Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wondering If The Reds Season Is Just About Over

Tough to believe, isn't it? Last year, so much promise, so much fun. This year? Not so much. You'll get a lot of answers to the question, 'where did it go wrong'. But I think this season was lost in the winter. Other teams in the Reds division decided to go shopping. The Reds sat that out. Other teams in their division made strategic changes (Cardinals with Berkman, Brewers with Marcum and Greinke and now Rodriguez). The Reds reinvested in their own talent, doing contract extensions with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.

You can look this up: rare is the team that repeats as division champ that does NOT do some retooling in the off season.

The Reds front office, including last years MLB Executive Of The Year Walt Jocketty, simply over-valued too many of their players and thought they made even exchanges for the players they lost. Fred Lewis for Laynce Nix? Not even close. Edgar Renteria for Orlando Cabrera? Cabrera isn't tearing it up in Cleveland. But they signed him for $1 mil and Renteria is costing the Reds $2.1 million, minimum this season. He has incentives that kick in with added playing time. Cabrera, though, was a great team leader and it's no small reason why every team he plays for contends. Aroldis Chapman for Arthur Rhodes? Not even close. Chapman has been better lately. But for the first two months of this season, he was a 100 mph disaster.

If I sign the checks at Great American Ball Park, I'm calling both Jocketty and Dusty Baker into my office and asking them why they do what they do. The General Manager didn't make a meaningful change until late last week, when he finally relented and called up AAA shortstop Zach Cozart, who should have been up here early in June. The manager insists on playing veteran players who under perform, at the expense of younger players who show promise.

What kind of message does that send to Reds fans? This one: mediocrity is acceptable. And the same message is delivered to the players in the Reds clubhouse. It's naive, to say nothing of bad business, to think that one season in the last 15 has built up enough equity to carry this team through a season like this. It's 2001, 02, 03 or any other year since 1995 all over again.

There's a line that separates patience from stubbornness. Four games out of first, two games under five hundred and showing absolutely nothing since opening week that would lead you to believe this team is capable of a prolonged winning streak, the Reds have crossed the line.

This blog may not be reproduce, retransmitted or re purposed in any manner, in whole or in part, without the written permission of Ken Broo.