2 NL Central teams Reds fans should fear and 1 who is a fraud

Chicago Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner (2) steals second
Chicago Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner (2) steals second / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

Reds fans should not fear the Cubs in 2023. They're frauds.

While fans of the Cincinnati Reds will bemoan the fact that general manager Nick Krall did little-to-nothing to bolster the team's roster during the offseason, the Chicago Cubs made a few moves designed to push them into playoff contention. Instead, they'll be overpaying for a bunch of under-performers.

It's almost as if the Cubs stole the Reds strategy from a few years ago of trying to catch lightning in a bottle by inking players whose best years are behind them. I can think of no better example than Cody Bellinger. The former MVP has been woeful the past couple of years and Chicago signed him for $12.5-million.

The Cubs, following the Brewers' example, signed a former Reds player in the form of Tucker Barnhart. The two-time Gold Glove Award-winner struggled mightily with the Detroit Tigers in 2022, both at the dish and behind it.

Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini are both part of the Cubbies lineup for the 2023 season and our old friend and University of Cincinnati alum Ian Happ will be back in Chicago's outfield.

The biggest name that Chicago added in the offseason was shortstop Dansby Swanson. The former Braves infielder signed a seven-year/$177-million deal. Swanson has a career-OPS of .738 and prior to last year's All-Star season, posted an OPS+ of just 90. Swanson is, however, a fine defender.

The Cubs bullpen looks to be very shaky and their starting rotation is nothing to write home about. Cubs fans might be more confident heading into this season than they were in 2022, but Chicago is a fraud and no threat to win the NL Central. In fact, if the Reds exceed expectation, it wouldn't be shocking to see Cincinnati surpass them in the standings.