The Reds answered the Brandon Phillips question - at least for the near future - when general manager Walt Jocketty said the club will definitely pick up Phillips' $12 million option.

The club is also talking with Phillips' representatives about extending his contract. (We'll examine how wise that is a little later).

But the more immediate question is this: Can Phillips be the solution at leadoff for 2012?

The Reds seem set on this -unless something better comes long.

"Yeah, I think he is (the leadoff man) - until we find someone better," Jocketty said. "He's demonstrated that he can handle it well."

Phillips wants to lead off.

"I'm going into the offseason to get ready to be the leadoff man," he said. "I was happy with the year I had, especially after I started hitting leadoff. I did it to help out the team. That's what I want to do."

Phillips had a terrific year. He was one of only 13 players in the National League to hit .300. He also had 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 94 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. His defense was even better than last year, when he won his second Gold Glove.

He was especially good after the move to leadoff Aug. 17. In the 38 games there, he hit .350/.417/.573 and scored 30 runs. He also stole seven bases in eight attempts. He had seven steals in 15 attempts before the move to leadoff.