Dusty talks to Lofton, Patterson
Dusty Baker was talking about the importance of a leadoff man.
“Everybody needs a leadoff hitter,” Baker said. “I think that is the most unappreciated, hardest to find quality position in baseball.”
To that end, Baker has talked to Kenny Lofton and Corey Patterson. Could either end up in Reds camp?
"There's a chance," Baker said. "They're out there looking for jobs. You want to get right pieces of the puzzle."
The hang up with Lofton is the Reds don't have a spot on the 40-man rosrter. "Kenny wants a big-league contract," Baker said.
Signing Lofton would not necessarily mean that Jay Bruce starts the year in the minors.
"I haven't seen Bruce play," Baker said. "You see Junior (Griffey) who came at 19. Corey Patterson was rushed a bit and didn't get time to mature. It's kind of like raising your kid: You don't know if you did the right it until later. . . it's something that is very hard to judge. When is now? It's not secret Bruce is a star of futrue. Who knows he could be a star of the present. I'm very impressed talking to him."
Lofton is an ideal leadoff man. He hit .296 with a .367 on-base percentage last year and stole 23 bases. Patterson is very talented, but he's not suited for a leadoff role. He hit .269 last year with a .304 on-base percentage. His career on-base is .296.