With the non-waiver trading deadline now just days away, it remains to be seen whether or not the Reds, who enter Tuesday one game behind of the St. Louis Cardinals in the N.L. Central, are going to make a move or not.
They made a run at Cliff Lee, but with no other ace on the trade market the team appears to be content to stand pat in the rotation.
There are some areas of concern though including inexperience in the outfield, a thin bench, a backup plan for the injury-riddled Scott Rolen and go-to guys in the back end of the bullpen.
While the team is likely to stay in the division race, if they want to seriously contend for pennant they need to get better. Unlike Reds’ teams of the past the organization has the depth to improve.
Here’s a look at five players that are available and could prove to be good fits in Cincinnati:
JAYSON WERTH (PHI) – The Phillies have made it clear that Werth, a pending free agent, isn’t part of their long-term plans. His power is down a bit from last year’s 36 homers, but he still boast good numbers (.285, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 7 SB) and valuable playoff experience. Primarily at right fielder he could also easily play left field. The downside is that he’s a right-handed hitter and has a high strikeout ratio (96 strikeouts in 333 at bats).
SCOTT PODSEDNIK (KC) – Podsednik could be a cheaper a more practical way that Werth for the Reds to add depth to the outfield. At 34, he still possesses blazing speed (30 SB) and plays stellar defense. Though he’s mostly been utilized in left field this year in Kansas City, Podsednik could also spell a struggling Drew Stubbs in center field. He’s currently hitting .307 and his .351 on-base percentage makes him a perfect candidate to become the team’s much-needed leadoff-hitter. The fact that he bats left handed makes it easier to justify him replacing Laynce Nix on the roster.
JOAKIM SORIA (KC) – The bullpen has performing better of late, but could always use improvement. The Royals’ closer has converted 27 of 29 saves struck out 47 batters in 40 innings while posting solid 1.20 WHIP and 2.25 ERA. Having just signed a three-year/$8.75 million per this season plus club options through 2012-14, the 26-year old would not only help this season, but be the team’s closer of the future. The Reds’ current closer, Francisco Cordero, is 35 years old and has blown six saves this season. He can be bought out after the 2011 season.
JORGE CANTU (FLA) – The Reds opted to let Cantu walk at the end of the 2007 season and all he is done since is hit 55 HR’s in the 2.5 seasons since. The veteran right-handed hitter is a huge asset offensively, but is a subpar defender. While he will not come close to matching Rolen’s defense, Cantu would definitely do a better job filling the hole in the lineup at the clean-up spot and also allow the Reds the luxury of resting Votto to keep him fresh. His arrival would jeopardize Miguel Cairo’s place on the roster.
TY WIGGINTON (BAL) – Like Cantu, Wigginton would be a big offensive upgrade on the bench as a corner infielder. In addition, he has played some second base. Wigginton has struggled a bit at the plate this season (.249 BA), but part of that can be attributed to the mediocre Orioles’ line-up that surrounds him. The soon-to-be free agent is on pace for his fourth 20th-homerun season in five years and is hitting .269 on his career. Several teams appear to be interested in adding the journeyman for the stretch run.