The Stink of Failure

By
Updated: March 3, 2018

Reno, NV – The 2016 PEBA Season marks the 6th straight year where the Reno Zephyrs finished at or near the bottom of the Desert Hills Division.  From 2017 through 2020 the Zephyrs managed to make the playoffs by winning their division once and clinching Wild Card births three times.  Those seasons are a distant memory now and the stink of failure is all over this team.  As a result, the team chose not to renew the contract of manager Tony Barrett and are desperately seeking a replacement that can help to improve the team in any way possible.  The team finished 13 out of 14 in runs scored, runs allowed and defensive efficiency.  That means they suck on all levels.

 

Injuries certainly didn’t help the cause in 2026.  The Zephyrs lost two potential front-of-the-rotation pitchers for the season in twenty-five year old Hector Rivera and twenty-three year old Jude Bowels.  Both starting pitchers were slated for heavy work in the rotation and both were lost for 10 months due to UCL injuries.

 

Although those two were surely missed, the entire team simply didn’t play well.  They just do not have enough quality baseball players to win games.  The hope for a rebuilding team with limited revenue is to develop high quality prospects via the draft and to compliment them with a few tactical free agent signings.  The Zephyrs have been waiting a long time for their draft picks to pay off – as of today, it is still unclear if the team will ever be capable of becoming a contender.

In addition to a new manager, the team will be actively pursuing a new bench coach.  On the players front, the owner has indicated he is prepared to spend up to 30 million dollars on free agents this off-season.  They appear to have some flexibility regarding position players and will likely be looking to sign the best hitter possible as well as up to 4 pitchers.  The off season free agent strategy is pretty simple – acquire as many players as possible with the potential for putting up positive a WAR.  The 2026 Zephyrs had 15 players last season who with a negative WAR.

Management is understandably frustrated with their inability to turn things around after so many terrible seasons.  There was an unconfirmed report that the team president threw a chair through a plate glass window after being shutout by the Bakersfield Bears on the last day of the season.

If things are going to turn around for this team, they are going to need a little luck.  So far, none of the team’s top draft picks have shown that they have what it takes to become effective players at the PEBA level.  Reno’s Triple-A affiliate the Glendale Skyelanders had 4 first round draft picks on the roster last season but were not able to win more than 62 games and finished in 4th place in their division.  A few of those draft picks should make the Zephyrs roster next season.  Ultimately, the Reno Zephyrs will need several young prospects to make significant strides in 2026 or the fans will be suffering through another long and painful season.