The trade deadline is literally just around the corner and many potential playoff teams have been making moves in an attempt to improve for the stretch run. But the Cincinnati Reds have not been one of them—leaving fans to ask, is this a good decision?
The Reds have been very active in trade rumors over the past month, being linked to the likes of Carlos Quentin, Shane Victorino, Denard Span and more. Reports recently surfaced that the Reds rejected a trade (via Cincinnati.com) that would have sent relief pitcher Logan Ondrusek to Philadelphia in exchange for Victorino.
Rejecting the offer was ultimately a good choice for the Reds simply because Ondrusek means more to this club right now and in the future than Victorino would—not to mention the sizable contract difference for the remainder of the year. Victorino could, however, bring sizable value to this club at the top of its batting order.
The lack of a move thus far can be looked at a few ways: Either the Reds are not willing to overspend, they do not believe that someone is available to fill their needs or they do not believe that they have any immediate needs to address. We will assume that the latter is not the reason, for if it was, it would be a serious issue in itself.
Let's say that the asking price for available players has just been too high. If this is truly the case, then the club is making a very wise decision. Other than possibly Josh Willingham, there really aren't any players (rumored available) of true caliber that could make an immediate impact for the Reds and warrant overspending for immediate success.
So, what if the Reds don't believe that there is someone available who can help their club? It is quite possible that the market really isn't presenting the Reds with viable options. Rumors are just that—rumors. It's hard to tell what is speculation and what rumors actually have roots. Teams are always inquiring about players and feeling each other out. It just gets more attention this time of year.
It's hard telling if Josh Willingham, Carlos Quentin or Cole Hamels have actually even been available. Two of those three have already signed long-term contracts with their current teams. Two weeks ago it was a done deal that both players would be in new uniforms by this coming weekend.
This leads us to the last possible reason Cincy has not yet made a deadline deal. The club has been on a roll since the All-Star break. Like I wrote in my article, Votto-Less Reds Making a Statement in the N.L. Central, this club has banded together as a true team. Players have been coming through in the clutch and picking each other up in key situations. It's possible that they have come to the conclusion that they have righted the ship and no longer need to pursue additional help for the stretch run.
Such thinking, however, would be foolish. The club clearly still has holes, especially at the top of the order. Luckily for Reds fans, I do not believe this is their reasoning for not yet making a move.
Let's hope they continue to overcome their liabilities and band together, finding ways to win as a team. Whether or not this club makes a move will not determine if they make the playoffs, but it could have a major impact on how well they perform when they get there.