3 players Reds fans can't trust heading into the 2022 season

Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas looks on.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas looks on. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) bats.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama (4) bats. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

3. Shogo Akiyama, Reds outfielder

Will we even see Shogo Akiyama on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster? Well, there's 8-million reasons why we will, but there's a very good chance that Akiyama may be released prior to the start of the 2022 season. If Akiyama does makes the cut, there's no way the fanbase can put their trust in the 33-year-old outfielder.

The Reds starting outfield, barring injury, appears set for Opening Day. Newly signed outfielder Tommy Pham will likely start in left field. The aforementioned Nick Senzel should open the 2022 season in center, and Tyler Naquin will likely replace Nick Castellanos in right field.

That leaves Akiyama as a highly-paid player without a starting position. There is the possibility that Akiyama could start versus right-handed pitchers, but I find a platoon with either Senzel or Pham to be quite unlikely.

Since coming to Reds prior to the 2020 season, Akiyama has faced his fair share of obstacles. The coronavirus pandemic robbed Akiyama of valuable time with his teammate in the spring of 2020, and the abbreviated spring training and 60-game season sure didn't help. Akiyama missed part of camp last spring while tending to his injured wife back in Cincinnati. He then opened the season on IL as well.

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But at the end of the day, it's about production. Despite the hurdles that Shogo Akiyama has been faced with since coming to Cincinnati, he's yet to produce. In 162 at-bats last season, Akiyama hit just .204/.282/.253. Reds fans would love nothing more than to see Akiyama find success, but for now, there's no way he can be trusted heading into the 2022 season.