Well, we can finally close the book on the 2014 regular season for the Cincinnati Reds. It goes without saying, but this campaign has to go down as one of the most disappointing in recent memory.
Hopes were high entering spring training as the club returned many of the same roster pieces that led to playoff berths in the two seasons prior. The main change consisted of a shakeup in the coaching staff. This was led of course by Bryan Price transitioning from pitching coach to skipper.
Unfortunately, Price was dealt a numerous amount of curveballs (no pun intended) in his first season at the helm. And they came in the form of injuries, sub-par play, and just plain bad luck (most one-run losses in MLB with 38). It all added up to a fourth place finish and the least amount of wins in a season since 2008.
To be fair, this club sustained an unbelievable amount of injuries to to its core group of players. First, Joey Votto was a virtual non-factor by missing exactly 100 games. Brandon Phillips missed roughly a month and continues to decline in productivity at the dish. Jay Bruce missed a little time but still managed to appear in 137 games. However, he recorded the worst season of his career, failing to crack the 20-homer mark and boasting an on-base percentage well below .300. Ryan Ludwick failed to live up to expectations, too, smashing just nine home runs and hitting just .244 in over 400 plate appearances. He and the rest of the offense served as a constant reminder of how badly the Reds needed to add a run-producing bat in the offseason (or at trade deadline). Oh, well. Live and learn, right?