Cincinnati Reds: Way-too-early roster projections for 2021 season

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 10: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds after scoring in the second inning. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 10: Shogo Akiyama #4 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Jose Garcia #38 of the Cincinnati Reds after scoring in the second inning. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after hitting a single in the thirteenth inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series.
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 30: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after hitting a single in the thirteenth inning of Game One of the National League Wild Card Series. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Reds starting lineup (8)

Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, José García, Eugenio Suárez, Tyler Stephenson, Shogo Akiyama, Nick Senzel and Nick Castellanos

Let’s go on the assumption that the universal designated hitter does not return in 2020, though I have a sneaking suspicion that it will. However, for this projection we’re going with just eight players. Three of the four infielders should come as no surprise to anyone. Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez, if healthy, will be on the field for Opening Day.

As for shortstop, with Freddy Galvis entering free agency, it’s incredibly unlikely Cincinnati re-signs him. If that’s the case, look for José García to be given the keys to the starting gig at shortstop. I do, however, think that Kyle Farmer will be given a long look in spring training and David Bell may platoon the two throughout the season.

As for catcher, that may be the biggest change we see during the offseason. Will the Reds look to trade Tucker Barnhart? Does the front office bring back Curt Casali? One thing is for sure, Tyler Stephenson belongs in the big leagues, and whether he’s starting or not on Opening Day, he should be on the 26-man roster.

As for the outfield, Shogo Akiyama will be back and so will Nick Senzel. If the DH is back in 2021, then Jesse Winker is your guy. As for Nick Castellanos, I don’t see any way in which he opt out of his contract heading into this winter.

Castellanos didn’t have a great season and who knows what the market is going to look like? It wasn’t as if Castellanos was highly sought after last winter, and Marcell Ozuna will be a free agent again in this offseason. Go ahead and pencil in Castellanos as your starting right fielder in 2021.