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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3. Reds should explore the idea of signing Johnny Cueto in free agency.

While signing former Reds players like Adam Duvall and Tucker Barnhart might not make much of a difference in the win-loss column, former Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto actually could. There were whispers prior to the 2022 season that the Cincinnati Reds were actually interested in bringing Cueto back to the Queen City.

Cueto ended up signing a one-year agreement with the Chicago White Sox and the two-time All-Star turned back the clock. Cueto is not the same player he was during his prime, but the right-hander showed that he can still compete at the highest level. Cueto was 8-10 with a 3.35 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 25 games last season.

Cueto was the Reds ace prior to be traded during the 2015 season. The 15-year veteran spent eight years in Cincinnati and posted a 92-63 win-loss record and 3.21 ERA while also finishing in the Top 5 for the NL Cy Young Award on two occasions.

The Cincinnati Reds have three of their five spot in next year's starting rotation spoken for. Graham Ashcraft, Hunter Greene, and Nick Lodolo figure to be part of the Reds rotation next season. The Reds also have Luis Cessa, Connor Overton, Brandon Williamson, and Justin Dunn likely competing to take the ball every fifth day as well.

But the Reds would be wise to add a veteran starter like Johnny Cueto to help mentor the young pitcher and eat up innings next season. It's a similar line of thinking to what Cincinnati tried to do with Mike Minor this past season, but Cueto is a much better option, and it shouldn't break the bank in order to bring him back to the Reds clubhouse.

Next. 3 free agents the Reds should re-sign in 2023. dark