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Cincinnati's Regular Shortstop Might Come From Minnesota

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Cincinnati Missed Out On Simmons, But They Can Still Get The Man He Is Replacing

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Leo Cardenas was first to do it, when he donned both uniforms in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Orlando Cabrera made the same smooth transition ten years ago, and a third name should join them in 2021.

Their position both men handled extremely well, as evidenced by their Gold Gloves as best fielding shortstops in their leagues. The potential newcomer, although he has yet to snag a Gold Glove, has other credentials that have made him a standout at the position.

His name, curiously enough, has been left off of the list of potential shortstops for the Reds. A Cincinnati Enquirer reporter in yesterday's edition dedicated an entire article on possible shortstop acquisitions, a list that comprised three names.

Need for a shortstop greatly increased for the Reds when All-Star Didi Gregorius went off the market, deciding to return to the Philadelphia Phillies on a free agent contract. After having already missed out on names like Andrelton Simmons, Francisco Lindor and Marcus Semien, Cincinnati must now solve the shortstop problem via the trade route.

Three possible partners are mentioned in the piece by Nightengale, but he omits the most practical option. He suggests a deal with Cleveland that would bring to Cincinnati Ahmed Rosario, who has been a regular with the Mets for four years.

Another transaction he poses would bring in Miguel Rojas from the Marlins, who is coming off the best season of his career. A third answer for short, according to Nightengale, would be to acquire Erik Gonzalez from the Pirates.

Instead of any of those three, the Reds should look toward one of the teams that just signed a new shortstop. Minnesota signed free agent Simmons, who will replace Jorge Polanco.

Although the Twins have announced plans to shift Polanco to second, it is more likely that they would rather trade him. After all the defending A.L. Central champs already have Luis Arraez, who hit .321 last year, at second base.

Polanco would add only $4 million to the Cincinnati payroll in 2021, much less than would have any of the free agents they were pursuing. His salary would go to $5 million next year and to $7.5 million in '23, after which his contract has a one million dollar buyout option.

On the baseball-reference page, Polanco's closest comparison is Tim Anderson of the Chicago white Sox. His career batting clip over seven years is. 278, while he also averages sixteen home runs and eighty runs batted in.

He was an All-Star in 2019, when he also finished as a runner-up for the American League Most Valuable Player award. His numbers would make him a worthy acquisition, even if it means the Reds would have to trade one of their regular players.

It just so happens Cincinnati has a plethora of outfielders, a position of need for the Twins after cutting ties with Eddie Rosario. His left-handed bat can be replaced by Jesse Winker, who will make $3 million this year.

Subtracting that salary from that paid to Polanco saves the Twins $2 million, as well as reducing Cincinnati's financial commitment to fill its most glaring need. Financially and strategically this one for one swap makes sense, a rare deal that benefits each team equally.