Are the Reds the biggest disappointment in MLB this season?

What should have been an exciting year for the Reds has instead been filled with injuries and bad luck.
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

The 2023 season was an incredibly encouraging year for the Cincinnati Reds. They won 82 games, a 20-game improvement over 2022, and boasted one of the most exciting young infields in the sport. Unfortunately, things have come apart at the seams and the Reds find themselves in last place in the NL Central.

Between Matt McLain's shoulder surgery, Noelvi Marte's PED suspension, Christian Encarnacion-Strand's failure to launch, and the unexpected collapse of closer Alexis Diaz, the Reds have been faced with a significant amount of adversity and haven't been able to overcome it.

Coming into the season, many outlets were projecting the Reds to be in the NL Wild Card race this summer. But to this point, the Reds haven't looked capable of competing with the best teams in the sport.

Are the Reds the biggest disappointment in MLB?

The Reds admittedly have some stiff competition in this conversation. While the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox are horrendously bad, nobody expected those two teams to be competitive. And although New York Mets fans might suggest that they're in the running, a division title always seemed out of reach for them this year.

But there are two other teams who are performing well below expectations right now. The Houston Astros were predicted by many to be serious contenders for the American League pennant, and Joe Espada's club is well below .500 right now. And the Toronto Blue Jays, who won 89 games and made the playoffs last year, are currently on pace to win just 73 games.

The fanbases in Toronto and Houston are in shambles. The Astros are at risk of snapping their seven-year ALCS streak, and the Blue Jays' performance have fans starting to think about a mid-season fire sale.

Have the Astros and Blue Jays been more disappointing than the Reds?

The way things are going, the Reds will need to think about making some difficult decisions themselves. Whether that means shifting Diaz out of the closer role or starting to look at trades focused on the future, we're quickly approaching the point in the year where you'll have to choose a direction.

The Reds do have some hope left — Marte is due to return from his suspension later this summer and Encarnacion-Strand expected to be back in about a month. However, the latest injury to Nick Lodolo start to make you think this just isn't going to be the year.

The schedule unfortunately doesn't get any easier, either. Just two of the Reds next eight opponents have records under .500 so things might get worse before they start to get better. This might just be another season that gets chalked up to bad injury luck. It's extremely disappointing given the upside of this talented young offense, but sometimes you just have to accept the loss and move forward.

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