We’re on the verge of concluding a decade that will go down as, at best, a mixed bag for the Reds. They broke a 14-season playoff drought in the first year of it, 2010, and then made the playoffs in two of the next three campaigns. But the Reds have revisited the dregs of the majors since then, having gone six years since their most recent playoff berth and their latest .500 season. The Reds are now just a couple months removed from wrapping up a 75-victory season, but they did make real progress then (it was their highest win total since 2014), and they’re currently amid an active winter.
Since free agency opened at the beginning of November, the Reds have signed two players they hope will be key contributors to their next playoff roster. They picked up Mike Moustakas on a four-year, $64MM contract a few weeks ago, and though Moose has played third base for almost all of his MLB career, the plan is for him to handle second in Cincinnati. While it’s a risky bet on the Reds’ part, Moustakas did perform well during a limited run as a second baseman with the division-rival Brewers last season.
The Reds reeled in their second regular position player of the offseason Monday, agreeing to a three-year pact worth $20MM-plus with Shogo Akiyama. The former Nippon Professional Baseball standout will be the Reds’ go-to guy in center field, though it’s anyone’s guess how they will assemble the rest of their outfield. Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Phil Ervin and Josh VanMeter are among several choices who could vie for roles, but as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd explained Monday, the Akiyama signing may give the team room to flip someone (Senzel?) for help at another position.
The Reds entered the offseason seemingly in need of aid at shortstop and catcher, but they haven’t added new faces at either spot. For at least the time being, Freddy Galvis and Tucker Barnhart remain the Reds’ top possibilities there. The rest of their infield looks stacked, though, with Moustakas at second, Joey Votto at first and Eugenio Suarez manning the hot corner. Likewise, the Reds’ rotation appears to be in enviable shape – Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani and free-agent addition Wade Miley comprise a starting five most teams would be glad to have. Cincinnati’s bullpen isn’t as well off, but it was a decent group in 2019 that hasn’t lost any integral contributors since then.
Along with bettering their roster this winter, the Reds have seen most of their division stand pat or maybe even get worse. The Cardinals won the NL Central last season, but they’ve been quiet in recent months and could lose outfielder Marcell Ozuna in free agency (perhaps even to the Reds). The Brewers – who, as mentioned, bid adieu to Moustakas – haven’t made any huge additions. The Cubs have been a general disappointment for several months, though a shakeup of some sort still seems possible, and the Pirates probably won’t contend in the near term. All that said, the door could be open for the Reds to make a playoff push in 2020. Based on what they’ve done to this point in the offseason, do you expect that to happen?
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