By: Brendan Burris ~Staff Writer~
Coming into the 2014 season, the Cincinnati Reds were a consensus top-10 team in Major League Baseball and were expected to make a heavy push deep into the playoffs.
Sports Illustrated’s pre-season projections stated that the Reds would finish the season with a 91-71 record and a wild-card berth into the playoffs.
In reality, the 2014 MLB season turned out to be quite the disappointment to a Reds team with lots of talent, namely Johnny Cueto, Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier, Billy Hamilton and Aroldis Chapman.
Instead of finishing with the projected 91-win season, the Reds finished 76-86, ten games under .500 and 14 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central standings.
Entering the All-Star break on July 14, the Reds were only 1.5 games out of first place and seven games over .500.
The second half of the year was abysmal for the Redlegs, as seemingly nothing was clicking on offense and there was serious inconsistency in the starting lineup due to injuries.
As the playoffs begin, the Reds are left out after making the playoffs three of the last four years under the management of Dusty Baker.
First-year manager Bryan Price did not deliver the type of season that has been expected of the Reds in recent years.
Much of the Reds’ struggles this year can be attributed to the myriad of injuries suffered throughout the 162-game season.
Joey Votto, once considered one of the best players in baseball and a MVP candidate the previous season, played in only 62 games.
Second baseman Phillips was put on the disabled list early in the season with a thumb injury and never truly returned to his previous top form.
And the widely publicized head injury to reliever Chapman in spring training caused him to miss much of the early part of the season.
Looking forward to the off-season, the Reds must first re-sign the ace of their pitching staff, Johnny Cueto, and must address separate deals with players who are eligible for free agency.
With the disappointment of the 2014 season now behind them, the Reds have to turn to 2015 in an attempt to regain their previous form. Rebuilding and reorganizing may be necessary for the Reds to have a playoff push next season.