Reds general manager Walt Jocketty downplayed the possibility of a trade for Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler this week, telling MLB.com, “I’m not sure Colorado is moving Fowler.”
Jocketty might be right, but the Rockies are open to discussing Fowler and have engaged in preliminary trade conversations with the Reds, according to major-league sources.
The foundation of a deal could involve players from the Reds’ major-league roster — but not right-hander Homer Bailey, who is unlikely to be moved, sources say.
Two obvious candidates for the Rockies would be right-hander Mike Leake, who is losing his spot in the Reds’ rotation to lefty Aroldis Chapman, and center fielder Drew Stubbs, who would lose his job to Fowler.
Leake, 25, fits the profile of the kind of starter the Rockies are trying to acquire — strike throwers who produce high groundball rates. The Rockies selected another such pitcher, left-hander Daniel Rosenbaum, in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. Rosenbaum, 25, was 8-10 with a 3.96 ERA for the Nationals’ Double A affiliate last season.
Fowler, 26, represents an appealing alternative for teams still in the market for a center fielder — and he is more affordable than free agent Michael Bourn, who likely will move beyond the Reds’ price range.
Fowler is under club control for three more seasons, and his projected salary in arbitration will be $4 million, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
Leake and Stubbs also are under club control for three more seasons, with each having projected salaries of $2.9 million in 2013.