On Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds got a first-hand look at the kind of boost a midseason trade acquisition can give a team when New York Yankees’ newcomer Brandon McCarthy limited the Reds to six baserunners and one run over six innings, downing Cincy 7-1. The loss highlighted Cincinnati’s continued offensive struggles and served further notice that the team could fall out of the playoff races quickly if help does not arrive soon in the form of a trade, waiver-wire signing, or medical miracle.
The Reds came out of the All-Star break one-and-a-half games off the lead in the National League Central division, and within a game of the Wild Card-leading San Francisco Giants. With two losses in the Bronx, the Reds are not only assured of losing their first series since an early-July sweep in San Diego, but they now sit two games back in the Wild Card race and 2.5 back in the Central.
Cincinnati got a glimmer of offensive hope when first baseman Brayan Pena connected for two homers on Friday night, so maybe he can hold down first base. Maybe.
But even if that’s the case, the Reds need help at second and in left, and the offense is sick (not in a good way). Alfredo Simon pitched well on Saturday but gave up four runs and took a loss. If he can’t maintain his firts-half magic, the Reds are in further trouble.
There hasn’t been much activity on the trade market to this point, but the deadline is now just 11 days away. That’s still a good chunk of time, but the Reds have a good chunk of problems to address, too. Hopefully general manager Walt Jocketty is working in the background, hammering out details of a deal to bring in Dayan Viciedo or Marlon Byrd or even Adam Dunn.
Given size of the Reds’ payroll and Jocketty’s track record, though, I doubt it.