Joe Sheehan writes that lagging attendance numbers shows America’s baseball fans are rejecting the rebuilding processes that are leading to unwatchable baseball.
Against that backdrop, let’s praise the Reds. Last winter, the Reds traded for Sonny Gray and Yasiel Puig, among others, opening the year with the highest payroll in franchise history. If the moves were a bit optimistic, given what the Reds had on hand and the tough NL Central, they sent the right message, and it was received. The Reds ranked fifth in baseball in attendance gained—2,200 a game—despite a fourth-place, sub-.500 finish.
The Reds took the right lessons from 2019. President of baseball operations Williams said, days after the season ended, that the Reds would increase their payroll in 2020 with an eye towards making the postseason. With the Cubs no longer looking quite so scary, and the Reds turning into a pitcher-development machine, it’s not hard to see the right free agent buys pushing the Reds into contention for a division title in 2020.