Two weeks from today, pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear for the Reds' first spring training in Arizona. For obvious reasons, the start of baseball season is one that warms my heart. Whether the Reds stink or if they're great, I still look forward to baseball season. For seemingly every one of the past five seasons, someone has touted the Reds as a "surprise Wild Card team". I bought it every year.
This year, no different. Rob Neyer, who I think actually hates the Reds for some reason, has gone on record as saying the Reds could win as many as 87 games and could contend for the WC. Do I buy that? Well, honestly, no I don't. But I like the sound of it. And Rob Neyer knows more about baseball than I ever will, so if he says they could win 87 games, I'm at least encouraged by the direction of the team.
The Reds have progressed each of the past three years: from 72, to 74, to 78 wins. The natural progression is into the 80s. If you have $100 million to throw around, you could go from 78 to 90 wins. The Reds don't, so they won't. But still, 80+ wins would again be another positive step. Do I think they can get to 80 wins or more? Sure. 87...again I don't know.
PECOTA has the Reds at 82. CAIRO says 85.5. There are a bunch more out there. Everyone has an opinion. I'll go with 80 and hope for 87. You never know.