In case you missed it, or are in denial, the Cincinnati Reds dropped yet another game to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon in Commissioner Bud’s backyard by a score of 5-1. That was the Reds’ sixth consecutive loss and dropped them 5.5 games behind the Brew Crew in the National League Central. More significantly, it cut their odds of making the playoffs to roughly 1-in-4, half of what they were less than a week ago.
There are several ways to figure playoff odds, but MLB.com offers a handy little graphic to show you the complete picture for your team over time. If you zero in on the plateau the Reds show around the All-Star break, you can see that their odds of playing in October were roughly even, but be ready for whiplash if you try to follow the plunge over the last week. In dropping to the quarter mark, Cincinnati has fallen below the Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates in both playoff odds and real-time standings.
The timing of this collapse should make general manager Walt Jocketty’s job a bit more interesting as the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches. While we have done some speculating here about which players the Reds might acquire to help them push into the playoffs, the truth is that none of them are worth a bundle of prospects to a team sliding down the standings on a daily basis. It’s probably time for Jocketty to pull back from the Marlon Byrds and Ben Zobrists of the world and begin focusing on next year.
Yes, “next year” strikes a fan’s gut like a fist, but this season is thisclose to being gone. The Reds should take a quick stock of their health, their contract situations, and the talent they might have available for next year. My hunch is that this soul-searching will lead Jocketty to do nothing, but he should also consider shipping out a couple of vets — with some masking tape to hold them together, of course.
At 25% (or less), a weak playoff push is just not worth giving up young talent.