Cincinnati Reds - TeamReport
MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - INSIDE PITCH
Bryan Price's first season as Cincinnati Reds manager was fraught with injuries, which continued through the final weekend.
Homer Bailey, who had surgery to repair a partially torn flexor mass tendon in his right elbow and could miss his first couple starts of next season.
Starter Mat Latos was shut down in early September due to a bone bruise on his right elbow. Center fielder and leadoff batter Billy Hamilton missed the final weekend with a concussion.
Additionally, first baseman Joey Votto played in just 62 games around two stints on the DL with a quad injury, and closer Aroldis Chapman missed the first two months after being struck by a line drive during spring training.
"Never have I seen a team with so few options, even in September," Price said.
But, Price refused to make any excuses for his club's 76-86 record and fourth-place finish, referencing advice he received from Rich Morales, his manager at Double-A while in the Seattle Mariners organization.
"He said, 'You deal the cards and I'll play 'em,'" Price said. "What I took from that is ... I'll manage whoever I have on the roster. Complaining about it doesn't make anything better."
For a while it seemed Cincinnati was going to overcome the maladies and make a run in the National League Central. The Reds were 51-44 at the All-Star break and within 1 1/2 games of first place, before the wheels came off.
The Reds went 25-42 down the stretch and fell out of postseason contention.
There were some bright spots:
Third baseman Todd Frazier had a career year, hitting 29 home runs with 80 RBIs while playing a steady third and first base and evolving into a vocal leader on the club.
Devin Mesoraco had the finest season by a Reds catcher since Johnny Bench.
Had it not been for the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto might have won the NL Cy Young Award. Cueto finished 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA. His 242 strikeouts were tied with Stephen Strasburg for most in the National League.
There is stability within the organization with Price expected to return in 2015, along with general manager Walt Jocketty, who in late September signed a two-year contract extension through 2016.
The Reds will look to shore up left field and middle relief in the offseason. Assuming health, all other fielding positions appear to be solidified. The bench could be strengthened internally with the return of catcher Brayan Pena and promising prospect Kristopher Negron.
MLB Team Report - Cincinnati Reds - NOTES, QUOTES
RECORD: 76-86, fourth place in National League Central