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The Lost Decade Team

March 21, 2010  announced its picks for the Reds all-decade team this week.  Since it’s spring training, and not much else is going on, I decided to come up with my “Lost Decade Team.”  A team of Reds that make you wonder “what were they thinking” or realize “no wonder they were so bad.”

You would think the job was easy, but it wasn’t there were a TON of bad Reds players during this lost decade.  I’m sure that some will disagree with some of my selections; I had to take non-starters in some cases (Juan Castro) and move guys to positions they didn’t regularly play (Javier Valentin to 1B because of Sean Casey), and tried to stay away from guys that only played one season (or less) with the team (unless they were so bad I couldn’t help but put them on the team, Cory Lidle), but I think I was pretty comprehensive.

After long consideration and research here’s my team.

Starting Rotation:

Eric Milton, 2005-07. Milton quickly became the poster-boy for Cincinnati front office ineptness during this lost decade.  A 3-year $25-million contract brought higher expectations than the 16-27 record and 5.61 ERA he ended up with.

Ryan Dempster, 2002-03. 8-12 and a 6.37 ERA gives Dempster the nod.  Additionally, Dumpster, as he was know in Reds Country, then left for the hated Chicago Cubs and somehow figured it out.

Jose Acevedo, 2001-04. He was mainly a starter for the Reds, though also saw time as a reliever.  Acevedo’s best season was 2003 when he posted a 2.67 ERA…in 5 games.  All in all he was 16-19 for the Reds with a 5.32 ERA.

Josh Fogg, 2008. In one season with the Reds he was abysmal. 2-7 with a 7.58 ERA…’nuff said.

Cory Lidle, 2004. I tried to stay away from guys with less than one season with the team, but the allure of Lidle’s terrible stint with the Reds and miraculous recovery between Cincinnati and Philadelphia was too much to resist.  Lidle, as were many Reds Free Agent signees, touted as the answer to the Reds woes.  Lidle proceeded to go 7-10 with a 5.92 ERA before the August deal and magically recovered to post only a 3.90 ERA and a 5-2 record in just 10 Philly starts.  But that’s okay, the Reds got Elizardo Ramirez for him!

Relief (or lack-there-of) Pitchers

(I’m going to select three guys, rather than two as they did on, you’ll see why.)

Mike Lincoln, 2008-present. The guy is in my Hall of Shame, what’d you expect? I quiver when he begins to warm-up in the bullpen, especially when the Reds have the lead.  Lincoln has been anything but good with the Reds, a 6.35 ERA out of the ‘pen doesn’t do it for me.

Joey Hamilton, 2001-03. Acquired via trade from the Blue Jays in ’01, Hamilton had already posted a paltry 5.89 ERA with the Jays that season before posting a lifetime Reds ERA of 8.05.

Danny Graves, 1997-2005. The stalwart of the Reds bullpen during the 2000s (and the only player on the “All-Decade Team” and the Senor Smoke “Lost Decade Team”.  I actually considered him as one of my starting five, but didn’t because he was a reliever, period.  Graves was decent, though not great, he had over 30 saves four times on very bad teams, his ERA was never spectacular, but wasn’t entirely bad until the end.  That’s what brings me to why Danny Graves is on this team.  His end was so bad in the end Reds fans booed him until he broke.  The last game Graves played in as a Red, I was actually at, the infamous Finger Finale.  It made Sporting News’s “Top-5 Flip-offs.”

The Line-up

David Ross, C, 2006-08. I almost gave it to Corky Miller, but Ross had many more chances than Miller did.  Ross had 817 PA in which he batted .230.  His big year, 2006, he hit 21 HRs (he had 63 hits).

Javier Valentin, 1b, 2004-08. I never could figure out why the Reds liked this guy as a back-up catcher other than the fact he could come in and belt the ball a mile every ten at-bats or so.  I personally did not like him, and though is stats weren’t too bad for a back-up catcher, the fact that he could only find a job with the Washington Nationals after the Reds let him go says a lot.

D’Angelo Jimenez, 2b, 2003-05. Jimenez looked like he might be the answer to the Reds 2b problem in 2003, but when given the job full-time in ’04 his numbers declined and continued to decline until the Reds let him go.

Felipe Lopez, SS, 2003-06. Patience (or Albert Pujols) probably would have been good for the Reds on this one. Lopez made a lot of progress with the Reds, but just never panned out the way the Reds wanted him to and he wasn’t much better in Washington.  Just goes to prove a complete line-up is very important in MLB.

Brandon Larson, 3B, 2001-04. I wanted to give this one to old double E, Edwin Encarnacion, but just couldn’t given that Larson was anointed starting Third baseman by Old Leatherpants himself.  Larson never won the job, he never deserved the job, but somehow got it.  His .179 career average in 109 games for the Reds prove he was all hype.

Willy Taveras, OF, 2009. I bet you saw this one coming.  Taveras guaranteed 100 steals for the 2009 season, but only managed to get on base 117 times (tough to steal that many bases with so few opportunities!). Many of his numbers were career lows, highlighted by his average (.240) and on-base percentage (.275) in the lead-off spot.

Corey Patterson, OF, 2008. Probably saw this coming too. Believe it or not the Reds outfield didn’t have many “bad” regulars until Patterson arrived in 2008.  Dusty Baker’s infatuation with former players and no-hit, low-on-base guys in the lead-off spot highlighted Patterson’s ineptness.

Wily Mo Pena, OF, 2002-05. I actually saw this guy hit a ball about 530 feet… in a game…really.  The next inning he nearly ran through a wall to catch a flyball. Unfortunately for Reds fans that’s about all he did.  If you wanted to see a show during batting practice this guy was the guy to watch.  If you wanted to stay cool on a hot afternoon at the ballpark, Wily Mo was also your man (he struck out nearly 1/3 of the time in ’04-’05).

Honorable Mention:

Chris Reitsma

Shawn Estes

Jose Rijo

Hector Mercado

Brian Reith

Juan Castro

Edwin Encarnacion

Dieon Sanders

Brady Clark

Reggie Taylor

Corky Miller

Bob Boone, Manager, 2001-03. Oversaw three of the worst years in Reds history.  Took a winning team in 2000 to a 66-96 record in 2001, though he didn’t get much help.

So there you have it.  Senor Smoke’s “Lost Decade Team”.

stats from


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