July 13, 2012

Reds begin second half in a good position, but with room for improvement

Stubbsey is swinging

After what’s felt like an eternity thanks to that 11-game West Coast trip and the All Star break, the Cincinnati Reds finally return to the land of the correct time zone to start the second half of the 2012 baseball season. On the trip, the pitching was great, but as has been the case for much of both this year and last year, the offense has been inconsistent.

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.

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.

Ryan Ludwick (or Logan Ondrusek) is an outfielder (or reliever) for the Cincinnati Reds.

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.

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.

2 comments to “Reds begin second half in a good position, but with room for improvement”

  1. Amanda says:

    So are you saying that Drew Stubbs is a weaker link than Dusty Baker?

    • Zeldink says:

      Well, I bet that Dusty Baker could put up a better on-base percentage than Stubbs’ .286.