The MLB non-waiver trade deadline passed Thursday afternoon without the Reds making any moves to bolster the current roster or send a signal that the organization is playing for the future.
Rumors abounded the past couple of weeks that the Reds would be seeking to add a bat to the lineup — Alex Rios of Texas was one name that kept popping up — and that starting pitcher Mat Latos and left fielder Ryan Ludwick were among those being made available for trades but nothing came to fruition.
The Reds are 53-54 heading into Thursday’s game at Miami, six games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central Division and 3Â½ games behind third place St. Louis. The Reds are 4Â½ games out of the second wild card spot in the NL, currently held by San Francisco.
The size of the deficits in the division and wild card races are hardly insurmountable with 57 games still left to be played, but besides being behind three teams in the division the Reds are one of seven teams within six games of each other in the wild card chase.
Injuries to Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto are complicating matters. Neither is expected back in the lineup until late August, at the earliest. Their absence has been part of the offensive issues the Reds have had in their 12 games since returning from the All-Star break. The team is hitting just .189, including .141 with runners in scoring position, and the Reds rank last in MLB in runs (24), hits (74), batting average, slugging percentage (.292) and on-base percentage (.246).
That’s a good recipe for going 2-10 after going 8-3 to close out the schedule before the All-Star break and being just 1Â½ games out of first place.
"Players try not to get caught up in rumors and whatnot but it’s impossible because everywhere you flip the channel everyone is talking about it," said catcher/first baseman Brayan Pena on Wednesday after a 5-4 loss against Arizona. "We just have to go out there and think that there’s nothing we can control. It’s totally out of our hands. The only thing we can control is just go to Miami and take care of business and try to bounce back from this very tough moment. It’s not a fun one."
Teams can still make trades but players must first be subjected to the waiver wire, allowing opposing teams to put claims on the player and block potential deals.
Here’s a look at what the rest of the NL Central teams did before the deadline…
*Milwaukee (60-49, 1st place): The Brewers acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra from Arizona in exchange for two minor league players Thursday. Parra brings two Gold Gloves to a Milwaukee outfield that already has a Gold Glove center fielder in Carlos Gomez. Add him to an outfield with Ryan Braun as well as Khris Davis and the Brewers have made a solid move to bolster their bench as well as the everyday lineup.
*Pittsburgh (57-50, 2.0 GB): The Pirates were rumored to be in pursuit of three different starting pitchers but missed out on making any deals prior to the deadline. Left-hander Jon Lester went from Boston to Oakland. Left-hander David Price went from Tampa Bay to Detroit. Pittsburgh was also reportedly trying to land pitcher John Lackey from Boston, but he ended up going to St. Louis. Adding any of those three to the rotation would make the Pirates an even bigger threat to division-leading Milwaukee.
*St. Louis (56-50, 2.5 GB): The Cardinals were the busiest of teams in the division, shoring up a starting pitching rotation that has been decimated by injuries. The Cardinals have lost Jaime Garcia for the season and Michael Wacha is on the 60-day DL so the St. Louis front office acquired Justin Masterson from Cleveland on Wednesday and Lackey from Boston on Thursday. St. Louis traded pitcher Joe Kelly and outfielder/infielder Allen Craig to the Red Sox. Both have had tough seasons after playing big roles in the Cardinals winning the NL pennant last season, but both are also young players with promising futures.
*Chicago (45-62, 14.0 GB): The Cubs have been playing for the future all season. They dealt starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s prior to the All-Star break and on Thursday sent veteran utility infielder Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell to Atlanta for minor league catcher Victor Caratini. The Reds were rumored to be looking at Bonifacio given the injury to Phillips but if that was the case, those plans fell through.