The Reds had a lot of optimism, picked by many pundits to win the National League Central Division.They fell short of that but did clinch an NL Wild-Card with the expanded postseason but were swept in two games against the Atlanta Braves without scoring a run.
This year does not look as bright for the Redlegs. They lost their best starting pitcher in Trevor Bauer and did virtually nothing in the trade market or free agency to improve.
The National League Central not being as strong in year’s past gives them a shot at contending there, but they are not with the Dodgers, Padres, or Braves league when competing for an NL Pennant.
The Reds went 31-29 in the 60-game season and did well enough to earn a National League Wild Card.
They were swept 2-0 in the Wild-Card Series against the Atlanta Braves and did not score a single run.
Reds legend first baseman Joey Votto has started to decline, but they did end up with the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner in Bauer, who left for the Dodgers in free agency.
They signed left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle to a 1-year $1.5M deal, and he has been an absolute trainwreck so far in Spring Training. Doolittle has amassed an ERA of 13.63 in 8 IP in camp for the Reds, so it will be a surprise if he has a significant role early on in the regular season.
They also lost shortstop Freddy Galvis to free agency. They plan to replace Galvis by moving All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suarez to shortstop, a move that has raised eyebrows across the baseball world.
The pitching is a big question mark.This seems to be a theme across the entire National League Central, though, so they need not worry yet.
The Cardinals, Cubs, and Brewers all have shaky rotations, and the Pirates won’t be in contention.
Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley, and converted reliever and hitting extraordinaire Michael Lorenzen will round out the Reds’ rotation.
Amir Garrett will take over the closing duties, and is quite possibly the best overall pitcher they have other than Castillo, so that should be a plus for the bullpen.
The offense will do damage as always at Great American Ballpark. Whether it will be as successful on the road remains a question.
Votto is in the twilight of his career but still can be a serviceable bat. Sluggers Mike Moustakas and Suarez will anchor the offense, and it will go as they do.
This offense will score runs and support a rather pedestrian pitching staff.
3 Key Players
SS Eugenio Suarez
The Reds not only need Suarez to be the home run mashing lineup anchor he has been the past few years, but they need him to now make a big move from third base over to shortstop and anchor the defense as well.
Suarez is likely to be the bat we have all come to know, but whether he can handle defensive duties at shortstop remains to be seen. Early reports out of camp suggest he’s doing well at the spot, but we will see early on in the season how quickly he can get comfortable there.
1B Joey Votto
Votto needs to turn back the clock and be the MVP-caliber player the Reds have known for over a decade now if they plan to compete for anything other than a high draft pick.
Votto has slowly started his natural decline, but the shortened 2020 season and a short stay in the postseason may leave his legs a little refreshed, and there may be more early on in the season from him like we have seen in the past.
SP- Michael Lorenzen
The Reds rotation needs a stabilizing piece to replace Trevor Bauer, and while Lorenzen will never put up the numbers Bauer did, he can eat the innings Bauer did if he can stay healthy.
Lorenzen has been an excellent reliever throughout his career, and now he makes the leap to the starting rotation and could end up being the No. 3 in that rotation before the season is over.
The Reds will go back to a 162-game season after the 60-game pandemic shortened season of 2020 with about half of those games against their NL Central foes.
They will also play interleague matchups against the American League Central Division, including in-state rival Cleveland Indians.
BetUS has the Reds at 82 wins. That seems high, especially when they have the Cubs at 78 1/2. If you are new to sports betting, please check out our MLB betting hub page to get started.
The Reds have the third-best odds to win the NL Central, according to BetUs at +325.
World Series Odds
The Reds have the 13th-best odds to win the World Series at +3200. Likely not a worthy bet to put any real money on.