The Reds head into the All Star break in 5th place, but only 4.5 games out of first place in the division. Then again, they are only 4.5 games out of last place as well. They are just 16-25 since the start of Memorial Day Weekend. They've given up an average of 5 runs per game in those 41 games while scoring just 3.5 runs per game. Suffice it to say, they haven't been playing very good baseball.
And now Jay Bruce is probably out for the season, not that he was doing much at the plate lately anyway.
Johnny Cueto has seen his ERA rise nearly a run and a half over his last 5 starts.
There still is no clear date for when Edinson Volquez is expected back from the DL.
Bronson Arroyo hasn't had a whole lot of the tiger eyes lately.
The first & second hitters in the lineup on the season have combined for a .293 OBP, which is why despite driving in 21% of the runners on base in front of him, Joey Votto has just 42 RBI in 56 games played.
Right about now, there are very few bright spots for the Reds. So, what should they do?
My opinion is that they don't have enough to compete this year, so why waste prospects in a trade just to get marginally better? I felt like their best opportunity was for Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion to get hot and then for the Reds to add another bat via trade to solidify the offense. Now that Bruce is out, they really need to acquire two bats, and I don't know that there are two bats out there that are good enough and are available.
So, what I'd do is shop some of the vets around. I'd deal David Weathers or Arthur Rhodes for any young outfielder with signs of a good bat or a young shortstop with a good glove. I'd deal Bronson Arroyo for anything resembling a prospect and some minor league fodder. Get his salary off of the books and try to find some offense in the off-season.
I wouldn't deal Aaron Harang unless the deal brought back a top of the line prospect. Even then, I'd be very hesitant. I know it seems like this team has pitching depth, but it is very, very fragile and there is nothing about Harang's game that makes me believe he can't be at least a #3 quality starter over the next two seasons.
I'd also shop around players like Laynce Nix and Jonny Gomes. I'm not sure what they could get in return, but perhaps they can manage to steal a hidden prospect from someone. I don't think either player is in the Reds long-term plans, so why hold onto them if there is a deal out there.
This is not to say that I want a firesale. I probably wouldn't deal both Weathers and Rhodes unless they were deals I couldn't pass up. If I'm Walt Jocketty, I'm not shopping Harang, but I sure as hell am listening to offers (somebody's going to get their hearts broken in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, and Jocketty might be able to fleece the losers). It is still mandatory that the Reds are winners in 2010. I'm not sitting here with my fingers crossed hoping that they'll build a winner. They have no choice as far as I'm concerned. They must win in 2010 or I'm done. Taking advantage of a couple of deals where they trade off veterans could open that door. Plus, freeing up some salary cap might help to actually acquire the number one priority next winter, which I'm guessing will still be a right-handed bat.
What do you think? Do you agree or are you tired of waiting? Should the Reds be buyers or sellers over the next two weeks?