It's no secret to anyone who's followed the Reds even cursorily: the Reds have a major hole at shortstop.
Edgar Renteria isn't the player he once was or the reasonable facsimile thereof that he played the part of during last year's World Series. Paul Janish has proven to be the guy everyone knew he was: great glove, no bat.
Plain and simple, the Reds need a shortstop, and the answer isn't on the roster.
Jose Reyes perfectly fits multiple needs. He would be the spark at the top of the lineup Cincinnati has been searching for forever. His dynamic presence alone would go a long way in boosting the performance of the rest of the guys batting around him.
Drew Stubbs would be able to drop down in the lineup to sixth, which would be more fitting of his free swinging style. Reyes combining with Philips, Rolen and Votto would have to make for the best defensive infield in the NL.
There's been a swelling of support in Red's Nation as of late for shortstop prospect Zack Cozart. Cozart has been doing a great job thus far in AAA Louisvile, hitting nicely for .316/.363/.478. I like the guy and think he could be a solid major leaguer, but I just don't see him as the kind of player who's going to help the Reds to a championship.
From what I've seen of Cozart and judging by his numbers, he seems to be a poor man's J.J. Hardy. He has reliable defense, a bit of pop in the bat, and he's the kind of guy that's going to hit in the neighborhood of .250 - .280 every year.
Cincinnati Reds' Owner Bob Castellini should show the dedication to winning that he's spoken of before and make a move to bring in a premium player for a title push. The Reds have a major hole at the position, and it's a somewhat rare opportunity to be able to acquire a player of Reyes' caliber at such a premium position.
Even if Reyes is brought over to the Reds purely as a rental player, the gambit would be plenty worth the risk. Cincinnati has as plush a farm system as it's ever had in some time. The Reds have the luxury of making a calculated risk.
Adding incentive to act is the fact that the risk in acquiring Reyes' services is hedged, since he will become a Type-A free agent were he to leave Cincinnati. Much of the value in the form of young talent given up for the rental period would be recouped from the automatic late fist Round pick received and the additional first or second Round pick on top of that.