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Reds don't find right deal before Deadline

GM Jocketty looked to add offense, but not at expense of weakening pitching, farm

Reds don't find right deal before Deadline

MIAMI -- Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline was as brisk as it's been in years around the Major Leagues. But for the Reds, it came and went without a deal being made -- or even any strong rumors murmured.

While the Reds did not make a transaction, general manager Walt Jocketty insisted on Thursday night that he still was a buyer right up to the Deadline -- but not a buyer at all costs.

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"We were involved in a lot of different negotiations, but in the end, we're looking mainly for offense," Jocketty said. "There really wasn't the offensive pieces out there; none of the guys we talked about were moved. I think the asking prices were beyond what we felt comfortable [with], and obviously other teams felt the same way.

"We looked at other pieces, again, it was, when we looked at giving up top prospects for guys you're going to have for a couple of months, that's not how we operate."

Cincinnati, which was 1 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central at the All-Star break, has endured an extended offensive funk without injured players Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips and with Jay Bruce in an extended slump much of the season.

Despite being 5 1/2 games out of first place after Thursday night's 3-1 win, at no point during the current stretch was Jocketty or CEO Bob Castellini considering selling.

"You know who I work for, right?" Jocketty said. "Not really. We still are within reach. We need to definitely step up here the next couple of weeks. We can't just wait for Brandon and Joey to come back. We've got to try to get back on a run."

While the Reds remain hopeful they can remain in contention in both the National League Central and Wild Card races, Jocketty standing pat was also made with an eye toward 2015, when he believes the Reds can also be a force. It signals that there are intentions to keep pitchers like Mat Latos and Mike Leake, even if they are third-year arbitration-eligible and a year away from being free agents.

"The pitchers we have control of for next year. I think we feel that we've been struggling now, but we're not going to disrupt the plan we had in place," the GM said. "The number of injuries we had this year were unforeseen, and it's really taken its toll."

There was activity for the top two teams in the NL Central, as the first-place Brewers and second-place Cardinals both made additions. Milwaukee moved two Minor Leaguers to get outfielder Gerardo Parra. St. Louis dealt right fielder Allen Craig and starting pitcher Joe Kelly to the Red Sox in a deal that brought veteran starting pitcher John Lackey.

During the final days and hours before the 4 p.m. ET Deadline, Jocketty thought he might get a trade done.

"It was really one of the toughest times I've seen. No. 1, there weren't a lot of guys available," he said. "We thought [Wednesday] night we might be close to doing something, and it didn't work out. A couple of little things today, after we got towards the end, we decided it wasn't worth pushing it. To make a deal just to make a deal doesn't make sense, especially when you're talking about giving up young future players."

Per tampering rules and his penchant for playing it close to the vest, no names or potential deals were revealed.

One of the trends during Thursday's wheeling and dealing were contending clubs trading key players from their 25-man rosters to complete moves. The Reds have strength in the rotation, but Jocketty was not willing to move a starter to get the bat or bats he wanted.

"Pitching has been our strength. For us to weaken one area to try to improve on another area, we didn't think that was the best thing for us to do," Jocketty said.

Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. For that to happen, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded.

The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.

"We gave it our best shot. We'll continue to look in August and see if there are things that we can do," Jocketty said. "It makes it a little more difficult, but I think there will be more teams dealing later in the month."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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