Reds' killer already secures Opening Day roster spot on NL Central rival

Ugh, this guy again?

Chicago Cubs right fielder Mike Tauchman (40) hits a single against the Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs right fielder Mike Tauchman (40) hits a single against the Cincinnati Reds / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Ian Happ makes his living feasting on Cincinnati Reds pitching. In fact, seeing as how 29 of Happ's 125 career home runs have come off Cincinnati's pitching staff, he probably owes Reds manager David Bell a portion of the three-year, $61 million contract extension he signed last April.

It would appear that the Chicago Cubs, unlike most teams, just hand out Opening Day roster spots before spring training even starts. According to The Athletic (subscription required), Cubs outfielder Mike Tauchman was told at the beginning of camp that he'd be part of the team's Opening Day roster.

Tachman is basically Happ 2.0. While not a regular in the Cubs lineup, you can bet that new manager Craig Counsell will have Tauchman in the lineup every time Chicago plays Cincinnati in 2024.

Reds' killer, Mike Tauchman, already secures Opening Day roster spot on NL Central rival

Tachman, who's playing for his fourth major league franchise after falling out of favor with the Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants, has found a home in Chicago.

Last season against the Reds, Tauchman appeared in 11 games and was virtually unstoppable. The 33-year-old hit .378/.442/.568 against Cincinnati and logged five extra-base hits and nine RBI.

In 13 games versus the Reds last season, Happ went yard three times, recorded 14 RBI and posted a 1.104 OPS. Happ annihilated Cincinnati pitching, and has for years. But it now appears that he'll have a bash brother on board heading into the upcoming season. Cody Bellinger is no slouch either, as he posted an 1.179 OPS against the Redlegs in 2023. To be fair, no pitching staff was immune from Bellinger's wrath last season.

On the plus side, Reds pitchers were able to get Tauchman to swing and miss about 25% of the time in 2023, so he's not invincible. Cincinnati also added several pitchers this offseason including Nick Martinez, Frankie Montas, Brent Suter, and Emilio Pagán, so maybe the Reds' new additions will have success against both Tauchman and Happ.

The Cubs, much like all the other NL Central contenders, will be a frequent opponent of the Reds in 2024. Many pundits foolishly believe that Chicago has the better roster. The Cincinnati Reds will be looking to prove that's not the case.

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