5 Leadoff Hitters the Cincinnati Reds Should Consider Acquiring This Winter
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It is a forgone conclusion that the Cincinnati Reds will be in the hunt for a leadoff hitter this offseason. After a season that saw the team's leadoff men produce an abysmal .254 OBP—worst in all of baseball by a long shot—who could blame them.
Actually, the only blame to be thrown around would be if they decided not to address the issue.
With such an obvious need, rumors and suggestions galore have already begun to fly. So, why don't we join in, analyze a few rumors and add a few suggestions of our own.
You are about to read about five leadoff men that make sense for the Reds to pursue—let's check them out.
Angel Pagan has developed into what we call, a "professional hitter."
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Angel Pagan is a free agent and is likely going to be sought after by his current team, the San Francisco Giants. But if the Reds could swing in and sign the recent World Series champion, he could be the cure to their problems.
David Schoenfield of ESPN.com recently suggested such a move for Cincy in one of his articles—suggesting that Pagan would fill three holes for the Reds: "a better center fielder, a leadoff hitter and a left-handed/switch-hitter to help balance all the right-handed bats in the Cincinnati lineup."
Angel Pagan posted a slash line of .288/.338/.440 in 2012 and his on-base percentage was nearly 90 points higher than Reds' leadoff hitters. He also plays an amazing center field and has proven himself to be a professional's professional at the plate and in the clubhouse.
Pagan may be a far fetched idea at this point, but so was signing both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to long-term contracts at this time last season.
Far-fetched ideas often become reality in baseball, let's keep our fingers crossed.
Adam Eaton may not be on many fans' radars, but he should be on the Reds' radar.
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Adam Eaton may not be on many fans' radars, but the 23-year-old kid from Springfield, OH should be on the Reds' radar.
His stats are just off-the-wall good. According to an article by John Sickles of SB Nation, Eaton owns a .355/.456/.510 slash with 98 steals in 319 career minor league games. On top of that, he posted a .259/.382/.412 slash line in 101 major league at bats during his first taste of the bigs.
The Reds may be looking to trade one of their prized shortstop prospects, Zack Cozart or Didi Gregorius, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. Morosi makes the connection that the Arizona Diamondbacks are in need of a shortstop and may be willing to use Eaton as bait to obtain one.
I'm all for such a trade, would you be?
Jacoby Ellsbury may become expendable in Boston.
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Like almost everything else baseball-related in Boston this season, Jacoby Ellsbury was a major disappointment. His .271/.313/.370 slash and four home runs in 2012 was a far cry from his MVP caliber .321/.376/.552 slash line and 32 home runs in 2011.
Ellsbury becomes a free agent after the 2013 season, which may prompt the Red Sox to go a different route. They have already proven that they are committed to changing things up by trading Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez—why not add Ellsbury to the list?
Cincinnati has plenty of trade options to offer up to Boston, including an MLB-ready shortstop. They may be able to put together a package of Zack Cozart (or Didi Gregorius), Drew Stubbs and Daniel Corcino that would sway the Red Sox brain-trust.
Talk about a game-changer, Jacoby Ellsbury could be just that.
Shane Victorino could be in line for a bounce-back year in 2013.
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Shane Victorino seems to once again be on the Reds' radar, as ESPN's Jerry Crasnick recently tweeted. Prior to being dealt to the Dodgers at the 2012 trade deadline, Victorino was also linked to the Reds.
Not only are the Reds interested in Victorino, but he would be a nice fit for the club. It's likely that he could be signed to a two-year deal which wouldn't break the bank for Cincy.
He is coming off a rather sub-par season that made Reds' leadoff hitters look juvenile. His .255/.321/.383 slash line is by far the worst of his career; however, let's not forget that Victorino is still just 31 years old.
Though he posted a career low .702 OPS in 2012, he also stole a career high 39 bases. This tells scouts that he still has his legs and is likely to rebound to something near his career norm of .275/.341/.430.
Shane Victorino could be a steal for Cincy, and he would also play a pretty nice left field.
Michael Bourn is available, but will he be overpriced?
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Let's get something straight, Michael Bourn could definitely fill the void that is leadoff for the Reds, but his price is a major concern.
Paul Swydan of FanGraphs suggests that Cincinnati may be able to snag Bourn for five years at $70 million. Are you willing to lock him up for that long? He is just 29 years old, not bad in terms of age and contract years.
But, delve deeper into the stats and you notice Bourn's 155 strikeouts last season. Do the Reds really need another strikeout leader on their team? I'm not a big fan of it, but Bourn is still a much better option that the current one.
He posted a .274/.348/.391 slash line with 42 steals and a 6.0 WAR despite all of those strikeouts. But then again, if you take Drew Stubbs out of the lineup the strikeout totals are neutralized.
It's an interesting option, but is it worth it?
Let's Sum It All Up
Denard Span gets too much credit for his limited abilities.
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You may have noticed a few omissions. Players were omitted for a couple of reasons: they aren't a good fit and/or they are over-hyped.
Who are a couple of these so called over-hyped players?
Denard Span: overpriced, overrated, on the decline
Juan Pierre: old, over-hyped, on the decline
Whether you agree or disagree, be sure to sound off with your thoughts by leaving your comments.
You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter @JRamCincy