CINCINNATI - It looks like the Reds are playing for 2015.
That's why, despite reports that they were dangling Mat Latos, the Reds did not make any deals at the non-waiver trading deadline Thursday.
That was predictable considering the Reds had dropped 10 of 12 games since the All-Star break, and with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips out on extended injury leave, there seems to be little hope for them to get back in the playoff race.
"We were involved in a lot of different negotiations, but in the end we were looking mainly for offense and there really wasn't the offensive pieces out there," Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty said.
Not only are #Reds not buying. Other teams say they've dangled Mat Latos. Looking for big return of course— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2014
"In fact, none of the guys that we had talked about were moved," Jocketty said. "I think the asking prices were beyond what we felt comfortable with."
Translated: That probably means they wanted Johnny Cueto or Latos in some combination with top prospects.
The Reds think their pitching is strong enough to win next year - before Cueto, Latos and Mike Leake become free agents after the 2015 season. That's probably true if they get a solid-hitting left fielder and possibly a better hitting shortstop in the offseason.
And if Votto and Phillips and Jay Bruce return to resemblances of their former selves.
The Reds were thought to be interested in Ben Zobriest of the Rays and Marlon Byrd of the Phillies. Neither was traded.
But who knows? The Reds might get Byrd in the August waiver period. Teams can still make trades through Aug. 31 to have players eligible for the postseason, but it becomes trickier. Now a player must clear waivers first, meaning every club in the majors has a chance to claim him before he can be traded.
Two of the NL Central leaders, the Cardinals and Brewers, made deals Thursday while the Pirates stayed pat.
The Cardinals got postseason ace John Lackey and sent starter Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig to the Red Sox. A day earlier, St. Louis got pitcher Justin Masterson from the Indians.
The Brewers got outfielder Geraldo Parra from the Diamondbacks for prospects.
Meanwhile, baseball fans are still trying to sort out the dizzying deals for David Price, Jon Lester, Home Run Derby champ Yoenis Cespedes and All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
The most curious moment of the day came in the seventh inning of a tight game at Comerica Park — with the bases loaded, no less — when Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson suddenly trotted from his position to the dugout.
He was on his way out of town, too, in a blockbuster, three-team swap that brought Price to the AL Central-leading Tigers.
A whopping 18 teams began the day within five games of playoff position, resulting in a dozen deals shortly before Major League Baseball's 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline.
The World Series champion Boston Red Sox, mired in last place, were the most busy. They sent Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to AL West-leading Oakland for Cespedes, traded Lackey to St. Louis, dealt shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees and moved pitcher Andrew Miller to Baltimore.
The Miami Marlins, often sellers as deadline day approaches, became buyers when they acquired pitcher Jarred Cosart from Houston in a six-player trade.
All the action off the field Thursday made for great fun for fans, plus some heated up pennant races.
A look at the deals, and what they meant:
See ya, Sawx: A year after winning their third crown in a decade, Boston bailed out. The Red Sox picked Oakland as the landing spot for the coveted Lester, then paired up with the team they beat in the World Series last October to swap Lackey.
"It speaks to where we are as a team," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "There's nothing sort of celebratory about this. These moves are made because, collectively as an organization, we haven't performed well enough, in this year anyway."
Straight A's: Looking for its first World Series title since 1989, Oakland kept dealing. After getting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs in July, the team with the best record in the majors added Lester and outfielders Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld. The Athletics had one leftover issue: They were set to give away 10,000 T-shirts at Saturday's game that honored Cespedes, and they plan to hand them out.
Price is right: A lot of teams wanted the 28-year-old lefty ace, who now joins fellow Cy Young winners Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in Motown. In the three-team deal, Jackson went to Seattle while pitcher Drew Smyly and minor league infielder Willy Adames joined Tampa Bay. Price (11-8, 3.11 ERA) recently won six straight starts, and he isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, boosting his chances to help bring Detroit its first championship since 1984.
"The question that we asked ourselves is: What gives us the best chance of winning the world championship this year?" General Manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We thought adding him to our rotation at this point would give us the best chance to do that."
The son will still shine: Cabrera teared up in the Cleveland clubhouse as he talked about being traded to NL East-leading Washington for infielder Zach Walters.
"I had fun here," Cabrera said. "This was the team that gave me the opportunity to play. It's hard ... it's hard. It was like I grew up here."
"That's the business," he said. "It surprised me a little bit, but there is nothing I could do. I knew this was going to be possible. Today when I got here, I didn't even know it was happening."
More to come?: Chase Headley, Jake Peavy, Huston Street, Joakim Soria and others were dealt well before the trade deadline. And if history is any guide, there will be at least a couple more trades before September. Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels drew plenty of interest leading up to Thursday, and could be in play.