by: Parker Perry
Time is ticking down at an incredibly fast pace for the Cincinnati Reds in their pursuit for a replacement for Drew Stubbs.
B.J. Upton has signed with the Atlanta Braves, Denard Span is also playing in the National League East with the Washington Nationals, and MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Colorado Rockies are no where close to moving Dexter Flower--a price that will likely only rise now that supply has fallen.
Cincinnati could decide to sit back and go with what they have. Chris Heisey could platoon with a struggling Stubbs, and have a chance to take the starting position all together. However, neither candidate are in a position to be a good leadoff hitter, something the Reds lacked in 2012.
Heisey’s on-base percentage last season was an unimpressive .315, a mark that when compared to Stubbs’ .277 all of a sudden does not look too bad.
However, it still is.
It should not be forgotten that Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was not bad at lead-off. He finished the season with .321 clip. However, his OBP fell when he was in the one-hole to .254. Interestingly, it rose all the way up to .355 when he was in the four hole.
It is clear, to at least me, that Cincinnati is in need for a lead off hitter. That Brandon Phillips is best suited to bat clean-up. And with options disappearing, perhaps the Reds should look up I-71.
Maybe the Reds can not replace the Stubbs/Heisey combo. Perhaps they are stuck with it until Billy Hamilton is ready (which some extremist feel will be as soon as sometime 2013). But that does not mean they can not find a spot for Shin-Soo Choo, who was one of the top lead-off hitters in the American League last season.
Choo had a .373 OBP! When he started an inning he was in the .400s! He batted above .300 as well!
Choo only has one year remaining on his contract. And since Cleveland is the anti-Walt Jocketty and refuses to resign anyone the Indians would be silly not to try to move him while he has some value.
The Reds would have to give something(s) up for him, and the price may even be a bit steep prospect wise, but Choo would slide nicely into vacant left fielder and fill the gap at the top of the order.
A lineup that starts: 1) Choo 2) Cozart 3) Votto 4) Phillips 5) Bruce is a good one.
A very good one.
If Cincinnati wants to fill the role, they need to act soon. The winter meetings would be a great time to do so, if it is not already too late.