Yesterday I took a look at the July 31 trade deadline needs of the buyers in the National League East, so today I will look at the needs of the buyers in the National League Central.

Unlike the East, which had four teams as potential buyers, the Central only has two teams that should be buyers — the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Milwaukee Brewers are kind of hanging around, but unless they go on a tear in July, they shouldn’t be buyers. The Chicago Cubs are a mess and we all know the plight of the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Here are the deadline needs for the Reds and Cardinals…


Wood could be a trade target for the Reds

Cincinnati Reds

Record: 48-36, first in the NL Central

Needs: OF, Starting Pitching, Bullpen

The Reds are one year ahead of schedule in my book. I had them competing for the division title next year and in the World Series in 2012. The Reds are finding success in 2010 thanks to a dynamic offense that leads the NL in runs scored.

While Jonny Gomes is having a career year in left and Drew Stubbs looks like he is coming around, I think the Reds could use another outfielder. The guy that comes to mind is David DeJesus (as you can tell recently, I am a big fan).

DeJesus could platoon with Gomes in right or fill in for Stubbs when he goes into a slump. Another Royal that comes to mind would be Scott Podsednik. He would fill that role as well.

The Reds are in a similar situation as the New York Mets are with Carlos Beltran. The Reds will be getting an All Star in the second half without giving up anyone. Edinson Volquez is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in the minors and will return in the second half.

However, I do think the Reds need a front-line starter and a power righty in the pen to get them to the next level in 2010. With Arthur Rhodes having an All Star year and the eventual call up of Aroldis Chapman, the Reds should be set from the left side late in the game, but are severely lacking a right-handed bridge to get to Francisco Cordero.

Potential Targets: Cliff Lee, David DeJesus, Scott Podsednik, Kerry Wood, Matt Capps, Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Hanrahan.

St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 45-37, second in NL Central. Third in Wild Card

Needs: Starting Pitching, Second Base

The Cardinals are in a tough spot because they gave up a lot of prospects last year when they acquired Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday. Outside of Shelby Miller and Daryl Jones, the Cardinals don’t have much left in their farm system. Acquiring a Cliff Lee or Dan Haren is going to be real hard for them.

However, the Cardinals don’t need another front line starter. They already have Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, so they need someone more reliable than Brad Penny or Kyle Lohse.

Jaime Garcia is pitching very well and could have been an All Star, but remember, he has never pitched more than 103 innings in professional baseball. Who knows how he is going to respond when he hits the 160-180 inning mark?

The days of Skippy Schumaker starting at second base for the Cardinals needs to come to an end like yesterday. Tony LaRussa loves this guy, but I am not sure why.

He is 30-years-old with zero upside and he can’t hit, hit for power, run, or field. So what exactly does he do well? I am sure he is a great clubhouse guy and could be a solid utility player, but he should no longer be starting.

The Cards would be wise to go out and get a second baseman who can give them anything.

Potential Targets: Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Roy Oswalt, Kelly Johnson, Dan Uggla, Jake Westbrook.

Tomorrow we will cover the NL West and the San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, and San Francisco Giants.

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