Still, the Reds find themselves 9 games over .500 at 47-38 and in second place, one game behind the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates. They’re ahead of the third-place team, the St. Louis Cardinals, by 1.5 games, and that’s who they’ll play tonight in a battle for second place.
The second-half starts with a little over two weeks until the trading deadline. With the team having no production from the lead-off position and center field thanks to Drew Stubbs blossoming into a horrible, un-coachable baseball player, general manager Walt Jocketty has some work to do.
Cincinnati Enquirer reporter John Fay discussed some possible trade targets yesterday. And he, like many, thinks someone to bat first in the lineup is the biggest weakness.
I want to go on the record again as saying no to Juan Pierre. He would be Willy Taveras, all over again. This Span guy could be promising, though.
The question is who’s available. Philadelphia’s Juan Pierre apparently is. He’s having a decent year. He’s a rental player, which works well for the Reds since Billy Hamilton will likely be ready by 2014.
Minnesota’s Denard Span likely is available too. He’s hitting .270 with a .334 on-base this year. His career numbers are .282/.357. He under contract the next two years at $4.75 million and $6.5 million with a club option for 2015.
Fay calls out Stubbs, as well, saying that most had assumed that a new guy would play left field. But the combination of Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick in left has started to come around. Ludwick, in particular, had a good June (.253/.326/.582) and, so far, a great July (.368/.368/.526). Combined, they’ve got 15 home runs and 53 RBI, which projects to a solid left-fielder over the course of the season. That’s nowhere near the black hole of suckage that Stubbs has been dropping on the field this year.
Center field and lead-off are where the Reds should target. If Jocketty can make an actual improvement there and make Todd Frazier the everyday third-baseman–sadly, Scott Rolen is done and needs to either retire or accept backup, bench duties–then the Reds’ offense would be markedly improved.
Then the team can focus on improving the next weakest link: Dusty Baker.