With five days remaining until the trade deadline, Walt has predictably kept things close to the vest. There could very well be a big blockbuster trade in the works right now that will catch us all completely off guard. All of Walt's big moves; the Chapman signing, the Latos deal, the Madson acquisition and the Votto/BP extensions, have come out of left field. Or there could be no big move at all, and I'm okay with that.
Given the recent history of this franchise, it seems bizarre that the Reds have the pitching they need to make a run into October, but need to improve the offense. The biggest obstacle for the Reds this season has been the top two spots getting on base enough to allow the middle of the order to drive them in, hence all the "we need a lead-off hitter" discussions and rumors. But to me, the three names being bandied about the most (Span, Victorino, and Pierre) elicit little more than a shoulder shrug, a less enthusiastic shoulder shrug, and violent opposition respectively. I don't see Span or Victorino being worth the price tag for what looks like it could be a nominal upgrade over what we have now, and we know about slap hitters not being as effective in GABP. Making a move just for the sake of making a move is not good baseball business.
Earlier this week Jason Linden at Redleg Nation wrote a piece on the xBABIP of the Reds 11 most frequent starters, and as it turns out 7 of the 11 have been unlucky according to xBABIP. Votto and Frazier have over-performed, while Hanigan and Heisey are neutral, and the rest of the team has been rather unlucky. In the month of July, we have seen positive regression from Ludwick (.912 OPS), Rolen (.858 OPS) and Phillips (.869 OPS) as they have carried the team in the absence of the Best Hitter in Baseball™. And you never know when Bruce is going to go on one of his patented hot streaks.
I'm not saying that the Reds shouldn't make a big move at the deadline, but that we shouldn't lose our shit if they don't. This team, as it is constructed right now is is pretty good. They are currently on pace for 95 wins, their highest since 1999, and the schedule the Reds face the remainder of the year is one of the easiest in the National League. When Drew Stubbs is the biggest problem on your team, realistically things aren't all that bad. A simple solution to the problem at the top of the lineup is to move el Beeparino to the leadoff spot, and put either Studwick, Frazier or Bruce (yeah, I know) in the cleanup spot when Votto returns. This would take either Stubbs or Cozart and move one of them down in the order where they belong.
I would love to see the Reds make a big splash and acquire Chase Headley or Justin Upton and run away with the division, but they don't have to. And that's kind of nice. Doing nothing more than getting rid of Miguel Cairo - he's a great clubhouse guy and all, but let's face it, he's redundant and washed up - and replacing him with a left handed bench bat would be just fine with me.