Walt Jocketty passed on the asking prices of virtually every July 31st rumor linked to the Reds. Just shy of one month later, it appears that any of the rumored moves open to Jocketty would have been a waste of minor league prospect resources.
Most of the rumors were focused on a leadoff hitter. On July 22nd, Drew Stubbs was hitting .217/.288/.356. Over the next 7 days, between then and the end of the month, Stubbs would bat .375 with a 1.229 OPS. His OBP on the season would break above .300 and his OPS above .700. A reversion to his career norms (.251/.325/.406) looked likely. While Stubbs fell back into one of his slumps (.515 OPS in August), the players linked to the Reds have all had an underwhelming August, as well.
–Juan Pierre, who hasn’t played centerfield since the Astros played on artificial turf, hit .231/.298/.288 in August while making just 12 starts on a team out of contention.
–Shane Victorino, was traded to the Dodgers, and has hit just .258/.314/.371 with LA.
–Denard Span (.220/.270/.339 in August) has been hurt and played in just 13 games.
–I only saw Jacoby Ellsbury mentioned once, and even he has been underperforming, hurt, and trying to find consistent offense (.274/.304/.406.) Of all these outfield options, he would have cost the most in prospects.
There were a few other names linked to the Reds.
Lyle Overbay (.292/.367/.448 in 2012) was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of July. No team in baseball traded for him or picked him up as a free agent after his release. The Reds reportedly were not interested because he was limited to one position (first base.) Xavier Paul would be the player they would likely demote/lose, and they weren’t willing to risk that.
Carlos Quentin (.273/.380/.519 in August) was also mentioned as a potential trade candidate, but where would he have played? Ryan Ludwick’s emergence in the second half (.327/.393/.673) downplayed the need to spend big for a leftfield power bat.
The only pitcher I saw linked to Cincinnati, outside of Jonathan Broxton, was Cubs starter Matt Garza. He was hurt at the time of the rumor, and has since been shutdown for the rest of the year with a stress reaction in his right elbow .
While the Reds were fairly inactive, the Pirates made a lot of moves to bolster their playoff hopes. The trade that may come back to bite them was the deal that sent their conditional first round pick to Miami for first baseman Gaby Sanchez. Sanchez has been a platoon player, making just 11 starts in 23 games, batting .250/.291/.365.