Cincinnati Reds: 3 players most likely to bounce back in 2021

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)
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) /
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Cincinnati Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas (9) celebrates with center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) and right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) after his three run home run.
Sep 9, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas (9) celebrates with center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) and right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) after his three run home run. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Reds 2020 free agent signees

When it comes to disappointing 2020 season, Reds fans need look no further than the five free agents the team signed last winter. We’re just going to lump all five players together, though Pedro Strop is no longer with the team.

Collectively, according to Baseball Reference, the quartet of Wade Miley, Nick Castellanos, Shogo Akiyama, and Mike Moustakas accounted for 1.0 WAR last season. Miley and Moustakas were slowed by trips to the injured list, Castellanos came out of the gates on fire, but cooled as the summer heated up, and Akiyama didn’t appear comfortable until the final month of the season.

Bob Castellini spent big last offseason, and it didn’t pay off. That’s why, in my opinion, the Cincinnati Reds owner is hesitant to make any bold moves this offseason. After dropping $125M last season, those five players rewarded Castellini’s investment with a seventh place finish in the National League and a quick exit from the playoffs.

To be sure, those four players were not the only reason Cincinnati came up short in 2020, but their porous play didn’t help. These four players must perform at higher levels in 2021. Miley needs to be a quality starter in the rotation, Akiyama needs to set the table the team’s big boppers, and the duo of Castellanos and Moustakas need to rack up at least 75 RBIs a piece in 2021.