I was at a Cardinals/Cubs game last year at Busch Stadium when the news broke about Trevor Bauer being traded within the Central Division. When I first heard that, naturally I would have assumed that it was either the Cubs, Brewers or Cardinals that made the move to put themselves over the top in a competitive division. I found a place with Wifi and realized that it was the cellar dwelling Cincinnati Reds that made the move, shocking most baseball pundits. Cincinnati has continued to improve their team in the offseason with additions that are not being made for the future but for right now. They are coming for the Central division and it’s time to take notice.
Offseason Additions: Mike Moustakas, Wade Miley
The Red’s had some holes to fill coming into the offseason. Most notably was at second base. With their top prospect Nick Senzel becoming firmly planted in center field for most likely many years to come they had to fill that hole. They were able to add the power hitting Mike Moustakas. Moustakas is coming off a great year with the Milwaukee Brewers hitting 35 homers, .503 slugging percentage, .262 ISO and a 2.8 WAR. The addition of Moustakas adds power behind Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. His consistent power gives the Reds a great safety net in case Aristedes Aquino falls into the classic sophomore slump as he enters the full time lineup.
Wade Miley had a great 2019 with the Houston Astros. The basic numbers are solid 14 wins, 3.98 ERA and holding lefties to a .207 batting average. Miley faded down the stretch as his cutter seemed to lose its zip. While Miley’s August- October cost him a spot in the playoff rotation, he still did what was needed for the Astros. Miley is realistic a league average pitcher with upside. Putting him at the end of the Reds rotation behind Sonny Gray, Anthony DeScalfani, Luis Castillo and Trevor Bauer makes their rotation arguably the best in the National League and for sure the Central Division.
What else do they need?
The Red’s continued their offseason additions by adding 31-year old Shogo Akiyama. The addition of Akiyama could end the reported interest in Marcell Ozuna. Cincinnati’s outfield consists of Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel and Aristedes Aquino with the reserves being Phillip Irvin and Travis Janikowski. Aquino provides power, Senzel speed and Winker…well he is ok.
Akiyama projects to bat leadoff for the Reds which is the biggest need going into the 2020 season. Votto, Suarez, Aquino and Moustakas provide a middle of the order that can match up with any lineup. It also helps that Great American Ballpark should provide even more pop for a lineup with already legit power. If Akiyama can provide any kind of on-base statistics, this team should be set for a huge offensive season.
The Red’s farm system lacks the depth ranking at the bottom ten of the league. Last season they entered ranking 20th overall. Adding established major league talent has pushed the Reds into contention entering 2020. Last season the bullpen established themselves as a force. Ending with Raisel Iglesias, who has established himself as one of the best closers in all of baseball. The Reds now have more flexibility with the addition of Miley. Amir Garrett. Michael Lorenzen and Lucas Sims have all become valued middle relievers. Cincinnati has made the moves necessary to be a problem in the Central Division.