Cincinnati Reds: One of five teams who will be much improved in 2019

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 31: Cincinnati Reds mascot celebrates after the 8-2 win against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park on May 31, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 31: Cincinnati Reds mascot celebrates after the 8-2 win against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park on May 31, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

According to, the Cincinnati Reds are one of five teams, along with the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, and Los Angeles Angels, who are expected to be improved in 2019.

Recently,’s Anthony Castrovince released an piece indicating that the Cincinnati Reds are expected to be one of five teams to improve in 2019. The article is worth the read as it gives promise and hope during this offseason. It is not clear whether Castrovince is factoring in the potential moves that the Cincinnati Reds front office is expected to make this winter.

The Phillies, Angels, Twins, Mets, and Reds are all listed as teams that will have better records in 2019. Both the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets have already been focal points of some radical trade talk and free agency moves.

The Phillies front office has already stated that they are going to spend money, crazy money if they have to, as names such as Manny Machado and Bryce Harper have been floated around. One would think the Machado talk may have ceased now due to their Monday trade for Jean Segura, but the Phillies may still target Machado as a third basemen.

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The New York Mets are not going to be left behind in this National League East arms race either as they have already acquired Robinson Cano and stud reliever Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for several Mets including former Cincinnati Red, Jay Bruce. I am still trying to figure out what the New York Mets are up to, especially with chatter that Noah Syndergaard is on the trading block.

It is very apparent though that neither the Mets, the Phillies, or the Braves are going to be quiet this offseason. The Phillies remind me of when the Cubs made key moves a few years ago, and in some ways the manner in which the Brewers made a play to be a contender last offseason.

Being more of a National League fan, I personally have not followed the potential moves of the Angels or the Twins other than knowing that Minnesota nearly finished .500 this past season. This was after a poor April and May, that included losing two of three to the Cincinnati Reds; one of which was a church softball league type of score.

Playing in a weaker American League Central, it seems logical that some key moves could make the Twins a viable challenger to the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe has won the AL Central for the past three seasons.

Most would agree that the Cincinnati Reds have no where to go but up. Based upon 2018’s 3-18 start, it actually could have been a lot worse for the Reds. Following five consecutive losing seasons, new manager David Bell, and the vow to improve the team in the offseason via free agency or trades, there is reason to be optimistic in early December that Castrovince’s article could have legs.

Last week’s news of non-tendering Billy Hamilton certainly signals that the status quo in Cincinnati is not working; this epiphany seems to be a few years overdue. Reds fans and writers will speculate and predict moves all the way to Opening Day and then we will collectively play this game again at the trade deadline.

Being a contender this year to where the Reds are buyers at the trade deadline would be a welcomed change for 2019. I have previously explored what it would take for our Cincinnati Reds to be back in the playoffs (insert Jim Mora “playoffs?” soundbite).

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching…Blog Red Machine has been full of various opinions of which free agent acquisition or trade do the Cincinnati Reds make to improve starting pitching. Even as of last night, former Red, Mike Leake was being circulated by that he might be headed back to Cincinnati to serve as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter.

This morning, Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted that the Cincinnati Reds are open to a trade with Cleveland for either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, as the Reds are not considered to be in the Patrick Corbin Sweepstakes. Certainly adding one of these two Cleveland Indians would definitely improve the win column in 2019. As to who the Reds would have to give up? Let the speculation continue.

There is also some growing chatter to not give up so quickly on the likes of Robert Stephenson, Brandon Finnegan, or Tyler Mahle as new pitching coach, Derek Johnson could rectify each of their careers. Finnegan would be better served as part of a trade add-on, but there is still a lot of promise with Mahle and possibly with Stephenson; however, a change in pitching philosophy is desperately needed with Bob Steve.

There is talk that the Reds are taking a wait and see approach with Homer Bailey based upon his performance in Spring Training. Naturally it would be great if the existing staff could be developed, including Luis Castillo and Anthony Descalfani continuing to take steps forward and being healthy for a complete season.

As for the development of the pitching staff, conventional wisdom would seem to suggest that Bryan Price would have been able to do that if these players were ever going to be frontline starting pitchers. Deep down, the indications from the Reds front office certainly seem to signal that they believe in players such as Castillo and Descalfani, but are seeking significant upgrades elsewhere within the staff.

Still for early December, it is still refreshing to see the Cincinnati Reds saying the right things. The manner in which the media is giving the Reds plenty of press suggests that the rumored enhancements are more than just water cooler chatter.

Next. Could the Reds replace Billy Hamilton with Billy Hamilton?

There has even been some Facebook fodder of a delivery man in the Cincinnati area having conversations with Joey Votto, who has stated that Bob Castellini is embarrassed by the performance of the team and help is on the way. For now, we are three weeks before Christmas and I have many miles to go before I sleep.