With former All-Star Joey Votto back on the disabled list for the second time this season, the Cincinnati Reds' lack of depth at the position has become a glaring issue.
The team used right fielder Jay Bruce at first base for a game before deciding that the platoon of backup catcher Brayan Pena and outfielder Chris Heisey was the better way to go. That's not a typo, folks—the Reds are using a backup catcher and backup outfielder to play first base.
Finding a veteran with extensive experience playing the position on a short-term contract would be a wise investment, especially if the injury bug is going to continue to plague Votto throughout the season.
Out until mid- to late August after tearing ligaments in his thumb, the absence of Brandon Phillips (pictured) leaves a gaping void in the middle of Cincinnati's infield—and its lineup.
Players with Phillips' power and defensive chops aren't readily available, but certainly, the club should be setting its sights higher than Ramon Santiago, a career .243 hitter best served as a utility player off the bench.
As is the case with Votto, Phillips is signed to a long-term contract, so the Reds should be focused on a short-term remedy. But moving forward with Santiago in the middle of the diamond isn't going to help the club in its pursuit of another appearance in the postseason.
The back end of the Reds bullpen is set, with flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman holding things down, but getting the ball into Chapman's hands has proved to be a challenge for the club.
Cincinnati relievers have pitched to a 5.40 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in the seventh inning, while the group's 3.84 ERA ranks 14th in the National League.
Whether it's finding a left-handed reliever to help (or replace) Manny Parra (3.96 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) or just adding another experienced reliever to the mix, the Reds cannot continue to move forward with things the way they currently are.