Cincinnati Reds 2017 Year in Review – a Success or a Failure?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds had a successful season on the field, but a failure off of it in 2017.

The Cincinnati Reds had a few needs following the 2016 season, but took interesting routes to solve them.  The Reds’ only significant trade was moving Dan Straily for three prospects.  That was an on-field downgrade.

The Reds also traded former second baseman Brandon Phillips after Phillips held the team for ransom.  The Reds have had deals sending Phillips to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals in the past two seasons that Phillips blocked.  Once Phillips was happy with what the Braves were offering for him, he allowed himself to go to Atlanta.

In season, the Reds did not move any of their three impending free agents in Drew Storen, Scott Feldman, and Zack Cozart.  Feldman and Storen suffered injuries to end their seasons, but the Reds should have traded both prior to the injuiries.  That All-Star shortstop Cozart lasted the season is disgraceful for a rebuilding team.  At least they traded Tony Cingrani.

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Add to that the fact that Reds did not address their primary need during last off-season and it was ugly off the field.  The need was a catcher to work with Tucker Barnhart in case Devin Mesoraco could not go or suffered another injury.  Their answer was Rule 5 draftee Stuart Turner.

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On the field the Cincinnati Reds had a successful season thanks to the output of individual seasons.

If it wasn’t for the fantastic season of Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies and the power surge from Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins in the second half, everyone in baseball would be talking about Joey Votto’s historic season.  Votto ended the season in the top ten in the National League in batting average, runs scored, hits, home runs, RBIs, walks, OBP, slugging percentage, and OPS.  

Many years that would be enough to claim the MVP award, if not this year.

The other success on the field was the discovery of three young pitchers.  They appear set to start in 2018 and beyond.  Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sal Romano all debuted in 2017.  All three also appear set in the rotation for 2018.

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Votto’s season and the discovery of the young pitching made 2017 an on-field success.  The lack of turning the rebuild over into a competitive team for 2018 makes the season a failure.  That failure is off of the field.  2018 is set as a rebuilding season, hopefully the last one for a good long time.