It has been an exciting weekend of baseball rumors, signings, and trades since the transaction freeze was lifted. Rumors indicate that the Brewers are one of the finalists for Nelson Cruz. They also have been linked to Jorge Soler. In the trade market, Josh Hader rumors began swirling again with the New York Mets.
Among the National League Central Division, the Cincinnati Reds picked up right were they left off pre-lockout, which entails of being open to trading almost anyone. The most recent causality was starting pitcher Sonny Gray being dealt to the Minnesota Twins.
It was publicly announced back in November that the Reds were looking to move any player who was set to make any sort of substantial money. At that time we examined four potential trade targets that made sense for the Brewers.
Of those, outfielder and potential DH candidate Jesse Winker is on top of that list and may still be available for the Brewers via trade.
Despite Brewers fans’ recency bias, Winker has slid under the MLB radar since entering the league in 2017. Injuries have played a big factor in this, but during the first half of the 2021 season we finally saw a glimpse of how great he can be when healthy. It was an intercostal strain that sidelined him for most of the second half last year, but ultimately he put together a 24 home run, 32 double, and 71 RBI season while sustaining a .305 batting average.
As a left handed hitter, Winkler would thrive at American Family Field. He does have some pretty significant righty/lefty splits, but when healthy he has the potential to be one of the best hitters in the league against right handers. Given his injury history making him a platoon player may not be a bad idea and he would be best suited as a DH as he is a below average defender.
Should the Reds decide to trade Winker in the near future, he will come with two seasons of club control. He is set to make $6.8 MM in 2022 and should he put up similar numbers that price tag may increase in 2023 to closer to $10MM.
Seeing how the Reds just traded a very great pitcher with two years of control left for one top ten pitching prospect, it is possible that a similar deal could get done to acquire Winker.
There are currently no known reports of the Reds listening to offers for Winker, but it is hard to image that teams are not inquiring. For the Brewers, this option could be explored at any time, even during the season.