As the free agent list depletes and the days begin to get longer, the Cincinnati Reds still need to land a left-fielder and maybe another pitcher.
Many names have been thrown around during the offseason, and the Reds have sent away lots of talent for two pitchers. I would like to offer four players and a pitcher for the Reds to hone in on. Some have been written about and others have not.
Paul Maholm has had the best of the Reds in his career. He is 6'4" with a decent 3.81 ERA against Cincinnati. He is not a great pitcher, but he is a decent left-handed starter which the Reds do need.
He throws a bunch of ground balls (52.3 percent), which would serve him well at Great American Ball Park. He has spent all of his seven-year career with the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates. Overall he sports a 53-73 record with a 4.36 ERA.
Maholm made $6.25M in 2011 but will probably be signed for considerably less. He had a season-ending shoulder injury which would prove to be scary to some. If he is placed in front of a strong defense he could have an exceptional season in a new location.
The center-fielder sounds more like breakfast food than a major league baseball player. Crisp is a pure center-fielder and could probably force Drew Stubbs into the troubled left-field spot. Crisp could bat at the top of the order, allowing Stubbs to drop down to the lower part of the order where strikeout kings should live.
Crisp, a switch-hitter is also a great base stealer and led the American League with 49 in 2011. He doesn't strikeout much and is a career .275 hitter. He only walked 41 times last year which is troubling for a lead-off man. He earned $5.75M in 2011 and could probably be the missing link the Reds have been searching for.
His clubhouse demeanor is questionable and that could prove to be his downfall. Disallowing that, there are not many reasons for the Reds not to look seriously into acquiring him.
Martin Prado is a versatile good-hitting player with very little downside. He plays outfield with confidence and has a UZR higher than any of the Reds' current outfielders. He could start in LF on opening day and would be valuable in filling in for Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen or even Joey Votto at first base (he has played 50-plus games at 1B in his career).
Prado earned approximately $3M in 2011. Fangraphs projects him to earn around $4.5M in arbitration in 2012. He would remain under club control until 2013.
The price is not staggering for a .293 lifetime hitter. He is a right-handed hitter who bats .300-plus against RH pitchers and holds own against southpaws (.273).
In his All-Star year of 2010, Prado produced a line of .307/.350/.459 with 15 HR and 66 RBI. Her also collected 184 H and scored 100 R.
Ludwick had an MVP year in 2008 when he carved out a line of .299/.375/.591/.966 with an OPS+ of 150. He hammered 37 HR and knocked in 113 and scored 104 runs. He hasn't come close to those numbers since then; however he has spent some time in Petco Park where sluggers go to die.
He was paid $6+M last season and spent time with the San Diego Padres and ended the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is only 33 although it is possibly a hard 33, so he should not be done by any stretch of the imagination.
It would be Cody Ross' second stint in the Queen City if the Reds could make a deal with him. He can play all three outfield positions, has 25 HR power and is a career .261 hitter.
He had the proverbial 'cup of coffee' with the Reds in 2006, playing in only two games and batting just five times. He made over $6M with the San Francisco Giants last season but with his 2011 performance could probably be picked up for much less.
These are five players the Reds could target who could possibly help them gel into a team with very few weaknesses.
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