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All signs point to quiet Trade Deadline for Reds

Cincinnati banking on return of injured player more than outside help

LOS ANGELES -- As Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline closes in, the Reds find themselves at a crossroads of sorts.

Adding a right-handed bat would certainly help the club, but then again, help could be on the way sooner than later in the form of rehabbing left fielder Ryan Ludwick.

"If we do acquire a right-handed bat, what do we do with Ludwick when he gets back?" Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "If there is somebody available that can definitely help the club, we'll certainly take a look. To this point, we haven't had any conversations with a club that indicated that."

Deals can be made after Wednesday, but it requires the players to clear waivers -- which means other teams can block deals by putting in a claim on a player.

Cincinnati is still pursuing the Cardinals and Pirates from third place in the National League Central. If the season ended Sunday, the Reds would have the second NL Wild Card spot.

The rumor mill has largely excluded the Reds this month and although something can always develop, all signs point to a quiet Deadline for the Reds. The team is also somewhat restricted. Prospects are something they are lacking after trades in each of the past two years. Budgetary restrictions also exist as the Reds aren't looking to take on added payroll.

Deadline blockbusters have been a rarity since Jocketty took over the Reds' GM in 2008. In '09, the Reds acquired third baseman Scott Rolen from the Blue Jays for Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Roenicke.

Last season, Jocketty bolstered the bullpen by getting reliever Jonathan Broxton from the Royals for two Minor Leaguers.

This year, despite the division deficit, the Reds are a team without many needs. Left-hander Tony Cingrani has capably filled in for injured ace Johnny Cueto. The bullpen has picked up the slack for injured relievers Sean Marshall and Broxton.

Adding pitching depth is always a plus, but all three injured pitchers are expected to come off the disabled list and help the club down the stretch.

"There's not too much we can do. We've got four guys on the disabled list and when we get them back, it strengthens our club even more," Jocketty said. "I don't want to trade prospects to improve the club."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.
Read More: Cincinnati Reds, Jonathan Broxton, Ryan Ludwick, Johnny Cueto, Sean Marshall