The Cincinnati Reds are the favorites to win the National League Central in the 2021 season as things sit right now. At least that’s what BetOnline.ag has the odds at today. As I type this, the Reds are the favorites at 9/4, with the St. Louis Cardinals right behind them at 5/2. The Chicago Cubs are next at 11/4, with Milwaukee at 13/4. And then there’s the Pirates at 33/1 hanging out by themselves at the very bottom of the division using some binoculars to try and see the rest of the division.

The differences between the Reds at the top and the Brewers in fourth place is rather small when it comes to the separation. If you are rooting for any of the top four teams in the division, and things are as close as everyone seems to believe, you are probably rather frustrated with how your team has been acting this offseason. No single team has signed a player to a contract for a TOTAL of $1M this offseason from the National League Central. Several teams have actively gotten worse via trade, and that ignores losing players in free agency, too.

Free agency has been as slow as – wait, what’s slower than molasses? But ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel thinks that we’re getting close to the point where we might start seeing some significant signings happen. Whether that extends to the National League Central or not is another story. Most of the division hasn’t really been linked to many free agents, with the Reds being involved in some of the shortstop market being perhaps the biggest link from the central.

If and when teams within the division start to make free agent signings, or perhaps more trades (either to improve their team, or, uh, the opposite of that), the odds will change. Right now, though, teams aren’t doing much and that leaves the division wide open for the taking if anyone cares to take it. The odds are going to change when moves are made, especially if the moves are bigger ones. Cincinnati’s been involved in more than a few trade rumors, but nothing has happened outside of the Raisel Iglesias trade – which surprisingly was never rumored anywhere.

23 Responses

  1. Justin

    Just like I never read about Lindor to the Mets rumors. I feel like that’s the case more than not.

    It might be wise for our own sanity to ignore rumors. Especially Heyman and Leather Pants.

  2. LDS

    Says a lot about the weakness of the division, likely the weakest in MLB.

    • TR

      Weak or strong. Winning is what it’s about.

      • greenmtred

        I suppose so, but being good enough to barely win the weakest division doesn’t likely translate to going far in the playoffs. And then, of course, there’s the question of entertainment value, which is really what it’s all about, since any number of activities have winners and losers without being fan-friendly.

  3. Andy

    My guess… Reds want to cut payroll by about 15mil but stay competitive. Bauer leaving saves them 18mil but they need cash to sign SS. They would like to trade one of Suárez, Moose, Castellanos, and let Senzel’s positional flexibility fill the empty spot. Pick up some prospects. Use cash savings to sign SS. Any other signings would be lowercost flyer on injury comeback players. This team- swapping one of those three for Semien or Gregorius, would stay competitive with no real holes in lineup.

  4. RedBaron

    Wow…I’m shocked. Would have expected the Cards and Cubs to be ahead. I guess they don’t them to expect them to resign Wong, Molina or Wainwright. Cubs lost a lot too though in Darvish, Schwarber and possible a lot more coming. That’s probably more than the Reds have lost in Bauer and Raisel I suppose. Brewers could be sneaky good in 2021 if Yelich gets back on track and with a good full year from Hader and Woodruff.

    • Redleg67

      Reds don’t lose anything from Iglesias trade. They’ll probably gain a few more saves from Amir Garrett.

    • Chase Martini

      Don’t forget Williams. Brew Crew have a stacked bullpen. Their starting rotation is good, but that offense (outside of Yelich) could be aenemic

  5. Hotto4Votto

    I still have the Cardinals as the favorites with the Reds and Brewers about even and not far behind. Until the Cardinals stop being in the playoffs just about every year I’ll not count them out. Winning culture matters. The Cubs have taken the biggest step back and sit behind the other three with the Pirates permanently moved into their mom’s basement.

  6. DaveCT

    Our 2020 top three starting pitchers have it over this years top three by the factor of Bauer being much, much greater than Mahle, Miley, Lorenzen or Antone. While I do expect Mahle to improve, Miley, Lorenzen and Antone are unproven as starting pitchers at this level over a full year, with Miley’s rebound being unknown.

    The 2021 staff’s collective ability may be fine for the NL Central, but they’ll have to overachieve to advance, IMO. And the offense would be advised to at least score a run or two.

    • rednat

      I don’t know. I think lack of an emotional leadership is going to hurt the team this year. No Puig, No Bauer. Who is going to light a fire under the guys in the clubhouse this year? Votto? Bell? Just hard to imagine this team grinding through a162 game season to win a division without strong leadership.

      • TR

        I agree that leadership is important, not only in baseball but in all areas of life.

      • DataDumpster

        Leadership certainly. Votto, no; Bell, NO; who else, tell me. Leadership requires a respected competence on the field of play, to sacrifice for the team and make the unexpected clever move that’s able to inspire others. Either the Reds don’t value these qualities in their acquisitions and training or the players themselves haven’t delivered the goods.

        Obviously, there’s some of both but the way this team performs indicates to me that David Bell’s “leadership” doesn’t inspire players and leads to few opportunities to show leadership qualities for a player.

      • Gonzo Reds

        Moose is going to be that leader. He was out too much in the shortened 2020 season but that will change this year. Think he’ll be like Rolen was for the team. Just a SS away (without cutting anymore talent) from truly being the favorite in the division in my opinion.

      • KDJ

        Gray has shown signs of it. Would really like to keep Bauer.

  7. Sliotar

    Look at the rest of the division …

    Pirates – 5 years away, at least
    Brewers – Not spending … which is a real travesty given it’s Yelich’s prime
    Cardinals – Not spending
    Cubs – Openly cutting money and stating they are passing on free agents this winter

    Gray/Castillo is still the best 1-2 starter duo in the division

    Figure out SS and the Reds should be in the hunt all season.

    Everyone in NL Central is miles behind LAD and SD, but can’t worry about either until hopefully a 7-game playoff series in October.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Exactly. Build your team for the big 162 and worry about the playoffs at the deadline if you like your chances.

  8. Sam

    Lots of talk about adding a SS since the season ended. What’s the hold up? Is it more or less likely they sign a legit SS that improves the team by waiting and hoping the cost drops on one of the few they had targeted? Anyone worth getting will be gone by the time the Reds are ready to move. That’s the reality of a team that has the mindset of living paycheck to paycheck. They “spent big” last year (#17 in highest payroll), it didn’t pan out, and now it’s time to go back to bargain basement mode as the quintessential small market team. Maybe they trade their best players for the Yankees and Dodgers 10th best minor league talents. That should help… with payroll.

  9. Bill J

    Playing the Giants will be like reunion day, Alex Wood, Disco,Cueto & Gausman

  10. GreatRedLegsFan

    The Giants are the new Reds

    • TR

      The Reds need to be the new Giants with three WS championships in the last ten years although those teams did not include the current Giants.

  11. James

    Two starters is all they have don’t see them in playoffs