For the Cincinnati Reds, the free agent market has dwindled to very slim pickings. Michael Bourn is too expensive, Denard Span is now with the Nationals and B.J. Upton has been gobbled up by the Atlanta Braves.
So with the exception of Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross, the Reds have little to choose from. Neither of those two mentioned could serve the dual purpose as a leadoff batter.
Assuming they can't re-sign Ludwick. and with the free agent searches all but over, the Reds are going to have to make a trade to get a high-caliber left or center fielder who can bat leadoff and get on base.
We need to look at a team who has a decent player who meets our needs and who also needs help with their starting rotation.
Enter the Kansas City Royals.
There may be better players than he, but it would be very nice to see outfielder Alex Gordon in a Reds uniform this spring.
Gordon is the type of player that not everyone is too familiar with. He can bat leadoff, he bats from the left side and in the past two campaigns has fashioned a slash line of .298/.372/.478 .
From the defensive standpoint, he has won two consecutive Gold Glove awards, so he would fit nicely in the left corner of Great American Ball Park.
He can also hit with some pop, so 18-25 home runs would not be out of the question.
According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Gordon is under contract through 2015 with an option for 2016. He is set to make $9 Million in 2013, so he will not come cheap.
If the Reds are serious about having an outfield for the future, here is their boy. He could play left field, Chris Heisey could play center field and of course, Jay Bruce in right field.
Gordon has six years of MLB experience, yet he is only 28. He also has some versatility, as he can also play both corners of the infield should Todd Frazier or Joey Votto go down.
This is just a stop-gap year from all of the speculation concerning the possibility of Billy Hamilton being ready to take over in center field in 2014.
What about Drew Stubbs? "What about him?" I ask. He has had several years in which to prove he is a bona fide big league center fielder.
Has he done that? No. He is close to ownership of the strikeout record for a season by a batter. His average has continually sloped to the downhill drag each year. He cannot get on base.
He does play very well on defense, but Heisey can play an adequate center fielder to get the Reds Express to the next station. Heisey is also a much better batter than Stubbs.
So who would you bundle to get such a talent as Gordon?
I would start right there with Stubbs, as they will need an outfielder to replace Gordon. Since they are in need of starting pitching, I would offer up Mike Leake because the Reds are now top-heavy in starters.
Those two alone would probably not be sweet enough, so some other player would probably need to be tossed into the fray. Maybe one of the three prospects: Didi Gregorius, Neftali Soto or Henry Rodriguez could be thrown in there for sweetening. But only one of them.
So in 2014, you would project to having Gordon, Hamilton and Bruce as your outfielders.
This would all be contingent upon whether the Reds could re-sign Ludwick for a couple of years. It would clearly be cheaper in the long run, but Gordon will be playing after Ludwick has bid adieu to the game.