By Illya Harrell on August 22, 2014
While the Cincinnati Reds are mired in a most disappointing season, fly-by-night fans are watching preseason Bengals football. Hardcore fans, the gluttons for punishment, continue to watch or listen night after night in total disgust. Cincinnati is now only five games ahead of the last-place Cubs. There are many reasons the Reds are such a 2014 train wreck, and here are just a few.
Injuries barely make the list. Yes, big-time players have missed games. Mat Latos, Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey have seen the DL this season. The Phillips injury killed highlight-reel defense at second base. The recent Bailey injury is significant as the team can't find a reliable fifth starter. The other injuries? Replacement players stepped up their games.
After Dusty Baker was canned, Price had the leverage of a managerial job in Seattle. It turns out the Reds would have been better off letting him head westward. Whether it be questionable use of the bullpen, batting Jay Bruce in the two-hole, overworking Alfredo Simon or leaving Devin Mesoraco on the bench in 90 percent of Johnny Cueto's starts, Price was not the guy to take the helm in what was suppose to be a title-run season.
The Reds lead the league in the TOOTBLAN (thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop) category. Yes, there is a website that keeps track of TOOTBLANs. They are defined as a non-force out at any base excluding times caught stealing. The Reds have 68 of them in 128 games. Third base coach Steve Smith must be near sighted as he'll send ground sloths around third to be thrown out at the plate by 20 feet.
Middle relief has been a major problem all year. When reliable middle-reliever Alfredo Simon was forced into the rotation, GM Walt Jocketty should have been on the horn immediately. The list of middle relievers used is long, and none of them have provided anything close to consistency.
Conspiracy theorists have good reason to believe Jocketty is still on the Cardinals' payroll. His offseason inactivity was bothersome. He did make one trade this season, SP Jair Jurrjens for 1B David Holmberg -- not exactly a blockbuster, or even helpful. Jocketty's deadline hibernation cost the Reds any chance they had to make a playoff run.
Cincinnati has four offensive players making $ 8.5 million a year in Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto. Combined, the quartet has hit 35 home runs 158 RBIs. As a whole, the team ranks No. 28 in the majors in OBP and, besides home runs, in the bottom quarter-percentile of every major offensive category.
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