It's becoming more obvious that the Reds need an upgrade or two before the trade deadline. I think June 1st, most fans thought we needed more pitching, especially in the bullpen. However, Massett, Cordero, and Ondrusek all have been much better in July, and surprise call up Jordan Smith has proven he can get the job done as well.
However, since June 1st the red-hot bats have cooled off quite a bit. In fact, since June 15th, the Reds have played 36 games, and have scored 3 or less runs 18 times. Amazingly, due to some terrific starting pitching, the Reds managed to go 19-17 in that stretch, and 11 of those losses the Reds manage to score 1 run or less.
So if Walt has been paying attention, (I think he has) he is probably on the hunt for a bat this week. I found 3 guys I like.
Scott missed a few games this year with a calf injury while busting out of the box on a ball he thought was going to be off the wall, that ended up going for a home run. However, when he's been in the lineup he has been very productive, sporting a nice .296/ .363 / .576 line in 250 at bats with 16 home runs and a OPS+ of 149 . Scott isn't a very good defender, and serves as the DH for the O's, but has played 14 games in Left field this year, and 9 at 1st base. He would be a clear upgrade of Laynce Nix, and could be good enough to platoon with Gomes. Even as a left hand batter, Scott has handled left handed pitching quite well this year. He is making just over 4 million this year, and would be arbitration eligible after this season. Scott's name hasn't been tossed out very much, most rumors are around Ty Wiggington, but you have to figure the O's would want infield help or pitching in any deal. They are pretty set at catcher and outfield.
Bautista is an intriguing name only because of his power and his versatility. His batting average leaves a lot to be desired, but it's hard to argue with his power numbers he has shown this year, and how valuable it is to have someone who can play 6 positions (1B, 2B, 3B, LF, CF, RF). In 347 AB's Bautista has hit a League leading 27 home runs with a .242/ .355/ .548 line. His ability to play 3rd base on the multiple Rolen off days would be a plus, as his low salary this year (2.4 Million). However, he would likely be the most expensive to acquire, and he would be set for a huge raise in arbitration next year (5-7 million) that would likely scare the Reds.
I'm going to be honest. David DeJesus was my guy here, because I am fairly confident the Reds are content with Orlando Cabrera. Unfortunately DeJesus got hurt, so I had to pick someone. If the Angels sent Saunder over as the centerpiece for Dan Haren, then can we send 'ol Lando over as the centerpiece for Stephen Drew? It's doubtful. Stephen is holding down a .265 / .335 / .401 batting line with 4 home runs in 332 at bats, playing above average defense. Drew is absolutely horrendous against lefties (.186 / .296 / .271 ), so maybe a Orlando and Drew Platoon would work? I'm sure Arizona would want a shortstop of some type back, and an arm or two. I think you could get him without sending one of the top 3 prospects, maybe Del Rosario, Cozart, and Maloney? P.S., Arizona has another reason to trade him - Drew is eligible for Arbitration next year, and could get a 3 or 4 million dollar raise. Many reports have the D-Backs hurting financially, so maybe they are more willing to move Drew.
After those 3, things drop off. Guys like Austin Kearns, Josh Willingham, Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik are available, none of them currently are clear upgrades. With only teams like the Pirates, Nationals, Mariners, D-Backs, Indians, and Royals as the true "sellers" there isn't much out there. Maybe in August, the waiver wire will open up some more names.