2021 MLB Team Preview: Cincinnati Reds
Despite finishing dead last in the NL Central every year from 2015-2018, the Cincinnati Reds were able to put some terrific pieces together and finally show some improvement. There were positives as they finished above .500, produced the Cy Young Award winner and made the playoffs. In the end, they didn’t make much noise, though.
Their offseason has been a mixed bag and one that it’s hard to classify as “positive” after they let Trevor Bauer walk in free agency. Can the Reds plug some holes and stay competitive or will they struggle yet again?
What Happened Last Year
Cincinnati was able to finish the season with a 31-29 record, which was good enough to get them placed third in the NL Central division. They did well enough to even secure a spot in the postseason. However, they didn’t make it very far, losing to the Atlanta Braves during the Wild Card Series 2-0 despite a fantastic fight in Game 1. Their offense throughout the year was atrocious and is something that they will need to get fixed moving forward, but they got outstanding pitching production. The Reds also made a trade or two at the deadline, though neither moves were something to write home about. Picking up Archie Bradley in exchange for Josh VanMeter and Stuart Fairchild. Shortly after that they acquired Brian Goodwin in exchange for Packy Naughton.
The Reds took a massive hit this offseason with the loss of Trevor Bauer. He was able to put forth an excellent season for Cincinnati last year and his departure will definitely leave a hole that has to be filled. They will also be without Raisel Iglesias, after he was traded in what appeared to be a salary dump for the team. Outside of that, the team didn’t make any major moves during the offseason, which is to be expected after the team dropped $166 million in free agency last offseason for a quartet of players that struggled to produce in 2020. Although they did get Tyler Naquin, who could prove to be a nice addition to the team, but it is yet to be known.
The Cincinnati Red are hoping to take a giant leap forward in the upcoming 2021 MLB season. Their offense is bound to improve with Eugenio Suarez and Nick Castellanos finding their groove and becoming more consistent with Jesse Winker adding onto their offensive talent. Although, their pitching is a little questionable after the loss of Bauer and the team will need to find a rotation that would be able to negate the loss. Overall, this team may not have the talent level that other teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers have, but they will still be able to compete with the best of them this season and could easily finish among the top three spots in their division. Many believe that the St. Louis Cardinals have already locked up first place, but I think this race will be so much closer than it is projected to be. They have a strong shot to make another postseason appearance barring any major injuries.
Pick: 3rd In National League Central