3 massive problems the Reds front office needs to deal with right now

The Reds have a few players who may see their playing time take a hit in the coming weeks.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Will Benson (30) walks off the field.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Will Benson (30) walks off the field. / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds struggled against their NL Central foes this past week. Cincinnati dropped 2-of-3 to both the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates prior to this weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox. Thankfully, the NL has been down throughout the early going, and the Reds are by no means out of the playoff hunt.

But the Reds' struggles have been magnified by a lack of runs and some untimely mistakes on the part of Cincinnati's bullpen. There's a high likelihood that some roster shuffling may be in order during the coming days and weeks ahead.

The MLB trade deadline is on the horizon, as is the impending return of suspended rookie infielder Noelvi Marte. The Reds are not out of it, but if something doesn't change quickly, Reds fans may not be able to lay claim to that truth for much longer. What three problems does Nick Krall and the Reds front office need to address right now?

The Reds must add a contact-conscience bat (preferably an outfielder) before the MLB trade deadline

The Reds strike out far too much. While modern-day baseball doesn't concern itself as much with high strikeout rates so long as the players pack a punch in slugging department, Cincinnati cannot boast that type of roster.

Jeimer Candelario and Elly De La Cruz are the only two players with a slugging percentage above .400. De La Cruz leads the Reds in strikeouts, while Candelario ranks third on the team in Ks. However, the disparity between De La Cruz's strikeouts and Candelario's is quite massive.

But both Candelario and De La Cruz need to be in the Reds everyday lineup. The same cannot be said for the likes of Will Benson (high strikeout rate), Jake Fraley (low barrel rate), and Jonathan India (higher on-base percentage than slugging).

Players like Steven Kwan and Luis Arráez do not grow on trees, but the Reds need that type of player who can help stop the bleeding when the team seems struck in neutral with a balanced attack in the batters' box.

A player who might fit that mold could be Arizona Diamondbacks' outfielder Jake McCarthy. If Cincinnati goes shopping at the MLB trade deadline, the last thing they need is three-true outcome player.

Cincy needs a 5th starter to bolster the Reds starting rotation

The top of the Reds starting rotation is quite formidable. If Cincinnati is able to make a run at the playoffs, the trio of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Andrew Abbott would be one of the best postseason rotations it the National League.

And while the schedule makes it so starting pitching depth during the postseason isn't crucial, adding an extra arm ahead of the trade deadline is imperative. Add Frankie Montas to the group of Greene, Lodolo, and Abbott and the Reds have four legitimate starters. But bouncing between Graham Ashcraft and Carson Spiers every fifth day isn't going to help Cincinnati make up for lost time.

The Reds need to secure the services of a veteran starter for the stretch run and help to put themselves into position to win in August and September. This was an area the Reds failed to address last summer, and it should be on Cincinnati's radar with just over a month until the MLB trade deadline.

The Reds need another high-leverage reliever

There are moments when the Cincinnati bullpen looks unstoppable. Then there are moments when a six-run lead (as if the Reds have scored that much of late) in the ninth inning will have fans biting their fingernails.

Alexis Diaz is shaky, Lucas Sims has been up-and-down, and Fernando Cruz will run out of gas if he keeps being used at the current rate. This has all the makings of last summer when David Bell was forced to go to his bullpen early and often leading up to the dog days of summer, only to see the relief corps implode down the stretch.

Just like adding a starter is necessary, so is adding a high-leverage reliever at this year's MLB trade deadline. The Reds swapped prospect Joe Boyle for left-hander Sam Moll last July and that worked out quite well. One more move like that needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Some fans will point to pitchers like Tony Santillan and Casey Legumina as reasons why Cincinnati does not need to address the bullpen. But some added insurance, especially late in games, is something Krall and Co. need to put on their wishlist.

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