Stymied in their effort to deal with the Phillies for Shane Victorino, the Reds are talking with the Twins about acquiring outfielder Denard Span, according to CBSSports.com sources.
The Reds, leading the NL West, are searching hard for a leadoff hitter and while it is not certain that Minnesota will move Span, he profiles as exactly what the Reds want. Cincinnati leadoff hitters this season rank 30th in the majors in both on-base percentage (.247) and batting average (.201) and 26th in runs scored (55).
During their recent 10-game winning streak, Reds leadoff hitters compiled a .213 OBP.
Even at that, Dusty Baker's Reds are 20 games over .500, 61-41, and lead the NL Central by three games over the Pirates.
One source pegs the Reds/Twins talks for Span as a "50/50" chance of doing a deal. The Twins are desperate to re-stock their system with young starting pitching prospects.
Span, 28, is hitting .290/.356/.396 with three homers, 32 RBI and 11 steals in 94 games. He's been the Twins' leadoff hitter in 91 of those games. He's signed through 2014 with a club option for 2015 and is guaranteed roughly $12 million.
The Reds have used five different leadoff hitters this year, with rookie shortstop Zack Cozart (71 games) getting most of the starts. Other leadoff hitters for Cincinnati this year: Drew Stubbs, Chris Heisey, Brandon Phillips and Willie Harris.
It is unclear whether the Reds are still targeting the Phillies' Juan Pierre as a backup plan if they can't work a deal for Span or someone else.