players is not like the other.

Willy Adames is a 25-year-old shortstop for Tampa Bay who has a career .262/.329/.426 line to his name in 291 big league games. Last season, as a 24-year-old he hit .259/.332/.481. He also struck out more than 36% of the time he stepped to the plate. When he made contact, he made sure it counted – but there was a lot of swing-and-miss happening in 2020 for Adames.

The massive increase in strikeout rate should be concerning. But that’s probably not the reason that he’s potentially available in trade. Tampa Bay’s #1 prospect, and the top prospect in all of baseball, Wander Franco, is also a shortstop and he’s ready to step into the big leagues as early as Opening Day – though with how they operate, that seems unlikely. Adames could possibly move to another spot on the field for the Rays, but he also serves as a good trade piece for them, too, given that he hasn’t yet reached arbitration and is under team control through 2024.

Dee Strange-Gordon will turn 33-years-old in April. He’s hit .266/.293/.343 over the last three seasons for Seattle, and once a threat to steal 50+ bases, he’s only stolen 53 in the last three years combined. With Cincinnati looking for a shortstop, Strange-Gordon seems like a bit of an odd choice. The last time he made more than a handful of starts at the position was back in 2013 with the Dodgers. He’s only played 114 innings at the position since the start of 2014. He’s spent most of his time at second base, but also has played some center and left field.

To acquire Dee Strange-Gordon it would only take cash. To acquire Willy Adames it would require trading away value of some kind, whether that’s big leaguers or prospects, or a mix of both. And you’d also have to pay him, of course. Adames has upside as a hitter, though there are some areas of concern – mainly the incredibly high strikeout rate he had in 2020. Strange-Gordon is a tough one to make sense of given that he hasn’t hit in years and doesn’t exactly fill an area of need for the team unless they believe he can still play shortstop. But if that’s the case, is he an upgrade of Kyle Farmer, Alex Blandino, or newly acquired Kyle Holder?

The Reds are still looking to find their starting shortstop for 2021. Are one of these two players the answer? Do they continue to pursue Amed Rosario from Cleveland, as reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network on Saturday? Maybe they believe that Jonathan Villar is more likely to be the 2019 version (109 OPS+ with 40 steals) than the 2020 version (64 OPS+) and could look at him on the free agent market. Time hasn’t run out yet, but the clock is ticking and the options are growing fewer by the day.

79 Responses

  1. BO

    Time hasn’t run out but think we can all agree the right players have already gone elsewhere. I don’t understand the team’s direction or what they hope to accomplish by trying to sell a bandaid as an upgrade. Still looking forward to the spin that Rosario was the best option and Mahle and/or Lorenzon will be just as good as Bauer. I’m sure we will end up trading another top prospect for Rosario or some other average to below average SS.

    I’ve given up on the Reds.

    • Scott Garrett

      I just don’t think Krall knows what he is doing? I am not seeing success in the future for this team as it appears now.

    • Jimmy Young

      Reds could use Jessie Winkler and a minor league pitcher to get a good shortstop.

    • B-town fan

      BO you haven’t given up on the Reds or you wouldn’t be posting here, so stop with the crazy talk, you love the Reds!

  2. ClevelandRedsFan

    Big strikeout guy? Seems fitting. Let’s add another. I know the game has changed considerably, and the analytics show that high-contact, high batting average guys aren’t as valuable as we all thought they were in the 90s.

    But man, I really miss watching a team with 3-5 guys who can hit .300 or better.

    • JayTheRed

      absolutely!!!! I miss that too. I miss the excitement of getting guys on base and then seeing if the team could get them in. We all know the Reds are terrible at this but I sure do miss those types of exciting games.

  3. Steven Ross

    Maybe Pokey Reese is still available?

    • Daytonnati

      I just checked, Zack Cozart is 🙂


        Maybe Billy Hamilton could go back to playing SS? Probably comes at a cheaper price especially with a weak bat. Speaking of guys coming out of retirement how about Blake Trahan if Cozart doesn’t want it, Lol…Good Luck Reds!

  4. Redsvol

    Adams would be great – but he would cost a top 10 prospect plus a good pitcher on the team. Possibly Santillana and Antone could get him but probably not since he isn’t costing money until next year. Tampa usually doesn’t trade anyone until they start costing $. Rosario isn’t any better than the options currently on the team.

  5. CJ22

    I’m like you. Been a Reds fan since 1978. They really make me angry sometimes, but they’re like a bad addiction. I keep coming back for more punishment every year. I’ll once again buy MLB Extra Innings so I can watch every game and be disappointed.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Been a fan since 1961! Yet here I am, still hopeful, still watching every game. Yes, it’s a true addiction.

    • David r

      Poor management and poor ownership means loosing as allways

    • TheCoastMan

      My father took me to my first game in 67 or 68 to old Crosley Field and we watched Gary Nolan pitch a gem. I grew up with the Big Red Machine of the 70s and got spoiled. I guess I thought it would always be that way. Near pure hell since then with the exception of Sweet Lou and the Reds of 90. Geez, I’m a glutton for punishment, but yea, I’ll be right there in Goodyear for a couple Spring Training games, watching on MLB Extra Innings and replacing cheap TVs that I keep throwing bricks through while drinking tea with honey to help my strained and hoarse voice recover from all the screaming. Oh Yea…. GO REDS!

      Please watch the language in the future. We don’t allow cursing here. Thanks.

    • doofus

      Dag-nab-it CoastMan! You should know better! No foul language allowed or you will be banned and force to be a Phillies fan!

  6. Bred

    If they go the trade route, I guess the ownership group believes it is more palatable to spend capital in terms of talent than dollars.

  7. LDS

    Adames over Rosario or Villar is a no brainer. The rest of the names mentioned seem absurd. So I’m guessing the Reds wind up with Dee Strange-Gordon as this year’s starting SS.

  8. TR

    Strange-Gordon is coming up on his age 33 season and he’s a lefty hitter. He makes sense as a stopgap shortstop for a year or two until Jose Garcia offensively matures.

    • RojoBenjy

      But they have the stop-gap in Alfredo Rodriguez, don’t they? They gave him $6 million, what’s to lose?

      • TR

        Why stopgap with Alfredo Rodriguez? Just settle for Jose Garcia and go from there.

      • Doug Gray

        I won’t speak for someone else, but my answer to that question is: So Jose Garcia can develop in a much better environment (the minors, where he won’t likely be overmatched like he was last year and likely would be this year in the Majors).

        That said, I’d stop gap with Farmer, Blandino, Senzel, or India before I’d even consider Rodriguez.

      • RojoBenjy

        Doug- I’d be ok with any of those you suggest as well before throwing prospects at Adames


    I would prefer Rosario to Adames. Offer Cleveland Winkler, Mahle, Lodo/Antone and see if they bite. I read on Twitter the Rays want a package the includes Hunter Green, Lodo plus. IMHO that is too much to give up for Wily Adames who, as
    Doug points, out strikeouts way too much.

    • JB

      You want to offer all that for Rosario? Thank God you arent the Reds GM. Indians would agree to that in a heartbeat.

      • JoshG

        Yeah that is Waaaaaayyyyy too much for Rosario.
        I’d say Aquino and a solid/good prospect
        Maybe winker straight up

      • Hotto4votto

        It takes something to give something. I would do Castillo straight up for Adames but I’m afraid that the Rays would laugh at us offering a pitcher for an everyday all star level shortstop.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        I’m sorry but did you say that you would trade Luis Castillo for Willy Adames?

    • vegastypo

      If the Reds gave up that much for Rosario, I might have to dust off my torch and pitchfork.

      • Hotto4Votto

        For real. I’ve said before that I wouldn’t give up a top 20 type for him. Feel like we’d be just as well off with Farmer/Blandino.
        I also wouldn’t believe what is written on twitter. That’s a ridiculous ask of Greene and Lodolo plus.

        I would think something like Santillan, India, plus another prospect in 11-15 ranger would be fair.

    • Hotto4Votto

      Woah….why stealing my user name? And then saying stuff like preferring Rosario to Adames. Not cool man.

    • doofus

      “Winkler?” Henry Winkler? The Fonz? Is he on the Red’s 40-man?

    • Scott C

      No way would I give up that much to get Adames, nor would I give uo as much as you are opining for Rosario. To give up that amount I would want an impact bat and good defender at short. Of course they could have had that in Semien for no prospects if they had ante’d up. Right now I am not sure a good candidate is out there that isn’t going to cost a ton of prospects.

  10. MBS

    I like Adames over Didi, and would be happy if they can work out a deal. They also have a lot of high end prospects. Castillo could bring back a haul. I am not a big fan of moving him, but if rumors have been true, he’s been on the block. TB is in a position to win now. Might get a heck of a return.

    • MuddyCleats

      Luv Castillo, but I truly believe we’ve seen his best? A lot of Ks equals a lot of pitches. Likewise, every notice how he cruises along and then just loses it? The lack of a decent curveball hurts him 2nd & 3rd time thru. Moreover, I think he’s going to b used up before Reds Can or Will put a better team behind him? So why not trade him at his peak and get someone who Reds can build a future around?? They’ll have to @ some pt; why not now w/ costs down due to Covid uncertainty?

  11. covermeporkins

    Just trade Moustakas, India, and another prospect for Story. Move Senzel to 2nd.

  12. Joshg

    Villar has split his time between 2B and SS the last few years.. including 21 games at short during last year’s shortened season

    • MuddyCleats

      Villar makes some sense to me simply due to $$$; he’s not going to demand much and his upside could be significant fm the LO spot? He has played well above his head at times and maybe 2021 could b another up year. He’s only 29, can still generate offense by stealing a bag and can play multiple positions up the middle. Rumors have Braves kicking the tires on him. Not sure his D is were it needs to be @ SS, but u could say that about most of the in house options. They’re waiting on Garcia, so why trade potential prospects away on someone else who is most likely NOT the long term solution in Cincy?

  13. Christopher Hanson

    Just get villar and get it over with you lost out on 3 big ones

    • JayTheRed

      Honestly don’t think Villar would be that bad of an option. Seen him play in Milwaukee and he was pretty good in 2019 for the Orioles.

      Even if he hits. Say .250 Avg. and gets on base around .320 with a around 15 to 20 homers it would be an upgrade over anything we currently have.

      • MuddyCleats

        Agree again, don’t discount the SBs on a team that is crippled trying to generate Offense at times

  14. west larry

    come on dee Strange. It least the name mirrors their off season moves .

    • JoshG

      I actually wouldn’t mind him as a backup utility player

      • Jimbo44CN

        Do we really need another backup utility player? Plenty of those around.

  15. TOM

    Other than Adames, Farmer may be there best bet. None of the other names exite me. Story makes 18 mil. To much plus what they will have to give up. Rosario will require to many propects in trade. If they like Rosario so much just trade Garcia straight up.

  16. JoshG

    I say if you have to give up too much to get Adames or Rosario then just sign Villar and hope last years signings step it up this year ( which I am expecting anyway)
    That said .. I wonder what the prospect cost for one year of Story would be

    • Tom Mitsoff

      It doesn’t matter what the prospect cost would be. The Reds will not take on a $17-plus-million contract.

      • JoshG

        Depending on the prospects going to Colorado it might not be anywhere near the 18 million …

      • JayTheRed

        Colorado just paid 50 million to St. Louis, Do you think they might send money back to help soften the blow. There is a lot of talk about how Colorado should just start a full rebuild.

      • MuddyCleats

        Agree, but I like Josh and Jay comments below as well. Story is the type of player u can build around. He’s 28, Villar is 29. As Jay mentioned on Rockies, what is their plan going forward? Is Brendan Rodgers their next SS, or could he b available via trade…former 1st rd pick who has regressed a bit. Bigger question is, what’s Cincy’s rebuild plan: hole at SS, 2nd and CF. SP now w/out Bauer. Catching is the only strength up the middle IMO??

  17. vegastypo

    I chuckled at the comment that Dee Strange-Gordon is not a shortstop. Not because the comment is wrong, because Dee is hardly a shortstop anymore and rarely was one: 3 games in 2020, 2 games in 2019, 8 games in 2018, if I read baseball ref correctly. Only 176 games at SS in his career.

    So yeah, he’s not a shortstop. I chuckle because — and Doug will likely reach through the computer and strangle me for typing this — but if we’re going to put a second baseman/center fielder at shortstop, why not put Senzel (also a second baseman/outfielder) there instead. Gee, already on the roster, and plenty of outfield options otherwise. If this is temporary, Senzel could move back to the outfield in a year or two.

    I swear the Reds make it very hard to cheer for them.

    • jon vera

      the reds have said numerous time SENZEL IS NOT PLAYING SS!

      • Votto4life

        The Reds also said acquiring a SS was their #1 priority this off season. Yet, here we are.

      • vegastypo

        I know that, Jon. My comment was somewhat tongue in cheek. But it just amazes me to see the lengths the Reds are going to right now. Desperate enough to take a look at Mr. Strange-Gordon as a fill-in, but then bypass a younger guy with the same skills? Especially when the younger guy wouldn’t cost them a penny more, when the almighty dollar is what has them in no-spending mode? Anyway …

  18. Richard Fox

    Does anyone else have the strange feeling that the Brown family might be secretly running the Reds?

  19. JB WV

    Enough of this pretending to find a quality veteran ss. Stick Garcia in there and if he struggles at the plate too much send him down intermittently and play Farmer. Why give up prospects for a nominal improvement, if that.

    • Kim Henry

      JB WV?; I agree. I assume WV is West Virginia; my home state. I posted yesterday that they should go with Garcia and that a DEFENSIVE shortstop is not all that bad if others play up to their ability. Pitchers love a good defensive shortstop.

  20. Stock

    I am at a loss for all these comments. The Reds made a huge trade yesterday. They acquired Kyle Holder. I have no doubt 15 years from now he will surpass Barry Larkin as the best SS in Reds history.

  21. Roger Garrett

    I am in too but boy you hit the nail on the head.Sure would be nice for the Reds to get it right before all of us old timers bite the dust.Hard to imagine any of the younger generation following this team right now so what is the real future of this organization.Can you remember when both the Reds and the Pirates were good?

  22. Dick Paterson

    Yeah, we are frustrated with the lack of promised action on SS, BUT… this is still a solid team, even without Bauer, and even without a clear SS. Let the season begin!

  23. Kim Henry

    JB WV?; I agree. I assume WV is West Virginia; my home state. I posted yesterday that they should go with Garcia and that a DEFENSIVE shortstop is not all that bad if others play up to their ability. Pitchers love a good defensive shortstop.

  24. Votto4life

    Am I the only one who is unimpressed with Adames and Rosario? I mean I wouldn’t want to give up much for either one certainly not Lodo or Green or anyone on On the 25 not named Barnhart. The Reds cheapness has really painted themselves in a corner this time. I hope they just sign Villar.

  25. Votto4life

    Also I wonder how much the Adames and Rosario rumors are just BS planted by the FO knowing this was going to be a nightmare PR week for them with all the SS signings.

  26. Hotto4Votto

    I like the idea of targeting Adames. He’s the best name amongst all the plan B options they’ve pivoted to since losing out on all their other targets. In fact I had suggested the idea last offseason when it was clear we still needed an upgrade at SS. He does strike out too much, but that can come down some, and even with the K’s he’s been solid at the plate and in the field. He’s still young enough to grow into more production with his current track record. The Reds and Rays have hooked up on a couple trades in recent seasons. Hopefully there’s another one in the future.

  27. Aaron B.

    Folks, I think we need to create a mutiny situation. Look, sign or trade for me a good shortstop and I will subscribe to MLB network. Otherwise I sit out because this organization doesn’t deserve my financial support. This latest move with the Cardinals (of all the teams) the Cardinals scooping up Arenado with so much cash back they would actually get free service should he exercise his options, and they didn’t give any top prospects. It is criminal the Reds didn’t get involved in these negotiations and leap frog the horrible Cardinals with a superior package of (let’s face it) over rated prospects. Hunter Greeene has netted us nothing. This would validate the draft pick if he carried weight in a deal like this. And let’s face it we could have dealt for Story at the same time. We have better prospects. How about Senzel in the Rockies, you never know?

  28. Pablo

    This SS story is like ‘Groundhog Day’.

    • RojoBenjy

      This SS story is like ‘Groundhog Day’.

      • Mark Moore

        And tomorrow the SS story will still be like Groundhog Day … and Ande McDowell still won’t know my name 🙂

  29. Jake

    I prefer Adames over Rosario but not if it means giving up Greene, Lodolo, Hendricks, Siani, Senzel, Winker, or Mahle. If some sort of package with Aquino, India, Vlad G, Santillan, Friedl, Blandino could land Rosario then that would be okay.

  30. Chris Holbert

    Imagine how good the Reds would be if they could field a team of “showing interest” players…

  31. JayTheRed

    Here’s the Thing .. Start cheering for your 2nd favorite team. I am torn between the White Sox and the Blue Jays. I still love my Reds but unless something happens my attention at least for the 2021 season will go to my secondary teams I like.

  32. JayTheRed

    Any Billionaires on this site willing to send the Reds say 30 million for the next few years so we could actually get players that would help our favorite team win. If so please contact Bob Castellani and share the wealth.
    Reds Fans Across America

  33. Jeffery Stroupe

    We need more Historians in this group than CPAs….the BRM provided a perfect blueprint for who does what in a lineup…..until we see that then not happening….not saying do as well but overall old school stats……same lineup everyday…..Sparky got it….David Bell doesnt