The Reds have known they needed a shortstop since Freddy Galvis became a free agent at the start of last offseason. After they struck out on Marcus Semien, Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons in the open market, The Athletic’s Trent Rosecrans wrote that they needed to either trade for a shortstop or stick with 22-year-old Jose Barrero at the position. Among the options Rosecrans suggested: Willy Adames.

Alas, the Reds didn’t listen.

They opened the season with their third baseman, Eugenio Suárez, playing short. They then turned to utility man Kyle Farmer, who had never played the position regularly as a professional. And on May 21, they were caught looking when the Brewers acquired Adames from the Rays for relievers J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen, a trade that might have helped decide the NL Central.

The Reds talked briefly to the Rays about Adames last offseason, but were not engaged with them at the time the Brewers acquired him, according to major-league sources. Heaven knows the Reds were not in position to trade two relievers from a bullpen that, then and now, was among the league’s worst. But for Adames, earning $590,000 and under control for three more seasons in arbitration, shouldn’t they at least have been in the mix?

The day of the trade, the Brewers were 21-23, sitting in third place behind the Cardinals and Cubs in the NL Central, four games back. Since then, they are 35-17, opening up a 6 1/2-game lead in the Central, where the Reds are now in second place.

Adames, the reigning National League Player of the Week, has a .957 OPS with the Brewers after posting only a .625 in the first seven weeks with the Rays. He has stabilized the shortstop position for Milwaukee in a way that Luis Urías did not. And his infectious personality has had a positive effect on Urías, right fielder Avisaíl García and others, people around the team say.