If it wasn't already clear before the trip to New York, the Reds are definitely in need of a shot in the arm or two if they want to make a run for the postseason.
Unexpected injuries to key players have absolutely decimated the roster and have forced the healthy players still left to adjust accordingly. As we saw on Sunday when a routine popup dropped in for a walk-off single, Cincinnati's defense is less than desirable at the moment, mostly due to the fact that multiple players continue to be forced to play out of their normal positions.
With half their infield likely on the shelf for the next month (Brandon Phillips & Joey Votto), it seems the most-pressing need for the Reds is to add another bat at the trade deadline, preferably one that is flexible enough to play multiple positions on defense as well. With this in mind, there has been no shortage of speculation around the online baseball world about who general manager Walt Jocketty might be targeting to fill the aforementioned role.
The following is a list of four names who I've seen mentioned as possible trade candidates for the Reds before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Marlon Byrd - The 36-year-old veteran is hitting .266/.318/.484 with 19 home runs and 55 RBI for the Phillies this season. That's the good news. The bad news is Byrd is due $8 million in 2015 with an $8 million vesting option in 2016. Byrd is also limited to the outfield so filling in at times in the infield wouldn't be an option for manager Bryan Price. If the club wants to add some pop to the lineup, Byrd's the guy.
Dan Uggla - The Braves were so ready to rid themselves of Uggla that they essentially decided to eat the remaining $18 million on his contract to send him packing. The 34-year-old was released by Atlanta over the weekend after posting an unsightly .162/.241/.231 line in 130 at-bats. This coming after he posted a measly .179/.309/.362 line in 2013 and hit just .220 in 2012. The risk a team would take in signing Uggla is pretty minimal. However, is there anything left in the tank for a guy who smashed 31 home runs or more each season from 2007-11? Probably not. But I wouldn't be surprised if the small market Reds take a chance on Uggla instead of sacrificing a prospect or two elsewhere.
Ben Zobrist - The epitome of a utility player, Zobrist has the ability to play just about anywhere on the diamond. Aside from his defensive flexibility, the 33-year-old also carries a modest stick, slashing .263/.354/.432 in his 9-year MLB career. Similar to Byrd, Zobrist is also due a big chunk of change in 2015, however, given his age, track record, and the fact that it's a team option, Zobrist is probably the most attractive player being linked to the Reds, in my opinion.
Antonio Bastardo - This left-handed reliever wouldn't provide any help offensively, but the veteran has proven to be a very solid asset out of the bullpen. In 42 appearances in 2014, the 28-year-old has notched a 3.38 ERA and 1.102 WHIP in 42.2 innings pitched. With Sean Marshall out for the rest of the year, adding another southpaw to the bullpen rotation would be a luxury the Reds would love to have.
Do any of these players sound alluring to you? If not, which players rumored to be on the trading block would you go after if you were Jocketty?
Update: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is reporting Uggla has signed with the Giants. So there goes that option. Hey, it's probably a good thing though.