Like many other teams in the MLB, the Cincinnati Reds didn’t make any significant moves before the trade deadline. General manager Walt Jocketty decided to go with the current roster instead of adding a player that could potentially help the team down the stretch, as they chase the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.
This could be a move that Jocketty and the Reds will ultimately look back on as a big mistake. Jocketty is thinking that the return of Ryan Ludwick, the Reds’ starting left fielder, will boost the lineup upon his return. And it is definitely a lineup that needs a boost.
The Reds limped through a recent west coast road trip, scoring only 14 runs in their last seven games of the road trip. And this is a team that boasts All-Star starters Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, along with power-hitting Jay Bruce. A team with that kind of firepower should never go seven-straight games averaging only two runs per contest.
While the entire team must take the blame for the recent struggles, it’s pretty obvious that three positions have brought down the Reds’ offensive production. The shortstop, catcher and third base positions have struggled all season for Cincinnati.
Case in point: starting shortstop Zack Cozart is batting just .241 on the season heading into Friday’s game against the Cardinals. Cozart’s on-base percentage is a staggeringly-low .271.
Third baseman Todd Frazier, who hit .273 with 19 home runs last season, is hitting just .240 this season, with 10 homers.
The catching duo of Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan has also struggled all season. Mesoraco is hitting .251, while Hanigan is hitting .193.
Cincinnati needs to pick up the pace offensively, or they may find themselves on the outside of the Wild Card race in September. Jocketty and his staff need to continue to shop the waiver wires to see if they can add a bat for the stretch run. And everyone in Cincinnati hopes that Ludwick’s return will make a big difference for the Reds as the pennant race heats up.