The Cincinnati Reds weren’t buyers, but they’re still all-in on the NL Central race

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Cincinnati Reds' Spencer Steer, right, celebrates with Elly De La Cruz after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Despite a surprising season that has them in the middle of the NL Central race, the Cincinnati Reds were never expected to be big players at the trade deadline. Instead, the Reds were going to keep their well-regarded farm system intact with eyes on the future. Cincinnati did acquire left-handed reliever Sam Moll from the Athletics to provide some much-needed bullpen help, but the Reds’ brass wasn’t willing to part with any significant prospects to get some help for their shaky starting rotation. Cincinnati has one of the best farm systems in the majors, and with the boost that rookies like Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain and Spencer Steer have provided, it’s easy to see why it didn’t want to lose any young talent for a starter that wasn’t a true front-line guy. Despite giving up 41 runs to the Cubs during a recent three-game losing streak, the Reds are just a half-game back of the Brewers for first place going into Friday. FanDuel Sportsbook has the three-team battle in the American League Central as a near dead heat with Cincinnati in the middle. The Reds are +190 to win the division, slightly behind the Brewers (+115), but ahead of the Cubs (+240). Oddsmakers even appear to be warming up to the idea of the Reds being a real contender in the National League. They are +2600 to win the NL pennant. That’s still far enough behind the Braves (+135) and the Dodgers (+195), but part of a second tier of teams that are all bunched together, led by the Phillies (+1200). Cincinnati’s World Series odds are still pretty low at +6000, especially compared to the other contenders. They are bunched up with the likes of the Phillies (+2100) and Giants (+3200) as middle-of-the-road National League teams.Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll is the clear favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award (-3000) at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Reds are well represented on the board, though, with position players McLain (+2000), De La Cruz (+3500) and Steer (+6500), as well as starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (+7000). Cincinnati is clearly ahead of schedule with so many rookies performing at a high level. At this rate, it’s likely the Reds will be among the favorites in the National League in 2024 and beyond.

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