Reds acquire Majewski, Bray

Reds acquire Majewski, Bray

CINCINNATI -- The Reds made a move that they hope will bolster their struggling bullpen and solve their defensive problems.

Cincinnati completed an eight-player trade with the Nationals on Thursday afternoon, sending starting shortstop Felipe Lopez and right fielder Austin Kearns, as well as Minor League pitcher Ryan Wagner, to Washington in exchange for relievers Gary Majewski and Bill Bray, shortstop Royce Clayton, infielder Brendan Harris and pitcher Darryl Thompson.

The deal comes exactly a week after Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky acquired closer Eddie Guardado from the Mariners.

"We got 16 games to play before the trading deadline," Krivsky said. "These are big games. I didn't want us to wait around until the trade deadline. I wanted to do something that made sense now."

Majewski and Bray are expected to come in and help rejuvenate a bullpen that has a 5.16 ERA, second-worst in the National League.

Majewski is a 26-year old right-handed power reliever with low-to-mid 90's velocity and a hard slider. He pitched for Team USA earlier this year in the World Baseball Classic.

Bray is a 23-year-old left-hander who made his Major League debut earlier this season. Krivsky reports that Bray's deceptive delivery makes it difficult for hitters to pick up on his sharp slider and 90-94 mph fastball. His stuff is equally dangerous against batters from the right and left sides -- making him more than just a situational pitcher -- and giving the Reds more versatility in the 'pen.

"I think for us to compete in the second half, we had to upgrade the bullpen," Krivsky said. "It's very difficult to get quality pitchers for the back end of the game like a Bray and Majewski. We think they're two key pieces for our bullpen."

Trade talks began last Friday between Washington's GM, former Reds boss Jim Bowden, and Krivsky, a few days after the Reds were swept by the Brewers thanks, in part, to several bullpen breakdowns.

"We [got] what we needed to address," Krivsky said. "We're trying to put the best team together that can win. The 9-20 record here in the last month was a concern."

The Reds also acquired Clayton, a veteran shortstop known for his defense, Harris, a hustling utility player whom Krisvky compared to Ryan Freel, and Thompson, a pitcher who is coming off shoulder surgery by Cincinnati's own Dr. Timothy Kremchek. Thompson had eight strikeouts in five innings this season for the Nationals' Class A affiliate.

"These guys aren't just for now, they're for the future, as well," Krivsky said. "We think this trade makes us better, [and] everybody we got, we're very happy with."

Reds manager Jerry Narron was particularly excited about picking up Clayton, a solid defensive shortstop and noted clubhouse leader whom Narron worked with in Texas.

"He's a veteran guy [who] knows how to play the game correctly," Narron said of Clayton. "One thing we've got to do to win here is to make the routine play [and] play solid defense consistently, and Royce has proven that he can do that."

The Reds lost two regular-starters in the process, however. Kearns is on pace to slug 30 homers and drive in 100 runs, and Lopez is on track to steal 40 bases. They also gave up Wagner, a former first-round pick who had struggled in Triple-A Louisville all season.

"We gave up two quality guys, Krivsky said. "You got to give up something to get something. We paid a steep price."

To fill the roster spots vacated by Kearns and Lopez, the Reds recalled outfielder Chris Denorfia and infielder William Bergolia from Louisville.

Denorfia just appeared in the Triple-A All-Star game in Toledo, and the trade means that he and Ryan Freel will now split time in right field, with Dewayne Wise also available to give both outfielders a day off.

Clayton, Bray and Majewski are all expected to arrive on Friday. Clayton will assume the role of starting shortstop, with Juan Castro as a spot starter. The Reds were mum on Thursday about the future of Brandon Phillips, who appears to be staying at second base for the time being.

The trade stunned the Reds clubhouse. Several players, including Ken Griffey Jr. and Phillips, issued brisk "no comments." Adam Dunn, whose best friend on the team was Kearns, replied with an emphatic "absolutely not!" when asked if he had any comment on the trade.

"Everybody's sad ... those are good guys to have around," Ryan Freel said. "It's going to be pretty quiet around here for a few days, [but] we all know that it's a business, and we're trying to win."

Kearns was lounging in the whirlpool when he was called into Narron's office and saw Lopez sitting there. Immediately, he knew what he was going to be told.

"It would have been nice to have stayed here and been a part of [the Wild Card race], Kearns said. "But it's a new opportunity [and] you've just got to move on."

"It's a business -- I'm never surprised the ways things happen in baseball," Lopez said, shrugging. "[The Reds] needed some pitching, [so] hopefully they got it."

William S. Hupp is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.