I put forward a rather extensive search, honestly. I dug through the archives of each and every photographing entity that provides us with their work, actively seeking a picture of what the 2022 Cincinnati Reds were ever supposed to look like.
Y’know, one of those shots of an infield at some point in Goodyear that had Donovan Solano at 3B, Jose Barrero beside him at short, and Jonathan India’s hair making a cameo somewhere around the bag up the middle. Maybe even the trio of them in a collective high-five behind the mound after a dazzling 5-4-3 that wrapped an inning, or something.
There isn’t one. That picture up above, quite frankly, is the only one of Solano wearing the uniform at all at any point other than for team picture day - and while there are many of him in the uniform on team picture day, I can only imagine how difficult it was for him to stand with one whole-ass hamstring ripped off its treads.
This isn’t meant to demonize Solano, by the way. The guy got hurt in a very, very bad way, and the end result is that we’ve not come anywhere close to seeing him play for the Reds in this, his lone year under contract with the club. That he was ever signed in the first place for the amount of money he was given is the head-scratcher of the season, however, given just how out-of-both-sides-of-the-mouth the team’s owners and front office personnel were at the time about the coins in their couches.
What this is meant to say, however, is that the Reds are now 53 games into their 2022 season, the owners of the worst record in the entire National League, and still giving zero glimpses as to what the living hell they’re even supposed to be right now.
There has been no Solano, signed for $4 million bucks to literally never play.
There has been no Barrero, hardly any India to fortify the middle to show us around which they plan to build.
This is a club that rolled out six players aged 29-38 and a guy they’ve DFA’d twice in a lineup, at home, against a godawful Washington club on Sunday - and lost for the third consecutive game. And here we are, on the cusp of the second week of June, having absolutely zero clue for what to spotlight on this club aside from Joey Votto padding his Hall of Fame credentials.
On the record, for the record, there is only one record in the entirety of Major League Baseball that’s worse than Cincinnati’s 18-35 one at the moment. That’s the one posted by the Kansas City Royals right now, and a quick perusal of our sister site Royals Review teases headlines like “The Royals are comfortable being an embarrassment, and that makes me sad” alongside “Five years, no progress: it’s time to clean house.” That’s the kind of company being kept by the Reds right now, who - if things ended today - would be selecting 2nd overall in an MLB Draft for the third time in seven years.
It’s hard to simply pocket the frustration of knowing you have watched and watched and watched this club play for decades with little to no success only to find them stumbling along a highway shirtless, dehydrated, with one laceless shoe, their right thumb stuck out twice a day as a rusted pickup rolls by. They hope we still think they’re walking where they were always trying to walk, and that when they get there it’ll be just as they hoped it would be.
I guess it’s just hard to admit that here we are, once again, with the plan of the Cincinnati Reds having gone incredibly off the rails again. Somehow, it seems they’ve even found a way to botch a crash and burn.