This week’s respondents are Nick Kirby, Chris Garber, Clay Marshall, Ashley Davis, and Steve Mancuso.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: When will the Reds return to the playoffs?
Nick: I believe the Reds were a healthy rotation away from being a .500 team last year. I think this team returns to the playoffs by 2019. I am hoping for 2018, but I think 2019 is more realistic. The Reds infield was arguably their best ever in 2017. I don’t think this team is too many pieces away from competing for at least a second wild-card spot.
Chris: I expect to see Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Turner back in the playoffs next fall. Maybe Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart, too.
Players wearing Cincinnati laundry will play in a Wild Card game in 2019.
Clay: I’d love for the answer to be sooner than later — or at least, sooner than we realistically expect. It seems that many recent “rebuilds” have struck gold a year earlier than was planned, and I’d love for Cincinnati to be the next such example. We know the Reds can hit; we know they can field; and we know they have umpteen young pitchers with potential. Now we just need a handful to realize that potential, for the veterans to stay healthier than they have in recent years and for GM Dick Williams to be ready to supplement whatever holes need to be filled. That said, I could see the team making a run this year if all the cards fell the right way, but that’s a big, big if. 2019 seems more plausible.
Ashley: As much as I want to say next season, the Reds won’t make a return to the playoffs until 2019. If the young pitchers can stay healthy, the Reds will be improved next season and will make a run similar to the Brewers run this past season, but, like the Brewers, the Reds will fall just short in 2018. Watch out in 2019 though. Nick Senzel will have gotten some experience at the MLB-level, and the young pitchers also will have had enough experience underneath them. The future really is bright for this franchise.
Steve: 2020. I see the Reds taking big steps forward in both 2018 and 2019. But making the postseason is hard. They have a big chance to compete in 2019 and that could very well prove to be the right answer to this question. But if I were betting, I don’t think it will happen until 2020, when the Reds will be led by Luis Castillo, Hunter Greene, Nick Senzel, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Taylor Trammell and Joseph Daniel Votto.