Although Melvin would not specify what areas he was seeking to address, the chance of a blockbuster trade such as the one that brought pitcher CC Sabathia to fuel the Brewers' drive to a postseason berth in 2008 is unlikely.
"I don't always think one player separates teams," said Melvin. "The rest of the team still has to play well. You're going to have games where you have good starting pitching for seven innings, and if you don't hold the lead or don't score runs [it doesn't matter]. ... There's probably one or two players who could be difference makers, and the others just provide you the depth. They fill a small hole or a small gap or may be an incremental improvement."
The number of teams still in contention for a Wild Card spot also affects the number of players on the trade market, Melvin said.
"These teams that might only be five or six games out, they still have a chance because the teams ahead of them could lose a key player to injury," he said.
And injury is the one thing that could drastically change the trading landscape, Melvin said. In the tightly contested National League Central, St. Louis sustained a huge blow when All-Star catcher Yadier Molina sustained a right thumb injury that is expected to sideline him for 8 to 12 weeks. And just when the Reds had crept back into the race, their lineup was depleted by injuries to Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto.
"You don't wish that upon anybody, but there are more injuries today than ever," Melvin said. "Cincinnati's probably been hurt as much as anybody with injuries. Missed [Aroldis] Chapman at the start of the year, [Mat] Latos at the start of the year, then with Phillips and Votto. They've probably had more injuries than anybody."
Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.