It has now been 14 years since the Cincinnati Reds and their fans last felt the excitement of postseason baseball. A final record of 78-84 made 2009 the ninth consecutive losing season for the Reds. The season started fairly well before injuries and a lack of consistent hitting began to take their toll.
Here is a quick look at the 2009 season. I will follow up with more in-depth player reviews as the offseason rolls on.
The bullpen was among the best in baseball for most of the season. Francisco Cordero, the club's only All-Star, converted 39 of 43 save opportunities. Nick Masset and Daniel Ray Herrera solidified their place on next year's pitching staff.
After struggling in the first half of the season, Bronson Arroyo was one of baseball's best pitchers. His 15th and final victory of the year marked the 12th consecutive start in which he lasted at least seven innings while allowing three or fewer runs.
After beginning the year at Triple A Louisville, Jonny Gomes proved he can still contribute as a corner outfielder. He hit 20 home runs in just 281 at-bats.
Injuries, combined with a glaring inability to hit with runners in scoring position made scoring runs a nightly adventure. Every member of the projected Opening Day lineup spent time on the disabled list except for Brandon Phillips.
The starting rotation was supposed to be a major strength for the Reds. Aaron Harang had another disappointing season. Johnny Cueto was less than spectacular. Edinson Volquez missed most of the season after having Tommy John surgery. He is not expected back until at least the second half of next year.
The "It Should Be Interesting"
Many people criticized Walt Jocketty for bringing Scott Rolen to Cincinnati, but this was a different team with him in the lineup. Whether it was his actual physical abilities or presence in the clubhouse, the Reds are a better team with Rolen. If he can stay healthy, it is comforting to know there is a pro's pro down at the hot corner.
Joey Votto was on his way to a MVPNNAP (Most Valuable Player Not Named Albert Pujols) season when he went on the disabled list at the end of May with stress-related issues. Despite missing 21 games, Votto remained the club's best hitter. He finished the season with a .322 batting average, 25 home runs and 84 RBI.
Hopefully, a completely healthy Votto will be with the Reds for every game of the 2010 season.
Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce are two prospects that were headed in opposite directions at the end of the year. Bailey seemed to be finally living up to the hype that has followed him since the day he signed a professional contract. Bruce missed two months with a broken wrist and struggled when he was in the lineup.