The Cincinnati Reds are 15-19. There are 26 games left. In 2020 with expanded playoffs, the losing record still has the Reds in the thick of the wildcard race. If the San Diego Padres leave any players on the trade market (I’m convinced their plan is to just acquire the rest of the league, leaving them no opponents, and thus they become the default World Series champions), that begs the question as to who the Reds could look to acquire.

When looking at where the Reds are struggling, there are going to be plenty of spots where the team could trade for an upgrade over what they’ve gotten from a performance perspective. But not all of those spots are going to be places where the team is going to go try and acquire someone, either.

But some places could certainly be upgraded, too. The most obvious place to look has to be the bullpen, which could use someone else that is viewed as reliable, consistent, and also good. Lucas Sims and Amir Garrett have been very good for the Reds so far this season out of the bullpen. The same can be said for Tejay Antone, though he’s been used in a different way than your typical reliever, too.

The rest of the bullpen has been a disaster. Raisel Iglesias has a 5.59 ERA. Nate Jones has a 6.10 ERA. Michael Lorenzen has a 6.75 ERA. Robert Stephenson, granted in just 4.1 innings, has a 14.54 ERA. The team has already jettisoned Cody Reed (5.79 ERA), Brooks Raley (9.00 ERA), and Pedro Strop. José De León has an ERA of 27.00 through 4.0 innings.

The track records for some of the guys in the bullpen are better than their 2020 indicates, and we probably should expect them to pitch better than their current ERA’s moving forward. But that still leaves open plenty of room for addition in the bullpen.

Cincinnati has also struggled to score runs, and to find any sort of consistency with the ability to hit. Some of that has come from guys who are not going to be benched long term, or replaced. Eugenio Suárez and Joey Votto have both struggled for much of the season. They are going nowhere. Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel have each missed nearly half of the season on the injured list, too, and that’s pushed non-starters into the every day lineup, causing some struggles along the way.

Now that the Reds are seemingly committed to Jose Garcia at shortstop, outside of catcher, where neither player is hitting for average – but Casali has been showing off plenty of power and drawing some walks – it’s tough to see where the team could be looking to upgrade some offense. And even at catcher, the team could very well just opt to go with Tyler Stephenson as a potential offensive upgrade if that’s what they were looking for. In the outfield, when everyone is there, has Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos, and Jesse Winker as the starters with Shogo Akiyama being the 4th guy.

The trade deadline is Monday afternoon at 4:00pm ET. Anyone can realistically be traded. There is a rule in place that only players on the 60-man player pools can be traded, but the work around is simply to trade someone as a player to be named later, and then complete that trade after the season is over.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the Reds approach the deadline. They’ve got two top of the rotation starters, a third one who can dominate at times, and an offense that if everyone in it is playing to their potential could be dangerous. In 2020 only those two top of the rotation starters have help up their end of the bargain for the first five weeks of the season. The team has to play better than they have in order to even get into the playoffs. Are they going to have to get it done with the date they brought to the dance, or are they going to try and work their way to an upgrade once they’ve walked through the door? We’ll find out soon enough.