Ryan Ludwick Signing Will Benefit the Cincinnati Reds Most in 2013

Tyler DumaFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 11:  Ryan Ludwick #48 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giantsduring  Game Five of the National League Division Series at Great American Ball Park on October 11, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds haven't done a whole lot this offseason.

General manager Walt Jocketty went into the 2012-13 offseason needing a left fielder and a leadoff hitter. Thus far, he's only fulfilled one of these needs with the re-signing of 34-year-old left fielder Ryan Ludwick.

In addition to this re-signing, the team has been linked to numerous trades, including ones for Colorado Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler and Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

The only move with any real substance this offseason is the re-signing of Ryan Ludwick.

Ludwick pulled together a great bounce-back season in 2012, slashing .275/.346/.531 with 26 HR, 55 XBH, 80 RBI and 53 runs scored. 

Most impressive about Ludwick's season was the way he performed in Joey Votto's absence. Ludwick slashed .347/.421/.660 with 12 HR and 36 RBI. 

The Reds' move to bring him back ensures production in one of the most important spots of a team's lineup.

Providing Ludwick produces similarly to the way he did in 2012, his being in the four hole ensures that Joey Votto will get plenty of pitches to hit.

The effect this has on the Reds' lineup is immeasurable.

With Ludwick back in the middle of the Reds' lineup, it also allows Dusty Baker to put Brandon Phillips in the two hole, where he's arguably a more valuable player.

Although this was a great signing for the Reds, the most important move has yet to be made.

The Reds desperately need a leadoff hitter, and it seems that the only way to acquire one (outside of doling out big bucks for Michael Bourn) will be through a trade.

I've been against both Jacoby Ellsbury and Dexter Fowler, because of the proposed costs of each both in terms of trade value and, in Ellsbury's case, of keeping him around past 2013.

One could argue that the most important move of the Reds' offseason is yet to be made. However, in practice, the re-signing of Ryan Ludwick is easily the most beneficial signing of the 2012-13 offseason.