The Cincinnati Reds need a big bat in their lineup. Just a few weeks ago, they had four starters batting over .300. Out of those four, only Joey Votto remains above the high water mark.
Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen and Jonnny Gomes have all cooled considerably since then.
Jay Bruce continues his struggles against southpaws and Drew Stubbs is not a dependable hitter at this juncture.
Phillips is among the league leaders in runs scored and hits, Votto leads the league in HR and OBP and he along with Gomes are among the leaders in RBI. Rolen is still hurt as I write this article.
The Reds starting pitchers have been predominant; their relief pitching, good to suspect.
Houston's Lance Berkman, although struggling this year, would fill the need for power.
Let's examine the reasons the Reds need to get him this week.
Even though Votto is leading the league in HR, he is not primarily a HR hitter. He is a career .300 hitter and has been playing over his head, in terms of power.
Berkman is one of the best current power hitters in the game.
He has hit over 40 HR twice and is averaging 33 HR and 111 RBI for a 162-game season. He is a career .296 hitter and has a career OBP of .409.
He wants to be on a contender. He is sick to death of losing and the Reds would be a great fit for him. He has said from the beginning of the season that he wants to be traded. He is due for a change in venue and the stats will rise to the occasion.
The Reds have much to offer in the form of pitchers and positional prospects.
Homer Bailey is a pitcher who has as much potential as any in the game. As long as he is in the Queen City he will never blossom.
Sam LeCure has proven he can pitch with the big boys and could be a good source of trade bait.
Something is going to have to be done with Aaron Harang. I don't even know if the Astros would be interested but, who knows?
As far as positional players, Jay Bruce is still packing value, and not producing the way he should.
Yonder Alonso could fill Berkman's position the next day after the trade.
Juan Francisco is another player with a world of potential. With the Reds he will just be another Willy Mo Pena or a left-handed Edwin Encarnacion.
Berkman could fill Bruce's position in right field.
Being a switch hitter is another luxury he brings to the table.
He could spell Votto at first as needed, and play in the outfield other games.
Outside of Minute Maid Park, Berkman has had more success at Great American Ball Park than any other stadium. He is batting .339/.458/.765 with 21 HR and 55 RBI.
Overall against the Reds, he is batting .318/.438/.678 with 49 HR and 137 RBI.
He flat out rules the Cincinnati Reds, home or away. He has the most impressive numbers against the Reds of any active player.