Chicago Cubs: A Spring Training preview for the NL Central

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Eugenio Suarez, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Cincinnati Reds

After six straight losing seasons, the Cincinnati Reds appear ready to pounce. The Reds are trying to take advantage of a wide-open NL Central this offseason by being the most active team in the division. They’ve made several big additions; will it lead to the team’s first playoff berth since 2013?

Despite making a lot of additions on offense, the Reds’ pitching was the team’s strength in 2019. The team is bringing back four solid starting pitchers in Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, and Anthony DeSclafani, while they also brought in Wade Miley to fill out the rotation. Gray is coming off a tremendous season, while Castillo was also solid in 2019; Bauer is a bit of a question mark after he struggled after coming over via trade during the 2019 season. The bullpen was also good in 2020, and the team has added longtime Cubs setup man Pedro Strop to help.

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The offense overall was a bit disappointing in 2019, but the team has overhauled their lineup around stars Joey Votto (who had a down year in 2019) and Eugenio Suarez. Mike Moustakas comes over from the division rival Brewers, though it will be interesting to see how he handles the full-time move to second base with Suarez firmly in at third. Nicholas Castellanos, who starred for the Cubs late last year, figures to add a lot to the offense, while the team also brought in Shogo Akiyama for outfield depth. They’ll also have a full season of Freddy Galvis at short.

Whenever a team tries to make a big jump forward during the offseason like the Reds have, there’s always a question of how much exactly will go right and whether the moves were enough to make that jump into contention. The Reds will be relying on a lot of veterans in 2020; this is not a typical rebuild where the team built up their farm system. Clearly, they believe the time is right in a mediocre NL Central.