The Cincinnati Reds have a lot of things that they could do in order to improve the club for the 2022 season. Many of those things, however, don’t feel realistic. Cincinnati doesn’t seem likely to expand payroll to allow them to go out and sign a superstar to help put them over the top. The Reds don’t seem likely to expand payroll to go out and fill out the bullpen with free agents to really leave them without a weakness there.
There’s a lot of thoughts out there that you’ve probably read in the comments about how the Reds can “save money” by finding a way to trade players like Eugenio Suárez, Mike Moustakas, or Shogo Akiyama. For the same reason some fans want to trade them is the exact reason that no one is going to want to acquire them.
When looking at things from a more realistic standpoint, though, there is one move that could be rather beneficial for the 2022 Cincinnati Reds. And that move is actually something that they don’t have much of a say in: Bringing the designated hitter to the National League.
The collective bargaining agreement is up on December 1st. There seems to be a whole lot of stuff that both the owners and the players want to have in the new CBA. One thing that they both seem to want is bringing the designated hitter to both leagues.
If that happens, love it or hate it, it’s going to be beneficial for the Cincinnati Reds. Jonathan India broke out in his rookie season during 2021. He plays second base. And he used to play third base. Those are the same positions that Eugenio Suárez and Mike Moustakas play. The Reds tried to find a solution to get all three on the field at the same time by playing Suárez at shortstop early in 2021, but those results were disastrous. When Moustakas went down with his first injury of 2021 the plan was abandoned and Suárez slid back to third base where Moustakas had been playing.
As noted above – it just seems incredibly unlikely that the team is going to move on from Moustakas or Suarez. Both are owed plenty of money still. And if we learned anything from Wade Miley’s 2021, injuries can mislead you at times as to the effectiveness of a player. Prior to the injury, Moustakas was hitting a bit above the league average. But after he returned he simply couldn’t get much done at the plate. Or in the field for that matter.
With the designated hitter in play David Bell could put out a lineup every day that would feature Jonathan India, Eugenio Suárez, and Mike Moustakas – and he could do that without sacrificing defense like the team had to do last season to get those three into the same game at the same time.
Having the designated hitter opens up a way for everyone to get a little more playing time. It may allow some guys to get a little more rest at times, too. Jonathan India will seemingly try to play through almost anything. He’s as tough as nails. But having a designated hitter spot that he could slide into every few weeks for a day to just give his body a little extra rest from not playing in the field could be beneficial. For all that Jesse Winker brings to the table at the plate, and even with the improvements he’s made on defense, he’s still not exactly a great defender. Having a designated hitter spot open for him every so often helps.
At this point it’s tough to know exactly what the front office is going to do this winter in order to improve the 2022 Reds roster. But they could get some help from the league and not have to do much at all to find a way to get more from the roster next season if the designated hitter comes to the National League.