The Cincinnati Reds didn't make a move at the 2014 MLB trade deadline, but there were a couple of moves the team should have pushed to make.
Cincinnati was around .500 as the deadline approached, so it was in a bit of a tough spot. The team wasn't in a good enough position to be "buyers," but it certainly wasn't in a position to sell. Plus, the team has two franchise players on the disabled list, so making a blockbuster deal wasn't going to happen.
With a tight payroll, the team was going to have to look for good bargains.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon, said the team did explore trades. However, there weren't many offensive pieces available. The team wasn't looking for superstars, but it did want versatile players.
It's tough to blame the team for not making a move. Not many teams were selling, so the asking prices were high.
Whether or not the Reds actually looked at the players on this list, they should have attempted to acquire at least one of them.
LHP Antonio Bastardo
The Reds could use some bats, but they could also use a left-handed reliever. The Philadelphia Phillies were expected to be one of the biggest sellers at the deadline, which meant they likely would have listened to offers on Antonio Bastardo.
Sean Marshall is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, and after two consecutive injury-riddled seasons, who knows what his future holds. Manny Parra—the only left-handed reliever in the bullpen not named Aroldis Chapman—has been a disappointment this season and has been battling a back injury recently.
Cincinnati could have used another southpaw, and Bastardo would have been a good fit. His raw numbers (4.05 ERA and 1.200 WHIP) aren't great, but when he throws strikes, the 28-year-old is very good.
Left-handed batters are hitting only .179 against Bastardo, which is much lower than the .262 average left-handers have against Parra. Right-handed hitters (.191) aren't having much more success against Bastardo.
Unfortunately, the southpaw has 25 walks—just one away from his career high—in 46.2 innings this season. His strikeouts per nine are up this season, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the worst of his career.
Bastardo would have been a good fit in Cincinnati. Manager Bryan Price has been able help get the most out of relievers over the years, and he could have worked with the left-hander to get him to throw strikes more consistently.
Bastardo is under club control through the 2015 season, so if Marshall is unable to pitch effectively next season, the team would have had another left-hander in the bullpen it could turn to.
Philadelphia did not end up trading away any of its veterans at the deadline, mainly because teams said the Phillies were asking for too much. It's not clear as to how serious they were in trading any of their players, but if they were willing to deal Bastardo, the Reds should have made a big push.
The Chicago Cubs made it clear they were going to trade utility man Emilio Bonifacio, and he would have been a perfect fit in Cincinnati.
Chicago ended up trading Bonifacio and James Russell as a package to the Atlanta Braves for a power-hitting prospect just before the deadline. That's a package that could have benefited the Reds in a big way, as it would have brought back a versatile player and a left-handed reliever. The Cubs may not have traded both inside the division, but the Reds could have at least attempted to acquire the utility man.
Bonifacio fits what the Reds need on offense and defense.
The switch-hitting veteran hit .279 with two home runs, 14 doubles and three triples with the Cubs this season. He also notched 14 stolen bases, which is something Price likes in a player. Bonifacio is hitting a ridiculous .403 against southpaws, which is an area where the Reds (.246) have struggled this season.
With his bat and speed, he would have been a good fit in the second spot in Cincinnati's lineup.
Not only would his offense be a good fit, but his defense is also exactly what the Reds needed. Nearly everyone on the projected 25-man roster has been hurt this season, so the team has been forced to piece together lineups. Bonifacio's versatility would have been a welcomed addition. He can play second, shortstop, third and anywhere in the outfield.
Chicago may have been willing to deal Bonifacio inside the National League Central. He is set to be a free agent after this season, so he may have just been a rental player.
Bonifacio isn't a superstar, but the way this season has gone, his versatility is something that would have been a great addition to the Reds.
All stats are via MLB.com
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