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The 2014 Reds in a nutshell

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There are more than just injuries and bad luck behind this team's collapse.

Gah.  Even his hair is Red.
Gah. Even his hair is Red.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There is no denying that nearly everything the 2014 Cincinnati Reds did, or tried to do, simply hasn't worked out in their favor.

On the field, the damage has been obvious.  Injuries, surgeries, and lengthy DL stints have cost the Reds the services of the franchise's best player in a generation (Joey Votto), the best hitter to emerge in 2014 (Devin Mesoraco), the team's one true power source (Jay Bruce), 2013's best starter (Mat Latos), the hardest throwing man on the planet (Aroldis Chapman), the two other priciest bullpen arms (Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall), the best defensive 2B of the game's last decade (Brandon Phillips), and the team's most recent 9-figure signee (Homer Bailey).

That's some tangible, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad on the field luck.  But on the field luck isn't the only thing that has backfired for the Reds this season, and there's one instance in particular that rubs salt in the many wounds created by this season.  Follow me for a minute.

At the end of the 2013 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers waived goodbye to a then 33 year old utility player who had hit a respectable .263, managed a reasonable .665 OPS, accumulated a rather solid 0.7 oWAR from his bench role, and had made a meager - by MLB's standards - $1.5 million for his efforts.  The Reds, ignoring that his defensive statistics had been rather terrible throughout his career and worth -2.2 dWAR in 2013 alone, not only sought his services as their primary utility player for 2014, they made signing him their first move of the free agent window.  For good measure, they signed him not just for one year, but for two guaranteed seasons (when he'd be 34 and 35 years old), added an option, and ensured that he'd be paid at least $5.5 million in the process.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers waited patiently in an attempt to fill the void left by that player, who accounted for some 350 PA for them in their 2013 season.  After exploring several potential additions to their infield utility depth, they finally found a guy who had hit .280, put up an OPS of .704, accumulated a rather solid 0.7 oWAR from his bench role, and had made a meager - by MLB's standards - $504,547 for his efforts as a then 28 year old with the New York Mets, who opted to non-tender him after that performance.  The Dodgers, ignoring that his defensive statistics had been rather terrible throughout his career and worth -1.7 dWAR since 2009, managed to pick him up off the scrap heap in mid-February and sign him to a minor league deal that would pay him just $1 million if he managed to make the big league club for his 29 year old season.

The Reds' signee you're well aware of, as utility man Skip Schumaker has hit just .232/.286/.307 in 265 PA with Cincinnati in the first of his two guaranteed years under contract, has spent time at four different defensive positions, and has managed to be worth -1.1 bWAR and -1.3 fWAR so far in 2014.

The Dodgers' signee?  Well, that's Justin Turner, who has rewarded them by hitting .327/.394/.458 in 282 PA with Los Angeles in his first year of arbitration eligibility, has spent time at four different defensive positions, and has managed to be worth 3.4 bWAR and 2.5 fWAR so far in 2014.

Yep, the Reds got over the hill performance and a bad contract from a mid 30's long time member of the danged St. Louis Cardinals, while the Dodgers let that player walk and replaced him with a younger player at a fraction of the cost who has excelled at prime age and has two years of team control still remaining.

Alas, that's not even the salt of which I spoke earlier.  That younger, cheaper player isn't just anyone, lest we forget.

That's Justin Turner, the guy the Cincinnati Reds themselves drafted in the 7th round of the 2006 MLB Draft.