Since then, they've tried to fill Ludwick's hole in left field (and in the batting order) with a variety of backup players and minor-leaguers. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), none of the backups have provided nearly the same type of at-bats that a healthy Ludwick could produce.
With the Reds firmly entrenched in a divisional dogfight with the St. Louis Cardinals (and Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers), it might be time for the Reds to start thinking about making a trade to bolster their offense (Ludwick is expected back sometime after the All-Star break).
There are two major players the Reds could try to land:
1. Giancarlo Stanton: The Miami Marlins have sold off, traded, and/or given away virtually every talented player they have (other than Stanton) that is making more than the league minimum. Perhaps the Reds could package together Donald Lutz, plus some minor-league pitching talent, to pry away Stanton from the Marlins. Admittedly, this particular scenario seems unlikely at the moment, but it would make the Reds' lineup much more formidable.
2. Chase Headley: Headley is a third baseman but his arrival in Cincinnati could allow Todd Frazier, the Reds' current third baseman, to move to the outfield. Much like Stanton, it appears the Reds' chances of landing Headley are slim (Padres management has supposedly given the go ahead to make Headley the highest-paid Padre in team history).
However, Headley has refused to negotiate a new contract during the season, so if the Padres sense they could get a good return for Headley (similar to what they did in the Mat Latos trade with the Reds in the past) they might consider moving him.
While the two aforementioned players would be a huge boon to the Reds' lineup, neither is particularly likely (and even if they were available, the Reds might not want to part with all of the talent that would likely be required to pull off such a deal).
Luckily, for Reds fans, there are a few other options that might serve as stop-gaps until Ryan Ludwick returns from his injury.
1. Ryan Raburn: Raburn is currently tearing up the American League to a tune of a .343 batting average. He is a free agent after this year, so the Cleveland Indians might want to sell high on Raburn now (his career batting average is only .260). For the Reds, Raburn would make for a nice replacement in the short term and a great addition to the bench once Ludwick returns
2. Daniel Murphy: Murphy will be a free agent in 2016 but he is arbitration-eligible until that time, which might be enough to convince the New York Mets to trade Murphy. If the Reds were to acquire Murphy, they could then entertain the idea of trading either Murphy or Ludwick in the offseason since both players would be under team control for at least one more year.
3. David DeJesus:The Chicago Cubs appear destined for a last-place finish in the National League Central and have already declared themselves to be building for the future. It is unlikely that 33-year-old DeJesus is part of the Cubs' long-term plans, so he could be a potential target for the Reds.
Unfortunately, it is also unlikely the Reds would want to complete a trade with the divisional rival Cubs, especially if it cost the Reds much more than a low-level prospect. DeJesus also doesn't provide the same sort of power threat that the other players on the list offer. So while he's competent, he's not ideal for the Reds' current needs.
For Reds fans, a trade involving Stanton or Headley would be a major coup (at least for this year) but neither deal seems likely. Instead, the Reds might be better off focusing on a guy like Raburn who could fill a short-term need and not tie up any money after this year.
No matter what, the Reds cannot afford to fall too far behind the Cardinals in the division -- and that might mean the Reds won't have the luxury of "waiting out" Ludwick's injury.
Chris Reed lives in Pennsylvania but has been a Reds follower for about thirty years. He has written extensively about the club for over a decade on various blogs and websites. He founded Nachos Grande, a blog that combines his love of the Reds and that of baseball cards.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cincinnati Reds
- Ryan Ludwick
- Chase Headley