Chicago Cubs: A fourth contender could emerge in the NL Central

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

It appears that the Cincinnati Reds want to be aggressive in upgrading their roster this offseason. Could this be a problem for the Chicago Cubs in 2020?

For the past few years, the Chicago Cubs have gotten used to battling the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals for supremacy in the National League Central division. Yet if the early returns from this offseason are any indication, there may be a fourth team that emerges as a legitimate contender in this division.

MLB Trade Rumors indicated the Cincinnati Reds are willing to give consideration to signing players who rejected qualifying offers this offseason, though it would mean losing their third-highest draft pick in the 2020 amateur draft. The article reports that the Reds want to focus on upgrading their offense this winter, and among those players who rejected offers are Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon and Marcell Ozuna.

The site already predicted the Reds would sign both catcher Yasmani Grandal and infielder Didi Gregorius, two of MLBTR’s top 12 free agents. It’s also been reported elsewhere that the Reds are going to pursue Grandal, while the Yankees are not expected to heavily pursue Gregorius, which could open the door to the Reds bringing him on. It’s even been reported that the Reds are interested in – and I know Cubs fans don’t want to hear this – Nicholas Castellanos.

The Reds would not be involved in all these rumors unless they believed both that they are close to contending and that they have a realistic chance to acquire some premium free agent talent. After six straight years of finishing under .500, will the Reds be a threat to the Cubs and to the rest of the NL Central in 2020? Let’s take a look at their chances.