The Reds sit in a wild card spot, 4½ games above the Nationals going into last night's play. They're also five games behind the Pirates in the National League Central. Even in a tough N.L. Central, they're in a good position to make the playoffs.
Needs (likelihood to deal for position in italics)
Bullpen-High: The bullpen has been hit with injuries, as Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton are both on the shelf, with the former out another couple weeks and the latter without a timetable. Even if they were healthy, the bullpen would be a weak spot for the Reds. The Reds need at least one bullpen arm in July.
Catcher-High: Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan have both been unable to hit above the .700 OPS level this year. They need another option here.
Shortstop-High: Zack Cozart stinks and Dusty Baker hasn't figured that out yet, astonishingly batting Cozart second in the Reds lineup. Walt Jocketty needs to bring someone else in at this position if only to save Dusty Baker from himself.
Fits on the Cub Roster
Kevin Gregg and James Russell could help the Reds' bullpen problems and the Reds have bought Cubs' bullpen arms before with Sean Marshall. Carlos Villanueva could provide some flexibility in case Johnny Cueto's arm injury persists and the Reds want to keep Tony Cingrani in the pen. Dioner Navarro was a Red last year and did well offensively for them, so they may have an interest in re-acquiring him.
What's in it for the Cubs?
Ranked the fifteenth-best organization for talent by both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, this farm system has some talent in it that is going to be tough to extract from the Reds. Cingrani was actually better starting than he's been out of the bullpen, but it's unlikely the Reds give him up. Same for Robert Stephenson, who has become one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Billy Hamilton took the minor league by storm last year, stealing an incredible 155 bases in 132 games. But you can't steal first base and Hamilton is finding that out at Triple-A, as he's struggled in posting a .302 OBP and a .645 OPS. RHP Daniel Corcino was highly thought of coming into the year, with comparisons to Cueto common, but Corcino has struggled at Triple-A (6.88 ERA) and is having problems missing the plate (5.1 BB/9) and missing bats (6.4 K/9, 12.2 H/9).
The Reds' system gets a bit thin after those four guys, but there are some other interesting names in their organization. Leftfielder Jesse Winker was a comp round pick last year and he seems like a Theo Epstein dreamboat with his on base skills (12.6% walk rate this year). The hope is that he can stay in the outfield and that he can hit for a bit more power as he develops. RHP Nick Travieso was the Reds' first round pick out of high school last year and is considered fairly raw, as you can see by his numbers in Low-A (5.57 ERA). He throws hard, so the thought is that if he can't figure it out as a starter he has the potential to be a stud closer. RHP Dan Langfield was another high pick last year, although he hasn't pitched this year due to injury (shoulder impingement). The Reds changed his mechanics a bit and it looks like it showed early dividends, as Langford posted a 2.68 ERA in rookie league ball last year.
Who Says No?
Kevin Gregg for Dan Langfield
James Russell for Jesse Winker
Carlos Villanueva for Nick Travieso
Overall Fit- Low
Really only a fit with the bullpen guys and at catcher. Clearly the Reds have been willing to include value to get relievers, so maybe this is a fit when it comes to a guy like James Russell.
Next Up: Atlanta Braves