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The Deadline Nears

Reds news and notes as we're all waiting for Sunday's trade deadline:

*  Teams are interested in Jason LaRue:

LaRue could still be attractive to another team, considering his recent performance. LaRue hit two home runs and drove in five runs in the Reds' 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday.

"He's playing the best baseball of his career," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. LaRue is batting .328 with nine home runs and 32 RBI over his last 40 games.

He's combined with Javier Valentin to give the Reds a productive duo behind the plate. Valentin is hitting .342 with nine homers and 25 RBI in his last 27 games.

LaRue is signed through this year, and would cost a team about $1 million over the rest of this season

*  The LaRue rumors don't seem to be sitting well with Jason:

"Why is my name coming up?" asked LaRue about the trade rumors. "All we need here is some pitching and we'll win. The offensive production we have, we can do it. That showed today. Give us some pitching and we'll win games. Oh, well, three days to go (before the trade deadline)."

San Diego scout Ted Simmons was in Dodger Stadium for all four games.

About a possible trade, LaRue shrugged and said, "Not much I can say. I have no control. If they do, they do. If they don't, they don't. Whether you want to go somewhere or stay somewhere is something I can't even think about."

*  Dusty Baker would love to have one of the Reds outfielders, but doesn't want to give up anything of note:

The Cubs could use a good offensive outfielder and a starting pitcher, and they are rumored to be interested in Cincinnati outfielder Austin Kearns, Texas second baseman Alfonso Soriano and Texas outfielder Kevin Mench. But a deal involving any of those three seems unlikely.

"In order to play cards, you have to have somebody across the table," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said, "and not asking for your top three prospects."

Dusty Baker is an idiot who shouldn't be managing a major league franchise, but since it's the Cubs he's hurting I don't really mind.

*  The Cubs are definitely interested though, regardless of what Dusty thinks:

To his credit, Hendry wants to acquire a bigger puzzle piece such as Soriano or any of the three Cincinnati Reds outfielders who might be available -- Austin Kearns, Adam Dunn or Wily Mo Pena.

*  The Cardinals are also sniffing around:

The Cardinals continue to search for outfield help, and the Cincinnati Reds are expected to part with at least one of four players at the position -- Ken Griffey Jr., Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns or Adam Dunn.

The Cardinals have interest in the 25-year-old Kearns (.239, seven homers, 30 RBIs) and may be one of few clubs financially poised to discuss Griffey.

*  And finally, Dan O'Brien on the deadline:

O'Brien said earlier in the week he would not be surprised if the Reds stand pat through the deadline, and his comments Thursday indicated that nothing is imminent.

"At this point, there's sort of three levels," O'Brien said. "There's inquiries, then you reach the stage where there's interest, then you reach the stage of hopefully consummating a deal. I'd say for the most part we're in the inquiries stage, still, as we speak."