Cincinnati Reds began the rebuild for the 2014 season without telling the fans, eroding fan confidence

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Cincinnati Reds let Dusty Baker go, it wasn’t to reach for the playoffs but to start the rebuild.

In the 2013-14 off-season the Cincinnati Reds made several moves that were signs that a rebuild was starting.  GM Walt Jocketty said that it was to let more explosive young talent play, but that doesn’t bare fruit.  The end result was a non-competitive season despite a starting rotation that included Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Homer Bailey.

The first sign that the 2014 team wasn’t going to be competitive was replacing the veteran manager Dusty Baker with the first time manager Bryan Price.  The last first time manager to win the World Series was Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels in 2002.  When the Reds replace Price with a veteran manager, the rebuild will be over.

The other move that showed that the Reds were ready to rebuild was letting Bronson Arroyo go to Arizona.  Arroyo had been a rotation and clubhouse leader since coming over from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Wily Mo Pena.  The Reds let him leave as a free agent with little fanfare.

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The third move that makes you wonder is the trade of Ryan Hanigan to the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Reds traded him and signed Brayan Pena for less money to back-up Devin Mesoraco.  Mesoraco had been the primary starting catcher, but Hanigan played in about one third of the games.

The Cincinnati Reds not only made these moves, but they told the fans that they did it to make the playoffs.

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Rebuilding is bad enough when the team is honest about it with the fans.  It is even worse when the team claims the moves made are done to make it to the next level as the Reds did over the 2013-14 off-season.  The change of managers was sold as replacing someone who couldn’t get the team over the hump with someone who had led an elite pitching staff.

The Reds had one of the most reliable rotations the first time Arroyo was here.  Since he left, Bailey’s career has fallen apart and Cueto had injury problems before leaving for the Kansas City Royals.  The Reds made the move for their baseball decisions.

The Reds brought middle reliever Alfredo Simon out of the bullpen and into the starting rotation.  They flipped him for Eugenio Suarez, after Simon made the All-Star Game. Trying a reliever as a first time starter is not usually the actions of a team trying to make the playoffs.

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This is how you can see that the Reds began the rebuild.  They did it a year earlier than they told the fans they did.  If Reds demonstrated more honesty, the fans would have bought into the rebuild more easily.  The rebuild started after a non-competitive year, so the fans were already in a bad mood.