Since the Reds are ~ $111mm in salary for 2014, they don't have the cash to spend on upgrading their personnel this year.
Just out of curiosity, I was looking for cheap OF's who hit left handed. (I know the Reds do need a RH power bat to bat cleanup, but hey, they really are kind of financially restricted @ the moment) But I was looking for a lefty who could platoon with Ryan Ludwick.
Ludwick over the past 3 years has a slugging % of .491 vs lefties and .405 vs Righties. OPS of .843 vs lefties compared to .717 vs Righties.
This to me suggests there is a prime opportunity for a platoon in LF. (So you run the risk of a 3-4-5 all hitting lefty, but it's not so bad-- the Cards starting rotation are all righties.)
Nate Schierholtz was a guy I was looking @. The Cubs don't really need him long term. Soler is their future RF. He's a FA after 2014. He's definitely attainable in a trade.
His expected arb # is $4.4mm so a bit pricey for a platoon. Plus he should be cheap to trade for--- a C+ prospect and maybe some international bonus slot money should do the trick. (Theo loves to build farm systems and draft players)
Anyway- it's hard to cut and paste so I'll just cut and paste a few #'s, vs things like doubles, triples etc.
Votto played 162 games last year and had 716 plate appearances. 480 vs righties, 236 vs lefties. I figured this gives me a good approximation on the R/L distribution for this exercise.
Because Luddy missed most of last season, I had to use a 3 year average on his splits.
Based on a # of 236 ab's vs lefthanders (what Votto saw last year) He would be expected to hit like:
PA BB AB's HR
236 31 205 11.60
Nate Schierholtz #'s over a 3 year period and based on 480 ab's, his #'s would look like.
PA BB AB's HR
480 32 448 18.27
Combined over a season, 29.87 Hr's with a .483 slugging % over 716 plate appearances. Oops, slugging % didn't cut and paste properly--- but it came to a .483 slugging.
Schierholtz played a bit more last year than the previous years and if we are looking @ just last year's #'s-- he would approximately do the following damage in 2014.
PA BB AB's HR
Nate Schierholtz 480 22 458 22.39
Combined with Ludwick's approximation, a platoon next year would be around 33.99 or 34 HR's from the pair and a .497 Slugging %.
Historically here are Ludwick's Slugging % #'s.
SLG % Age
If the Reds got a platoon that did a combined .497% slugging next year-- that would be solid given what Ludwick has done historically over the past few years. I'm highly doubting he can pull off a year like he did 2 years ago.
Not to mention, over the past 7 years-- he's only averaged 408 ab's a year. He's not a 155 games, 675 plate appearances type player. He's perfect for a platoon situation-- and it doesn't work real well when his backup (Heisey) is a right handed hitter as well.
Arb #'s approximation. Shierholtz $4.4mm-- Heisey ~ $1.7mm. So a difference of $2.7mm, plus something in a trade.
Best case scenario-- and the Reds got Schierholtz and the platoon worked--- it is 34 HR's and .497 Slugging %.
FWIW-- Jay Bruce over the past 3 years has averaged 32 HR's a .488 slugging %.
Actually the platoon should be a little worse-- Ludwick's #'s are inflated by his 2012 production. However it shouldn't affect it that much since Ludwick would only get about 1/3rd of the ab's in a platoon.
Downside is a 3-4-5 order that is lefty lefty lefty. But I'm assuming if a lefty came in to pitch- the Reds would pinch hit Ludwick for Schierholtz-- and vice versa if Ludwick was in and a RH came into pitch.
Anyway-- Finding a Lefty bat to platoon with Ludwick could give a nice increase in production out of the LF spot. Especially since that left handed hitter should see about 2/3rds of the ab's.
If someone wants to take the time and research-- who would you recommend to be a LH bat to platoon with Ludwick in 2014? The only restriction is the player has to be cheap and can fit into the Reds budget. I would say about $5mm max. Basically a LH batter to replace Heisey.