Following the 2014 season, the Cincinnati Reds organization was in a precarious position. Rebuild or retool? Unfortunately, the reluctance to define a coherent strategy by the Reds front office left the franchise in the wilderness for half a decade.
As this decade draws to a close, it’s a nice bookend to what many in Reds Country felt, at the beginning of the decade, and that was hope. Luckily, at the beginning of the decade, that hope was fulfilled. The Cincinnati Reds won two National League Central division titles and made the playoffs three times in a four-year stretch between 2010-2013.
After a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2013 Wild Card Game, the first sign of the Reds rebuild began to take shape. Manager Dusty Baker was fired, electrifying leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo left via free agency, and pitching coach Bryan Price was handed the managerial duties.
Let’s just say Billy Hamilton was hardly an adequate replacement for Choo, while key components like first baseman Joey Votto and starting pitcher Mat Latos missed significant time due to injuries. After claiming 90 victories in 2013, the Reds stumbled to a 76-86 record in 2014 and the brief glory period was soon to be a distant memory.
Former Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty eschewed the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs rebuild model of stripping the major league roster of assets and took a much more cautious, and what turned out to be, ill-conceived, approach. Whether it has holding onto veterans too long or not maximizing their value, the Reds were set on a course for disaster.
Now five years after the rebuild was put into motion, let’s revisit the key trades that have resulted in six-straight losing seasons. Although, all those deals weren’t bad, there have been many more misses than hits over the last several years.