The Cincinnati Reds were expected to be among the best teams in the National League. Experts picked them to be at the top of the division before the season began. Projection systems agreed with that, placing them at the top of a very close National League Central division.
What’s happened instead is the Reds have been among the very worst teams in all of Major League Baseball. They are 18-24, which is better than only three other teams in the National League with less than three weeks to play in the season. There are only 18 games remaining and Cincinnati would need to make up 3.5 games to land the final wild card spot – but they’d also need to make that ground up on multiple teams, which makes things much more difficult.
Prior to the game against Chicago last night, President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams was asked about manager David Bell and his job security given that it’s been a rather hot topic of discussion on sports talk radio and social media and what he thinks about it.
“I haven’t seen a lot of it. I’ve gotten better about recusing myself from social media and talk radio. The main reason I’ve done that, with all due respect is that most of the ideas that are shared on social media and talk radio are shared by people that don’t have access to the same information that I do or my staff does. It’s not that I don’t think that there’s a lot of smart people that follow the team and put ideas out there. I just know that they are at a handicap by not having access to the information that we do. For example – things going on away from the field in players lives, injuries that they are dealing with that aren’t disclosed. I don’t know anyone outside of my inner circle that’s seen a single pitch at Prasco this year to know what we think and why we think it about the players that are there and what we think it about the players that are there and what we think they can do when they come up.”
“Like I said, we may not be right, we may not be wrong but we’re doing the best we can with the information and we have a lot that the general public doesn’t have access to. We study every game, we go back and review them and the decisions that were made. And the decisions that this coaching staff have made have been made with great rational. The main glaring statistic for us is the under performance of the offense and the batting average on balls in play (BABIP). We’re definitely focused on if there are things we can do differently to change the outcomes there in terms of players approach, but a lot of that is bad luck and I don’t want to blame that on the wrong person. Long winded answer to your question, but that has not been something we have spent any time on. We’re spending time on trying to get the right results out of the player group we have.”
There’s not exactly a bode of confidence in that answer with regards to David Bell’s job. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like – at least based on what was said – that they are placing much blame on Bell or his coaching staff at this point, either.
That answer was followed up with a question about if this season would be considered a failure if the Reds did not make the playoffs.
“I would be extremely disappointed if we don’t make the playoffs,” said Williams. “I’m sure the players, staff, ownership – everybody had high expectations for this season. There’s a third of it left, just about, and it’s time to get out there and perform. I haven’t been happy any of the years with the results that we’ve had. But this is the year with the highest expectations in recent memory, so the disappointment would be far greater.”