On September 11th of 2015, the Cincinnati Reds effectively died, as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. While they had given up on the season much earlier, the 11th marked the first day in which it was mathematically impossible for them to make it past the regular season. Now that they've been put to rest, we can take a look back at their 2015 campaign.
Bryan Price's tirade
On April 20th, when a reporter questioned Price about why Devin Mesoraco wasn't with the team, he exploded.
Price's rant last five-minutes and 34-seconds, and included 77 uses of the "F" word. He later apologized for the way he acted, but the damage was done. The perception of Price was immediately changed, and many began to question whether or not he was the right man to lead the Reds. That speculation hasn't died down, as Barry Larkin has been connected to the team as a potential replacement; and he's even gone as far as to ask former teammates if they'd be willing to join his hypothetical coaching staff.
The trade deadline
The Reds held off from entering full sell mode as long as they possibly could, but they eventually accepted the fact that they needed to unload players and begin the rebuilding process. While Walt Jocketty ultimately decided to keep Aroldis Chapman, he was able to restock his minor league system by dealing Johnny Cueto to the Royals, and both Mike Leake and Marlon Byrd to the Giants.
|Player traded||Player(s) acquired|
|Johnny Cueto||Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, Cody Reed|
|Mike Leake||Keury Mella, Adam Duvall|
|Marlon Byrd||Stephen Johnson|
Jocketty completed three trades before the August 31st trade deadline, and brought back six players. According to MLBPipeline, Mella and Reed have become the Reds' fifth, and ninth best prospects, respectively, while Finnegan, Duvall, and Johnson didn't crack the top 20. Lamb has already been promoted to the big league club, and in 33 innings has posted a K/9 of 10.64, a BB/9 of 3.55, an ERA of 5.18, and an FIP of 3.63.
The return of Joey Votto
Votto has been one of the few bright spots of an otherwise putrid Reds' season, as he's posted a slash line of .315/.459/.555, with an ISO of .240, a wOBA of .431, and a wRC+ of 174. Overall, he's been worth 7.0 fWAR, which makes him the fourth most valuable hitter in baseball, behind only Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, and Mike Trout. Votto has been so good this season, that he's elicited comparisons to Barry Bonds.
Joey Votto has reached 111 times in his last 200 PA, something only done by Frank Thomas (1994, 1997) and Barry Bonds (2001-04) since 1974.— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) August 29, 2015
(Last one of these for a while): Joey Votto has reached safely in 114 of his last 200 PA. Only Barry Bonds has done that since 1974. #Reds— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) August 30, 2015
Hope for 2016?
While the Reds undoubtedly did the right thing by selling at the trade deadline, 2016 likely won't see them return to the playoffs. Aside from the fact that they play in what has become MLB's most difficult division, they simply aren't set up to win the 90+ games it will take to reach the postseason. Their big lineup threats are Votto and Jay Bruce, and their starting staff is largely comprised of unknowns.
Raisel Iglesias has proven himself to be effective in 2015, and will undoubtedly be in the rotation next year. After him, there's Anthony Desclafani (who, barring injury will also make the opening day roster), Michael Lorenzen, Lamb, potentially Finnegan, and eventually Homer Bailey. Unfortunately for the Reds and their fans, 2016 doesn't look like a year in which they'll be able to contend, and could be in for another long season.