The revelation last weekend from outfielder Ryan Ludwick that the earliest he could return would be mid-August likely means Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty will likely be looking for an outfield bat come the July non-waiver trade deadline.
While the rotating door of Xavier Paul, Donald Lutz and Derrick Robinson have done a nice job in the wake of the injuries to Ludwick and later Chris Heisey, Ludwick's prolonged absence behooves the front office to address the outfield situation.
Heisey hasn't proven he can play every day yet, and let's face it, even if Ludwick does return by August or early September, he won't be the same player that clubbed 26 home runs and 80 RBIs a season ago. Besides, the division pennant may be out of reach by then. No, the Reds need to seriously look at adding an outfield bat with some pop. The question will be do they have the trade chips to pull it off.
In addition to outfield help, the team likely will be in the market for a bullpen arm. With Sean Marshall on the disabled list again it would make sense if they were looking for another left-handed reliever. Manny Parra has yet to step up, and he too has already made one trip to the DL this season. Plus, whenever the Reds have to give closer Aroldis Chapman, set-up men Jonathan Broxton and Sam LeCure a day off to prevent over use, the rest of the bullpen has been shaky. Especially Logan Ondrusek and (I hate to say it) J.J. Hoover. Granted it's a long season and they may be able to turn it around by July. But it wouldn't surprise me if Jocketty looks to trade for a Broxton-type reliever like he did last year to add to the bullpen depth.
MY TWO CENTS:
I understand Matt Garza's point in regard to the comments the Cubs starter made toward Johnny Cueto's pitch that sailed over David DeJesus' head. But one, I don't believe Cueto was throwing at anybody. And two, if he was, he's protecting his own player Todd Frazier who was hit, by Garza, after Jay Bruce just took him deep. Now I would never abdicate throwing at anybody's noggin in any circumstance. I believe Garza is just sticking up for a teammate, but please, next time keep your trap shut.
Along those same lines, I don't think Aroldis Chapman was throwing at the Indians Nick Swisher. We all know Chapman can be wild, although I don't blame Swisher as the second 100 MPH fastball was too close for comfort. Swisher handled the situation perfectly. All he said to Chapman after the second pitch was, "Don't do that," meaning get a handle on your command or me and my teammates will begin to think you ARE throwing at me. Swisher almost got the best revenge nearly hitting another 100 MPH fastball from Chapman over the left field wall.
Bottom line, unintentional or not, the Reds don't want to get a reputation as head hunters or be perceived that way, especially from the umpires. My advice, stay away from the head.