When the Cincinnati Reds shipped off Yonder Alonso to the San Diego Padres, many people thought they were crazy to give up such a great young prospect at first base. He was expendable primarily because he was blocked at first base by perennial MVP candidate Joey Votto and also because the also had Neftali Soto. This young kid had a huge year in 2011 and struggled a little bit in 2012. Still, he gave the Reds plenty of options to make the trade. Now with Soto the clear number two man on the totem pole, fans are starting to ask what the Reds will do with him in 2013.
They could sit on him
It is hard to imagine that the Reds will just lay back and sit on him as a prospect. Soto has value now and he has the athletic ability to move around if needed. Having him continue to toil in the minors at first base seems almost pointless. He is blocked at first and that much is clear. He is too talented to sit on for too long.
They could transition him to a new position
When you look at Neftali and watch him play, the first thing that comes to your mind is athletic. The guy is a natural baseball player if you have ever seen one and he is quite capable of playing left field if they were to work with him for a bit. This could give the Reds some solid outfield answers if Ryan Ludwick is not brought back. Soto could surely do it with enough work.
He could be traded
Of all the options out there, I think this one is the most likely. Soto is a physical prototype of the position at first base, with a powerful swing. Those types are very popular on the open market. The Reds very likely could package Soto with some other young prospects to try to solve their lingering problems at the leadoff position. Despite plenty of folks that would be disappointed to see him go, I must admit as a Reds fan that giving him wings would make the most sense. I would love to see what he could do in a place that could use his talents at the position.
*Southern is a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan that grew up watching Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and the boys dominate the Major Leagues. He longs for those days once again in Cincinnati.
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