Cincinnati Reds failed to improve upon 2017 record

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Manager Jim Riggleman of the Cincinnati Reds relieves Matt Harvey #32 in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 19, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Manager Jim Riggleman of the Cincinnati Reds relieves Matt Harvey #32 in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 19, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds finished 2018 with a  67-95 record, their worst since 2015.

The Cincinnati Reds have had a losing record for 5 straight seasons. After finishing 68-94 in 2016 and 2017, fans were hoping for some sort of improvement. Instead, they lost one more game than the two previous seasons. On the surface, that says one thing: this team isn’t great. But it reveals a lot about how the team itself is run.

Everyone assumed that the Reds would trade Matt Harvey by the trade deadline. The whole reason they even got Harvey was so they could trade him. The deadline passed, and Harvey was still a Red. So was Billy Hamilton. So was Raisel Iglesias. So was Scooter Gennett. So were multiple players at positions where the Reds have plenty of depth and could get a good return.

Retaining these players (especially Harvey) was not a popular move. The front office and ownership cited “positive momentum” as a reason to not trade any players. The team had a good vibe and they didn’t want to mess with it.

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The 56-73 Reds apparently had a great winning culture. It was so great that the team went 11-22 (.333) down the stretch. Maybe Adam Duvall was the glue that held the entire clubhouse together.

Now, the Reds are no better off than they were at this point last season. Still in last place, now with one more loss.

At least in 2017, fans had something to look forward to

Luis Castillo topped off a fantastic rookie year and seemed like he would be an ace. Jesse Winker played his heart out in his short stint in the majors and was ready to play full time. Nick Senzel had season-ending vertigo, but was tearing the cover off the ball and looked ready to make a difference in Cincinnati.

Tucker Barnhart won a gold glove. Joey Votto was an MVP candidate. Everything seemed to be coming together at the end to contribute to a great 2018.

The rookie pitchers that seemed promising in 2017 couldn’t perform in 2018. Prospects are moving through the system at a snail’s pace. The offense seems to have given up. If anything, this team looks worse than they did one year ago. I am not optimistic about how 2019 will turn out.

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The front office aimed to keep positive momentum. By doing so, they completely lost it. The 2019 season starts in less than 6 months and fans are already saying “there’s always next year”.