3 ways the Reds could boost attendance in 2023 without breaking the bank

Cincinnati Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini speaks about the upcoming season.
Cincinnati Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini speaks about the upcoming season. / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The 2022 Cincinnati Reds nearly set the franchise record for futility. David Bell's squad lost 100 games, and according to general manager, the Cincinnati faithful should prepare themselves for more of the same in 2023.

Next season, however, will be less about restocking the farm system and more about developing the club's young talent. While baseball is a sport that we all love, it is also a business, and business isn't good right now.

The 1,395,770 fans that passed through the gates at Great American Ball Park was the lowest number in the stadium's history and the fewest fans to attend games in Cincinnati since 1984. Penny-pinching Bob Castellini is not going to like the return on his investment.

If next season is about developing younger players, don't expect the Cincinnati Reds to go out and sign Aaron Judge or swing a trade for Shohei Ohtani. However, there are some routes the team could take that would probably excite the fanbase enough to boost the attendance for the 2023 without breaking the bank.

1. Insert Elly De La Cruz as the Reds Opening Day starting shortstop.

The biggest star in the Cincinnati Reds farm system is Elly De La Cruz. The shortstop has five-tool potential and, in all likelihood, will be part of major league camp this coming spring. But, would the Reds really skip De La Cruz past Triple-A and insert him as the team's starting shortstop on Opening Day next season? If they want to fill up Great American Ball Park, they will.

This isn't suggesting that Cincinnati should make this move nor is it an endorsement for De La Cruz to be the Reds Opening Day shortstop. But if the club wants to put butts in the seats, one of the easiest ways to do so would be to have the franchise's most electric prospect on the field from the start of the 2023 season.

This past season at High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga, De La Cruz hit .304/.359/.586 with 28 round trippers and 86 runs batted in. De La Cruz also has blazing speed and stole 48 bases in 2022 as well.

The Cincinnati Reds already moved Kyle Farmer to third base, and Jose Barrero fell well short of expectations during his extended audition at the end of last season. Inserting Elly De La Cruz into the starting lineup from the start would help bolster the team's attendance heading into the 2023 season.