I think a lot of us can agree one of the more disappointing area of our beloved Reds this year has been a bullpen. Last year, the group of Cordero, Massett, Herrera, Rhodes, and <sigh> Weathers performed very well, and if the Reds had the lead in the 6th, you felt fairly confident the bullpen could close it out.
However, this year outside of Arthur Rhodes, the same group has been wildly inconsistent, and more times than not just flat out bad. With Burton and Bray not looking like they will be able to help anytime soon, and the best relief arms in Louisville all ready up in Del Rosario and Ondrusek, you are left with converting starters (i.e. Bailey, Chapman, Wood, Harang) or the trade route. It's somewhat baffling how the same core of guys last year have all performed badly this year. They were pretty over worked in April, and that may have a little to do with what we've seen the last few weeks. You know things are bad when the team's beat writers are calling former players who are home pitching batting practice to their 10-year old to see if they would come back.
The Reds chose the trade route in 2006, and it was disastrous. Mainly because the relievers they brought in (Majewski and Bray) were not clear upgrades over what they had (One was injured), and in getting them they gave up their starting shortstop and right fielder, hurting their lineup. The Reds offense has over performed most of the year, and being thin on position players at AAA, they can't really afford to give up much of their 25-Man roster.
What also complicates things for the Reds are the payroll constraints. Walt has done a fabulous job being creative and finding ways to make everything work in a tight budget. In my opinion, he played the market perfectly in the off season on guys like Gomes and Cabrera. His patience there might have left enough to add an arm towards the end of June. Here are 3 guys that could be upgrades, don't make much money, and can likely be had on the cheap:
He's playing on a 1-year 3-Million dollar contract this year, and has had a nice bounce-back year after injuries last season. This would probably take an arm to get done. Matt Maloney? Seems like the White Sox are entering sell mode real soon.
Breslow has been with SD, MIN, and now Oakland. He's only got a little over 2 years service time so he is still cheap, and controlled for a few years. I doubt he is a guy Oakland is really wanting to move, so he could cost a little more than he is probably worth.
He's cheap, only making 950K this year, and if the Pirates continue their free fall to the basement, they will do their usual and make almost anyone available. One would think a low-mid level prospect could net Carrasco in late June or early July.
I'm sure as we get closer to July, several more names will pop up, but these are 3 guys I think can be made available real soon.