Chris Heisey going 3 for 5 with 4 runs, 5 RBI, and 3 HR does a lot to the Cincinnati Reds. Not only does it provide hope for a position that seems to have been a weakness all year, left field, where Jonny Gomes and Fred Lewis have been given more of an opportunity than him, but now we’ll have the bag of worms in Cincinnati. Who goes to make room for Heisey? Cincinnati has people, namely a local talk show host, who feels that sending young guys to the Minors is the best answer. Just this year, he wanted Jay Bruce there, even wanting him in Louisville prior to his 2nd half tear last season. Now what is the answer? Heisey needs to be in center and Drew Stubbs needs to be sent down to Louisville.
How is that intelligent in any way? Sure, he has 99 strikeouts in 299 at bats. Sure he has a .261/.334/.411 slash. Maybe the issue with Stubbs is that he isn’t a leadoff hitter. Maybe his power-speed combo is just that, while being at the cost of plate discipline. What makes Stubbs so worthless? If he kept his current pace, he would score 116 runs, hit 28 2B, 21 HR, have 66 RBI out of (primarily) the leadoff spot, and steal 47 bases. Sure, he’ll strikeout 213 times. Are the Cincinnati Reds the Oakland A’s of the Moneyball-era? No. The Reds are built on power, speed, and pitching. There is not an on-base machine outside of Joey Votto and Ryan Hanigan, and Hanigan isn’t in the lineup every day. Stubbs fits their mold. An out is an out. He is a caucasian version of Mike Cameron in his prime with more speed, and he is valuable to the team and fantasy players alike.
No player is perfect in a game where success is getting a hit three out of every 10 times you swing the bat. Chris Heisey IS worthy of playing time, but at the expense of Jonny Gomes and Fred Lewis, not another asset. The connection and love of veterans is nothing new to manager Dusty Baker, however, for the Reds to thrive, they need to stop using Heisey in a pinch-hit role. There is value in his defense, especially, as Gomes is lost out there. So as Cincinnati talking-heads will make more of this than what needs to be, one solution remains – an outfield of Heisey, Stubbs, and Bruce is what the Reds need to have to be viable and to take the reigns of the NL Central while Prince Albert is canned on the shelf.