Ryan Ludwick's return will be as good as a trade for a right-handed bat.
Cincinnati is in great position to return to the postseason, so there aren't many areas that need to be addressed.
The Reds are in an unusual position. They are likely to get starting left fielder Ryan Ludwick back shortly after the deadline, so that addition will take care of one need.
Shortstop is one area fans want addressed, but third base has had similar struggles. Both Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier are in the middle of their sophomore seasons, so there is still room for them to grow.
The bullpen has turned it up lately, and Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton will hopefully return from injuries soon.
Cincinnati has the ability to be patient at the deadline and not make any huge moves. Let's check out what players have been linked to the Reds and whether the Reds are really going to be active in pursuing those players.
2013 stats: .286/.347/.417, 7 HR, 18 2B, 3 3B, 31 RBI, 53 K/32 BB
The biggest name linked to the Reds has been Philadelphia's Michael Young. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Reds are interested in the veteran.
Cincinnati has struggled on offense at shortstop and at third base. Young can play anywhere in the infield, so he could play either if the Reds brought him in. He'd likely get more time at shortstop, but he could play some third base as well.
Another area the team needs help in is the second spot in the lineup. The team is No. 22 in the league with a .242 average out of the 2-hole. Upgrading that spot could put this team over the top.
Young has gotten the majority of his at-bats in his career batting second and has a .308 average with a .357 OBP, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com. A tandem of Shin-Soo Choo and Young at the top of the order would be a nice mix of average and power in front of Joey Votto.
Young has a Gold Glove to his name, and he went to two World Series with the Texas Rangers. Experience can only help a team that is hoping for a deep playoff run.
Cozart and Frazier have had disappointing seasons, so the Reds are exploring other options. Unfortunately for the team, other teams need Young more and have more to offer.
George A. King III of the New York Post reported that both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are interested in the infielder. The Red Sox are looking to maintain a playoff spot, and the Yankees may make a move out of desperation to try to get into the playoffs. Injuries have forced New York to play without three of its four starting infielders for the majority of the season.
Young would be a great addition to Cincinnati's roster. The 36-year-old is in the final year of his contract, so it would be another deal to try to win this season. However, the Reds aren't as desperate as other contenders and can't give the Phillies the best package.
Fact or Fiction: Fiction
Glen Perkins, CP, Minnesota Twins
2013 stats: 37 G, 1-0, 1.72 ERA, 23 saves, 36.2 IP, 49 K/7 BB
This rumor is easy to turn down for a few reasons. ESPN.com's (Insider access required) Jim Bowden reported that the Reds are one of a few teams that have inquired about Glen Perkins, but the Twins have turned away every team.
The Twins have rejected every interested team, but the Reds don't have much of a need for the closer. The team already has three closers under contract, so adding another one would be unnecessary.
Cincinnati's bullpen struggled early in the season, especially when Marshall and Broxton went down with injuries, but the relievers have been great as of late. Four relievers have yet to allow a run in July, and no reliever has allowed more than two runs all month.
Aroldis Chapman and Alfredo Simon are the only relievers who have allowed more than one run this month. Perkins has yet to allow a run this month.
Manny Parra's resurgence has helped the Reds. He is arguably the hottest reliever the team has, which is important as he is the only southpaw in the bullpen outside of Chapman. Had Parra continued to struggle, the Reds may have made an aggressive run at a left-handed reliever like Perkins at the deadline.
Minnesota isn't interested in trading its closer. The Twins have a pitcher who can throw strikes and keep the opponents off the scoreboard. Cincinnati is getting good pitching from its relievers, so don't expect a high-profile acquisition like Perkins.
Fact or fiction: Fiction
The Reds don't have a lot of money available for a high-profile player. They don't have the prospects to bring back a star, so any move made is likely to be minor.
A rental player could be in the team's plans, but there aren't many options that would be realistic.
What is the Cincinnati Reds' biggest area of need at the trade deadline?
Cincinnati's bullpen has pulled it together recently, so the team doesn't need to make a drastic move for bullpen help.
While fans don't want to wait for injured players to return, the Reds are poised to get several key players back in August. The bullpen will get Marshall and Broxton back, and Johnny Cueto should return to the rotation. On offense, Ludwick is ready for a rehab assignment and will rejoin the team barring any setbacks.
Getting an ace, two setup men and a power-hitting—who is also right-handed—left fielder back from the disabled list will act as trades.
The Reds are currently on an 11-game West Coast trip, so they will know how aggressive they must be when the trip wraps up.
Already in great position for the playoffs, the Reds don't need a big move. A passive approach will pay off for the team as October approaches.
*All stats are courtesy of MLB.com, unless otherwise noted, entering play on 7/23/2013.