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Know Your Enemy: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds were bad last year. The Reds will be bad this year.

The exterior of Goodyear Ballpark, the spring home of the Reds in Goodyear, Arizona
The exterior of Goodyear Ballpark, the spring home of the Reds in Goodyear, Arizona
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

I suppose this article doesn't even need to be written now that I've posted the summary above.

In 2013 the Reds won 90 games and made the playoffs. Their early exit (a loss in the wild-card game) prompted the firing of Dusty Baker and the elevation of pitching coach Bryan Price to manager, perhaps one of the most ill-suited managerial hires in the last few years.

Price has "led" the Reds to two losing years, 98 losses in 2015, and a 77 F-bomb tirade against the media for having the temerity to ask questions about the availability of Devin Mesoraco. It's NSFW, but worth listening to the tirade. If you can't, it's transcribed at that link. Price just seems woefully unqualified to be a big-league manager and I'm honestly surprised the Reds retained him for the final year of his contract.

The Reds traded away most of their starting rotation last year and the one veteran who's left, Homer Bailey, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and likely will start the year on the DL. Closer Aroldis Chapman is gone, sent to the Yankees, and third baseman Todd Frazier is now a member of the White Sox.

There are still a fair number of good players on this team, notably Joey Votto and Jay Bruce (now that the rumored deal to the Blue Jays appears to be dead), still in the primes of their careers. Brandon Phillips turns 35 in June and isn't the hitter or defender he once was, and though Billy Hamilton is exciting on the basepaths (57 steals in 65 attempts), he rarely gets there (.274 on-base percentage).

The Reds are going to score a fair number of runs. Adam Duvall, acquired from the Giants in the Mike Leake deal, hit 30 home runs in Triple-A last year and five more in 64 big-league at bats. He takes over in left field, and between him, Bruce and Votto, the Reds will hit.

Pitching? Uh... next question, please. The rotation is very young and without Chapman, the closer job probably falls to J.J. Hoover, who's good, but no Chapman. The Reds pitching staff allowed the fourth-most runs in the N.L. last year and that's not going to get any better.

I could say something here about the Brennamans, but you already know how I feel about them and I suspect most of you agree with that. They won't be having a very happy year on the air, let's just put it that way.

The Reds will be the Cubs' Opening Night opponent April 11 as the first of a three-game series. The Cubs' first visit to Cincinnati is a four-game set April 21-22-23-24; overall the teams will face each other 19 times.