Reds GM says leadoff role is top priority

Thearon W. Henderson

Cincinnati Reds GM Walt Jocketty would like to get a leadoff hitter this winter, but money is a key consideration.

Cincinnati Reds' GM Walt Jocketty says getting a leadoff hitter is the team's top priority this winter, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Payroll is an important consideration, though, as a large portion of the team's projected payroll in 2013 is already promised to players like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and Bronson Arroyo.

The Reds' most obvious positions for an upgrade are center field, where incumbent Drew Stubbs struggled in 2012, and left field, where free agent Ryan Ludwick had a resurgent season. The most obvious players that seem to fit are Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan, but with regard to Bourn, Jocketty quipped, "You think we can afford him?"

However the Reds decide to fill the leadoff spot, it is clear that a change is necessary. The Reds' leadoff hitters in 2012 collectively hit an embarrassing .208/.254/.327, which is the worst mark posted by any lineup position in baseball, aside from a number of ninth hitters in the National League. Even then, the Washington Nationals' ninth hitters posted a mark of .212/.269/.317.

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