The Team: Cincinnati Reds
This afternoon, the Cincinnati Reds welcome the Phillies to start 2017 for both squads. Similarly to last season, the Phils head into Cincy with the hope to improve. The Reds are a team that seems to be heading toward another season of mediocrity (or worse).
Last year, the Reds ended with a disappointing 68-94 record, which was good enough for last place in the National League Central. In the offseason, they did very little to improve from last year’s roster. As a matter of fact, the small market team subtracted by trading Brandon Phillips, their second baseman for the last decade, to the Atlanta Braves.
They have already suffered a significant blow with the loss of Anthony DeSclafini who would have been the starter today. While the team is expecting him back in four weeks, there is a chance the strained UCL could keep him out (much) longer than hoped. His absence leaves the Reds with only two proven arms in Scott Feldman and Brandon Finnegan.
Offensively, they are banking on improvements from speedy leadoff man, Billy Hamilton and continued growth from names, such as 2016 All-Star Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler, and Eugenio Suarez. Hamilton is perhaps the most important name for the Reds as he looks to set the table for names like Duvall and Joey Votto.
The Reds are looking at another season of mundane talent on the field in a division jam-packed with playoff contenders. The best they can hope for is a season highlighted by improvements from some youth and accented by consistency from its few veterans.