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MLB Trade Rumors: Should the Reds Trade Joey Votto?

I was reading Buster Olney's Sunday morning blog and came across an article written by Paul Daugherty at the Cincinatti Enquirer where he talks about the Reds giving up on 2011 and playing their youngsters. In it, he talks about playing Todd Frazier at third base and Yonder Alonso in left field everyday. In addition, he wonders if the Reds should resign second baseman Brandon Phillips.

He also mentions this:

They need to consider shopping Joey Votto. It stinks that small-money clubs don’t take for granted they can keep their best players. It’s also reality in BudWorld. There is no way, none, the Reds can pay Votto the $17 million he’s owed in 2013, and have enough cash left to field a representative team. Might as well see what he’d fetch now.

That seems like a drastic move, but are the Reds one or two players away from contention, or are they several players away from contention?

More on this after the jump:

The Reds starting rotation has been very inconsistent this season and they sorely need a front of the rotation ace to compete with teams like the Brewers who are stocked with Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum, and the Cardinals with Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright. Starter Johnny Cueto has performed very well this season, going 7-5 with a 2.07 ERA, but his xFIP says he isn't this good, projecting his ERA to be close to 2 runs higher.

The Reds were counting on Edinson Volquez to take a step forward this year after returning from Tommy John surgery, but he has been so inconsistent, he is currently pitching in AAA for the second time this season. His control has been the major problem this season, in addition to the high number of runs he has given up in the first inning this season.

Couple that with the fact that Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo are not top of the rotation starters and the Reds could use Votto to go out and get one. With Yonder Alonso ready for the majors, the Reds could use Votto as trade bait for a cost controlled front of the rotation starter.

Should the Reds trade Joey Votto?