We are almost ten days into June and the Cincinnati Reds are still in the hunt. Is this a miracle or even unexpected? I would say no.
What is unexpected is that they are still in the hunt with long term injuries to many of their key players, hampering their abilities both on offense and on the mound.
Edwin Encarnacion was supposed to be one of the Reds biggest offensive threats this year. He started the year poorly, injured himself three weeks into the season, and has been out since.
Joey Votto is one of the league leaders in batting average and was one of the leaders in RBI when he was sat down for un-disclosed reasons. He is also a team leader off the field and a guy that this Reds team really relies on.
Edinson Volquez is out for an unknown amount of time, although hopefully he will be back sooner than the other two key players who are injured. Without him the Reds have been bringing up spot starters from their AAA affiliate, the Louisville Riverbats, and hoping they can plug the hole in the short term.
The Reds need to make a move somewhat soon comparable to what the Atlanta Braves just accomplished. The Reds need to acquire a hitter that strikes fear into the opposition.
Without Votto, Brandon Phillips is the Reds best hitter, and there is only so much he can do by himself. The Reds have been working the past five or six years on developing their farm system and targeting the best players available regardless of their position. They have the likes of outfielder Drew Stubbs, first baseman Yonder Alonso, and pitchers Matt Maloney, Darryl Thompson, and Homer Bailey.
This is one of the richest farm systems in baseball and the Reds have the young players to trade in order to bring a big time hitter to Cincinnati. If they don't act soon this season could be lost due to complete offensive ineptitude, but the deliverance of a clutch hitter could lead the Reds to a division title.
Reds owner, Bob Castellini, and General Manager, Walt Jocketty, claim to be committed to winning, but we will see their true intention this year with their decision to either bring in a run producer or let the team flop around and fall on their face.