Cubs center fielders hit a fine .302/.344/.466 for Dusty Baker’s 2003 club, which came within five outs of a World Series appearance. Most of the ABs at the position went to Corey Patterson and Kenny Lofton that year.
Dusty’s managing the Reds now, and both center fielders remain free agents as of February 17th. The Reds have some uncertainty in center field, though Jay Bruce is a stud and Ryan Freel is said to be 100%. According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker has spoken to both Lofton and Patterson recently. They are options for the Reds; Baker says Lofton seeks a Major League deal. In that case someone would have to be booted off the team’s 40 man roster. Six days ago, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Reds’ interest in Lofton might depend on who they might trade for another starter (with Joe Blanton as the main target).
The Reds currently have Kent Mercker and Paul Bako in camp as non-roster invitees; both played for Baker in ’03.