How do you repair a train wreck?

The long regular season is coming to an end and for fans in many major league baseball cities the focus is turning to how to find some tickets for the upcoming postseason. Unfortunately, Cincinnati is not one of those cities. In fact, this summer and this season as a whole has been nothing short of the proverbial train wreck as the hometown Reds have suffered through one of the worst seasons in team history. As I sit down to type this on a cold Saturday morning in a booth at the Brown County Fair, the Reds are 34 games under .500 and have clinched something-last place as they sit a team record 37 games out of first place.

Who would have believed back in April on Opening Day (remember a 4-0 start) that this Reds team would go downhill so quickly? Basically, the team underachieved on the field for the most part and the economics of the game caught up with them and they gutted the pitching staff at the trade deadline as well as trading their starting left fielder. With their two top pitchers gone,that left the team with a handful of rookies to take over starting duties and that didn’t go too well and frankly hasn’t left much hope for 2016.

Where does the blame fall for the disastrous season? You can always start at the top but I guarantee the owner Bob Castellini is as disappointed as you and I with the 2015 results, but does he shoulder some responsibility for the fact that the team’s farm system is one of the worst in baseball? I am certain that heads will roll somewhere in the organization, but they won’t be the drastic changes that many fans will be calling for.

“”It’s all of our faults. We’ve done all those things together, and collectively they haven’t worked out,” Castellini told the Cincinnati Enquirer recently.

Manager Bryan Price will certainly take some blame for the season but personally,I don’t think he was given a very good hand of cards to play with. The rumblings for Barry Larkin to be the next Reds manager have begun, but from all I read the Hall of Famer is not interested in taking over a team that is in disarray as the Reds seem to be now.

Blame the owner, blame the general manager,blame the manager,but in the end it comes down to how well your players perform on the field,and other then Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier (for half a season), the product on the field has not looked like a major league one.

So, what’s your solution? Cut payroll and trade Phillips, Bruce, Frazier,Votto? Well,I’m a firm believer that you can’t trade someone unless you have someone major league ready to take their Note: that didn’t happen when Cueto, Leake,and Byrd were shipped out. It really doesn’t make any sense to trade any of the core of your team when the minor league talent pool is dry at the moment. Actually, and many of you may agree, a starting group that includes Phillips, Votto, Frazier, Bruce, and Suarez shouldn’t be losing nearly 100 games, which brings us right back to the pitching staff.

Aroldis Chapman is certainly dilemma number one. He may have the easiest high salary job in baseball, being a closer for a team that wins 60 games. Do you trade him? Again, I ask-who replaces him? Do you finally make him a starter? I’ve long since forgotten how many games in a row have been started by rookies and other than an occassional glimpse of hope from Anthony DeSclafani and Raciel Iglesias, it hasn’t been promising. Perhaps it is too early to judge and Reds fan have to hope that is the case. But speaking of pitching, whatever happened to Robert Stephenson?

“”You do the best you can. We’ve hit rock bottom, primarily with our pitching staff,” Castellini said to the Enquirer. “You do the best you can with the financial resources you have. We’re trying to do everything we can to enhance our pitching.”

So another long off-season is upon us and the wheels that turn in the Reds’ front office should make interesting fodder for social media and radio talk show. Until then, we shall enjoy Bengals football and remember that Big Blue Madness is just nine days away. And as far as the baseball playoffs go-”Let’s go Mets!”

Mark Carpenter

Contributing Columnist

Reach Mark Carpenter at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.