Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/5/12

A week ago I thought it was almost a foregone conclusion that the Cincinnati Reds would run away with the division this season. But now, having fallen into 2nd place with the Cardinals charging, the Reds have to approach this year’s trade deadline with ambition. While the core of the roster needs to remain unchanged it is time to make a move that will push Cincinnati into the playoffs, and potentially the World Series.

The big name that has been swirling around the rumors involving the Reds so far this season has been Carlos Quentin. Despite recent injuries, and a slight lack of playing time so far this season, there is no one on the market that would fit Cincinnati’s needs as well as Quentin.

With the exclusion of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, the Reds lineup has been devoid of power hitting that it has become known for. The addition of Quentin would bring in a new power bat and a true clean-up hitter for the Reds, something they desperately need. This could change the lineup completely and make it one of, if not the most, dangerous in the league.

This would see Brandon Phillips moved from clean-up to lead-off, a more natural position for the all-star snub. There is not a pitcher in the league who wouldn’t be rattled by a batting order of Phillips, Cozart, Votto, Quentin, and Bruce. Quentin also fills a need at left field with Ryan Ludwick getting old and not able to field as well as he used to.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney the Reds continue to be one of the frontrunners to acquire Carlos Quentin. Another potential outfielder that could come to the Queen City is Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino.

The buzz around a Victorino trade has grown rapidly over the last month, with the Phillies now 12 games back in the division. While not bringing in the same power production as Quentin, it would still be a positive move for the Reds, bolstering their defense and giving them another decent bat to the order.

Moving from the outfield to the mound, despite its recent success the Reds have need for another big name pitcher to bolster its chances against the NL Central’s bats. Zack Greinke seems not to be an option at this point, but there have been rumors floating around that Tampa Bay was shopping James Shields around. Cincinnati would be in a good position to nab Shields, with Devin Mesoraco filling a vital need for the young Ray’s.

If the Reds want to remain competitive now is the time to strike. They cannot stay with the roster as it is, and these three moves would put the squad into position for a World Series title.

With management beginning to get a antsy as the Central tightens look for the Reds to acquire Quentin if not more before the deadline.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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