Despite losing two of their biggest stars over the last week, the Cincinnati Reds just completed an impressive 8-3 homestand against the NL Central. The Reds found a way to post a 4-2 record against the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates despite boasting lineups that featured Ramon Santiago, Kris Negron and Tucker Barnhart.
The week brought excitement to the fans during a time when many expected the worst, but it also brought misled optimism. While the 8-3 record was one to be proud of, the Reds still have their work cut out for them. Players like Santiago and Negron may have filled in nicely for the Reds recently, but that success cannot be expected to continue for the next month or two. No disrespect, but there is a reason those players were not scheduled to be starters on this team when the season began.
Currently, the Reds are playing much better than they technically should be (aside from Jay Bruce). However, the Reds simply cannot bank on receiving continued production from their backups. Instead of becoming complacent and hoping to get by with what they currently have on the roster, the Reds must be proactive and aggressively pursue additions before the MLB trade deadline. There are more than a few candidates who could help fill the void left by the team’s injuries.
For general manager Walt Jocketty, the worst thing he could do right now is sit back and watch the Reds stay afloat until Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips return. While the Reds might be able to play .500 baseball until then, they also have a great opportunity to continue gaining ground on the playoff race. Sitting just a game and a half out of first place in the NL Central and one game out of the NL Wild Card, the Reds are on the cusp of controlling their own destiny.
The addition of one or two pieces could be all the Reds need to take advantage of the NL Central. Adding a hitter to provide consistency to the lineup (preferably one in left field) could go a long way towards helping the Reds take the leap to the next level in the season’s second half.
In years past (hello, 2013), the Reds have stood pat at the trading deadline, opting to make do with the roster they currently possessed instead of attempting to upgrade. And in many of those years (hello again, 2013) it came back to haunt them. Last year, the Pirates acquired Marlon Byrd — a player who helped propel them into the playoffs. He was also a player the Reds had a chance on acquiring first before letting him fall on the waiver wire to Pittsburgh.
Look for Jocketty to learn from his past mistakes in order to get the Reds the help they need. His team is playing out of their minds right now, and it is his right to show his confidence in them by giving them the tools necessary to become an even better team.