Remember how excited we were that the Cincinnati Reds were finally seeming to get healthy for the first time all season? Yeah, that was short lived. Not only have the Reds placed Joey Votto on the disabled list, but within the past 24 hours, they have also seen Brandon Phillips, Billy Hamilton, Homer Bailey and Zack Cozart get injured as well (all different levels of severity). And with the news below, it’s obvious that the Reds are finding themselves in a bit of trouble.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 10, 2014
And just to make matters worse:
Confirmed that Phillips has a torn ligament. Surgery tomorrow. Big blow to #Reds.
— John Fay (@johnfayman) July 10, 2014
Yet another injury and it is one that drastically changes the Reds’ approach to the trade deadline. Losing Votto meant the Reds had a hole to fill in their lineup by the end of July. Realistically, they could fill such a hole with a bat in left field and rotate players at first (Todd Frazier, Brayan Pena). But with the loss of Phillips as well, the replacement becomes tricky, as now they are in need of replacing the entire right side of the infield.
Now the question becomes, “how do the Reds do that?” But, for me, there is an even deeper question to consider here. “Should the Reds even try to do that?” Acquiring a rental for half a season is difficult, not to mention risky. You have to truly be close to winning it all if you are willing to mortgage the farm system for a rental player (and the cost will likely be high for whomever they would consider).
The most likely option for the Reds is inserting Skip Schumaker into the position of every day second baseman until Phillips returns. While that gives the team a full-time option (albeit a downgrade), it allows them to focus on replacing the vacated production elsewhere — like left field. If the Reds are able to find a competent addition in left field, it will go a long way in softening the loss of Phillips and Votto.
For the Reds, the uphill battle that is 2014 continues. Being forced to overcome injuries all season long has become all too familiar for this Reds team. The fact that they are above .500 on the season is a feat of itself, and the ability to continue that success just became even more difficult.