Team Tidbits – Panthers & Reds

Quick thoughts on the Carolina Panthers potentially trading for secondary help and the Cincinatti Reds recent roll.

Panthers Need Secondary Help: Following Sunday’s loss that really exposed just how bad the Carolina Panthers secondary is, a lot of fans are calling for the team to make a deal that would bring in some help. I’m all for improving the secondary through trade, but the right deal has to be made and the Panthers don’t exactly have too many pieces to give up. Greg Hardy, who is in the last year of his contract and due a big raise, has been tossed around by fans as a potential trade piece, but I think that would be a huge mistake because he’s a key part of the pressure that the front four is able to create.

I think the only guy that makes sense for the Panthers to deal is DeAngelo Williams. The problem is finding a team to take on his salary of 8.6 million. The Panthers have to shed some cap with this move though and Williams is the only player that is likely to bring any type of return. The team doesn’t have a ton of cap room, so trading draft picks for a player making money might not be a viable option, but if they can find a CB or Safety making the same money or less than Williams, they should try to make a deal.

Besides trying to find a team to take on his salary, Williams is about the only running back who isn’t hurt right now. Jonathan Stewart is out for another few weeks and is very injury prone while Kenyon Barner is also hurt. If those two can get healthy, and stay healthy, I think they can more than make up for Williams’ production.

Trading in the NFL is always tough though so I honestly wouldn’t expect the Panthers to make any sort of deal between now and the trade deadline, which is the worst in all the major sports. It’s more likely that they continue to do their best in masking the secondary with their front seven and then addressing the issue in the off-season either via free agency or the draft.

Reds Win Series from Cardinals, Sweep Dodgers: Things weren’t looking too great for the Reds entering September. They had a respectable 76-60 record and seemed to be a lock for one of the two wild card spots, but they had just lost series to the Millwukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Colorado Rockies. So when they started a four game series against the Cardinals on September 2, it was important for the team to take three of the four games. They not only took three of four from St. Louis, which put the team right back into the chase for the NL Central, but also swept a three game series from the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseballs hottest team in the second half of the season.

Personally, I credit Billy Hamilton for the team’s recent success. He was called up on September 2 and that’s when this run started. Even though he doesn’t have a hit, or even an at bat, he’s stolen four bases and scored three runs in the four games that he’s been used. So far he’s only been brought in late in games as a pinch runner when the team needs a run, but he’s been just as good as advertised. I’d like to see him at the plate since he could be Shin Soo Choo’s replacement next season and we need to see how he does against major league pitching, but for right now he’s a great weapon on the base path and could be just the spark the team needs in October.

The Reds have to continue this hot streak. Their next nine games are against the Cubs, Brewers, and Astros. The team should come away with at least seven wins in those nine games before heading into the home stretch, where they have six of their last nine games against the Pirates.

The team appears to be getting hot at the right time with the bullpen hitting their stride, the starters pitching well, and the batters are coming up with timely hits. Obviously there is room for improvement and the pitching staff is still a little banged up, but for right now things are looking good.

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