From FoxSports:

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.

I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Join the conversation! 37 Comments

  1. I “like” the sound of this. Lofton, if used right, could/would be a good option. Look the Reds have 2 offensive needs (aside from a Craig Wilson type RH bat): leadoff and CF. Hopper may be fine, Bruce isn’t a leadoff hitter, Freel could do it, but Lofton is good insurance.

  2. That said, I am against trying to add Blanton. I don’t think he works in the GABP, and sounds like it will take 2 of the big 4. No thanks.

  3. Why? If it’s only a minor league deal like mercker and wilson got, i will be less confused. However, he still would take AB’s from young guys that can use the development time against big league pithching in camp. The reason he has played for so many teams is that he is a clubhouse cancer and can’t get along with anyone. While it was fun to see him hit vs. the Yanks last year, I still don’t want him.

    I like Wayne, but I still do not understand why this organization continues to pursue league-average or worse veterans just b/c they have experience. Outside of Helton, none of the key guys on the Rockies had significant big league experience. How many of these stupid signings/trades do we have to make before we learn (see: stanton, mike; cormier, rheal, etc.)? The same goes for their pursuit of Blanton. why trade one of these young guys would huge upside for a guy you know can win no more than 14 games and strike out 140? This all seems more dusty/jocketty driven. Both have a history of recycling rejects whose career should have ended 2 years ago.

  4. Jim Thome almost killed him in Cleveland when he (Lofton) was hip hopping after a tough loss. I also seem to remember him intentionally lobbing warm-up throws inches over reporters’ heads because he thought it would be funny.

  5. Combining all the sources of information this offseason, I am left with one theory.

    Krivsky criteria this offseason set to acquire a veteran pitcher. His criteria 1)above-league-average; 2) American League; and 3)Salary controlled for at least two years.

    I believe his desire was to keep all of Cueto, Bailey, and Bruce. As such, Hamilton, EdE and Votto and Maloney are bait.

    However, the desire for young pitching required that any trade must include at least two viable pitching prospects. enter Edinson Volquez.

    In Volquez, Krivsky has an additional young, MLB ready pitching prospect to pair with Votto and Maloney.

    The question remains which trading partner would accept Maloney, Votto, and Volquez? That might be enough for Beane.

    So why not just make it a three-team deal? Because Oakland and Texas finished a game apart in the same division. Texas would be unlikely to send arguably its best pitching prospect to a division rival.

  6. If we sign Lofton, I think it could be a strong signal that they arent sure they want Bruce to start the season in CF. I also dont want Blanton unles they accept a package like Maloney & Dickerson … Blanton is no Haren nor Bedard … two, maybe three mid level prospects is fair enough to me.

  7. It has definitely been an interesting off season. Kirv dawg is trying to put together a winner. I would have done some things a little differently. I would have traded votto, EE, and another prospect for Tim Lincecum of the Giants. Move Dunn to first. Dont trade Hamilton. Let Bruce have the left field job and let Cantu, Kepp, and Freel battle it out for third. Now the rotation is Harang, Lincecum, Arroyo, Belisle, and Bailey with Cueto and Maloney waiting for their shot. Just felt we could have landed a quality pitcher and still kept our potent offense in tact. But of course someone would get hurt and my wonderful plan would blow up in my face as EE and Votto become all stars in SF. Dont know why I had the urge to share that. But as for lofton I like the idea if they think Bruce is not ready. But come on who are we kidding? Time to see what this kid can do at the highest level no?

  8. If you want to go would haves at a chance to win right now, I would have kept Hamilton and traded (gasp!) Jay Bruce for Erik Bedard. You sign Dunn long term to stay in the corner, keep Hammy in center, and than find a replacement for Griff after this year (corner OF are relatively easy to find).

    You have Bedard for two years that makes up one of the nicest top 3, if not the best top 3, in the NL. During those two years you bring Baily and Cueto along without the pressure of having to be dominant out of the gate.

    We let Bedard go to FA and get compensation picks with which to hopefully reload the farm club. The end result, though is a winning team in 08/09 that lets our two stud SP’s develop so that once Bedard’s gone we have a sweet top 4 and are even better.

    I know trading Bruce would have been heresy, but I think that it could’ve produced a winner in 08 and wouldn’t mortgage the future either. And yes, I know we would have Bruce under control for almost 6 years, but his stock may never be higher than it is right now.

    I now leave myself open to public beatings and your criticisms.

  9. Votto, EE and a prospect for Lincecum?!?! LOL!!!

    I think you’re obviously A LOT higher on those 2 guys than anyone else in baseball.

    Here’s a thought. Votto, Freel and Dickerson for Phillip Hughes!!

    Or how about Drew Stubbs and Todd Frazier for Clay Bucholtz?

  10. Actually scouts have predicted Votto as a potential all star first basemen being ranked as the 5th best first baseman prospect(56th overall) and how quickly we forget that EE led the team in avg and avg with runners in scoring position. And with our farm system full of promising prospects that they could have their choosing of, I dont think that deal is all that absurd. Especially considering that they lost Feliz to FA and have no first basemen. Sporting one of baseball’s worst offenses and a surplus of starting pitching I thought the deal would have worked for both sides.

  11. Step 1: Trade Hamilton and say we have a glut of outfielders. Point to Hopper, Freel, Dickerson, Bruce (none of which need to be playing every day in 2008, unless Bruce has an amazing spring).

    Step 2: Sign Craig Wilson..?

    Step 3: Trade for…Kenny Lofton?

    Seriously, WTF?

  12. I like it:

    1.) Insurance policy in case Bruce isn’t ready for prime time.

    2.) Spot leadoff duty for a club without a legit leadoff man (.367 OBP and 23 bags in 130+ games last year)

    3.) Another patient lefty bat on the bench

    4.) Pinch running

    5.) Veteran leadership with extensive postseason experience – postseason starts in 11 of 13 Octobers since 95

    6.) Nice defensive option for Dunn in late innings

    7.) Cheap, one-year deal

    What’s the downside to this?

  13. Yeah, I’m fine with it (if cheap, and if a one-year deal only). A Lofton/Hopper platoon to play CF and bat leadoff every day suits me fine.

    It would also let Bruce play CF every day in Louisville, which I think is an excellent idea. He’s only 21, and it would be nice to figure out if he can be a CF or if he’s only a corner outfielder.

    Wilson I like fine too, to pinch-hit (RH pop off the bench) or to platoon with Votto.

    I think planned platoons make a lot of sense — if guys can’t (or shouldn’t) play 162 games, why not put them in there in the spots they do best in? Platooning has gone “out of vogue” but I think it’s a pretty good idea w/ some players.

  14. Lofton vs. RHP (career): .304/.375/.440

    Hopper vs. LHP (career): .386/.423/.492

    Huge “small sample” warnings w/ Hopper’s numbers (only 132 AB’s), but… yikes!

  15. Bruce is ready. Hand him the keys.

  16. i know get bruce up here
    it wont be bad to have kenny though
    when griffey gets hurt as usual

  17. Lofton will just whine and moan come trade deadline time when we’re 10 games back.

    We don’t need the Ken-dog.

  18. “And there is the talk about the Reds signing 40-year-old center fielder Kenny Lofton. The Reds need a leadoff hitter, but what about Jay Bruce? Former Reds infielder Chris Sabo coached Bruce in the minors and told broadcaster Marty Brennaman that Bruce will make him forget any player ever to come out of the Reds system.”

  19. If goggles says it I am a believer.

  20. I don’t like it because he is 41 years old.

  21. The Reds do not need any outfielders at all.

    Lofton might not be a bad fit for the right club in the AL, but Cincy does not need him.

    Freel/Hopper/Griffey/Dunn/Hamilton/Keppinger/Craig Wilson

    That is plenty. If they need someone else, call up a kid.

  22. Thats right Earl, except we don’t have Hamilton anymore.

  23. Maybe I’m crazy, but what if they are hopefully including hopper as a mid-level guy in the trade for Blanton, and so Lofton will be an affordable replacement for him on the bench?

  24. 41 is my lucky number
    he will be good 😯

  25. You know Kevin, if you are crazy we share a similar diagnosis. It seems especially plausible after signing Wilson as well. It allows some flexibility. Or we could both be way off base, but at least your voices have company, and isn’t that what’s important? 😉

  26. I actually had not heard about that Hamilton trade, hopefully those two arms will help out the bullpen.

    Either way, the Reds have been outfielder deep for quite a few years and I’d rather see them give the at bats to a young guy.

    I’ve had cold sweats of the Reds bringing in Neifi Perez ever since they hired Dusty Baker.

  27. Kevin, Preach – I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps they’re entertaining the thought of trading Hopper or Freel, and are looking at Lofton as a back-up with the ability to start if needed.

  28. Bruce and Lofton split time in Center? Even though both are leftys, look at the splits. Kenny seems to like it reversed. It gives Bruce the playing time, keeps Lofton fresh, we have a prototypical leadoff hitter when Lofton is in the lineup. Could be worse, I suppose.

  29. Yea, more players old players, I prefer when Krivsky makes moves out of nowhere.

    I bet money that Beane would want Keppinger in any deal kinda of deal for Blanton.

    6 Minor league seasons .320 AVG
    3 NCAA seasons .380 AVG
    437 MLB ABs 0.332 AVG
    and he’s still underated never making anybody’s top prospect lists

    If you ask me, I think Votto should be dealt to make room for Keppinger, who has done nothing but hit his entire life. Votto + AA prospects(who cares) + Maloney for Blanton. I think that’s a good move, but you know he wants Cueto or Bailey.

  30. I don’t want Bruce splitting time with anyone…if he’s on the big club, I want him playing EVERY DAY (with occasional days off once in a while). Not splitting time….

  31. Before I scrolled down to your comment Bill I was going to say the same thing. I want Bruce to see left and right handed pitching. I want him to be able to blossom into the type of star he can. I don’t want a Hamilton effect where they never let the guy hit against left handers because his splits were bad. Let the kid develop!

  32. I agree w/ that about Bruce. I’d also like to find out if he’s a viable center fielder.

    These are good reasons (not to mention age and experience) that I still think it’d be a good idea to give him at least a half season in Louisville.

  33. If they are going to sign either Lofton of Corey Patterson, I would rather see Lofton cause he is more of a proven comodity and a table setter which we don’t have and anyway I don’t see why everyone is complaining because however comes in it would have to be on either a non-roster invitee or minor league deal and I don’t want to see them rush Bruce (really don’t want to happen to him what happened to Ryan Wagner)

  34. Baker says in today’s paper that Lofton wants a major league deal, so it won’t be a non-roster or minor league deal to get him.

    And Bruce has already spent far more time in the minors than did Wagner. I hate to see the Reds make a decision on Bruce based on a handful of spring ABs.

  35. IF, they decide Bruce is going down to AAA to play everday, I could live with Lofton and Freel/Hopper manning CF. But they’ll be making a huge mistake bringing Patterson in for anything.

Comments are closed.

About Bill Lack

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.


2008 Reds, Reds - General