At 52-73 entering Thursday, the Cincinnati Reds have no doubt been a disappointment this season.
Although the Reds struggled last year, it was never this bad. In fact, this year's team is on pace for the franchise's worst record since 2001.
So what will be the fallout from this season's failure? Could the team see a change in manager? Although Bryan Price insisted last month that he's the "right guy" to lead the Reds back to contention, the front office could feel otherwise.
If that is the case, here's a name to keep an eye on as a potential replacement: Barry Larkin.
The Hall of Fame shortstop has surveyed former Reds teammates about whether they would join his coaching staff if he became manager, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports, citing sources.
In Larkin, the Reds would have a notable name at the helm to guide the team through its rebuilding phase. Rosenthal notes that Cincinnati's attendance has been falling this season, and the team's current local television contract is set to expire in 2016. Although managers don't often sell tickets, as Rosenthal writes, hiring Larkin would be a "marketing coup" for the organization.
Larkin spent his entire career playing for the Reds and has worked for the franchise this year as a minor league roving instructor. He also has previous coaching experience, most notably as a manager for Brazil's 2012 World Baseball Classic team and a bench coach for the USA WBC squad in 2009.
Here are a few other rumors making their way around the league today:
Cal Ripken Jr.: In addition to Larkin and Cincinnati, Rosenthal mentions Ripken as a possibility to manage the Washington Nationals. Rosenthal does, however, note that Larkin's chances at landing the Reds job seem more likely. The Nationals have underperformed this season, falling 6 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in their division after Wednesday's loss to the San Diego Padres. According to Rosenthal, Nats officials say current manager Matt Williams is safe, but that could change depending on where the team finishes at the end of the season. Ripken has no coaching experience but is well-liked by Nats GM Mike Rizzo and principal owner Mark Lerner, sources tell Rosenthal. And although the Hall of Fame shortstop never played for the Washington franchise (which was in Montreal during his playing days), he did spend his entire career with the nearby Baltimore Orioles.
Toronto Blue Jays: With the August waiver trade deadline rapidly approaching (Aug. 31), Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com that he doesn't anticipate his team making any more deals. "I'd say unlikely at this point," Anthopoulos said Wednesday. "We have five days left, anything can happen, but right now I wouldn't expect us to do anything." Of course, Toronto was one of the teams that made the most noise before the July 31 deadline, acquiring Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins. As it stands, the Blue Jays hold a two-game lead in the American League East over the New York Yankees.
Jeremy Affeldt: Could the San Francisco Giants part ways with the left-handed reliever at the end of the season? Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle examines the possibility, noting that Affeldt's current contract is set to expire this year. While he could very well re-sign with the Giants, the 36-year-old's disappointing and injury-plagued season may make the team opt to move on to a younger alternative. Affeldt joined San Francisco in 2009, quickly becoming a key late-inning arm out of the pen and playing a crucial role in the team's three recent World Series championships.
Nate McLouth: The Nationals outfielder is likely out for the rest of the year as a result of his shoulder issues, Bill Ladson of MLB.com writes, citing sources. McLouth, 33, has spent the entire season on the disabled list attempting to recover from a labrum tear in his right shoulder suffered last July. Prior to the injury, McLouth was struggling in his first season in Washington, a far cry from the production he provided the Orioles with in 2013.