Originally Posted by M2
Anyone got some CF suggestions? Anyone?
I purposefully kept the list short.
My own ideal center field candidate injured his arm in spring training, then got shipped off to Oakland shortly thereafter. Great defense, good on-base skills, and league minimum cheap. But apparently the Reds thought otherwise, and he's gone.
I've seen Jay Bruce play exactly one game in center field, and that was last season in Dayton so I'm not really sure how strong his center field defense is at this point. All we've ever heard from the scouts is they believe Bruce is eventually geared for right field eventually, but I'd at least like to see him in center for an extended period myself before going with that take. Right now it would seem that Bruce's center field defense is at least average simply because he's received the bulk of his playing time there. My thinking is if Bruce was below average there, then the Reds would have already committed to moving him to a corner. Then again, this is the Reds we're talking about so that's not a given.
I would agree that Hamilton's center field defense right now is probably below average, and his best position at this point is likely right field. Hamilton reminds me a lot of Austin Kearns; I think he'd be a good defender in right with a strong throwing arm helping him further, and he's passable in center in the short term but isn't a long term answer there.
All that being said, the outfield situation I'd be looking at for next season is Dunn in left, Bruce in center, and Hamilton in right. We know what Dunn brings to the table defensively. If Bruce can play at least average defense in center, and if Hamilton provides good defense in right field, then the overall outfield defense shouldn't hurt the Reds. I doubt it'd be spectacular, but I'd have to think overall it'd be somewhat average. That would at least be a decent upgrade over what they're currently fielding.
Drew Stubbs isn't even anywhere near my radar at this point. When (if) he reaches a point when he's excelling at AA or higher, then I'll consider him a viable option. Until then, the Reds shouldn't wait around on him and hoping he's some sort of answer.
Also, I'd like to see the Reds acquire (or bring up) a legitimate center field defender as a 4th or 5th outfield backup type. Norris Hopper provides solid defense in the corners as a backup outfielder, but the guy just isn't a center fielder. I've seen enough of him running in four different directions while terribly misreading a fly ball in center field to know that he should never be in center field unless it's an emergency. The shame is right now this team doesn't even have a legitimate center field defender on its roster, neither its starters or backups.
Perhaps a guy like Dickerson could fill that void, or perhaps he can't. I've never seen him play, but if his defense is as good as advertised, then he'd be a nice backup outfielder to have for his center field defensive purposes (provided his bat is good enough to justify a roster spot). If his bat isn't good enough, then the team would behoove itself to find some type of excellent center field defender who can provide enough pop to justify a roster spot.