- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
The Cincinnati Reds traded left fielder Jonny Gomes to the Washington Nationals for the minor league contracts of first baseman/outfielder Bill Rhinehart and right-handed pitcher Chris Manno. The Reds made the move to open up left field for top hitting prospect Yonder Alonso, who was promoted at the same time the deal was made. Alonso is a well below-average defender in left field, but so were Adam Dunn and Gomes. Alonso’s bat should be a positive addition to the Reds' lineup.
The Nationals plan to use Gomes in a platoon in left field and as a right-handed bat off the bench, according to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. The Nationals also will be eligible for a Type B compensation pick when Gomes becomes a free agent at season's end. The Nats feel that the compensation pick will have far more value in the draft than the players they’re giving up in this move.
The Reds get Manno, a 22-year-old soft-tossing left-hander with a decent curve who gets hitters out in low Class-A ball. They also get a 26-year-old first baseman/outfielder in Rhinehart, who has hit 21 home runs and driven in 59 runs with Double-A Harrisburg. Rhinehart and Manno are not considered major league prospects.
Here is a breakdown of the players involved:
Jonny Gomes, LF, 30
Gomes has hit 15-20 home runs in a season five different times. Last year for the Reds he hit .266/.336 with 18 home runs and 86 RBIs. He has struggled mightily this year, batting just .211/.336 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs. He’s a well below-average defender in left field. He’s a leader in the clubhouse and plays with high energy and enthusiasm. The Nationals picked him up for practically nothing and will eventually get a sandwich pick in next year’s draft for him.
Chris Manno, LHP, 22
Manno was the Nationals' 38th-round selection in the June draft. Last year for the Nationals' Gulf Coast League team, he was 1-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched. This year at Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, he was 1-3 with a 1.04 ERA in 34 games -- all in relief. His fastball is 83-86 with above-average command. His best pitch is an average curveball that he utilizes in striking out much younger competition. He has above-average deception. Both his slider and change are below average. He pitches across his body. He does not have enough stuff to project to the major leagues.
Bill Rhinehart, 1B/OF, 26
Rhinehart was the Nationals' 11th-round selection in the 2007 draft. He has played both first base and corner outfield in the Nationals' system. He is having his best offensive season of his career, batting .283/.376/.587 with 21 home runs and 59 RBIs for the Double-A Harrisburg club of the Eastern League. Rhinehart is swinging the bat well because he finally learned how to deal with the outer part of the plate. He is a below-average defender in the outfield, but he is close to average at first base. He’s a Triple-A player, tops, that might get a cup of coffee in the show.
Gomes gets them the Type B compensation draft pick based on projections and he is always a plus in the clubhouse because of high energy and attitude.
At least they opened up a spot of Yonder Alonso in left field.