Kenny Lofton played for Dusty Baker with the Giants in 2002 and the Cubs in ’03, both times joining Baker’s teams in July and then helping them advance deep into the postseason.
Another reunion could be in the works.
The Reds are considering Lofton, sources say, but the extent of their interest might hinge on which players — if any — they trade for a starting pitcher.
The team remains the most fervent suitor for A’s right-hander Joe Blanton, and apparently is exploring other pitching options as well.
“Cincy is really trying to land a veteran starter,” one rival general manager says.
Lofton, a free agent who bats left-handed, could fit in a platoon role with the Reds. The team’s returning center fielders, Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper, are both right-handed hitters.
Top prospect Jay Bruce, a left-handed hitter, has only 187 at-bats at Class AAA. The signing of Lofton would give Bruce more time to develop.
Lofton, who turns 41 on May 31, has played for 11 teams in his 17-year career, including three in the NL Central — the Astros, Pirates and Cubs. A fourth, the Brewers, considered him this off-season before signing free-agent center fielder Mike Cameron.
Lofton spent last season with the Rangers and Indians, batting a combined .296 with a .367 on-base percentage and 23 stolen bases in 30 attempts.
He also was one of the Indians’ leading hitters in their AL Divisional Series victory over the Yankees, batting .375 with a double and four RBIs in 16 at-bats.
I don’t like the sound of this. It smacks of Dusty’s “veteran” prejudice. But let’s see if it happens and if it does, who Lofton is up against in the outfield.