CINCINNATI -- When the clock struck 4 p.m. inside the Reds' clubhouse, right fielder Jay Bruce had a look of sheer relief. Teammate Brayan Pena came over to Bruce's locker and gave him a hug.
Ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline, Bruce was named often in rumors all day, and for several weeks, but ultimately remained with the only the club he's ever known. Cincinnati, which traded starting pitcher Mike Leake overnight to the Giants and ace Johnny Cueto to the Royals on Sunday, made no additional deals.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty described the final hours before the Deadline as "very busy right to the end," but did not find a match. Besides Bruce, who was rumored to be close to being dealt to the Mets, closer Aroldis Chapman was linked in rumors to the D-backs, Astros and Yankees.
"There was interest in both players, but we weren't necessarily looking to move them," Jocketty said. "The guys we were most interested in talking about were the potential free agents. That's what we ended up doing."
Ultimately, none of Friday's reports and rumors about the Reds from mostly national media outlets panned out to actual transactions.
"A couple of things could have gone either way, but in the end, the value wasn't there that we were looking for," Jocketty said. "The main thing was we felt we did very well with the Cueto trade and the Leake trade last night."
Cueto went to Kansas City for left-handed pitching prospects Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. Leake's deal to San Francisco brought back that organization's top prospect in pitcher Keury Mella and corner infielder Adam Duvall.
Jocketty came away pleased with the Deadline's outcome and was not disappointed that he did not make more trades.
"I think we preserved still a pretty good ballclub for the rest of the year, and we've got some very good talent that's close," Jocketty said. "The pitchers we all got from Kansas City are close. Mella, the young pitcher we got from San Francisco, is high-A, but he's a kid we think will move pretty fast."
Jocketty noted that Duvall will be developed as a left fielder for Louisville. Of course, he is blocked at first base by Joey Votto and at third base by Todd Frazier.
Besides Duvall, the Reds were hoping to add more hitters for depth, but they were not successful. They instead turned their attention to getting young pitching.
"Offense is pretty hard to get. Hopefully we've stockpiled enough pitching that we can pursue offense at some point," Jocketty said.
Moving forward, trades can still be executed, but it becomes more difficult. Deals involving players on 40-man rosters cannot be made unless the players already cleared waivers. If a club claims a player, it could scuttle a transaction.
The Reds have other players that can be free agents after the season, such as left fielder Marlon Byrd, utility player Skip Schumaker, catcher Brayan Pena and reliever Manny Parra.
In a stroke of coincidence that brought speculation before the Deadline, Bruce was not in the Reds' Friday lineup vs. the Pirates that was posted shortly before 4 p.m. But that was pre-determined by manager Bryan Price because Pittsburgh was starting lefty Jeff Locke and he wanted to rest Bruce, who was told of the decision on Thursday night.
"You guys all know how I feel about the organization," Bruce said. "This is the organization that raised me as a baseball player and as a person really in a lot of ways."
It's a team that will still be different. Without Cueto and Leake, the Reds could end up with five rookies in their starting rotation. Sunday's starter to replace Leake was not yet named, however. Although the Reds aren't contending for 2015 and made their moves with a focus on 2017-18, Jocketty didn't give up on 2016.
"The best term I saw was [Tigers GM] Dave Dombrowski's 'we'll reboot.' That's kind of what we're doing, rebooting," Jocketty said. "It's not a rebuild."