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Reds' spring training is underway. Should fans have any hope after last season?

a view of great american ball park with seats barely filled by fans
Aaron Doster
Fans are seen during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. The Cubs won 15-2.

Even die-hard Reds fans may have trouble getting excited about this year's season. Last year the Reds ended with a 62-100 record after the team parted ways with several established, higher-paid players.

But there are a few things that could help Cincinnati win more games, according to beat reporter Mark Sheldon.

  1. If three very dynamic starting pitchers (Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft) take steps forward.
  2. If catcher Tyler Stephenson and second baseman Jonathan India return from their injury-plagued seasons and produce.
  3. If Joey Votto can come back from major shoulder surgery.

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He says 2024 might be more realistic to contend. He doesn’t see the Reds making the playoffs this year.

"They need some consistency from their players. They need to stay healthy," says Sheldon. "Last season they used a record 66 players including 17 starting pitchers and seven catchers — not a recipe for success."

Did the Reds help themselves in the off-season?

In December the Reds signed Wil Myers to a one-year deal. The former San Diego Padre hit 30 homeruns during 2017, though he hasn't hit more than 20 in the last couple of years.

Sheldon also points out Cincinnati made two really small moves in the off-season, adding two catchers to help out Stephenson. This is the second time Curt Caselli has joined the Reds and Luke Maile is a native of Covington.

What does Manager David Bell say?

The Reds managertold reporters last week, "There's really no shortcuts. It's really about diving into what we love to do. And that's competing every day to just get a little bit better in every area of the game."

Above all, the Reds need to get off to a good start, says Sheldon, not the 3-22 start they had last year.

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"There were a lot of reasons that happened. They were coming out of the lockout, they traded a lot of players, they didn't really have a chance to gel in an abbreviated spring training. So there's a lot that was behind that. But they really need to hit the ground running and see what happens."

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.