Cincinnati Reds' 2014 Trade Deadline Shopping List
A month ago, the Cincinnati Reds sat at just 22-28. However, the team has turned things around and now stand at 39-38.
Cincinnati has hung around due to their stellar starting pitching. Johnny Cueto is the Cy Young favorite, Alfredo Simon has a sub-3.00 ERA and Mat Latos is finally back from the disabled list.
The Reds are just three games back in the wild-card race and are built to win now. Look for them to be buyers at the break this season to make a postseason push.
Their slow start can be partially attributed to injuries, and Cincinnati's offense was near the bottom of the league until this month. Even though the offense has picked up lately, the Reds need another quality bat in the lineup.
They should look to upgrade at shortstop and left field. Adding another arm in the bullpen should also be on the Reds' shopping list.
Zack Cozart's days should be numbered, Ryan Ludwick is a defensive liability and the bullpen has been unreliable.
All of the players on this list are on teams that will likely be sellers this season. These players are likely to be moved and are realistic options for the Reds.
Let's take a look at the players the Reds should target at these positions.
Shortstop: Alexei Ramirez
It is time to pull the plug on Zack Cozart. He is hitting just .229 with two home runs and 17 RBI. Cozart's batting average ranks 23rd of 26 qualifying shortstops.
He has been solid in the field this year, but the Reds need more from him at the plate.
Cincinnati's top target should be Alexei Ramirez. The Chicago White Sox shortstop is one of the most underrated shortstops in the league. Ramirez has hit .294 with seven home runs and 36 RBI. He ranks fourth in WAR amongst shortstops.
The White Sox may be looking to shed his salary, as they are not close to being contenders. Marcus Semien is also a natural shortstop and could be their long-term option at the position.
Adding to the rebuilding project is more valuable for the White Sox than holding onto Ramirez.
Relief Pitcher: Oliver Perez
Outside of Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Broxton, the Reds bullpen has been disappointing. Cincinnati's bullpen ranks 24th in the league in ERA at 4.18. That's weighed down by Chapman's 2.57 and Broxton's 0.71 ERA.
With Sean Marshall out for the season and Manny Parra struggling, the Reds need to trade for a solid lefty in the pen.
Oliver Perez would be a perfect fit. The left-handed reliever flamed out as a starter, but he has really excelled in the bullpen the last couple years. This season, he has pitched great with an ERA of 2.35 and is allowing hitters to hit just .219 off him.
The price on Perez won't be too high either. The Diamondbacks are one of the worst teams in the league and really don't need Perez for a rebuilding project. A mid-range prospect would be more useful for them.
Left Fielder: Seth Smith
Ryan Ludwick is not the same player that he used to be. He is still a decent hitter, but his fielding is a liability.
His minus-0.9 DWAR is the fourth worst of all qualifying left fielders. Seth Smith is a plus defender and a better hitter than Ludwick.
He is also eligible to be a free agent after this season, so the Reds would not have to make a long-term commitment. His slash line is currently .290/.397/.516—much better than Ludwick's .267/.327/.403.
The Padres are in rebuild mode and would need young talent to trade away their best hitter. However, he is only under contract this season, and the Reds should not go after him if one of their top prospects must be included.
He would be a huge upgrade offensively and defensively for the Reds in left field.
**All Stats courtesy of MLB.com.