Dusty Baker back in playing shape

Andy Lyons

Nashville, TN-- When Dusty Baker addressed the media today, he looked refreshed and a bit thinner, having lost around 20 pounds after suffering a stroke in September. Baker joked that now that he's dropped a few pounds he's back in playing shape, and indicated that he's feeling better and ready for next season.

When asked how the Reds would approach the offseason, Baker said, "It's not our track record to overpay." Baker also said that even though there are secret meetings going on this week, that he doubts there will be any big moves for the Reds, as they look to set up future deals.

Baker admitted the biggest need for the Reds offensively is to find a leadoff hitter, which has been a concern for the past few seasons. In 2012, the Reds hit .208/.254/.327 in the leadoff spot, with just 16 home runs and 10 stolen bases. Baker seemed hopeful that Drew Stubbs could pull it together to assume the leadoff role in the future.

When discussing Aroldis Chapman, Baker said Chapman was ready to do whatever the club needed him to do, and he preferred to start. When asked about what he'd do about having six starters, Baker said, "...it's a good problem to have," but didn't give any indication if trading Mike Leake or Bronson Arroyo was a priority.

And if you were hoping to see Billy Hamilton sprinting around the base paths in the majors next season, it may be a bit too soon to get excited--Baker said that even though he's coming along quickly and he's learning to switch-hit, he still has, "a few things to learn about baseball," and that rushing him to the majors would be a disservice.

Cee Angi is one of Baseball Nation's Designated Columnists, one of the minds behind the Platoon Advantage, and the author of Baseball-Prose. Follow her at @CeeAngi.

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