Re: What's Wrong
The Reds have a mixture of three things going on that are attributing to the problems right now:
1) Young players making "growth-typical mistakes". Otherwise known as dumb errors, bonehead plays, and occasional poor plate appearances. These things happen with young players. You don't treat this problem with benching a young player or jerking him around. You treat it with patience, excellent coaching, and creating a positive atmosphere where the young player can work hard and overcome these mistakes. Placed in the proper environment, almost all young players overcome those mistakes. It just takes time.
2) Lousy players getting too much playing time and just being on the roster altogether. There are just plain bad players on this roster who are playing exactly as poor as one would expect, and these bad players just simply shouldn't be around.
3) Incompetence from the managerial position and at least one coaching position (pitching coach).
Number one is expected, and that problem will be solved so long as the Reds treat their young players properly with good coaching and creating a good environment for them. Number two needs to be fixed for this team to ever win, and number three could certainly use fixing as well, especially if one wants number one to be a world of success.
I actually thought about something while watching tonight's game that's so sad it's almost somewhat funny. Think back this time last year, and ask yourself who were the top Reds prospects. That list is simple: the Reds had what was known as the "Big Four" in Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, and Joey Votto. They were the future, and they were going to be the core that gets the Reds out of this mess.
Well, in the last week we've seen, in random order:
1) Joey Votto regularly ridiculed for defensive mistakes. Whether it's booting a ground ball, missing a scoop, or flipping a poor throw to the pitcher.
2) Homer Bailey still unable to have any type of command whatsoever. Now he's compounded that problem with a mysterious loss of velocity. The result has been routine shellings for a month now.
3) Johnny Cueto just went out there tonight and walked EIGHT St. Louis Cardinals. Then the Reds had him actively trying to work on his pitching mechanics in a big league game while he's trying to get big league hitters out. That's asking, as loudly as possible, for some type of injury with that decision. If you want Johnny Cueto to work on his mechanics, you do so in bullpen sessions under the strict pitch-by-pitch watch of a competent pitching coach with pitch-by-pitch coaching and instruction.
4) Jay Bruce, despite his fiery start in a Reds uniform, drops a routine fly ball in a blowout game and is booed by the home crowd merely two weeks into his big league career.
Meanwhile, the common Reds fan wants to trade Adam Dunn - the team's best position player for several years now - because they feel he'll make too much money, or they feel that he strikes out too much, or they feel that he is lazy. Sure, whatever.
And despite the absurd start by Edinson Volquez - a product of another team's organization, nonetheless - the common Reds fan still moans about the loss of Josh Hamilton.
Oh, don't forget about Edwin Encarnacion either. He needs to be traded because he hasn't lived up to whatever unrealistic hype was placed upon him.
All this and I haven't even touched what may be going on with Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo.
Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012
Put an end to the Lost Decade.