Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reds interested in Cubs reliever James Russell?

After Tuesday's 4-2 defeat at the hands of the San Diego Padres, the Reds have now lost five games in a row, and suddenly find themselves six games back of the division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates.

There is no denying that this club needs help moving forward. Many people have suggested that a right-handed bat is the biggest need at this point. But with Ryan Ludwick set to come back soon, and with the lack of legitimate options, the Reds may hold steady with what they have offensively, which could be a very scary thought given their angemic offensive output in the past week.

One move they might make, though, is to add another left-handed reliever to the bullpen. Sean Marshall, who has been battling shoulder soreness all season, suffered another setback last week, and is unlikely to return from the disabled list anytime soon. Thus, the need for another southpaw in the 'pen has become apparently obvious to go alongside Manny Parra and Aroldis Chapman.

According to Bruce Levine of, Cincinnati is interested in acquiring reliever James Russell from the rival Cubs. Russell, who was born in Cincinnati, has been a workhorse for the Cubs over the past two years, having appeared in 131 of Chicago's 266 games since the beginning of the 2012 campaign.

The 27-year-old has played for the Cubs his entire professional career and has compiled a 3.86 ERA and 1.321 WHIP in 251 lifetime appearances. But he is sporting a 3.08 ERA in 53 appearances this season.

Russell seems open to joining a playoff contender, but he also expressed an interest to stay with the Cubs.

“I have never experienced a playoff run,” Russell said. “I think it would be the coolest thing in the world. I would still prefer to do all of that as a Cub.”

GM Walt Jocketty does have a track record of adding bullpen help at the deadline. In 2012, the Reds acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for prospects Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran. Additionally, the Reds also have a recent history of adding a reliever from Chicago. The club traded for Sean Marshall prior to the 2012 season. Ironically, the injury to Marshall is the primary reason they are in the market for a southpaw reliever, again.

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