Why Murphy's Law 2016 was the worst overall year in recent Reds history

In 2016, what ever could go wrong did go wrong for the Cincinnati Reds.

Cincinnati Reds third basemen Alfredo Rodriguez
Cincinnati Reds third basemen Alfredo Rodriguez / Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services,

Reds fans are not going look kindly upon the 2022 season. The club waved goodbye to fan-favorites like Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker, Luis Castillo, and Eugenio Suarez while the front office looked to rebuild the roster.

The Cincinnati Reds also lost 100 games that year. However, after seeing the success in 2023 and the long-term outlook for the franchise, the majority of Reds Country are hopeful that 2022 was just a blip on the radar.

But it's going to be hard to ignore 2016. Not only did the Reds post a record of 68-94, but the players selected in the MLB Draft that year, combined with those inked during the international signing period show just how bad that year was for the organization as a whole.

The Reds began to tear down the roster before the 2016 season

To be fair, things started off on the wrong foot during the 2015-16 offseason. The Cincinnati Reds dealt long-time third baseman and fan-favorite Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox as part of a three-team trade that brought back Brandon Dixon, Scott Schebler, and Jose Peraza.

Dixon hit .178 in 2018 and was eventually cut loose. Schelber was designated for assignment in 2019 after opening the season with 27 strikeouts in his first 30 games. Peraza showed some promise, but was DFA'd following the 2019 season that saw him post a .631 OPS.

The Reds followed that up by trading their closer and perennial All-Star Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees for a quartet of minor leaguers. The most anyone can say about the players Cincinnati received in return is that Caleb Cotham turned into a good pitching coach (Philadelphia Phillies).

Devin Mesoraco, who signed a four-year contract extension with the Reds in 2015, had his 2016 cut short. After appearing in just 16 games while hitting a meager .140, Mesoraco underwent shoulder surgery in May in missed the remainder of the season.

The Reds 2016 draft picks & free agent signings yielded less than ideal results

On June 9th, the Cincinnati Reds made Nick Senzel the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. The Reds would also select Taylor Trammell, Chris Okey, Nick Hanson, Scott Moss, and Ryan Hendrix with their first six picks.

Senzel has been underwhelming to say the least, posting a -1.8 bWAR since his debut in 2019. Okey had a cup of coffee with the Reds in 2022 and Hendrix owned a 5.85 ERA in 45 appearances for the Reds between 2021-2022.

In July, the Reds came to terms with free agent shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez. The infielder received a $7-million signing bonus, and after spending years in the team's farm system, the club finally cut ties with Rodriguez in 2022. The shortstop had a career-OPS of .620 across six minor league seasons.

The Reds continued to tear down the roster at the 2016 trade deadline

By the MLB trade deadline, with Cincinnati obviously out of contention, the team dealt All-Star outfielder Jay Bruce to the New York Mets for Max Wotell and Dilson Herrera. Wotell never played above A-Ball and Herrera hit .184 in just over 50 games for the Reds in 2018.

The Reds inked another player to big-time bonus money. International signee Vladimir Gutierrez, a pitcher from Cuba, came to terms on a deal worth near $5-million in August.

Gutierrez had a solid rookie season, but then fell apart in 2022, underwent Tommy John surgery, and recently elected free agency.

Murphy's First Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That was certainly the case for the Cincinnati Reds in 2016.