5 Moves Cincinnati Reds Could Have Made at the Deadline

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2013

5 Moves Cincinnati Reds Could Have Made at the Deadline

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    The 2013 MLB trade deadline was one of the quietest in recent memory, and the Cincinnati Reds had several moves that could have been made at the deadline.

    For one reason or another these moves were not made. Whether the Reds didn't want to give up certain pieces or teams weren't willing to move their assets, the team decided not to make a move.

    The week of the trade deadline was a bumpy one for the Reds. They lost five straight and saw their division title hopes slipping away. Now the team will have to go on a big run like last year in order to get back into the mix.

    With Ryan Ludwick, Jonathan Broxton and Ryan Hanigan all working to get back to the team, it didn't make much sense to deal for help at any of those positions. Setup man Sean Marshall and ace Johnny Cueto don't look like they will be back soon, but there wasn't much of a need at those spots.

    Nobody could have predicted a 2-7 slump by the Reds, but now everyone will question the team for not making any moves at the deadline.

    Cincinnati was right to stand pat. Teams were asking for a big return for players, and not many teams were willing to sell. Here's a look at moves that could have been made by the team.

     

    *All stats are courtesy of MLB.com

Michael Young, IF, Philadelphia Phillies

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    2013 stats: .274/.339/.400, 8 HR, 18 2B, 3 3B, 34 RBI, 61 K/37 BB

    The trade that would have made the most sense would have been the one that brought Michael Young to Cincinnati. His no-trade clause would've made a deal difficult, but he is exactly what the team needs.

    Young has been to two World Series, made seven All-Star teams and is very versatile. He can play any of the infield positions. With Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier each slumping throughout the season, Young could have filled in for either of the inexperienced players.

    He could have even filled in for Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips to give them a day off. 

    Perhaps the biggest hole that Young could have filled was the second spot in the lineup. The Reds rank 27th in baseball with a .234 average and 28th with a .285 OBP from that spot. Young has hit .307 with a .356 OBP batting second in his career. 

    His contract expires after this season, and he would have been a relatively cheap option. Unfortunately the Reds couldn't find a way to get a deal done for the veteran.

     

Jesse Crain, RHP, Chicago White Sox (Now Tampa Bay Rays)

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    2013 stats: 38 G, 2-3, 0.74 ERA, 36.2 IP, 46 K/11 BB

    The bullpen was the team's biggest weakness early in the season, but the relievers got it together in July and allowed the team to keep its current group. 

    Had the Reds decided to pursue a reliever, Jesse Crain was one of the biggest names on the market. He was eventually traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Reds could have made a push to get him.

    Perhaps the biggest reason the team decided not to make a deal for him was his current injury. He has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a shoulder strain. The Reds already have two important pitchers on the disabled list, so they were looking for someone who was healthy and ready to pitch.

    It has been over a month since the reliever last pitched. It's unclear when he will join his new team.

    There are parts of the bullpen that Reds fans don't trust. No fan can say they feel comfortable in a tough spot when Curtis Partch, Logan Ondrusek or Pedro Villarreal enter the game. Adding a right-hander would've solidified the bullpen.

    The Reds needed someone who could make an immediate impact while they wait for their injured relievers to return. Crain didn't fit that description, and it's tough to blame them for not pulling the trigger.

Tony Sipp, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    2013 stats: 48 G, 3-1, 3.86 ERA, 32.2 IP, 37 K/18 BB

    Reds fans know their team got Shin-Soo Choo in a three-team trade in the offseason. However, they may not be aware that Tony Sipp was part of that trade.

    Sipp isn't having a sensational season. He was actually designated for assignment on Sunday, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. That may not sound like a good sign, but he would have been a cheap option.

    With Sean Marshall's return nowhere in sight, the Reds would be better off having another left-hander in the bullpen. Aroldis Chapman is the closer, so that leaves Manny Parra as the lone southpaw for the first eight innings of a game.

    Parra has been great since a rough start to the season. He has allowed only one run in almost two months, so it appears the team has a shutdown left-hander. However, he has a career ERA above 5.00, which means he could be due to hit a rough stretch. Since 2007, he has had only one season in which his ERA has been higher before the All-Star break than it was after.

    Sipp had a couple of great seasons with the Cleveland Indians. He became one of the team's most reliable relievers in 2011 and posted a 3.03 ERA in 69 games.

    The southpaw has held left-handed batters to a .220 average and a .209 average against right-handed hitters throughout his career. He is stingier with walks against left-handers, so he has the ability to get tough left-handers out.

    Cincinnati could have tried to balance the bullpen a little more at the deadline. A bullpen full of right-handers can hurt a team in key spots.  

James Russell, LHP, Chicago Cubs

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    2013 stats: 55 G, 1-3, 2.93 ERA, 40 IP, 30 K/14 BB

    The team could have acquired a hometown man at the deadline. James Russell of the Chicago Cubs was born in Cincinnati, and he would have fit the same need as Tony Sipp.

    Russell would have been a perfect fit in Cincinnati. The Reds could use another southpaw to bring a tough left-handed batter. Russell has a lot more appearances than innings pitched because he is used mainly for left-handed hitters. He has held them to a .185 average and has yet to allow a home run to one.

    Although teams rarely make big trades inside their own division, these two teams made a big trade before the 2012 season. The Cubs sent Sean Marshall to the Reds in return for left-hander Travis Wood, who made the All-Star team this season, and prospects.

    That trade has worked out well for both teams. The Cubs didn't feel inclined to move Russell this year, but the Reds could have used him. Manny Parra is on an incredible run, but it's highly unlikely that he will be able keep it up.

    With only one southpaw to use, the Reds are in a tough spot. The team has to hope Marshall can return soon, or it could be costly down the stretch.

Hunter Pence, OF, San Francisco Giants

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    2013 stats: .280/.323/.457, 14 HR, 18 2B, 1 3B, 51 RBI, 73 K/26 BB

    Hunter Pence was a long shot, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Reds talked to the Giants about the outfielder.

    The Reds were in a tough spot when looking at Pence. He plays right field, and Jay Bruce isn't going anywhere. He came to the majors as a center fielder, but the Reds wouldn't move Shin-Soo Choo to left field this late in the season. 

    That meant left field was the only possible fit. The Reds have gotten good production out of Derrick Robinson and Xavier Paul this season. Chris Heisey has done better lately. However, Ryan Ludwick is nearing a return.

    Pence has hit .273 while batting second in his career. He can hit for average and power, and he has 152 homers since 2007.

    The right fielder has also stolen 15 bases this season without being thrown out, which is a huge weakness for the Reds.

    When Ludwick finally rejoins the team, that would've left the team with four outfielders for three spots. It would've taken several top prospects to get Pence. He's a talented player, but it would have been tough to give up so much for half a season out of Pence.  

    Cincinnati could've made a big push to get Pence and try to sign him to an extension after the season. The Giants traded for Pence at the deadline last season, and he was an instrumental part to the team's playoff run.

    The Reds were looking for a right-handed bat, but Ludwick's impending return made it tough for the team to make a deal.  

    Pence could be a name to watch for, depending on what happens with Choo.