The Cincinnati Reds are about to gain what could be regarded as the best late-season acquisition of any team in baseball when slugger Joey Votto returns to the lineup. The club has gone 26-13 during Votto's absence—thanks in big part to two players named Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier.
Ludwick has essentially locked down the left field spot, going .321/.388/.693 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI since the All-Star break.
But following suit has been Rookie of the Year candidate Todd Frazier. The youngster has produced a .324/.371/.566 slash line with nine home runs and 30 RBI since the break. He has gotten most of his playing time since the break while taking over at first base for one Joey Votto.
It is here that the Reds find themselves with a dilemma.
Once Votto reclaims his throne, the hot-hitting Frazier will be left without a permanent position. Third base is the obvious option, but veteran Scott Rolen has been no slouch in his return since the break going .344/.429/.552 with three home runs and 15 RBI. As long as the veteran is producing at that clip, third base will remain his.
So what do the Reds do with Frazier?
Rolen is most likely going to play only 4-5 games per week. Manager Dusty Baker may also be inclined to sit Votto once a week to insure the health of his surgically repaired knee. Theoretically, that would leave three games per week open for Frazier—is that enough, though?
I say no.
The team leader in offensive WAR is Votto—who is second? None other than Mr. Frazier, of course. How can you play your second-best offensive-producing player only three games per week?
The answer will have to include resting the aging Rolen more. Rolen and Frazier need to be at least splitting time at the hot corner. It may even include Frazier spot starting in left field.
The answer is going to be complicated, but there should be no argument that Baker needs do everything he can to ensure Frazier's bat is consistently in the lineup.
What would you do? Chime in with your thoughts.
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