Underperforming Reds player just gave the Cubs a quote to rally around in 2024

Jonathan India not only critiqued the Cubs, but guaranteed a Reds' NL Central division title.

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

If you're Cubs manager Craig Counsell and you're looking for something to pin to the clubhouse bulletin board to fire up your team, Reds infielder Jonathan India is at your service.

“I think we still beat them (the Cubs)," said India. "He (Cody Bellinger) is an unbelievable player. He’s an MVP. It definitely helps them. But it is what it is. It’s the same team from last year.”

It's a big statement from a guy who was mentioned in trade rumors all winter long and could wind up on the block again if the Reds have a need to address or end up as sellers at the trade deadline. The former Rookie of the Year has never really blossomed into the force some anticipated him to be, but he's feeling pretty confident this spring.

Reds talking a big game after not winning the division in over a decade

Cubs fans are well aware the team missed the postseason by a lone game, but may not realize that Cincinnati missed the postseason by just two games in 2023 at 82-80. They're a young and hungry team ready to prove itself and the front office somewhat surprisingly spent a good chunk of money in free agency - north of $100 million.

India's point that this is a largely unchanged Cubs team is valid. The biggest offseason addition outside of Bellinger came in the form of Shota Imanaga and projections vary wildly on what we can expect from the Japanese left-hander in his first MLB campaign. Jed Hoyer knows major improvements will have to come from within, especially with young prospects knocking on the door.

It took a historic September meltdown to keep the Cubs from the postseason and the hope is Counsell will help the club be more consistent from start to finish in 2024. As for India and the Reds, there's no doubt about that group's potential. But they'll have to go out and back up all the talk if they want to be taken seriously in a division they haven't won since 2010.