It is very rare that two NL Central teams ever pair up for a blockbuster trade without one team overpaying the other. An exception is when the Cubs matched up with the Pirates which sent Bobby Hill among others to the Pirates for Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton. But even then the Cubs did not full realize the impact the trade would have on both teams; both positive and negative. Here is one trade I think would benefit both teams involved for the now and in the future but if only Albert Pujols signs an extension with the Cards.
Cubs get Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Yonder Alonso.
Reds get Aramis Ramirez, Blake DeWitt, Marlon Byrd, and Josh Vitters
The money is close (Cubs taking on at lease 26.5 million and the Reds taking on at least 28.5 million) depending on what the Cubs do with Philips option and what the Reds do with Aram's option. Another variable in this trade is Aramis and Rolen's no-trade clauses. I have heard rumblings that Aram would waive his no-trade to go to a contending team while Rolen I have no knowledge of.
Looking at if from the Cubs side they remove 2 million dollars and thee players out of their starting lineup and their 4th best prospect in the system. What they receive is an all-star gold glove 3rd baseman with pop left in his bat in Scott Rolen. Rolen had a good season batting .285 with 20 homers and 83 RBI. Rolen is usually constant minus the HR totals. He is a career .284 hitter with a .369 OBP, and .968 fielding % which is .012% higher than Adrain Beltre! You also get a veteran leader.
They also get Brandon Phillips, a gold glove 2nd baseman which they have not had in a long time. He also can steal a base (16 steals last season) and hit for power (no less than 17 homers since 2006). Not to mention he is a genuine Cards hater! An infield with Rolen, Castro, Phillips, Pena, and Soto looks pretty good offensively but even better defensively!
Yonder Alonso is known as a "blocked prospect" and will try to make the Reds squad as a backup 1st/OF. He has had his share of injuries but broke out this season hitting .290 with a .362 OBP, 13 SB, 15 homers, and 36 doubles in AA/AAA at the age of 23! Of course acquiring him means Pujols signed an extension with the Red Birds.
Cincinnati gets a "healthy" Aramis Ramirez who could have a breakout season in a possible contract year. Not to mention his glove is good and younger than Rolen. Playing most of his games at GAB could boost his home runs past 40!
They also get DeWitt who provides just enough at 2nd base and could platoon with one of their young middle infielders. DeWitt could have the possibility to hit 12+ homer and hit .280 with the Reds. Marlon Byrd would provide the Reds with a true leader and CF. He is an immediate upgrade over all their outfielder except Jay Bruce.
The Reds also get a prospect to replace Yonder in Josh Vitters. Vitters is being groomed either a 1st baseman or 3rd baseman. He could provide the Reds with insurance in case they don't pick up Aram's option for 2012.
The other factors for both teams are this. The Reds are getting younger by trading both Rolen and Phillips. They are getting more power with Aram and a prospect that could be on par with Yonder with the bat and glove but would not be blocked since he plays third.
The Cubs would be getting veteran leaders in Phillips and Rolen, both have Gold Gloves, both have solid bats, and both make this team overall better. The other thing this trade provides is a starting job for Brett Jackson in CF and finally address the Cubs leadoff needs. Yonder provides the Cubs with a young, left-handed power hitting first baseman for years to come and can get another full year in AAA until Pena leaves either at the trade deadline or at the end of the year.
This trade makes sense for both teams in my opinion but a lot of thing would have to fit for this trade to happen. Of course if Albert becomes a free agent this trade does not happen unless you subtract Vitters and Yonder in which case a Rolen, Castro, Phillips, Pujols, and Soto infield looks pretty nasty.
Until Next Time...