Cincinnati Reds, MLB Free Agency, MLB Hot Stove

Reds look ready to compete in NL Central with Mike Moustakas signing

By signing Mike Moustakas to go with a strong rotation, the Cincinnati Reds are signalling they could be contenders in the NL Central this season.

The Cincinnati Reds reportedly inked 31-year-old Mike Moustakas to a four-year deal Monday, signaling the Reds could be ready to surprise in the NL Central.

The former Milwaukee Brewer won’t be returning to the club in 2020 but is staying in the NL Central, taking a four-year deal with Cincinnati.

The longtime Kansas City Royal signed a one-year “prove it” deal in Milwaukee after spending the majority of the last off-season without a team. After a 35-home run season, however, Moustakas was able to secure a well-deserved long-term deal with the Reds.

Moustakas will reportedly slot in at second base and will provide some much-needed help in the lineup for third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who essentially carried the Reds offense for the majority of last season. With 83 combined homers last season between Suarez and Moustakas, plus budding rookie outfielder Aristides Aquino and a hopefully healthy Nick Senzel, the Reds should have more firepower in 2020.

That is great news for the Reds rotation. Led by All-Star Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray coming off a resurgent 2019 season in Cincinnati, they’ll hopefully get more support than last season’s 4.33 runs per game – the sixth lowest in the league. Additionally, if former All-Star Trevor Bauer, who was terrible in 10 starts for the Reds with a 6.39 ERA last season, can produce numbers closer to his 2019 numbers, the Reds could easily have the best rotation in their division.

And while the Reds still have some holes to fill, taking a look at the NL Central, it’s not hard to see the Reds competing next season. Both the Cardinals and Brewers have lost key players, the Pirates are blowing things up at the moment, and the Cubs are reportedly open to trading players like Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras. The Reds are one of the few teams in the division to have made significant improvements to their roster at the moment.

Of course, it’s only early December and the Winter Meetings are a week away, so that could all change quickly. But the Reds are sending a strong message to the rest of the NL Central, and for a team that only allowed 4.45 runs per nine innings, a little bump in scoring could be the difference for a quickly rising Reds club.

Next: Who has the best chance to sign Josh Donaldson?

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