Could Noelvi Marte's stellar return be the start of Reds' comeback in 2024?

Marte's return from his PED suspension could not have gone much better.

Cincinnati Reds  v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Scott Kane/GettyImages

It is hard to say just how much Noelvi Marte's boneheaded suspension for testing positive for PEDs has cost the Cincinnati Reds this season. There is no way to really know how well Marte would have played and how differently things would have gone if he was playing, although the Reds' dreadful record in one-run games does make one wonder about losses at the margins.

Unknowns remain unknowns, but if we had our druthers, having Marte in the lineup everyday instead of having to piece things together in 2024 would have been a better place to live.

Unfortunately, time travel doesn't exist, and this was the hand that the Reds were dealt with Marte. Marte began his belated chance to redeem himself on Thursday, as he returned from his suspension 80 games later. Honestly, it couldn't have gone much better.

Noelvi Marte shines in 2024 Reds debut following lengthy suspension layoff

There was plenty of reason to think that Marte would at least need some time to knock the rust off after missing half the big-league season, especially since his 2024 numbers in the minors weren't exactly jumping off the page. Instead, Marte immediately made his presence immediately known in his return by going 3-for-5 with a double, driving in a run, stealing a base, and scoring three runs.

No one doubted that Marte had the talent to make a difference with Cincinnati, as he was considered among the best prospects in all of baseball at the time of his suspension. With his 2024 debut going so well, there is now hope that his lengthy layoff won't keep him from being a dynamic presence in a Reds lineup that has been, at best, maddeningly inconsistent this season.

How well Marte plays in the coming weeks could determine a lot about the Reds' trade deadline plans. If he continues to produce at a decent level, that may keep the Reds from making much in the way of moves to improve the offense. However, Marte playing well could also allow Cincinnati to actually put together a run over the next month that would make the Reds into logical buyers all of a sudden in a muddled Wild Card picture. This is a going to be a fascinating puzzle for the front office to solve, but it all starts with Marte doing more of what he did in his first game back.

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